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Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

JakeStein
New Arrival

Hi,

 

I am new to this Community.  Most people, I assume, join because, like me, they are frustrated with SWA.  I am frustrated with SWA.  I have had many non-frustrating experiences with SWA and many very good experience for which I am grateful and consider myself lucky. I also understand and appreciate the complications due to the unprecedented situation the airline industry is having due the the COVID-19 pandemic; however, I am having trouble understanding a SWA's policy related to (re)scheduling a flight that SWA cancelled. It seems like a bit of a double standard (i.e., big double standard) for SWA to expect me to understand and accommodate their making flight schedule changes without my consent, yet not, in return, accommodate my reschedule request due to a SWA policy. To be clear, their policy, to the best of my knowledge, is not due to any legal or regulatory restrictions.

 

After much deliberating and research, I booked a flight on SWA from Baltimore to San Jose that had a layover in Nashville. The trip is scheduled for October. The layover in Nashville was very important and a primary factor in my deliberation landing on that flight through Nashville. Why? In order for me to convince my elderly parents, who live in Nashville, to go on this trip with my wife and me to San Jose, we promised to travel with them and assist them. My dad is getting frail and my mom feels like she needs help with my dad in the airport and on the trip. In addition to getting to spend time with my parents, we were going to get to spend time with my cousin (my dad's niece) and other family for the first time following the pandemic. I made a promise and everything worked out very well and we thought we were set with the flight.  

 

As you can predict, SWA sent me an email with a change notice regarding our flight, which was no longer transferring through Nashville. No flights from any airports in the Washington, DC area had connecting flights through Nashville. To add insult to the injury, my parent's flight from Nashville to San Jose was also changed from a nonstop flight to a flight with a connection and layover. This change was going to make it even harder for my parents and more important that I be there to help them. I was very frustrated, a little hurt, and got to work to figure out a solution.

 

I researched the flights and found a solution, but needed to talk with a customer service representative since I could not make the change on-line. After hours of waiting and several transfers my solution was rejected by Jacqueline and Mary due to a SWA policy that does not allow customers to change to a "point-to-point" flight even in the event of SWA being at fault. I understood that that change would be adding a second connection to our flight and understood that we would have to collect any checked bags in Nashville and check them again on the flight to San Jose.

 

Honestly, Mary was great throughout the call until the end. In a moment of vulnerability I, uncharacteristically with a complete stranger, began to sob when expressing to her my disappointment in the airline and my frustration and fear. She got very condescending stating that there were many factors behind the scenes that I would not be able to understand and those factors require there to be such a policy. She also told me that if SWA did not enforce their policy, that their customers would bankrupt them and that SWA cannot accommodate people who are "asking for the world". I'm not sure my request constitutes "asking for the world" and for her to suggest that it does constitute such an ask is disrespectful at best. I asked for her supervisor.

 

Before talking with Mary, Jacqueline told me a very upsetting statistic while we were discussing my options. She told me that, even if I could book the new flight today, that it would likely be changed again by the October flight. This fact does not engender a lot of confidence in the leadership and policies at SWA. In fact, knowledge of this insider information made me feel totally powerless and added substantially to my anxiety. She basically told me that SWA can do whatever they want without consideration of the consequences to their customers.

 

SWA has failed my family miserably on this flight. They owe us nothing, of course, other than the bare minimum for them to fulfill their contractual obligations to us.  However, I have to say that I am surprised by how this airline has handled the current situation and the double standard the force their customers to endure.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

Kindest regards,

 

Jake Stein

Rockville, MD

9 REPLIES 9

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

dfwskier
Top Contributor

I'm sorry that you are having to go thru this, Jake.

 

Two points here

 

1) Just because there are no seats on flights that do what you want now does not mean there won't be some an hour from now or tomorrow ... People change / cancel flights all the time. When they do, seats open up. So my suggestion is to keep checking the schedule. If something becomes available, grab it.

 

2) Reservations <customer service> people  have very little leeway in application of policy.

