Final Update and Apology on Systemwide Outages
Final Update and Apology on Systemwide Outages
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Affected travelers: click here to view Travel Advisory regarding flexible accommodations.
UPDATED Sunday, July 24 at 9:00 p.m. CDT:
This will be my final update on the Southwest trouble that by now needs no introduction. We are grateful to our Employees for their dedication and our Customers for their patience, loyalty, and understanding as we worked to rebuild.
Today was the first day we could say, definitively, that our Operation is back on track. We know there are many, many Customers who still require assistance, having been inconvenienced by the disruptions. Flexible accommodations remain in effect for Customers who hold booked travel from Wednesday the 20th through Tuesday the 26th of July. These Customers have two weeks from their original date of departure to rebook and begin travel at the original fare, with no additional cost. You can do that on southwest.com.
If you're seeking a refund and did not book a refundable fare, we will still honor that refund, but you'll have to call us. I recommend you call when it's convenient for you, when volumes have returned to normal. It may take some time, but you have a year from when you purchased the ticket before that will no longer be an option. Refunds and requests must be submitted and processed by the ticket's expiration date.
Again--thank you. We know it's a long journey to re-earning your trust, but it's our mission to do it.
UPDATED Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 p.m. CDT:
Things are getting better, and our cautious optimism is starting to become tangible as the Operation stabilizes.
A young lady in San Jose wasn't able to get home to her parents in time to celebrate her birthday, and on one of our internal groups, Employees shared the story about how they banded together to throw her a birthday party in the airport to lift her spirits. This is a situation that neither the Employees nor the Customers planned to be in, or should have had to deal with. But it's also not in the job description to throw birthday parties.
UPDATED Friday, July 22 at 10:45 p.m. CDT:
I wanted to provide you with a Friday night update on our Operation. This afternoon, we were able to catch up and fully assess the state of our Crews across the system. As a result of that assessment, we had an unexpected uptick in cancelations due to mandatory Crew timeouts. Safety is our top priority and FAA regulations require mandatory rest--it is not safe for Crews to fly beyond the required time, and our Employees are understandably taxed working to get back on track from this unique situation.
For our fresh Crews, we expect to extend our Operation past our normal flying times, in airports that do not have a curfew in place.
Unrelated but something we're keeping an eye on, there are thunderstorms in the Southwest that our Meteorologists are monitoring. As of this writing, that weather system has not impacted flying.
We are optimistic about our Operation tomorrow. We have a reduced schedule on Saturdays. We expect some cancelations, but far fewer than we experienced Thursday and Friday morning.
You're tired of hearing sorry--I know that--but I must reiterate we are doing everything we can to make things right. We are truly sorry and value you as Customers and People. Volumes remain high, but our Employees at the airport and in our Call Centers continue to work hard to meet your needs. Our Representatives are able to rebook travel, refund your money, and answer your questions. Our Social Customer Care Employees are working around the clock to do the same. If you have flexibility or your question is not urgent, we recommend contacting us once our volumes are at a more manageable level.
Thank you again.
UPDATED Friday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m. CDT:
We were live from Network Operations Control to discuss the latest on our efforts throughout the system.
UPDATED Friday, July 22 at 10:00 a.m. CDT:
I wanted to provide the latest update regarding our outage recovery. We continue to manage through lingering disruptions following performance issues across multiple technology systems Wednesday. As of 6:00 a.m. Central (CDT), planners have canceled more than 250 flights today, primarily as a result of displaced Crews and aircraft. We're continuing our focus on getting Customers and their baggage to their destinations safely.
Our Employees in airports, online, and on the phone are assisting a significant number of Customers and hold times are much longer than average. In the midst of peak, Summertime travel, we recognize many flights through this weekend were already close to full and as cancellations continue, we recommend Customers who have flexibility explore rebooking on alternate dates beyond Sunday by checking availability on Southwest.com. Customers who are holding booked travel Wednesday the 20th through Sunday the 24th of July have two weeks from their original date of departure to rebook travel at the original fare, at no additional cost.
We extend a heartfelt apology to our Employees and our Customers who are inconvenienced by the disruption in service. We appreciate their patience as we continue our work to make this right.
Customers traveling today should check flight status on Southwest.com and plan to arrive at the airport early, as longer than average lines are likely.
UPDATED Thursday, July 21 at 4:50 p.m. CDT:
I wanted to provide the latest update regarding our outage recovery. Systems are stabilized and have been performing normally throughout today. Our main challenge right now is getting our Employees to the right places. As Mike Van de Ven mentioned in the update below this one, we have identified the cause as a technology malfunction in our network that affected multiple systems and platforms. When systems became inoperable, our crew scheduling technology was among the affected platforms. As of 2:00 p.m. CDT today, planners have canceled nearly 450 flights, primarily as a result of displaced Crews and aircraft. Simply put, if the Crews aren't in place, the planes can't fly.
