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Southwest Airlines Community

Gearing Up For This Holiday Travel Weekend

AlanKasher
New Arrival

Our in-house Meteorology Team which resides within the NOC provides real-time weather updates to help us proactively navigate any revisions to our service_.jpg

 

We know many have experienced disruptions to travel plans and that Customer Service wait times are higher than usual. If your plans were affected, please visit https://swa.is/ChangeFlight to explore self-service solutions.

We have heard from many of you who are frustrated with our flight schedule reliability and irregular operations. And we owe you a better understanding of what’s causing these disruptions and how we are working through them to offer you a better product.

We’ve been experiencing relentless summer storms across many parts of our country, including some of our busier airports, which has introduced a greater amount of delay than we traditionally see this time of year. This has impacted the entire airline industry.
 

Once our schedule is disrupted with irregular operations, we move quickly to recover our service and get Customers to their destinations. As we continue rebuilding our network to pre-pandemic levels, we currently have fewer frequencies between cities than in previous summer schedules. With fewer flight options between cities and high load factors, it’s more difficult to reschedule Customers and to reposition Crews when things don’t go as planned.


We were prepared for an increase in travel demand for the summer; however, irregular operations can disrupt even the best-laid plans. We have Teams across our organization working together with a continuous focus on serving you and our People. Here are some of the steps we are taking to improve your travel experience:

  • Our Network Operations Control (NOC) is closely monitoring our operations 24/7. The Team is focused on being as proactive as possible when we are forced to adjust our flight schedule based on weather or other conditions that might impact travel, so Customers have time to make alternate travel plans.

  • Our in-house Meteorology Team, which resides within the NOC, continues to provide real-time weather updates to help us proactively navigate any revisions to our service and allow us to get information to our Customers as quickly as possible.

  • Our Tech Ops Team is laser-focused on safely and efficiently making every possible aircraft available so we have extra aircraft that can help us recover our flight schedule.   

  • We’ve updated our Customer communication to emphasize the importance of arriving at the airport early during this busy travel time.


We want you to have as much confidence in your travel plans as we can possibly give you, and we are working to ensure we deliver the experience you expect from Southwest.

​​​​​​​Thank you, once again, to our Customers and to our Southwest Employees, as we take to the sky this holiday weekend to celebrate Independence Day together. We are committed to continuing to keep everyone informed on specific actions we’re taking to make sure we get you to your travel destinations this summer.

7 Comments
mskelly100
New Arrival

Then be honest with people and treat with respect.   My Denver flight was not cancelled by weather.   The forecast was sunny, the radar was nothing snd the flight before and after were fine.  Honesty goes a long way.  

christakp33
New Arrival

Honesty goes a long way. Southwest is hiding behind "weather" to avoid having to face the uncomfortable fact that you are screwing people like us. We don't travel often due to cost. So this is a bitter pill to swallow today. 
Our flight was cancelled today. Family of 8 - 2 adults and six children. Special needs and toddlers. After about 3.5 hours on the phone, emails, facebook messages I got ahold of a rep. Travel vouchers for FUTURE FLIGHTS but no help for today. We are left waiting until Sunday. Is there a guarantee all 8 of us won't be cancelled on Sunday as well??? I'm a nurse. I can't lose work. My husband has work as well. How do they make up for lost wages, sick time and emotional distress at being stranded thousands of miles away from home? The customer service agents are polite but don't really have viable options or REAL help to offer. Won't be doing this again. Would have been better to drive.

OK3
New Arrival

The only "excuse" you list for your irregular operations is weather.  You should give your customers more credit than that.  

 

When our plane lands at an airport with clear skies, and has to wait for 40 minutes to be marshalled into an empty gate, that is not due to weather.  Then, to add insult to injury, when we then wait in baggage claim over an hour for our bags to be placed on the carousel, that's not due to weather either.  Both are clearly due to undermanning on your ramp.  Did SWA just up it's minimum wage to $15/hour due to weather?  Or was it possibly due to retention and hiring problems, that, by the way, are the case with companies throughout the country.

 

SWA has obviously dramatically increased it's flight schedule this summer.  What has not seemed to happen is a corresponding increase in manning, from the ramp, to the passanger cabin, and to the flight deck.

