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Wanna get Away? Yesterday, we sure did!

Employee
Employee

We know the last two days certainly have been challenging for you. Murphy’s law was an unwelcome Passenger yesterday when we had two, separate situations that affected our operations and web site accessibility. Through it all, our Employees did their very best to serve you, but we understand that many of you have had frustrating moments.

 

Our first issue came yesterday morning when we flipped the switch for our All-New Rapid Rewards program. Throughout the day, southwest.com had intermittent issues regarding functionality and accessibility. We had a Command Center in place and our folks were ready to immediately spring into action to address and fix the "bugs" as they were discovered. Their work continued all day and through the night, and they were able to implement some fixes that have helped get us back up and running online today.

 

As Murphy and his law would have it, in a completely unrelated event yesterday evening, our primary telecommunications provider experienced an outage that affected the network connectivity at some of our airports and call centers nationwide. This resulted in long lines of Customers at many airports. Immediately, an emergency command center effort was mounted to find a solution to get the connectivity repaired. The safety and security of our flights, Customers, and Employees remained our focus as we worked to minimize the impact to our Customers and our operation. The outage affected our operation for approximately 2.5 hours.

 

We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience and frustration you experienced the last two days.  To our fans, followers, and Customers, we know you expect great Customer Service, and that’s our expectation too.  Yesterday wasn’t our best day, but today is looking better.  We hope to see you on a Southwest flight soon.

 

