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Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Active Member

Southwest used to be great, but the MAX-8 situation last year and now the COVID-19 situation this year has shown they are not equipped to handle situations of this magnitude and that they take their loyal customers for granted.   

 

Things that have happened to me in the last 12 months (most before COVID-19) I would never have expected from SWA include the following:

 

  • Itinerary changes made with NO notification from Southwest.  Only finding about them when logged into my RR account and noticing a change.
  • Absolutely RIDICULOUS changes to itineraries being made such as new itineraries requiring two connections, heading west when I am going east, and 9+ hours of travel time, when other more simple and logical options are available to be re-booked on.   And the best of all - itinerary changes where I would instead have to fly to BWI in Baltimore and my connecting flight goes out of Reagan National!!!
  • Ridiculously long wait times when dealing with them on the phone.  One of the former great things about Southwest was calling and talking to a person right away.
  • Crabby people on the other end of the phone when you call.
  • Customer Service's attitude that the MAX-8 situation was just as much the customer's problem (if not more) as Southwest's.  I dread the call-back I am waiting on about a recent COVID-19 related re-booking.  
  • Boiler-plate language in response e-mails when you e-mail a customer service complaint, with the response e-mails obviously being cut & paste because the font style and size is not consistent within the e-mail (i.e., looks like the work of a kindergarten student).

It's been a slow decline since the AirTran acquisition, and it has reached it a new low with the COVID 19 situation.   It is hard not to think they grew too fast and have lost sight of putting priority on the many things that the road warriors of the world like myself used to love about flying them.

 

I absolutely used to love flying this airline and everything about them.  I was a shareholder and a walking advertisement for them.   Like many things, it has all changed now.

 

Good luck everyone!  Stay healthy!

 

18 REPLIES 18
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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Top Contributor

With schedule changes if you get one you don't like you have the ability to make a free change to a flight that works better for you. Other airlines only let you change for free if it was a major change. 

 

With the max 8 when southwest made schedule changes they let everyone change there flights for free even if your flight wasn't affected way above what the other airlines have done with the max 8 issues. 

 

With the current COVID 19 situation southwest has allowed customers with flight booked in April the chance to change to a different flight with no difference in fare up to 60 days later which again is very generous other airlines let you change without a fee but fare difference is collected. 

 

If you have any upcoming reservations that had changes you didn't like your welcome to reach out to southwest on Facebook or Twitter and they should be able to assist you

 

-Blake

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Top Contributor

@

 

 

If you have any upcoming reservations that had changes you didn't like your welcome to reach out to southwest on Facebook or Twitter and they should be able to assist you

 

-Blake


Actually, if you just want to change a flight upon which you were rebooked, you should be able to do that online.

 

If your flight was cancelled and you were rebooked (ie different flight number than your original flight had), then you also have the option of getting a refund.

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Active Member

Thanks Blake.  I was/am up to speed on all the relatively easy and free ways to change the impacted itineraries. 

 

However, a non-stop itinerary from KC to Boston should not have been changed automatically by Southwest to one that went from KC to San Antonio, making a plane change, flying to Nashville, making another plane and then getting into Boston with overall travel time of around 10 years, when there were numerous options available such as flying from KC to St. Louis and making a connection there instead to Boston with overall travel time under five hours.   

 

It is situations like these I have had to deal with numerous times over the last year and that are hard to comprehend.  Terrible service by Southwest regardless of COVID-19.    A 4-year old on a lap top could have made a better choice with the itinerary change. 

 

I literally just got off the phone with a Southwest agent who changed a crazy automatically-generated new itinerary such as this one for me to a more reasonable one, and she herself was at a loss as to how that initial change could happen.  Not good.   

 

In fairness, the lady I just spoke to on the phone was very nice.

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Top Contributor

@AustinRiley wrote:

Thanks Blake.  I was/am up to speed on all the relatively easy and free ways to change the impacted itineraries. 

 

However, a non-stop itinerary from KC to Boston should not have been changed automatically by Southwest to one that went from KC to San Antonio, making a plane change, flying to Nashville, making another plane and then getting into Boston with overall travel time of around 10 years, when there were numerous options available such as flying from KC to St. Louis and making a connection there instead to Boston with overall travel time under five hours.   

 

 You need t remember that Southwest is likely dealing with thousands or tens of thousands of passengers whose flights were cancelled. So this is all done via computer, with the only human involvement being the programmer that programmed the system.

