Used to love Southwest, thought they were a "different" kind of airline that treated its customers well. Don't know what happened, but they've been steadily declining in the last 3 years. I fly often, both for work and personal, but have flown Southwest less and less. Now, after a recent experience at SFO, I will never fly with them again. It was the last straw.
My husband and I were flying to Chicago with our 2 children, age 4 and 16 months. Obviously, I had not purchased a ticket for my daughter who is a lap child. Imagine my surprise when I went to check in our bags and they said I would need to purchase a ticket for her because she was "extremely long". Really? Has this woman ever been around children? My 16 month old is 20 lbs (8% in her age group) and 30 inches long (40% in her age group) and still wears 6-12 month old clothing. I didn't think to bring her birth certficate because she is a baby and looks like it! She doesn't talk and barely started walking.
We asked if our pediatrician could verify her birthdate by phone or if my parents could fax in a birth certificate. No, she refused any work around solution. She told us our only option was to pay $440 for a ONE WAY ticket to Chicago if we wanted our daughter to board with us because it's a safety issue that all 2 years olds need their own seats.
Here's where it gets good. The flight was SOLD OUT!! So I had to pay $440 for a seat that didn't exist so that my 1 year old could sit in my lap. If safety is such a big concern for them as they claim, then why did they allow her to board without a seat? No one was safer because we bought this ticket. Only difference is Southwest is $440 richer and my vacation budget was $440 less.
I immediately contacted Customer Service when we returned home from our trip for a refund. Still no resolution. I *just* got an address or fax number I can send the birth certificate and receipt in to and then they will still need to "process" before I get my refund. So not only did I lose $440 out of my vacation budget, but I will now also have to pay interest on it.
What a terrible "resolution" for a huge inconvenience on our part. Not even an offer of a free drink ticket for our delay or time/money wasted. Ridiculous. I think this puts Southwest at the level of US Air as far as customer service goes. It's sad really, they used to be a great airline.
REALLY TICKED OFF CUSTOMER.
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