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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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I too stopped flying SWA when I found out about the new RR program. I actually had flights booked and still flew other airlines. I'll use my flight credits another time, as I found the flights cheaper out of PHX with no layovers or having to drive out of my way. For years, I went out of my way for SWA, flying into ISLP instead of LGA even if it was more experience JUST to get RR. I decided to give the program a look when it launched, and I could not access it... tried and tried... finally got in to use it and see... and wow... 42k points to redeem a flight over St Patty weekend... that is over 17 days away. Then wanted to check out international possibilities... a month out, over 125k points. To buy the "points" would cost $3000.
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Did something happen to your LA-BWI fares because they are ridiculous!?!?!
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AMEN! I understand computer glitches, but I don't care for this new "program" either. Like others, yes, I'll still fly SoWest, but this doesn't set well with me either! I even got a credit card with you and chase to earn more points! So much easier than miles or dollars spent!
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Southwest - You need to put a communication out about where people's previous credits went and how they will be converted back into people's accounts. You also need to tell people what happened to their companion pass and how to book those tickets. Finally, let people know how to find flights booked before the system conversion because they are not showing up at all and for business travelers this was the number one way to figure out quickly when your next trip is rather than digging through e-mails. I've been on the A-list since the program first rolled out and this is the most horrible customer experience I have had in all my years of traveling.
Employee
Employee
Thank you all for your comments. Believe me -- we listen and we take your feedback to heart. We have all hands on deck to resolve any outstanding issues, and we're working through those as quickly as we can. Many of you have specific questions regarding the new program and navigating through the web site to view your account details. We posted another blog, along with a video, to help answer some frequently asked questions and walk you through the web site. To view, click here: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/video/faq-all-new-rapid-rewards. To review all Frequently Asked Questions about Rapid Rewards, visit: http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/faqs.html?topic=rapid_rewards.
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WN's website was not fully compatible with most builds of Firefox even before this mess, and trying to book a flight via Safari running on an iPad is next to impossible. You just lost me to American as I tried to book a flight from PHL to Dallas due to these issues yesterday. That said, I remain a loyal WN customer...but stop screwing with Rapid Rewards, guys!
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Everyone has a bad day once in a while, that's just a part of the digital age. I don't expect perfection, just good honest effort. Glitches are forgiveable, it happens, even to the best of us. I have been an extremely loyal flier and avid fan of Southwest since I started flying. BUT I don't like the new RR program. I think this is an unfortunate step to ordinary. You guys stand out among the crowd as the best and an extraordinary airline. As a customer I've always felt appreciated and LUVed and because of that Southwest is the only airline I fly. Please don't forget about the average passengers and fans who have made you great! Here's hoping you don't turn into just another airline!
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Still busted. Would like to change a flight in early April, but no sign of it on southwest.com. Being in IT I have to ask: Regression plan?
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This is a horrible series of event to happen to a company that depends on the internet so strongly. Glad you are up and running again and I pray that nothing more will happen.
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I have not been able to get to a live representative all day. It didn't matter what number I called! The "Telecommunications" are NOT fixed!
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A friend and I tried to book a vacation this week, but my fare increased by over $100 while I waited for the systems to return to normal so that my travel partner could book his flight on a reward, so I could make sure the flight I booked would be reward-eligible for him. After being unable to book Tuesday night and all day Wednesday, I called this morning to see what flights would be eligible, but couldn't get through since lines have been busy. Now he finally has his free flight booked and I am sick to my stomach since I logged on this evening and prices were up. I don't think the fares should have increased so much during the chaos - when so many people obviously were unable to book. You should have my records - that I logged in and checked the flights several times this week, that I called all day today, and that he finally booked and that i just booked for $100 more. I will cancel and fly VIrgin America for $100 if I don't get some sort of refund or compensation for the difference.
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What was not addressed in the video is how those working towards A-list status are being handled. I was 3 away from A-list before the conversion and had no idea that my status would be at risk. I'm now only at 23% and from looking at the new site, am really worried that only flights in 2011 are going to count and I basically may have to start over again. If we are not made whole on the credits for A-list that WILL upset me as I have been a loyal SW flyer and will shop other programs since I'd be back at square one after working for a year to regain my status. I trust and hope I'm wrong and that this will be clarified shortly. An explanation would really help minimize my concern. Thanks and good luck straightening things out!