114 Comments
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Bugs are not fixed: 1) cannot sign into RR -- just get bounced back between log-in and Security Q screens, 2) cannot call into RR number -- dumps to busy signal & hangs up when rep is requested.
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Chris, the problem is far from resolved and many features of the RR section of the southwest.com website are broken. When do you expect everything to be fixed?
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Murphy....I SO don't like that guy!!!
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Where can we post bugs that we have encountered?
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Love you Southwest. Never have flown ANY other airline since I discovered you. If you don't go there, neither do I. You get me there and back safely each time, on time.
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But we still cant book flights with RR!
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I appreciate the update, but can you share more rationale on why you revamped what was such a wildly popular and simple frequent flyer program? As you can see on Facebook, you have upset the Southwest cult. There's a great book called The Culting of Brands, which is a great how-to guide in building and maintaining a loyal following. I suggest you consider reverting back to the basics. You sold us all on keeping life simple, we got onboard, and now you've complicated it again and put yourselves on par with the lowest common denominator. Technical issues we can all handle--even at the airport. That's a reality in a very digital world. Playing with semantics is something not too many Americans take kindly too--especially for a company based in the great state of Texas. I live in LA, so we're used to that more. But now all of a sudden Virgin America is looking good again.
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Still LUV you. We all have bad days, and it's just when SWA does, it affects a lot of people and a lot more people are aware of it.
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We were about to board a flight from Baltimore to San Antonio on Tuesday evening when they made us aware of the computer outage and it would be a small delay on boarding the plane. It was not a huge deal but the employees at the gate kept everyone informed and were very friendly. Eventually they boarded the flight manually without scanning the tickets and we got on our way. Computer glitches are an everyday occurrence and something you have to deal with, but what made it so much better was the communication by the Southwest employees to the passengers waiting to board, and several updates along the way. Those things are much appreciated. Keep up the great work and I will always fly Southwest when available.
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What about my past credits? I had 13.5, 2.5 away from another flight. That translated to 0 points in the new system.
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It is such a rareity that SWA has any kind of problems, i would think a couple of glitches in one day is not the end of the road for Southwest. I lived in Houston for approximately 30 years, and my airline of choice was ALWAYS Southwest. When we moved to the "Tundra", (Wisconsin), my biggest regret besides the cold and snow was not having access to Southwest without driving six hours. Well, that situation has now been remedied. SWA now operates out of Minneapolis and Milwaukee (3 hours away from me, either way). Thank you Southwest for being back in "my" world. You are still the best airline and the best way to fly.
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Succinct and well put. While I don't believe the new RR program is necessarily the best, I still firmly stand by Southwest's epic customer service. We all have our bad days, and SWA just had theirs. Only up from here, eh? Keep up the good work, guys.
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Good to know. I have an issue that couldn't be resolved on the internet, so I called your 800 number this afternoon. I was told there was a 17-minute wait (which shocked me--maybe other airlines but NOT Southwest), and I finally hung up after 25 minutes on hold. I will wait until tomorrow to call again Deborah Hoffman RR # 29423236
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Thanks for apologizing, Southwest. It's what we've come to expect from you. We all certainly can't be perfect all the time, and heaven knows technology give us all fits sometimes, but I can guarantee that you are the only airline that would take the time to explain what happened, and of all things - apologize. I think this is just one more way that Southwest tells us that we, as customers, are people, not numbers, not profit-centers, not butts in seats. Thanks, Southwest, we LUV you too!
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Thanks for caring enough to explain and apologize. I am sure this was challenging for all the staff - especially those on the "front lines". Glad the outage was cleared up so quickly!
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Things don't seen better today. I've been on hold for over 1.5hrs trying to complete something that I was told was fixed yesterday. I'm extremely unhappy at this point!
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Hey SWA, We love you. Do what you need to do to stay in the black so we can fly cheap...and stay sweet. Thanks.
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Are you serious? Today is looking better? You need glasses. I believe more customers were affected today. First of all, it is clearly obvious that your IT department did not do proper testing and did not have proper contingency plans in place. The site is STILL showing errors as of 1 minute ago. So, please do not blow any more smoke on your loyal customers. Tell it like it is, you are either lying or worse, SW truly has no clue had badly this situation is. I tell you what, Chris, try changing an existing reservation, or checking you balance or find an existing reservation. Then when you can’t, try calling 1-800 I FLY SWA, then keep calling when you get busy signals, then when you finally get through you wait on hold, then have the Agent tell you, sorry I can’t help you, my system is slow and I don’t see what you see on line and can’t change your flight. Then hang up and call USAIR, or any other airline, because the points in the new system aren’t worth any more than any other airlines.