We understand the enormous inconvenience our technology challenges have put on our Customers, and the colossal burden it places on our Employees. Our Employees in airports, online, and on the phone area assisting Customers in large numbers and that is taking longer than average. We recommend Customers who have flexibility look to rebook on alternate dates beyond Sunday by checking availability on Southwest.com.
Customers who are holding booked travel Wednesday the 20th through Sunday the 24th of July, who were not able to complete their trips, have two weeks from their original date of departure to rebook travel at the original fare, at no additional cost. Customers who missed their flights can resolve this issue by contacting our Social Customer Care Team on Facebook or Twitter, or visiting southwests.com/contact. Please be aware, though, that volumes are extremely high right now for those who try to call in or reach us digitally.
It's never too early to say thank you or to extend an apology; neither is it to continually apologize when a situation hasn't been fully resolved. I'm sorry. We'll continue to work to make this right.
UPDATED Thursday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m. CDT:
Earlier, we used Facebook Live to address the effects of yesterday's technology outage.
UPDATED Thursday, July 21 at 6:45 a.m. CDT:
I want to start off by once again apologizing to our Customers and reiterating that your experience throughout the past 24 hours is not the service you should expect from Southwest Airlines. Most of our systems are back online this morning following yesterday's technology outages, but recovery will take some time. We expect some cancelations and delays as we position aircraft and crews.
As of 6:30 a.m. CDT, we have canceled more than 221 flights and continue to manage the flight disruptions across our system. Our Employees are the best in the business, and they are working extremely hard to get you and your luggage to your destination. Thank you for hanging in there with us. We will have more information later regarding flexible rebooking, and we will continue to work with each and every affected Customer to make this right.
I was making a day trip from Orange County to San Jose on Thursday when I was notified that my return flight was cancelled. I quickly managed to rebook out of Oakland and so had to spend over 2hrs driving there and pay extra Hertz fees for not returning the car to San Jose.
Later, my 9pm flight into Orange County got cancelled and because there were no more flights into Orange county that night, I had to rebook for Friday but the only availability was from SFO at 9am. The attendant told me that they had no instructions on booking hotels for passengers left stranded overnight and could not help. She did print a boarding card and checked me in for the flight.
I rented another car and drove to SFO and stayed overnight. On my way to the airport at 6am, I checked the flight status and found it cancelled too.......this time I had NOT been contacted. I called cutomer service but was on hold for 45mins and arrived at the airport before anyone answered, so I thought it better to go straight to ticketing. Oh and more fees on he rental car for dropping it back to a different airport again.
I waited in line for over an hour at ticketing to be told that I then needed to join another line to rebook from a cancelled flight. That line ws about 30mins. There was no availability into Orange County until Saturday, so I booked to San Diego and figured I could rent another car there and drive back to Orange County, pick up my own car at the airport there and eventually drive home.
We had yet another delay on the San Diego flight when a passenger heading there for cancer treatment, along with his wife and young children, had to leave the flight after it had first left the gate. The crew were rude to the family and caused a big scene. However, this families troubles put our delays and inconveniences into perspective. I hope they got more compassionate help off the plane than they were getting on it before deboarding. More paperwork and 30mins later, we were in the air.
Rental Car : San Jose to Oakland = 102.99
Rental Car : Oakland to SFO = 103.70
Hotel in SFO = 178.60
Rental Car : San Diego to Orange County = 120.07
Being home with my wife and 4 kids after driving around for two days .......... priceless.
Sorry isn't cutting it. You need to empathize with the customers an understand that there IS more involved here than moving quantities of customers from A to B and even C. You need to make up for the inconvenience. Something as simple as giving out snacks, water or airport vouchers for a drink would go a long way to put a positive spin on this debacle. An airline that looks after passengers.
Perhaps there is some form of insurance you can take out to ensure that this doesn't cut in to your bottom line and that your customers don't have to be out of pocket due to a company HW/Systems problem.
So that other customers stranded overnight know of the Southwest policy, I posted it below.
A link to this on your main Web page or just general advice to passengers would help too, but we understand why it's not there.
Eg, we're having problems, but are trying to get back on schedule......so you may want to pack extra Sox and underwear 🙂
Cancellations Within Airline Control
If, for any reason, a passenger’s Southwest flight does not operate as scheduled, Southwest Airlines will, at the passenger’s request, refund the unused portion of the passenger’s fare or will assist him or her by arranging transport to the passenger’s destination on another Southwest flight with available seats. If the passenger elects to take an alternate Southwest flight, he or she will not be charged any more money even if the ticket for the disrupted flight has usage limits or fare restrictions.