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All of the chaos created by the new RR program reminds me of the movie "Up In The Air" and their attempt to go "Glocal". It just didnt work. Maybe this will have a better outcome but I would rather just see the old RR program resurface.
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When will I be receiving my free tickets because I desperatly need to get away from all the people I know who clicked on the bogus SouthWest airlines post.
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I have loved Southwest over the years and have flown several hundred flights just in the past two years. I have to say I am not impressed so far with the new Rapid Rewards program and the system just implemented. As my father used to say "if it's not broke, don't fix it."
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When will we beable to get into our RR? I have been trying for 3 days! I called customer service twice, once Wednesday and was told maybe in and hour called the next day and was told no one could help me maybe on Friday (that was after waiting on hold for 30 mins) . This is leaving me to believe Southwest isn't what they use to be.
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Customer service rep was not friendly or understanding....Theresa badge #89...Told me in order to get a refund on the ticket I had to purchase with credit card because I couldn't access my rapid rewards I would have to cancel it within 24 hours whether or not SW had the RR problem fixed!!! Gave me no info other than to call back the next day - before the 24 hours and talk to rep. Called the main reservation number and left my number for a return call....supposedly the time frame was 1 hr 54 min to 2 hr 54 min. Then I started calling the RR telephone number and after entering RR number it rolls to a busy signal and disconnects me!!! Obviously not going to get this handled within the 24 hours Ms. Theresa told me was my time limit!!!!! Not my fault at all but definitely my problem!!!!! Hope SW handles this correctly when the dust settles and credits me back my charge and uses the free flight that I have sitting in the RR but which I can't seem to access!!! Maybe should have done a little more Beta testing before rolling out such a big overhaul....that obviously doesn't work at all...... Lisa Cohen
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Total mess as far as I am concerned. Tried to get on at 3:30 a.m. to book a Rapid Rewards flight. No such luck.
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Do you still have a systems probelm with the conversion. My wife's companion pass had an 02/29/2012 expriation date before the conversion and now it lists a 12/31/2011 date. I thought you promised any award expiring in 2012 would be carried to the end of the year!
New Arrival
Site still down. Can't log in. Just reached phone agent after 35 minutes. He couldn't help me and suggested I call back later since "the system is down." Can't change flights or access status. 3rd day now - since "re-launch" and of course that doesn't include the two days it was down for the transition preceding the re-launch. WN needs to compensate us for these problems. I suggest that everyone's RR account get credits added - in proportion to our account activity. "I'm terribly sorry" just won't do here. We need a bit more than that. About to book my first flight on United in six months .. 😞
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As of 8:31am Pacific on 3-3, the rapid rewards phone number hangs up on me, the main SWA number is still busy, and the RR website is non-functional.
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I've been trying to book Rapid Rewards travel for nearly two hours this morning. Honestly, the level of customer service I'm receiving right now makes me think Southwest isn't worth it. After running into issues online, I tried to call the 1-800-IFLYSWA number. There I received a busy signal for nearly 15 minutes. Once I finally got through, I was immediately put on hold, though as a RapidRewards member I was told my service would be expedited. Now, I have been on hold for nearly 40 minutes!!!! What I thought would be a "free" flight on Southwest is now costing me valuable cell phone minutes and overage charges. Thanks but no thanks! If this is how the new system is going to work, count me out.
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As a loyal SW customer, I have been frustrated but trying really hard to be patient. I cannot access the rapid rewards center which has a bunch of my rewards which I am trying to use. But when I try online it says funds not found. I canceled 4 flights earlier in February that we bought with rewards and are trying to use them now but your system does not recognize the confirmation numbers so i am unable to book any flights.
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Ive had times like those when it seems as though nothing works or rather nothing works the way they need to anyway. Between bluegreen corporation and Southwest i at least know my travel needs are taken care of.
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We still can't get through on the phone or online...what is up?
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I stopped flying your airline when you announced the changes to rapid rewards and I won't be flying myself, friends or family on your airline anymore. I loved your old program and I'm sorry to say that Delta has my business again.
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I still cannot access my upcoming trip information. I've been seeing the try again later message for going on 3 days now. What is the expected fix time of that? I've tried the 800 number, but get busy signals each time I try. This is not the Southwest that I'm used to as a very loyal Southwest customer. Is anyone else having issues viewing upcoming trips? I have 3 that I should be seeing.
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I still cannot look at the flights I have currently booke. This includes both paid trip and RR trips.
