I am not entirely suprised by this entire episode. Until recently, I was a loyal Sourthwest customer. I have been travelling between Chicago Midway and Washington Dulles on Southwest every week for the past 8 months. However, around November I began to notice a serious decline in customer service and on time departures. Because I fly in and out of Chicago I am used to weather related delays but with increasingly frequency many delays were due to mechanical problems or with no reason given at all. I have also, noticed that the once "friendly" Southwest employees have become beligerent and rude, especially at Chicago Midway. On top of it all the baggage service at Chicago Midway has become unbearable, with a wait time for my bag averaging 35-40 minutes from the time we disembarked at the gate. After trying to contact Southwest's Midway based Customer Service Manager with no luck, to voice my concerns (I am still waiting for you to return my call!) I decided to make a change back to American Airlines out of Chicago O'Hare. My reasoning is simple, if I am going to be treated poorly by Southwest staff and be late half of the time, I would prefer to travel on an airline that flys in and out of airports closer to my home and office. The cost differential has been minimal with an average difference of $20. So for an extra $20 dollars I am treated better, arrive in a more timely manner, and am closer to my home and office. Its clear Southwest is cutting corners and it has finally caught up with them. Goodbye Southwest, you have lost me as a customer forever!
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