 

Other major airlines have been upfront in stating that they are currently undermanned and are working to correct the situation.  It would go a long way in restoring your customer's confidence in flying SWA if you would do the same.

jtalbert22
New Arrival

This doesn’t answer anything about flight irregularities and non-weather “weather” delays? We booked a flight (my parents and me) in March for my brother’s wedding this weekend in Des Moines. We were supposed to arrive Thursday at 1030 am. Flight was changed about a month ago to arrive Thursday at 1030 pm. So we lost an entire day of our vacation.  If you can’t fly a schedule, don’t sell the tickets. I get a schedule change of a few hours, but that was 12 hours.  Then we got on our first flight yesterday and the second flight from St Louis to Des Moines was cancelled due to “weather”. The flight that would have been our airplane arrived from Milwaukee to St Louis on time and there were no storms in STL or DSM…so why exactly was the flight cancelled? So then we had to pay for a hotel in St Louis out of our own pocket, on top of the AirBnb we had already paid for in Des Moines. On top of that, we missed my brother’s rehearsal dinner tonight as we wait for the flight tonight. So thanks SWA for completely screwing up this trip, costing us money because of your mistakes, and making us miss a part of the wedding weekend. And the worst part is is that you keep blaming things like the weather that wasn’t even a factor in either of these instances. 

kdzm118
New Arrival

I completely agree with the previous posts, honesty is seriously lacking. We flew from Denver to Houston...2 cancellations for non-existent weather.   Our family experienced additional costs for an extra night in a hotel, rental car and meals.  Southwest oversold flights they could not staff. I overheard the flight crews discussing in detail how they could not man the  increase in summer flights across the board (ground crews, ticketing, flight crews, maintenance etc.)  They are being offered double pay to work overtime to get flights in the air. That's the truth...own it.  Apologize truthfully and at least throw in a A list boarding for passengers who choose to fly Southwest again. 

MBS75
New Arrival

I’ll start by saying I’ve been a very loyal Southwest flyer over the years. I have well over a million miles in my rapid rewards account. 

I travel a lot for work and pleasure. I solely choose which airline to fly. Until recently, I’ve flown Southwest exclusively. Like most Americans I severely cut back on travel during the pandemic. About a month ago I began traveling again. 

I can confidently say this is not the same Southwest I knew pre-pandemic. 

While I applaud management for admitting they have a problem, like others have said, honesty goes a long way. As a pilot myself, I understand weather can be a reason but in my opinion is not the culprit in this case. What’s happened here is a systemic management breakdown on many levels. 

The one item I appreciate most in any airline is reliability. It’s safe to say over the past several months Southwest has been the least reliable airline. Just look at the stats about cancellations and delays, Southwest leads the pack; this is one statistic an airline should never lead. 

I totally understand weather and various other items contribute to delays but Southwests problems go well beyond weather. Not enough employees, those left are stressed, overworked and just burnt out. 

I also understand it was a fight for airlines to survive the pandemic. Many decisions needed to be made, cut costs at all costs and squeeze out costs everywhere just to survive. I applaud Southwest for surviving the

pandemic. Let’s not forget the American taxpayer contributed to keeping the airline industry afloat, not complaining but the airlines had help. 

The last several flights I’ve been on have either been delayed or cancelled. At 55 years old, sleeping in an airport because of a cancelled flight is not my idea of fun. (True story we sat on a plane for 3 hours while the ops crew tried to load bags, then loaded too many bags and become overweight; in a Max 8, just to have the crew time out because of the ground ops shortcomings. As I said above, this is a systematic failure on many levels none of which are weather related. When the flight was finally cancelled, at 12:40 am, the burnt out customer service team in the terminal was less than friendly). All the sudden Southwest is everything they railed against during their growth. 

I hope Southwest figures things out but as I said this is a failure on many levels and it will take years to recover.  

As much as it pains me, I’ll be flying other airlines and no longer argue with people when they question why I fly Southwest. Southwest is now the most expensive, unreliable, unfriendly airlines in the sky (as Southwest would joke, if you want that, fly Delta) But hey, the marketing department is working overtime sending me promos to fly more. 

After the debacle I describe above, I called customer service to complain (the first time I’ve EVER done that) After waiting 10 mins to talk with someone, I spoke with a young many who said sorry a lot but really didn’t help. He then asked what I wanted. All I wanted was the old Southwest. I recall a flight where the pilot aborted the takeoff due to weather. It was a scary situation but totally the right call. By the time I got to my destination I had an email from Southwest apologizing for the situation and a $50 voucher. I could care less about the voucher (I never used it) but I was thrilled Southwest recognized the situation for what it was and owed it. I told every I knew about how Southwest handled that situation. I want that Southwest back, the one that cares about their customers (Southwest has the best safety record of any major airline). The Southwest today sadly has become the Delta they mocked. I want my old partner back!

 

Southwest can be much better, they were! In short not much to Luv these days. Herb’s probably rolling over. Truly sad, I feel like I’m getting divorced and I don’t want to leave but I’m not interested in an abusive relationship where my partner lies to me, is no longer trustworthy and costs me more than they ever have. Consider us officially separated, if you can clean up your act, I may give you another chance but for now, I’m out. 

jondegraw
New Arrival

Dear Mr. Gary Kelly:

The purpose of my letter to you is to make you aware of an unbelievably negative customer experience I was subjected to by your airline.