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As I read, read, read, and read more of the comments about being patient and everyone experiences computer gliches, it frustrates me. Every Project Manager knows with any production implementation, there is always a roll-back plan just in case something is not right. This should have been rolled back after the first hour of "gliches", and passed on to the test environment for QA. This is horrible. If SWA was losing money on the free trips earned at 16 flights, here is a no-brainer for you. Keep the old system and raise the limit from 16 to what it takes to make money instead of spending 100 million on a failed attempt at US-Air look-a-like program. It is us, the loyal customer that has been with you for years, who now are looking elsewhere, because of the program change. Just checkout your Facebook page and read it for yourself. Mark King
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Southwest is "Rapidly" on the way to becoming like all other airlines. Does anyone believe that the change in the Rapid Rewards program was done to make the program "even better" for the loyal customer base? I would bet "big money" that the next change for our convenience will be a fee for baggage!
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I've been designing, writing, testing, debugging and implementing software for 40 years for major corporations. Notice the preceding sequence - testing and debugging PRECEDE implementation. And while I'm on it - has the booking page problem for Firefox and Chrome users been resolved yet?
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As a multiple-year A-Lister and CP holder, all I can say is Chris Mainz sure knows how to slap the lipstick on this stinky pig. This last few days on southwest.com has been nothing short of an absoute cluster-F.
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I spent two hours last night trying to book a flight and 45 min waiting on the phone and finally just hung up. Southwest lost a fan and almost lost a customer. Now that I have that off my chest I can say Southwest does a lot of great things and I can't expect them to be perfect. I hope you'll make it up to me by making my next flight as comfortable as possible.
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Terribly, terribly frustrating not to be able to book award flights online, and then to be insulted by agent (just following the company protocol) who suggested that I didn't know how to enter my information online, i.e., do you know that user names are case sensitive after waiting an hour or more for someone to answer the phone. This after receiving a message that the wait for an agent would be 18 to 28 minutes. Strongly, strongly suggest that you put a notice up on your website, as you do for bad weather, that they system just isn't working, as well as on the recorded message when people are holding forever. I understand glitches with a new system, but you should communicate with your customers about it. I'm so frustrated that I spent the time to find this blog so that I could let someone know that there is something that you can and should do to help out your loyal customers--who may not be your customers any longer. Also--feel very sorry for agents who are on the frontline dealing with this frustration. Please bring back legendary SW customer service--it's flown away!!
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Hello, I called and waited on hold for two hours yesterday to cancel a flight I used an award on. Customer service said that they couldn't cancel it then but it would be in several hours. I log on and still have the flight and stilll can't cancel it online. The flight is tomorrow AM am I ever going to get that award credit back? I really can't wait on the phone another two hours today.
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Have not been able to access my account all week and still can't. Now I am waiting on hold for a customer service agent (20 minutes and counting). Time to start using another airline!!!!
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Yea...thanks....what a disaster! I still have never found out what everyone is crazy about with this airline. I have delt with the same surly gate agents, and from my experience...you guys are no more reliable than anyone else. I just don't see it. Next time, I'll fly someone else.
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You're so out of touch with the reality out here in the world with your customers. This system has been down since some time on the 28th. Now, in its 4th day, I still have been unable to complete a successful transaction online. Neither have I been able to reach anyone on the telephone - including in your HQ PR office. Very, VERY disappointed frequent flier.
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Your system is still not working properly. I've been trying to book a companion pass for two days now and still can't book the ticket. Sometimes it let's me get through payment information and then I get a "oops message" and it won't accept the payment. Tried to call and your phone lines are busy (was on hold for over 40 minutes yesterday). It's ridiculous that you have no information on your home page regarding this debacle.
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I am so sad that you all are showing the signs of becoming "one of them" and are losing your connection to the customer experience and plan to operate! The one thing everyone loved about Soutwest is the fact that you had that "small company" feel and treated us like we counted! Being on hold for 30 minutes after finding out that a flight segment i was tryrig to book online was not available with Rapid Awards is NOTHING like I have experienced with your company, PLEASE react and realise that we have enough big companies that don't care about customer service out there and we don't want to add you to the list!
