I agree if you fly enough you will get burned. The point I am trying to make is that before when you got "burned" by Southwest it was typically something truly out of their control. They would go out of their way to try and make things right and they had a culture and policies to support that there were different from anyone else in my experience, that is no longer the case. Before their culture and attitude were different and it reflected on how they treated folks, now they are the same as everyone else in that "policy" rules and it is just a question of who "executes" the same approach the best, before their approach was noticeably more customer-focused than their competitors. I haven't done a sweeping survey on pricing but after reading your comment I went back to check to see if my memory was correct on pricing I found for a recent trip. As of a few minutes ago for a round trip to Nashville from Spokane leaving may 16 and returning June 5 the Southwest fare was $178+$286=$464; Delta was $323; or about 25% less. To be clear I do not think any of the airlines are good. Delta has overall excellent service, but their attendants can be "Mask Nazis" and many of their new planes are very tight. I won't fly them without an aisle for this reason. My post is commenting on how Southwest used to be different and better due to their obsession on taking care of their customers and that this in no longer the case. They are now the same as the others and their customer service has suffered becasue of it.
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Southwest used to take care of their passengers and did what it took to do so, now they are no different and in some ways worse. When Southwest started it was different: 1) They solved customer problems. A big issue back then was delays, they came up with a model that made them much better in this way than others. 2) They were low price and offered notable better value. I think Delta has the title now but if not, Southwest no longer is the clear price leader. 3) They were obsessed with taking care of their customers, even if that impacted the bottom line for that incident. I don't know if their hiring is different, their policies, or both, but today their standard response is "this is policy and no one can do anything about it". To be fair to some of their old-school employees, there are still a couple who will bend the rules to take care of you, but as a rule, it is an "it is your problem" attitude today. 4) The employees had fun and were fun. When was the last time you were on a Southwest flight when an attendant was fun or goofy, which was the norm in the past. Southwest was founded and grew on providing a fun, value-based travel experience with great customer service across the board, I see none of that today and I wonder why folks keep defending them. The old Southwest didn't make excuses, they did whatever it took to take care of their customers. The new Southwest is just living off the legacy. Southwest needs to figure out how to deal with today's environment(just like they solved the delay issue with their early business model). There is no excuse for constantly changing routes and messing up folks plans and then not doing something to make up for it. Covid 19 has been around over (18) months, they have had plenty of time to figure out how to deal with it. The lack of timely customer service is a joke. Is it now a requirement of Southwest to get anything approaching decent customer service that you be on all the various social media and search for which one has the shortest time to reach someone. How about putting all these folks on phones(which everyone and demographic knows how to use) so that everyone waits the same amount and the average wait is reduced for everyone-not just those who can/will search all the media. Southwest was founded on solving problems for their customers, now their focus is bottom line and excuses. They flourished when they put customers first, but now that they are like everyone else I expect they will decline or go away entirely. I coach a team that travels and until now flying with Southwest was my preference. Based on how I have been treated my team and I will no longer be doing this, and my frustration with the airline industry as a whole is such I am looking into buses and RVs to travel in to avoid the need to fly at all. If anyone thinks things are going to return to normal I say they won't and shouldn't. The way Southwest is treating folks they should expect them to find alternatives to them if they choose to fly, if they don't find alternatives to flying entirely(like I wish to do)
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