 

My family and I were passengers on your airline June 22nd from ATL to BOZ and again on July 1st, from BOZ to ATL.

 

During our attempt to travel from BOZ to ATL on July 1st, 2021, my family was subjected to the most egregious customer service I have experienced in the past five years.

 

Upon our arrival at Bozeman on July 1st, we were greeted by two very polite and knowledgeable ticket agents.  They worked efficiently to check in myself, my wife, and my two minor children, as well as six pieces of checked luggage.  Unfortunately, this was my last positive experience with your airline:

·       When we arrived at the gate, the flight to DEN was announced that it would be delayed.

·       Upon arrival in DEN, the automated text messaging system began to notify me of several delays.

o   First delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 4:25 PM

o   Second delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 5:45 PM

o   Third delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 6:50 PM

o   Fourth delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 5:00 PM

o   Fifth delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 6:20 PM

o   Sixth delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 6:50 PM

o   Seventh delay notification, FLT 24 delayed until 7:20 PM

·       FLT 24 boarded at approximately 7:45 PM

o   Cabin crew announced that the flight was delayed further due to refueling issues with the ground services.

o   At approximately 8:45, the cabin crew announced that due to the delay, the First Officer had “timed out” and a new First Officer was enroute.

o   At approximately 9:15, FLT 24 pushed back from the gate.

o   At approximately 9:45, the cabin crew announced that due to the delay, the Captain had “timed out” and that the flight was cancelled.

At this point, Southwest’s customer service failure began to escalate to the point where I am now compelled to write to you with the purposes of detailing the complete and utter collapse of customer service by your subordinates.

·       After waiting in line for more than forty-five minutes at a ticket counter, I was informed of the following:

o   My family was to be re-booked on FLT 3927 on July 3rd.

o   Southwest would not provide any assistance with accommodations from July 1st to July 3rd, effectively leaving my family without shelter.

o   Southwest would not allow my family access to our checked luggage, essentially leaving my family without clean clothes, prescription medication, and personal hygiene items.

 

To summarize the above, Southwest basically abandoned a family of four in an unfamiliar city for two days without clothing, shelter nor basic necessary items.

As a result of Southwest’s actions, and its untenable solution which required almost forty-eight hours without clean clothes, safe and secure shelter and basic personal hygiene effects, I took the following out of pocket action(s)

·       Procure lodging.

·       Secure transportation from DEN to Denver, CO (downtown).

·       Secure transportation from train station to hotel.

·       Obtain basic personal hygiene items.

·       Research and purchase alternate travel services from DEN-ATL that would arrive prior to July 4th, 2021, at 12:45AM.

 

Sadly, the customer service failures of your company were not yet finished.

 

I was informed by your ticket agent on July 1st in Denver, that my checked baggage would be sent to ATL on the first flight on July 2nd, and that the baggage would be waiting on me. 

 

When I arrived in ATL on July 2nd, I was informed by the baggage manager, Mr. Dee Good, that your employees in DEN routinely misinform passengers of the status of their baggage in the attempt to deflect their job responsibilities and assuage the passenger’s concern until they have departed DEN.

When I arrived in ATL on July 2nd at approximately 9:15 PM, my baggage was not yet in ATL, in complete misalignment with what your DEN employees had promised.

 

Around 10:45 PM, the baggage from FLT 24 arrived in baggage claim and I was able to collect my items and depart the airport.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to praise Mr. Dee Good for his exemplary customer service, as he took the time to personally ensure that I received all my items and apologized for the inexcusable actions of your DEN operations employees.

As a result of the entirety of the above listed facts, I incurred the following additional costs in order to prevent my family from being left on the streets of Denver for forty eight hours without clothing, shelter, nor prescription medications for chronic hypertension;

  1.      Purchase train fare from DEN to hotel: $42.00
  2.      Purchase Uber transportation from Union Station to Sheraton: $30.77
  3.      Secure safe accommodations: $269.86
  4.      Obtain alternate air travel to ATL prior to July 4th, 2021: $1,165.70

In addition to the original airfare, I am out of pocket a total of $1,508.33, due to Southwest’s direct and indirect actions, which include over committing flight availability versus the availability of equipment/type air crew who are current on their training.  This is evidenced by numerous news and trade articles reflecting Southwest’s pilot shortage due to leave of absence status and the backlog of pilots needing to re-certify at your training facility.

 

While I understand your motivation behind increasing the flights to increase revenue, unfortunately, absent of a substantial response to my ordeal with your airline, I can assure you that Southwest Airlines will not be my choice for the indefinite future.  Future business relationships should not be sacrificed on the altar of quarterly fiscal performance.

I look forward to hearing from you personally within the next ten business days.