Customer relations people o have more leeway. I' suggest that you contact that group. They are open Monday thru Fri day - normal business hours. I would advise use of one of the non phone options.

 

https://community.southwest.com/t5/Knowledge-Base/Contact-Customer-Relations/ta-p/108355

 

As far as what Jacqueline  indelicately told you, she is likely right. Southwest is making mass changes to it's fall schedule. It started with the first week of September. A few days later it was the second week of September. A few days later ... When it gets to the October schedules, the same thing will happen. Jacqueline could have been a bit more diplomatic, but she was probably right.  

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

So if I break this down and get to the pure facts of the situation, you're unhappy because your layover changed? I understand that was part of the plan and I have done similar trips myself, but if it truly is a mandatory thing to have the layover the trip should be booked as two separate reservations. When you book a flight from point A to B all airlines will do everything possible to make that happen and in this case Southwest was going to do that. Where you stop in the middle between A and B might change and based on what you purchased should not affect the end result of getting from A to B.

 

With Southwest's no change fee policy you could have still modified your flights to fit your needs even if the free flight change wasn't acceptable. There may have been a fare difference, but it would allow you to do exactly what you want.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

JakeStein
New Arrival

Yes, TMS, I am unhappy that the city of my layover has changed. It did not occur to me that the layover city I picked was not a part of the service I was purchasing. I have never booked a flight in which the layover city was important, so I never paid attention prior to this trip. Had I known that caveat at the time of purchase, I would have booked in a different way. 

 

I will find a way to make it happen so that I can keep my promise. I'm just telling my story and expressing my frustration in a forum that could save others the same hassle I have encountered.

 

Regards,

 

Jake

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Jake, when you buy a ticket you are buying from point A to Point B.

 

To the airline it is immaterial what happens between A & B because the airline agree to take you from A o B.That's the agreement.

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

PettyIntrigues
New Arrival

I know what you’re saying here, but SWA recently changed a few upcoming autumn flights of mine due to…who knows. The times were anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours’ difference, usually at the expense of my vacation time, but OK, whatever.

 

But then I noticed, weeks after the changes, that in some cases, the flights went from non-stop to having a connector, or a longer layover, or from having one connection to two (for instance, they now had me going DAL-DEN-MDW-PHL instead of DAL-MDW-PHL…lol, get out!). None of that was expressed in the initial changes email.

 

When there are options to get from A to B, that matters—layovers matter, time in the air matters, number of connections matter.

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

bec102896
Top Contributor

So based on the information You provided I'm guessing you were flying on a Saturday in October. If that is the case You could do the flight at 2:25pm where it stops in Nashville with no plane change and your parents can board and you would all connect in Dallas so in your case it would be a 2 stop 1 plane change flight but at least you would be on the same flight from Nashville together and the Dallas to San Jose together. 

 

Sure in this case you can't help in Nashville but you could save a seat for your family 

 

-Blake

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

jksobonya
Rising Star

FWIW, I have a flight booked for the first weekend of October and Southwest has already changed it three times (1 change outbound and 2 changes returning) but the changes are minimal, and I really have no other options other than the flights that I'm on, so I'm leaving it as-is. 

 

I agree with others - the connecting flight doesn't matter to Southwest, what matters to them is that you get to your final destination. I have had flight changes in the past where my layover completely changed as well. If you need to get to that connecting destination, do what others have said and book each leg/portion of your trip separately - on a separate reservation. That way, you are guaranteed to go there. 

 

--Jessica

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

keasbey
Active Member

. Very sorry to hear about all of these issues 

 

You should see it when the terminal goes down in Denver. Millions of dollars worth of people's time and schedule gone. Happens all the time,  too 🤣

 

If only they could cover the problems which they create. But its pretty impossible to give people back time or money. Time because its actually impossible; money because the company's administration has determined that phone employees can't give away their money 

Re: Changes in Flight Schedule and Lack of Reasonable Accommodations due to Policy

MNhappy
Active Member

The way to do this from the time of booking would be to book a multi city reservation using the advanced link. Book from home city to Nashville and Nashville to destination city.