Greetings, I'm going to preface the following post by stating that I am not here to start an argument, rather my aim is to draw some awareness to what I consider to be a poor business practice. This practice in particular is cancelling flights with low booking numbers, forcing passengers to frantically rebook a new flight and often times forcing passengers into a boarding position that is less optimal than what they originally had. And with that, I believe there is room for SWA to fix this practice and make the airline better in terms of customer relations. Ok here it is... I flew a fair amount in 2018 and received A-List status for 2019...I enjoyed this benefit of frequent flying so I tried to earn it again for 2020. I racked up 23 or 24 flights in 2019 so I missed the 25 flight A-List threshold for 2020. Darn! Not really a problem though because the rules are clearly outlined. Needless to say, I fly frequently and I always fly Southwest. Therefore, my loyalty to the airline is clear. In my travels, as with anyone’s, there have been some hiccups due to weather, mechanical issues, etc. Not really an issue because these types of hiccups I consider to be unforeseeable events. I've had to fly twice this January 2020 (with SWA, of course) and in both of these trips, I've had portions of the itinerary cancelled less than two hours before departure. As best as I can tell, the reason for these cancellations is due to low bookings on the flights I scheduled. How can I determine this? Well, let's imagine that I'm driving or riding in a taxi to the airport to arrive 1-2 hours before scheduled departure and I see clear skies and the weather is normal. Then suddenly, I receive a notification saying my flight has been canceled. Not that it has been canceled and rebooked, just that it's been canceled and well, good luck with everything! Ok, so I'm in my taxi and I think to myself, "Crap, I guess I should call or chat SWA to see if I can get rebooked on another flight". So I give them a call and the representative says, "Sure, we can rebook you on a 10:35AM flight and we're sorry your 8:20AM flight was cancelled." "Ok" I say, not exactly thrilled with waking up early to hang at the airport for 3 hours, "that would be appreciated." Out of curiosity I ask, "By the way, do you know why the flight was cancelled?" "Low ceilings and fog", the SWA agent replies. I inquire further and ask, "Really? The flight was cancelled because of fog in San Francisco?" No response. I call BS, the agent refers me to customer service, the conversation ends and I continue en route to the airport. I soon arrive to the airport and I think, after getting through security, I should look at the departures monitor to see how many flights were cancelled due to this foggy weather in San Francisco. After all, fog is so rare in San Francisco, it only occurs 365 days out of the year, every year. Surely there must be a number of flights cancelled due to this weather phenomenon. Ahh, there it is! Upon clearing the security checkpoint, I quickly see the bright towering beacon that indiscriminately imparts departures knowledge upon any traveler willing to stand in front of it and look confused. Let's see here, yup ok there's my canceled flight, SFO - LAX, 8:20AM. Ok, is anything else canceled? Nope. SFO - Vegas, 8:45AM, on time / SFO - LAX, 7:20AM, departed on time, SFO to Phoenix, 8:25AM, on time....hmm that's strange I think to myself, the only flight that's been cancelled is the 8:20AM to LAX. So, because of the great San Francisco fog oddity of January 27, 2020, one flight was cancelled and all the others, including every SWA flight, even those which left within five minutes of my originally scheduled 8:20AM departure, were all on time. Ding, ding, ding! One flight out of approximately 100 flights from various airlines was cancelled. So at the very least, from this short story, you can see that the flight was not cancelled due to weather. It was cancelled more likely due to a low number of bookings on the 8:20AM flight. Now I understand SWA has a business to run and it might not make sense to take a crew and 20 passengers on a 737 down to LA. In fact it makes no sense at all financially. But my question is, how long did Southwest know that there were only 20 people on this flight. Obviously they knew more than 1 hour and 45 minutes before the departure which is when I received my cancelled flight notification. And with that, if you folks know the flight is going to be cancelled because of low booking numbers, then can you at the least please give us a heads up the day before or the night before? So we can rebook a new flight a little ahead of time and not have to hang out at the airport for 3 hours writing messages like this one? And at the very most, when A1-15 is not filled ahead of time, which is blatantly clear while lining up to board, could you offer those seats to people who had an A boarding position from an earlier flight that was cancelled due to low booking numbers? In terms of helping to maintain loyalty amongst customers like myself who fly with you guys approximately 20-25 times a year, I think changing these things would be a good idea. Your consideration is appreciated.
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