 

The rule is that the airline tries to put passengers on the next flights that have seats available. In some cases, like yours, that produces routings that make little sense.

 

As said earlier in the thread, you simply change to a routing that makes more sense. 

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Active Member

Sorry, I don’t need to remember anything you suggest.  If I can go on-line & book a more logical itinerary instead of one that no one in their right mind would ever book, but an automated program would book, then the programmer you referenced should be fired!  

 

How in the world can you defend that situation?  


And I wish I could just ”simply” change things as you suggest, but oftentimes when I attempt to change itineraries on-line, I get an error message saying that I need to call to change the itinerary.  And that is no longer a two-minute process over the phone as it used to be.

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Top Contributor

A computer algorithm didn't find the most efficient route??? Oh no, that could never ever happen unless the company was complete trash. Fire everyone!! 

 

Others are just trying to help you, but I guess you know it all and don't want their advice. All airlines are struggling right now and it's illogical to compare anything happening now to what it was even just two months ago. 

 

Good to hear you got a routing that was acceptable. 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Top Contributor

@AustinRiley wrote:

Sorry, I don’t need to remember anything you suggest.  If I can go on-line & book a more logical itinerary instead of one that no one in their right mind would ever book, but an automated program would book, then the programmer you referenced should be fired!  

 

How in the world can you defend that situation?  


 It's Easy to defend that situation

 

1) If the system works for 99+%  of passengers, it's doing a fine job

 

2) The system gives you recourse when the system does something irrational.

 

You can be irrational if you choose to be. That is your right. 


 

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Active Member

Disappointed to read your comments guys.   We obviously do not walk in similar circles, but many of the road warriors I know and the in-house Travel Agents in my large company have the same views about Southwest as I do - used to be a great airline, has been going downhill for years, botched the MAX-8 situation from a customer relations standpoint and takes customer loyalty for granted.   Trust me, as a former investor in the company, former huge fan and still a frequent flyer, I hate seeing it.

 

My comments do not come from an ignorant place - I'm a perennial A-List Preferred member and have flown SWA an average of probably 60-75 times/year since 2001,   And yeah, I am guessing this might be paltry compared to some people posting on this site.  This said, I do not claim to be a "know it all" about all the minutia about running an airline and its computer algorithms.   

 

I do not disagree that one could be expected to be tolerant of inconveniences that I have exemplified in previous posts.  But perhaps if they were isolated or even rare.  However, this is a pattern that has happened multiple times, even well before Covid-19.   How you guys are seeing my viewpoint as irrational is mind-boggling.

 

Help me understand why you think I should be okay with an itinerary in which to get from Kansas City to Boston I have to fly to Reagan National and then find my way to Baltimore Airport to catch a connecting flight to Boston - even if an isolated instance.    And this happened twice to me!!!   And could not be fixed on-line in either case.

 

And again, there are many more instances like this (e.g. flying through Texas & Tennessee to get to Boston instead of putting me on a one-stop connection through St. Louis or Chicago).   It has been a litany of stuff like this in the last year, so I am not buying that the algorithm works 99% of the time.   I am have probably been on the phone with Southwest more in the last year unwinding stuff than I have been on the phone with them in the previous 20 years combined.  And quite honestly, Southwest should go the extra mile to try to make sure these instances do not happen to their A-List Preferred members.

 

And beyond, ridiculously botched itineraries, there are too many other instances happening of poor customer service over recent years.   When you stack-rank them, Southwest is probably still the best airline in the U.S., but unfortunately in a lot of respects they have fallen in line with the rest and have lost what made them stand head & shoulders above the rest.

 

Keeping fighting the fight guys!  I hope Southwest gets back to what it once was!

 

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Re: Sad to see how badly Southwest has declined!

Active Member

Sorry, but I'm not following you at all. 

 

They pulled the Max from service when directed, and reorganized their itinerary.   BOEING caused this problem, not SWA.

 

They are trying to maintain an essential service in the face of 95% fewer passengers. COVID caused this problem, not SWA.

 

I'm not sure why you're placing blame on them, especially in light of challenges that are completely unprecedented in the history of the industry, if not modern civilization. 

 

On the contrary, I find their flexibility in shuffling travel times and travel funds, and STILL allowing me to get the lowest possible fare on a moment's notice to be invaluable and totally unparalleled.