If circumstances within the airline's control cause a passenger to miss the last possible flight or connection of the day to his or her destination, Southwest's customer-service agents have the authority to arrange for overnight lodging for that passenger and will find the passenger a hotel or motel as near to the airport as possible, at no additional cost. Customer Service may also arrange for ground transportation to the overnight facility.
My name is Brett I am a A list member. You should worry more aout the problem at hand rather than some stupid video on how your company dropped the ball on this one. Who ever runs you IT network should be fired. I was flying from PDX to LAX on #2275. I had been working all day and did not recieve any delay information. I got to the airport and was notified that the plane would be delayed. It happens. I asked the lady when I go to the gate what the status of the plane was. She said it was now on time. At the boarding time a lady came over to the gate and said they had a pilot, but were looking for the co-pilot. 20 minutes later she said the flight was canceled. This was the last flight out of Portland and I had an important meeting the next day I could not afford to miss. If I was notified my flight may be canceled i would have had the time to book on another airline. I ended up canceling my flight and paying $400 more to fly Alaska. This was the second time my flight was canceld in a 6 month period. I have been flying with Southwest for 7 years and my company spends tens of thousands of dollars a year to fly me all over the country. I just wanted to let you know I will be looking elsewhere for my flights and give the other companies my business. I know I am not the first and will not be the last.
Just a quick note- You need to edit the link to the email address in the July 21, 2016 blog post. That orginal link- southwests.com/contact takes you to some kind of spam site. After this week's scheduling and cancellation SNAFUS, this link only pours salt in the wounds.
The correct link is southwest.com/contact
Thank you SWA for the YEARS of great service. I am a regular flyer and your service is always great. Stuff happens! We live in an instant, automated world and when glitches occur we need to remember that includes anything electronic so I am sure communication was going to be difficult. (How many of us have Wi-Fi that works at home and our places of business 100% of the time?) I too was in Dallas Love needing to get to my next destination when the big crash occurred, but I regrouped and made a new plan. SWA is always willing to give you a refund for flights not used...no questions asked...just use your confirmation number next time or ask or the funds. Personally, i know you guys will come back strong and I look forward to seeing you guys next week!
Was expecting to hear something from Southwest regarding my bags that I could not retrieve at Southwest:Chicago because they were going to be sent on the next flight to Sacremento even though my final destination was Phoenix. I never got a flight out of Chicago. Thought I filed an incident report at Chicago Midway after waiting in that line for an hour after being at the airport for 12 hours. Today I am told no incident report was filed but my bags are in Sacremento and asked when was I getting there? I am not because I am home near Chicago. I cancelled my trip all together! Oklahoma call center put a message into Chicago to call me because I want my bags to be sent fedex to my home! Do not want to deal with SW flights for my bags at this point! Instructed to also call Chicago baggage office and all I got was a very unprofessional voice message....I left a detailed message and now I am waiting to get me and my 72 year old fathers bags back!!! Had to replace medication and personal items already that were in those bags! Just want to be done with SW and be able to plan to get my father out to Phoenix at a future time after he has surgery and I can get off work again, but it will be with another airline! I thought getting my dad away after my mom recently passed away would do him some good, but it has made things worse.
Granted, the warm fuzzies put a positive spin on a few passenger's experiences.
With a daily passenger count of almost 325,000 people, that means that these past four-five days affected almost 1,300,000 people... that's 1.3 MILLION people!
SWA could have treated passengers with an increased level of human dignity. They continued to allow check-ins, when they KNEW flights were going to be cancelled. Once through TSA and separated from their baggage, they become prisoners of SWA - stranded in airports across the country.
At most SWA destinations, they refused (or were not equipped) to provide the basic necessities for these stranded passengers - like meals, drinks and cots. Most destinations did not have a plan in place to recover baggage for those passengers desiring to leave the airport or book alternative passage. For stranded passengers, most other major airlines absorb the costs and provide meal, hotel and taxi vouchers until services resume or flights become available.
Passengers can certainly understand the uncertainty of flights when there is a crashed system and as the airline operates on a manual mode.
But once SWA cancels a flight (for other than weather delays), SWA ASSUMES THE RESPONSIBILITY TO CARE FOR THOSE AFFECTED PASSENGERS.
SWA failed to step up at EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEIR 103 AIRPORTS to care for these stranded passengers.
