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Customer Service at the airport

Explorer C

I am a frequent flier with Southwest. I have enjoyed the experiences I have had traveling with them until a flight that I had this past weekend.


I was originally supposed to leave from OAK at 4:10 pm on Monday July 5 for a layover in Denver. From Denver, I was supposed to travel to my destination at BWI. On the way to the airport, I randomly decided to go to SW’s website to check the status of my flight, only to find that I had been rebooked for the next morning at 5:45 am. Southwest did not send me ANY notification of this. It wasn’t until I called Customer Support complaining that the attendant sent a notification, and the flight was canceled.


The next morning, the 5:45 am flight out of OAK was delayed for 1 hour 15 minutes - we were on the tarmac the entire time for an undisclosed reason. The flight crew promised that we would reach LAS, which was where my connecting flight to BWI was, and that if we were not able to make it in time, they would let us know on the plane. They also said that out connecting flights had been notified, and that the planes would wait for us. We were originally supposed to leave OAK at 5:45 am, but ended up leaving shortly after 7am. My connecting flight was at 8:40 am in LAS.


When I arrived at the check-in for flight #5405 to BWI (it was supposed to leave at 8:40am and was still on the ground when I arrived), I approached the attendant and tried to tell him about my delayed flight and what the crew had said. The attendant, who was sitting at the desk, ignored me. I tried to get his attention, but he kept ignoring me. I went to another attendant to see if he could help me, but he was busy helping someone else. I tried going back to the original attendant who had ignored me, and after I tried getting his attention a couple of time, he finally looked at me and said, “Huh?” I told him about what the crew had said, and he said, “I don’t know why they would tell you that.” He told me that flight #5405 was closed, but they clearly appeared to be waiting for another customer to come. At that point, I asked the attendant what I should do. He said, “I don’t know,” and strugged me off.


I was placed on the 3:05 pm flight out to BWI – this was a new delay of over 5 hours! On the intercom, I overheard an attendant telling customers on a different flight that had been delayed that they could receive a voucher if they approached the podium. I went up to them to inquire about my situation, and they said that in my case, I would have to call Customer Support, because they only gave out vouchers in response to someone calling Customer Support. While sitting at the airport, I called Customer Support. The attendant said that such matters were normally handled in the airport by the attendants. I am still trying to figure out why the attendant at the podium told me something different.


When my 5+ hour wait until the next flight was nearly over, I went to the podium near my gate – gate C22, where there were 2 new flight attendants. They were actually in the process of giving away $600 vouchers to each person in a group whose bags had been placed onto different flights. When it was my turn to approach the podium, I explained my situation to the attendant, and she seemed shocked that I had not been offered a voucher originally. She asked the reason for the delays. I wasn’t told the nature of the cancellation for Denver, but the delay on the tarmac for the flight from OAK to LAS was described as “mechanical.” The attendant looked at me and said she had to call someone just to make sure – she said that if it was weather related, I would not be able to get a voucher. I told her that the flight to LAS was definitely not weather related, but she called anyway. After her phone call, she said that she would give me $200 in vouchers. I asked about the $600/person that the other family/group had received, and she said that they received $600 in vouchers per person because their issue had to do with their bags being moved off of the plane they were on.


I missed an entire day of work due to the original flight to Denver being cancelled. I left OAK at 5:45am and did not arrive at BWI until nearly 11:30pm. What happened at LAS airport by Southwest employees was saddening. The rudeness, the mixed messages, and what appeared to be discriminatory treatment by SW employees really made me lose faith in an airline that I once considered premier. I really do hope that once the rush of fliers is over, they can return to their normal, classier operations, but I can’t say that this formally frequent flier and loyal customer will still be there when/if they do.



Re: Customer Service at the airport

Aviator A

Sorry to hear your flight was cancelled and when you were rebooked you ended up with a delay on the tarmac those are no fun but they do happen for many reasons from a ground stop, traffic on the runway, or maintenance just to name a few. 


In my years of traveling its rare that I have seen a $200 voucher offered by the gate agents unless it was an oversold flight so I'd say that's a nice start. Sure you may not be happy with the $200 however if you fell like you should get more your welcome to Contact Customer Relations as they are the department who can look in to your experience and offer another voucher if they feel one is warranted.