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I can accept that things don't always go as they should but what happened to all of my previous flights? I just lose them? I am almost at the beginning for A list even though I was 4 flights away on the other plan. I've not seen any responses to similar questions and the website offers no explanation and I don't have time to sit on the phone for 2 hours waiting. I am more frustrated at losing what I worked hard to get.
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When do you plan to allow the iPhone app to log into RapidRewards again?
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Why did Southwest change Rapid Rewards? One major reason that Southwest is downplaying is that the old Rapid Rewards was unreasonably generous to people who bought 8 sub-$100 round trips and earned a round trip across the country that would cost over $300. It was great while it lasted, but Southwest could not continue forever to give away the store this way. I wish they had come out and admitted this directly, but marketing practice is almost universally to tout a new product as better for everyone even if it's not. There were many good reasons for the change, but the problem (from their point of view) of buying short and redeeming long was a big thorn in their side. The web pages are attractive and reasonably well laid out when they are working. Starting people at zero points and hiding the carried over credit balances was probably a mistake, but the pages are structured with post-transition (2012 and on) use in mind. That makes the transition a little rough for users. I applaud Southwest for softening the transition for top customers by allowing rolling year qualification for Companion Pass and A-List status to continue in 2011. However this decision came in January, which must have been too late for the necessary web pages to be ready this week. As a result, everyone who was counting on rolling qualification is puzzled why it's completely missing from their status screens. All this and more is made clear at the Southwest forum at flyertalk.com, where you will find out about the "now you see them, now you don't" free drinks for A-List Preferred members.
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I concur with Chris J. and know that many of my friends who are diehard Southwest fliers (as well as holders of your VISA card) also dislike the new program. We've joked that you hired a marketing consultant from another competing airline or perhaps a former IRS agent invaded the SW think tank. Please restore the Rapid Rewards system, in all its simplicity, to your faithful clients. We forgive you for the technical difficulties but not for mucking up a highly successful rewards system.
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I agree with every statement ChrisJ has made. The point system is putting Southwest back with the rest of the companies. The simple frequent flyer program based on credits was what separated Southwest from the rest.
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Thanks for the acknowledgement, but I'd appreciate an update on what you're doing to address point display issues. I had been looking forward to this new version of Rapid Rewards, but all my accumulated points appear to have vanished. I'm not the only one...
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I am glad you got it figured out. However, may I suggest you communicate your issues clearly and timely in the future? Murphy's Law says that yesterday during this outage we tried to book a flight for a very busy holiday weekend. First our rapid rewards were MIA (we just assumed we had lost them) and then your site was down.(we assumed it just wasn't working for us/west coast) We ended up booking through another carrier in order to not lose the opportunity to get cheaper flights. Now we have to fly USair. Not only that, but we were unable to use our rewards. You could have at least had a message on your phone that the system was completely down, and rewards were not actually lost. We thought we had no other choice but to book somewhere else. The woman on the phone was very unclear and in fact didn't know what was happening. Please communicate your issues fully and honestly while we wait on the phone or on line. What should have been a free trip has now cost us 500$ (and a flight on USair) Sincerely, Not Very Rewarded
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I was stuck in Chicago due to this fiasco resulting in a delay in getting to Ft. Lauderdale. Needless to say I only had 4 hours of sleep before my very important meeting in the morning....not sure why you would switch over the Repaid rewards program during a business week...wouldn't Sunday have been a better day when there are less travelers? I hope you have this fixed by the time I have to fly home.... Just sayin' ... YAWN...after a 10 hour day, I am going to bed.
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Sorry Chris J....I have to disagree with you. The only thing I DIDN'T like about Southwest was their frequent flyer program.....made it to hard for people like me; even with a Southwest Airlines credit card to get a free trip. Now at least maybe I can get an occasional one. Southwest we still love you..and there is no one else looking better. You will be pleased to know that I recently E-mailed Delta with a comment about their credit card commercial. I'm sure you've seen it....the one where they talk about how wonderful it is to have their Delta credit card because then your bags can fly free. I told them I had to laugh when that BS came on the TV because my bags fly free all the time with Southwest. You will get my business all the time; the no change fee and free luggage is a clincher for me.