SWA dropped the ball, by not being honest and forthright or providing the dignity of basic human needs for a predicament that they created.
Regardless of the cause of the system failure and slow recovery (hackers, mechanical failure, human error, DDoS attack, poor contingency planning, etc.), SWA failed to provide for the most important part of their business...
Horrible Horrible Horrible experience.
Should have been flying home from SFO to MDW on Thursday, instead, we were sent to Phoenix, but our plance was re-routed to Tulsa so everyone onboard missed connections. Once in Phoenix we were told it would be 2 days until SWA can get us out.
Had to fly home on United to Chicago's O'Hare now I have to get to Midway for the car and baggage. Finally home at 12 am Sunday
I WILL DO MY BEST TO NEVER NEVER FLY ON SOUTHWEST AGAIN, your customer service is horrible, your staff are rude, and your policies regarding vouchers for food or hotels due to your errors do not show LUV, they show disrespect to your loyal customers.
We hear you everyone, and we appreciate you taking time to come here and share your thoughts. The impact of the last few days has been widespread, but we are seeing continued improvement in recovery efforts.
I know many of you still need assistance, and our Customer Service Representatives are committed to working with each of you until we've made things right. I encourage you to reach out to us through any of the ways listed here. Hold times may still be longer than usual, but we want to give every person the time and attention they deserve.
It's our privilege to serve you, and we will continue taking measures to restore your trust.
The Southwest Airlines Community
I flew from Columbus to Midway on Thursday July 21. I was lucky I thought; the plane was on time and we left on time. Unfortunately I got to Midway and only 5 or 6 bags came up the carousel none were mine. I asked for help and all I got was no we don't have it here. So I had to stand in a line two blocks long to file an incident report. You would have thought SWA would put on extra staff to service the baggasge service office, no only two people working the desk to make these reports. Then I'm told we will contact you by tomorrow evening to deliver your bag. Well here it is four days later an the status online is still "open". Yet nobody is addressing the hundreds if not thousands of bags that are sitting waiting to be identified. Terrible! My next two business flights in the coming two weeks have been booked on American and United. SWA has taken a big downfall in my confidence with them.
Chiming in with my experience during this Southwest disaster. I was on a business trip this week in the Bay Area and was supposed to fly out of San Jose to L.A. on Wednesday evening. I got to the airport early around 5 p.m. only to find hundreds of people lying on the floor of the airport. I have flown out of SJC many times and it's a more bussiness oriented airport, never seen anything like this and I didn't know what was going on. Thanks to Google (Southwest NEVER notified me that my flight was delayed) I found out my flight was delayed 2 hours, as were all the flights going to Southern California. I thought alright, it's annoying but at least I'll get home sometime that evening. I (thankfully) didn't check in my bag and went through security only to find massive customer service lines everywhere at every Southwest counter. I thought people must be trying to get on earlier flights on standby, since there were no other announcements. As I'm sitting waiting for my flight, I'm notified by Google that my flight is cancelled!!! Again, Southwest NEVER notified me that my flight was canceled either!
I rush to a gate where I see an attendant and ask her if it's true, that my flight is canceled. She says yes and when I ask her why it's shown on the Departures board as Delayed, not Cancelled, she points me to a snail paced customer service line. I go there and ask one of the customers service reps if it's true that my flight to L.A. is canceled. She says yes. The insult came when I asked why it is not listed on the Departures board as canceled. Her response: "The board is owned by the City of San Jose, not by Southwest!" Really??? That's the excuse for no information regarding canceled flights? BTW, I was there from 5 p.m. till 9 p.m., there was no Southwest announcement whatsoever on the PA system about canceled flights! No texts, no emails, nothing to let me know of my flight cancellation!
So then I get in one of the giant CS lines to see how I can get on a flight to anywhere in Southern California at this point. While in line, there's a PA annoucement about a flight boarding for L.A. I and a lot of other people rush to the gate and we're trying to talk to the gate attendant to see if we can get on standby for the flight. She literally ignored us! There was a man who was trying to get to Ontario since 2 p.m., he spend 3+ hours in CS line and was put on standby for this flight; he told all this to the gate attendant and she literally pretended he didn't exist!
A woman showed up at the gate who was originally told this flight had been canceled and she had been put on standby for another L.A. flight. She had her original boarding pass for this flight and was denied boarding. Moreso, the gate attendant was guilt-tripping her, saying that now she's expecting to bump someone else from the flight for her benefit! At this point I gave up and took an Uber for Oakland where I spent the night on my friend's living room floor and caught a Delta flight in the morning for LAX.