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I am so underwhelmed. I have always loved Southwest but it seems like you folks are on a path to self destruction. I don't like the revamp of the site, it's poor. The excellent RR program now resembles something from the legacy airlines. Couldn't log on for a few days. We are going on a family vacation in June. Logged onto to check the reservations; oops, they aren't there. Mine are and my son with my names are there but my other son and wife's reservations have disappeared, where did they go? So I tried to call; oops "17-26 minutes" for the next operator. Then I called again and this time pressed the option that allegedly was going to give me "expedited service for RR members". Oops, the wait was even longer for the RR members, 18-27 minutes. Remember when you were put on hold but got to listen to the goofy, funny folksy recordings? no longer, just the usual "your call may be recorded". And most of all, the fares resemble those other airlines I swore I would never fly and that I am now going to check out again; for example, I looked 30 days in advance for a short midweek flight from San Diego to Las Vegas and the ONE WAY fare for a 42 minute flight was $173. That's a $346 round trip flight with more than 21 day advance notice. Let's also talk about the RR program, it is a model of non simplicity if I ever saw it. I have both personal and corporate Southwest Visa credit cards and from what I can tell, they have just become useless. Sure, I will grant you, the program was probably too good before, but that sure has been fixed... Really, I can't tell you how many folks I have turned onto SWA over the years. And they are asking me what I think of the changes. I am trying to keep an open mind but my gut instinct tells me there has been some sort of regime change in the higher echelons of SWA and it's becoming obvious. We shall see where it all goes...as for me, I just became a free agent and it's sad.
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It would of been nice to get some type of update regarding our RR access as we've been down for three days. Thank goodness I wasn't making any travel plans etc. I work in an Information Technology department and we always notify our customers via email of updates anytime there's an outage like this. I feel that Southwest doesn't care anymore and maybe I'll have to take my travel business elsewhere. As a leisure traveller, I especially don't like the new rapid rewards program. I wish you guys success. Happy Landings
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The website is not fixed and is really trying the loyalty of your most loyal customers. Southwest had it all - frequent customers using their website to manage all travel. Now, when I log on to manage my travel, my comanion flights are missing, my family's flights are missing and I cannot trust the information to plan my trips (which were frequent). Also, after all this work, you did not take the opportunity to include a simple improvement - the showing of passenger names on the main screen (a frequent comment made by SWA RR users). I have to click into each reservation to view it still. This upgrade was indeed dissapointing - SWA really needs to re-evaluate its staff. Firing your CTO/CIO would be a good start.
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Come on, Southwest! Listen to your loyal customer base and bring back the old RR program! The new system has really peeved *everyone* I've spoken to, including myself.
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Why did you change your RR program? I've flown SWA for 23 years and this change is completely opposite of what I like about SWA - friendly, simple, convenient. The new program is complex, unfriendly and inconvenient. You now have a RR program that takes 6-7 videos and lots of printed instructions to explain. The old RR program was perfect and could be explained in one sentence: 8 round trips = free flight and 16 round trips = A list.. Simple enought to keep track of it in your head. This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen SWA do. it seems like something AA or UAL would come up with and force on their customers. I really hate the new program. Maybe you let customers opt out for the old program.
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WHAT is wrong with your online reservation system. I have been trying to book a flight BUT can't get anywhere.
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Bugs are not fixed. I still cannot login to my RR account. I've tried everyday since March 1st with no success. I even used 10 different computers. Below is the text copyh of the error. I'm about to give up on Southwest. Please redeem your self. Please fix!!!!!! breadcrumbs We are currently unable to complete your request due to an undefined error. If this is the first time you have seen this message, please go back and try again. If you continue to have difficulties, please contact a Southwest Airlines Customer Representative for assistance at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). Reference code: SW900000-GS4C-T2FqoMjqSb2_qEWYc5Ec-A Occurred on: 03/05/2011 01:21:57
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Chill out America! Southwest is still one of the top 4 in the country, and is absorbing one of them resulting in 1 0f 3. I retired from the airline industry in 2003 after 35 years, and had been with 5 major domestic/international airlines. Life gets a little complicated when you see the recent growth Southwest has had and the number of new cities it now flies to. In my career, I have never seen as many dedicated employees as Southwest has. Perfect, by no means, but always trying to be the best there is. Kudos to all of you and keep up the good work.
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Been trying 4 days to get on my RR account...tel calls take for ever and no help... the new program is terrible... how about an e mail to RR customers to explain ...SWA was always excellent and now are just like the other airlines.
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Like other comments, I believe this was the worst implementation of changes to a web site I've seen. Over the years, your changes have been incremental and easy to follow. In fact, your web site was the best (and I too was an IT manager)! Now you have gone and blown it. In all likelihood, this will be our last year of flying SW.