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I agree, as a loyal customer of southwest for the past 2 years. I am not happy with this new program. It is very complicated no doubt, but I feel like there is a reason. The complicated part doesn't bother me. It's what "we" lose that bothers me. You used to need 16 credits for a free flight anywhere in the US. So I could have bought 8 short round trip tickets from Denver to Las Vegas (approx. $159 round trip cost) and gotten a free flight. I spent $1272 to get that free trip let's say. But now a could use that Award ticket on any continental US flight. So I could book a trip from Los Angeles to Boston for free (which may have an advance purchase value of $350 value round trip at it's best deal) Not to mention that award tickets could often be booked without much advance notice sometimes even within a day or two of needing to travel. So I, a smart travel would plan the best I could and earn credits on my planned short trip and then save my award tickets for short-notice necessary long trips (that would be extremely expensive if I had to purchase). The days of this are now over with the "new" rapid rewards. Now to get a trip that costs $350 for free I have to have $350 X 60 = 21000 points which will cost me $2100 in flight spending as opposed to the $1272 I spent before. And I wouldn't be able to book the LA-Boston trip on short notice either. This program is horrible and no better (if not worse) that all the other mileage programs out there. And sure you can double your point earnings by buying an anytime fare or business select (but anyone knows that this is a waste of money, big deal you double or triple the price of your ticket to get a free drink and priority boarding)....you're still sitting economy for crying out loud. But then you aren't getting any rewards at all b/c your spending double on your airfare than you would otherwise just to earn "free" stuff faster. Not to mention that I was 5 one-ways away from being an A-List member 3 days ago, and now they are telling me I'm 28 trips away, not counting any trips I took before the beginning of 2011 instead of looking at the past 12 consecutive months. I never thought I'd say this, but I have like 6000 points left to get a free flight and once I get that if they stick with this program, I am switching to United. I'd rather bag fees along with the old program that this crap. And least on United with a high miles (point) balance you start getting first class upgrades and free standby upgrades. If Southwest really LUVs their customers, someone wil read this and respond to me and explain why they are doing this to loyal customers like myself. It's just a matter of time before people realize that they are paying more to get less.
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I agree with the comments above. You took a great rewards program and made it complicated, and it now looks just like all of the other programs out there. I, for one, can see from a business point of view, it is in the interest of Southwest to use points instead of the previous way of calculating flight rewards. But, it certainly does not look beneficial to the customer anymore. I have flown Southwest routinely at least bi-weekly for 5.5 years now and have loved the simplicity of your style. Unfortunatley, with all of the upselling going on, such as early check-in, changing rewards etc, I am losing interest in Southwest these days. I flew to Nashville this weekend and for the first time in many months, I flew Continental and Frontier. I'm sorry Southwest, you've got to get back to basics, or I'm going to keep looking elsewhere! --A previous loyal customer.
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Apologies accepted....in trade for all the convenience, comfort and in-flight entertainment that Southwest Airlines has provided me during my twice a week flights for the past few months, a little inconvenience for a few hours is not a big deal. Do we get spoiled quickly nowadays? Yep, it appears so! But.....keep doing what you are doing and this too shall pass. I would venture to guess that if this happened to Delta Airlines or US Air, they would have thumbed their noses at the customers in a similar situation.
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I understand why the change to the rewards program took place. I'm just sorry my traveling days are ending in 2 weeks as my consulting gig will be ending. I was flying Nashville to LAX every month (a 4-5 hour flight), and I wish I had been earning the extra rewards that longer flights will provide. It makes sense to me, I'll bet the guy who posted before I did hasn't read about the reasons for your changes. I have been so pleased with your people and their service over the past 18 months, I don't even look to the other airlines when planning my travels. If I bought stock, I'd buy yours. Keep up the good work.
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I can't say that I am happy about the RR changes that you made but as an A-List member the benefits still outweigh many of your competitors so I will have to live with it! What I would like to know is when you expect the website to be updated to show how my past flight credits converted to the new points system as well as when I will be able to view my upcoming trips.
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I agree. I paid to extend an expired rapid rewards, but can never get a open date--might as well not have it. I have been on hold this evening for almost an hour. If the system isn't working, don't keep us on hold. Southwest is losing it's appeal and I have been a loyal customer.
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What ever happened to the "KISS" method: Keep It Simple Stupid
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Here I thought it was MY computer or browser! We needed to book a flight for an emergency situation, and quickly. Wow what a headache. Ended up we never did book a flight.
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It's all about the money. Made a couple of reservations online today and sure enough, as you had outlined, you are trying to incentivize folks to pay the higher prices to earn the points. You are not trying to fix something that was broke, you are going for the money and looking more and more like the other air lines all the time. I remember when a reward was "any flight any time". That has been gone for a while now, but again, when trying to book my daughter on a flight to visit her grandparents that are on hospice care, so she could spend some time taking care of them, lo and behold, my reward was only good on certain days on certain flights. BS Southwest. Funny how my loyalty is being called into question. Step back and restore the rewards program the way it was, and lots of folks will feel better about you.
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Where do I find my currently booked lights? I tried to find this morning with no luck and dead ends. Maybe it is worling now?