I am shocked at the abysmal CS treatment we have received from Southwest during this time. I understand that technical problems happen, but mistreating people like this is NOT acceptable! During the hours I have spent at SJC airport no one was offered water, seats, overnight accommodations, or even basic information such as flights being canceled that would have helped us make alternate travel choices. I have flown many airlines, and this is the worst treatment I have ever received. Even Air France had the decency to let me know my flight was canceled during one of their many strikes.
If anyone from Southwest CS is reading this, this is what your utter lack of CS support has cost me:
Uber ride to Oakland: $46
Delta flight OAK-LAX: $248
Canceled Southwest flight: $116
I have been a loyal Southwest customer for many years, in fact I have not flown with any other airline domestically for the past 6 years at the very least. I even have the Southwest Premier credit card and have referred other people for it since I thought Southwest was a great airline until now. Well, count me out! I do not want to be involved in any way with a company that would mistreat customers like this!
I have a major problem with the way Southwest dealt with me last Friday. I work in aviation, for a helicopter company. I went home for 6 days off and was returning to work and had a flight from BNA to MDW, then MDW to RNO.
The first flight made it to Chicago Midway, but the second flight cancelled. I received a text from Southwest to call 1-866-841-4098 and enter a PIN to rebook. I called, and Customer Service told me SWA could not get me to Reno anytime in the next 2 days.
I told them that ONT or LAS would be acceptable, but those flights were already full. Then my baggage was dumped in Baggage Claim which I did not want to take possession of because I had a legally checked handgun in my luggage and possession of a handgun in Chicago is a felony. WTF! SWA never offered a hotel, never offered to complete my travel, just returned my bags and wished me luck.
I took a bus to O'Hare and completed my travel on American. SWA did refund my employer the full fare, so it cost my employer nothing for SWA to strand me in Chicago. I lost a day earnings, and my relief had to work an extra day. I was quite stressed until I got my baggage checked at O'Hare.
Has there been any offer of points? Nope. Any offer of anything to make it right? Nope. We've never had problems with SWA before, and the handling of the way I was just spit out of the system is completely unacceptable.
When will I get my bags back. I never made it out of Midway, but my bags made it to Sacremento even though my final destination was to be Phoenix! I am starting to feel like SWA doesn't know where my bags are! Their slogan is correct bags fly free because my bags are the only thing that got to fly. Bags checked 7/21 and it's now 7/25 and I still don't have my bags in Chicago!!!
(corrected spelling mistakes, noted that first leg was to LAS enroute to SJC)
I tried to post this days ago... but perhaps like the website, the planes and the luggage ... it got lost.
I observed three major issues with the SWA outage. I do get that this was painful... I work maintaining heavily used public websites myself.
- This is the second outage in less than a year - last time it was October, 2015.
- AFTER the website was restored on Friday (outage was Wed) we watched as the first leg of our RDU to SJC flight which was to LAS crept from 15 minutes delayed up to over 90 minutes and I discovered that there were no available flights to rebook, I called the 800 number, spent 55 minutes on hold. I asked the agent if she could split our flight in two... so that we could fly to Las Vegas, spend the night and then take a flight the following day to SJC. HOWEVER SHE SAID SHE HAD NO ABILITY TO DO THAT.. what? She could only "book full complete flights", and if we wanted to work that we had to GO to the airport, STAND in line and see if a gate agent could arrange it. The delays continued to stack up until the last flight (ours) was canceled. Our only option was to rebook for two days later to fly to OAKland. Fortunately we were with friends, not stuck in a terminal or separated from our luggage. Continuing to issue delay notices (rather than outright cancellations) shows indecisiveness and callousness toward your customers.
- Despite the website comments about "rebooking without penalties" (and the pathethic insult of: we're sorry, we've extended our sale), there really was no way to rebook online because there were no flights through the "7/24" date at all.
I also note from the many comments here that Southwest failed - despite your stated policies - to offer vouchers, accomodations, and more. I suspect that for every example of good things employees did, you'll find a thousand paying customers who were heavily inconvenienced both in time frustration and hundreds of dollars out of their pockets.
I have been a big fan of "Transfarency" but I'm a bigger fan of arriving. I think Southwest needs to stop the apologies and do something significant to prevent further hemorrhaging of customers like me.
"Sorry we stranded you for 25 hours."
"Sorry we destroyed your vacation."
"Sorry we failed to provide a level of care of our competitors".
"Sorry we sent your luggage somewhere else from where we sent you."
See... it gets old. Compare with.
"We really screwed up and inconvenienced you horribly. We would like to keep you as a customer... here is a voucher for travel anywhere we fly." Or better "Here is a refund of your entire fare for our mistake."
It's the actions versus words thing. Words, like boarding passes for flights that will never fly are cheap.
I stood next to a lady at PHX and watched the CSR hand her a $5,400 check to cover flights on another airline. I've heard of others being reiumbursed for fligths, rental cars, hotel, meals, etc. I had 2 cancellations last week causing similar extra expenses. Where do I send my receipts for reimbursement? I have yet to see anything from SW on this. Thanks,
I see you finally believe the problems from the system outage are finally over , but they are not. I had a single bag , small enough to fit into the overhead. I should have carried it on and cloggeged up the bins for everyone else, but I thought that I'd be kind to my neighbors, so I checked it. BAD DECISION. My bag is lost and all the very nice call center people, farther away from my finan destinatioin (Seattle) can tell me is that you are working on it. It is almost five days since my bag was lost , and nobody seems to know anything. Soon I will fall into the next stage of a baggage search. I have to submit a writtten form ,calls won't do anymore, with evidence to prove that I am not a scam artist seeking to wheasel Southwest out of money to buy personal clothing ( I had no valuables in my case) , and wait some more, meantime I am buying new shirts and shorts , and getting very frustrated.Despite the kaki shorts and sliily quips , it still seems to me that I am in a Distopian Kafka story.
I’d like to thank everyone for posting here, as the comments were a good read as I tried, unsuccessfully, to sleep on the floor of the Denver airport. Knowing that my situation was not unique in Denver was one thing, reading about fellow customers all over the US made me feel like part of a large family. –A family of dissolutioned, sleep-deprived, sheeple (sheep + people). As if we could all reach out and sing “We are the World” together.
Like everyone else here I was frustrated by the communication more than anything. My first cancelled flight to Tampa was cancelled 30 minutes before departure, after listing as “delayed”, then back “on-time”, then “delayed” again. They offered me a flight to Tampa in 3 DAYS, I was told that was all they had. After getting my head around what the CSR was saying to me, I asked for anything in Florida period, and was booked for the next evening to Orlando—not home, but close enough. The next evening I was on the Orlando flight as it taxied in what could only be called a 2-hour-guided-tour-of-the-airport’s-runway-system ---fascinating stuff folks! Seems “winds” were the culprit and we had to wait our turn to take off. We were all so excited when they gave the OK to take off; but it was too good to be true, because our pilot had “timed out”-- meaning we were returning to the terminal for them to find us a new crew, and then we would be on our way. 2 MORE hours later, the flight was cancelled. I don’t like to fly, and I had just sat in a plane for 4 hours to go nowhere. Now I was told they could get me to Tampa, but not until the NEXT evening—but the way, I was offered NO compensation for this—they hadn’t decided what they were going to do yet when I left the line. I of course, found a store that sold minty fresh gum, baby wipes, and deodorant—if we’re all going to be stuck together, I don’t want to offend my fellow miserable passengers—and went in search of my bags AGAIN. Once again, the communication was horrible, there were no hotels to be found, Southworst did nothing to offer transportation to other hotels, or even acknowledge that they knew there were no rooms in the area. They just kept handing out these little papers with a 1-800 number for discounted rooms. When you called they said they had no rooms for the Denver airport anymore. So I wondered around, marveled at the stranded boy scouts -who had actually pitched their tents and were “roughing it” in the ticketing area (they deserve a special badge for that) – and went in search of a way to charge my phone. At 3:30am I stood in the Southworst ticketing queue and basically kept circling through asking each time if there were any seats on an earlier flight, while also checking online on my dying cell phone. At 8 am, I did get lucky and get flight earlier than the 6:30 pm one –which I later found out was delayed by 90 minutes—
When I checked my luggage for the third time, I informed the ticket agent that “My luggage must weigh less each time I turn it in, because it has fewer hopes and dreams in it.” I was trying to be light-hearted about the situation, but I am a mother of 3 and I could not have imagined the situation if I had had children with me. Southworst needs to refund every single passenger the full fare for each of those cancelled flights. Regardless if they did ended up getting you where you needed to be, the financial-cost of those who found a hotel room, or the human-cost of emotion, time, and discomfort are surely worth our money back.
I am generally such a happy, loyal Southwest customer and after my horrendous experience on Thursday, I am questioning this loyalty. I was flying from DIA to SFO Thursday 7/21 and was stuck at DIA for more than 10 hours. I was on a delayed flight that then got cancelled, so I switched and booked an additional flight. The gentleman who helped me behind the counter rolled his eyes at me (and everyone else he was helping for that matter) and was insanely rude.