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Tonight went online to book a rapid reward date. I am so upset with the new program. I totally agree with Chris J. I have preached the accolades of the SW rewards program for years. I could not find a nonstop flight on my dates for months from now. AUG! Then to see the new Points breakdown for flights, I was reminded of the "other" rewards programs we gave up to join sw... So bummed! Business class..only 54,000 points..one way! WOW! So much for "all seats" rewards.
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It's still broken today. I have been trying to buy tickets since 12:00 noon and here it is 9:00 pm! I tried signing up for the credit card and the system got hung and never filled in my credit card number. Now I have a credit card but can't use it to buy the tickets. I called Southwest and it took 50 minutes to get through! Terrible!!!! I tried again at night to apply for another card through my wifes name and it got approved and again the Southwest Software got hung! now I have 2 credit cards I can't use and can't get the extra points for the 3 tickets I am trying to buy! I am still on the phone right now! It's been another 25 minutes and I'm still on hold! southwest you need to do better than this!!!! I am very disappointed! Terrible service! I can't even buy the tickets with another credit card now because the system wont let me through to that screen. This is terrible! Believe me you will be hearing from me!!!!!!
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No 800 phone number!! It's 9:09PM EST and I cannot access my account on SW and the 800 number is busy. I need to change two upcoming flights and if this outage causes a fare increase i will be steamed. Have you ever heard of a fall-back plan? Most IT implementations include a method to restore their old system when a disaster such as this one occurs. Plan better next time. Normally I'm a huge SW fan, but being without the web-site since Friday is frustrating.
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What happened to the crdits I had on the old system? Also I should have points on the new system but my pont total reads 0.
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We are STILL experiencing problems and your lines are BUSY.......so to say sorry about that you were frustrated over last two days, doesn't quite cut it. At least acknowledge you are still having issues and are overwhelmed with calls, that would be a bummer, but honest.
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So, will points for rapid rewards be back up and are just mysteriously missing right now? I was hoping to book RR travel today but can't b/c my points are gone, and your phone lines dump me to a busy signal. Good luck, and feel free to email me when things are back up. That'd be good service!
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I have 14 credits in the old RR system,, 2 short of a RT. I understand that once I accumulate 2400 points in the new RR system I can request those be converted to 2 credits, earning me a RT flight. But wait... I don't want to do that. Instead, there is a one-way flight under the new points system that is listed right now at 9,500 points. I want to convert my 14 credits in to 16,800 points (14 credits x 1200 points per credit) to buy the one-way flight now. BUT NO! WHY NOT SWA??? WHY CAN'T I DO THIS??? TOUR TELEPHONE REP SAID I COULD BUT COULD NOT EXPLAIN HOW.... WHY CAN'T I DO THIS - ARE WE BEING RIPPED OFF?
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ATTN: jim.ruppelPresident of Customer Relations SWA Disappointed loyal rapid rewards partner since 1998 Just a note to let you know we tried to reissue our awards from Friday February 25 to Monday March 1 and could not get a phone representative or online connection. We lost (3) rountrip awards as a result. When we finally got through we were told “ Our training on this mandates we inform you that you must forfeit your earned awards”. We’re pretty perplexed at this treatment after using our Southwest Visa exclusively for almost a decade and a half. Bad business Karma Jim. Really curious if Southwest’s commitment to being a neighbor in the community where we live is sincere. Will we hear from you on this? I wonder. My best, Tom H.
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I tried to see how many points I had today and was told I had none. I have flown a bunch in the past few months so this can't possibly be right. It is very frustrating to try to use the system and it was user friendly!!!
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Where are all of my previous points? I am not seeing any of them under the new system.
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I agree at least partially with the folks above. I have been a very loyal Southwest fan for years - even driving to Cleveland to fly when you didn't fly into Pittsburgh where I lived. Now your points system looks a lot like US Airways. The only difference so far is that you haven't started charging for bags yet - is that next? As the guy above said, all of this could have been avoided if you'd remembered "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." We - those of us who buy the cheapest tickets you sell, and not business - have been your bread and butter for years. I know people who have been flying Southwest for business at the cheapest prices just so they could get the free flights faster. Their companies are happy that they fly so cheaply - and sometimes they OWN the companies!! Now - I'm not sure what they will do - they can't afford the business rates...... Think it over, folks!!
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Luv, Luv, Luv Southwest we all have to go through growing pains. We have to be patient and be greatful for a loyal friend as Southwest> Thanks for the years of care you have show me and my family.
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I was a very loyal business customer but if I can't use my RR account and the phone is a one hour wait why fly SWA? Your new login is for my account is ridiculous - why can't I use my old login in and why the new security quesitons? I'm on a business trip and need to book a flight and waited on the phone last night and tonight. I tried to contact you by email on the SWA site but halfway through typing the site went down and so did my message. US AIrways is looking mighty good right now and I can get bumped to first class as a frequent flyer. If it ain't broke then don't fix it.