For my second flight - I thought we were set to go until we boarded the plane and then de-boarded the plane. We were instructed to wait for 45 minutes until they could find a co-pilot, so we waited at the gate and re-boarded, only to then be de-planed once again and then ultimately cancelled. No one had any information to give to any passenger - and at this point, there were no other flights out of Denver. Instead of pretending to care, all Southwest staff was completely unavailable. I switched airlines to get to SFO and could not track down my luggage. So, after spending more than 10 insanely frustrating hours at DIA, I get to SFO without any luggage and could not get a call through to any Southwest helpline. Over the next few days, I continued to call and 3 days later, when I could finally get through, I was redirected over and over again to other people. So I spent the duration of my time in San Francisco without any luggage and there has since been NO resolve, no calls back, ZERO customer service.
Southwest - you are in the business of PEOPLE. If you want us to be loyal, act like you care about us!!!
From flight delays, cancellations and poor customer service I am shocked at the level of disregard for your passengers, myself included.
Record Locator: 9QZTWC
- My trip started in Orlando(MCO) and was meant to board at 6:20pm and depart at 6:50pm. The plane arrived and all passengers stood in their respective positions at 6:20pm. At 7:00pm the pilot finally arrived with his smoothie in hand and we started boarding. No mention of the delay in the departure from the gate nor from the flight attendants. The screens all read on time, even though we were clearly 30 minutes late.
- At around 9:15 pm we arrived in Baltimore (BWI). At which point my connecting flight to Charlotte was boarding. I was certain that if I ran out of the gate I would make it. Instead, because of the delay in arrival there was no gate available for passengers to get off. We literally stayed on the runway for over 30 minutes. The flight attendants made announcement that the gate knows there is a connecting flight and that we want to get to charlotte. Please see the gate attendant for details.
- No effort to hold the plane to charlotte was made with multiple passengers needing to make the last flight of the day. No apology for the delay or acknowledgment as to what would be done to fix the issue.
- Upon arrival to the gate the attendant was rude, and everything but helpful. When she looked up the next available flight it wasn’t until 9:45pm the next evening because all other flights were ”sold out”. This would mean I would have to miss my meeting and have to pay for a night’s stay in Baltimore. She then said that the only thing she could do for me to get me there earlier would be to book me on a flight to Raleigh instead. I would then have to rent a car to drive to my final destination Charlotte. This would be a 2 hour and 30 minute drive . When I inquired about where I would stay for the evening, she said I could pay for my own hotel because Southwest does not offer hotel in the case of weather delays.
- This was the absolute first time anyone from the southwest staff mentioned the delay was due to “weather”. She then gave me a flyer and said if I needed a discount to call the number and they would provide the discount. I called the number and they too were sold out for the night. When I informed the attendant she said “you can just sleep here then I guess” until 9:45 pm the following day?! What sort of a suggestion is that? So to summarize she booked me to the wrong city, said I was responsible for the car rental and my hotel stay if I wanted to get to my final destination.
- I called my husband in tears because of my experience. I would miss my work meeting and we would have to pay out of pocket for an unexpected expense. He looked up a flight and was able to find a 7:00am flight out of BWI to my exact destination of charlotte. How is it possible that a customer on your website has more capability and know how to get a passenger to the destination than your own staff?! He booked that flight and we had to spend 20,268 of my own points to book. We then spent $229 on a hotel. And$20.00 on transportation. I never boarded the Raleigh flight and finally got to charlotte the following day.
- I’d like to say that the rest of the trip was uneventful but it was just as bad.
- On Friday I was scheduled to depart charlotte, connect in Chicago and land finally land in Dallas.
- I received a phone call that the charlotte to Chicago flight would be delayed and therefore once again I would miss my connection.
- I was on hold for 20 minutes and finally had luck with a very nice representative who apologized profusely but once again there was nothing they could do. I would have to spend the night in charlotte pay for an additional hotel night$206.00,rental car and fly out Saturday morning.
I WAS STRANDED TWICE IN ONE WEEK AND THE SOUTHWEST DELAYS COST ME THE FOLLOWING:
- 20,268 in SW points
- $435 in hotel (for TWO additional nights)
- $20.00 in Transportation from BWI
- $89.00 in an additional rental car day in Charlotte
- TOTAL UNEXPECTED OUT OF POCKET COST:$544 (I Have receipts for every expense if needed)
As a frequent SW traveler, I understand delays due to weather and I am normally full of patience but what happened to me was unacceptable. I would like a full refund for this trip, full refund of the points I was forced to use in order to get to my final destination as well as reimbursement for my expenses in either cash, vouchers, or points. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ME AS YOUR LINES HAVE BEEN SO BUSY I HAVE WAITED OVER AN HOUR TO SPEAK TO A REPRESENTATIVE. Thank you!
I.T. Dept needs to be fired & replaced with smart college kids who can figure this stuff out in a second. Really.
I spotted this at PRWeek.com while looking for information about what caused the outage.
Are you going to offer any compensation for your customers?
We had a fare sale that was supposed to end today, but we’ve extended it by a week, just because we knew there would be access issues in trying to book travel. There’s also a massive effort underway to reach every customer individually impacted by a cancellation or delay today. Our CEO has written a note to these customers and the outreach includes gestures of goodwill such as a dollar value voucher and/or a code for 50 percent off a future booking. Every situation is different, so we are tailoring the communication.
~ Linda Rutherford, July 22, 2016
Don't know about you, but I haven't been offerred anything. I did login with my SWA account and go to
Selected "email us" (which is a big hairy online form). And opened up an "issue".
I was also encouraged - via a private message on this board - to "call customer service". But haven't even received an *acknowledgement* of the complaint I opened three days ago (file number 2125224343432).
I imagine who ever is working these complaints and refund requests has their hands full... but SWA is behind the times in technology here, too. You should see how Amazon.com handled a late package delivery - which was no fault of theirs (it was the carrier). They really impressed me, their continuing loyal customer via a chat contact method.
The three obvious things about Amazon.com customer service:
- Customer Empathy
- Prompt resolution
- Going above and beyond
SWA can learn from Amazon.com on all fronts here. I think SWA is *trying* to do the first part, and is innundated making promptness difficult.
We finally heard from SWA. Not sure what the magic sauce was... whether it was pestering via this forum, Facebook private and public messages, SWA catching up to things or opening the complaint I mentioned earlier. But the complaint did get a reply. The reply was acceptable to me in that it was more than I had asked for.
My facebook direct message was sent Thursday, July 28th at 12:35 PM. It was responded to on Saturday, July 30th at 1:15 PM. The complaint was opened several days prior to that and I referenced it in the private message.
Nearly simultaneously on Saturday I heard from email@example.com
The email response was in my SPAM bin on gmail so I didn't see it until Sunday, August 1st. The email was clearly a response to the complaint (feedback) I opened online.
I guess the message from me, therefore is: it may be SWA is catching up... but their CCO didn't provide any estimate or timeframe by when customers who opened issues would be contacted. So if you're still waiting to hear from SWA, I recommend both an online complaint, and a private message on facebook referencing the complaint. My observation on facebook is that there are fewer and fewer responses to customers now - but maybe that's because they are still being overwhelmed.
By now, many of you may have noticed that Delta also had a "systemwide outage" resulting in cancelation of hundreds of flights.
Delta cancelled hundreds of flights and hundreds more were delayed as it worked to reset its operation following a loss of power in Atlanta that affected Delta computer systems and operations worldwide. Systems are fully operational and flights resumed hours ago but delays and cancellations remain as recovery efforts continue.
Customers affected by the outage and who have provided their email address will be contacted today and will receive their voucher in seven to 10 business days. Customers who have not been contacted can complete a Customer Care form on www.delta.com/wecare to receive their voucher. All travel must be booked by Aug. 8, 2017.
Above from Delta.com
I wonder what Delta learned from SWA... and more importantly, what SWA is learning from Delta. The stated cause of the Delta outage is a power failure in Atlanta.
I think it would go a long way with your best customers if you would extend A list and companion pass benefits for some period of time to compensate us for all the problems.
my problems were relatively minor- unable to change same day flight times once and missing 4 fares that I was unable to book due to outages and unanswered phones- but some poor people got stranded for days- step up SWA!
I just wanted to say SouthWest is the greatest airline ever. I love them , sure there is issues some times. but everyone has that.
Keep up the great work LUV
I have been trying to get in contact with Southwest as I was part of the power outage delays that landed me without hotel accommodations stranded in Nashville airport after two canceled flights. It took me over 24 hours to get home from the east to orange county CA. The manager at the desk in Nashville said to call your line and I've tried 5 times since then to no avail. I spoke with someone in claims support who told me to comment on this forum for faster service ( which is ridiculous).
1400 flights were grounded so I understand there is a lot of frustrated people that want refunds. That being said, I caught the worst of it by far as I was canceled twice, and displaced from two airports. I never received any money as refund. Apparently there was some email sent about refunds however my email address listed on my account is from college that I no longer use ( which was just updated to my current one). I would have expected that any communication would have been sent to the address I booked the reservations with but perhaps not.
In summary, I expect to be followed up with. I missed a whole day of work due to the power outage. Things happen but I need Southwest to reimburse me for the time missed in a big way.
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