I understand that you are a SWA employee have to speak the company line on things. However, I know some SWA employees who have said that the reason for Southwest not accepting email or toll free calls is because they know that it would increase the number of complaints and they would have to hire more employees to handle the complaints.
SWA knows that very few people will go to the trouble to sit down and compose a letter and send it by snail mail. I have gone to the trouble of sending a letter and then waiting for a reply. It was over a month from the time I sent the letter until I received a response from SWA. Keeping a customer waiting more than a month for a response is not in keeping with the SWA Mission statement:
"The mission of SWA is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit."
Also, for those who commented that I should get a cell phone with a LD plan: I have a cell phone and I can call nationwide - I joined the 21st Century years ago. However, for those of you who think that cell phones are free - Verizon insists that I pay the bill each month. The point is that I should not have to use the minutes that I pay for to contact SWA - if they truly care about what customers think then they would provide a TOLL FREE number for Customer Service and accept email.
Until SWA accepts email and opens up a TOLL FREE number for Customer Complaints - then all of their words are just lip service.
For the record, I like Southwest Airlines and I think that their flight attendants are among the best and the most friendly of any in the industry. I just wish that the SWA Corporate Office was as open and customer friendly as their gate agents and flight attendants.
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Perhaps the reason that SWA has not heard as much NEGATIVE comments from customers in the past (i.e., pre-blog) is because that SWA makes it as difficult as possible for customers to communicate. SWA still does not accept EMAIL from customers. We are well into the 21st Century and SWA does not accept EMAIL and does not have a TOLL-FREE number for customer complaints. You have TOLL-FREE for reservations but if a customer wants to complain they have to call on their own dime [well a lot more than a dime now].
I saw something a while back that SWA was going to accept emails from customers, but I still cannot find anywhere on your site to send SWA an email.
So join the 21st Century and give your customers an easy way to voice their concerns. The majority of your customers probably do not even know about this blog and many will not take the time to write a letter and snail mail it [SWA preference for communication].
You act as if making sure that you do not dip below the 120 days that it solves the scheduling problems. That is a fallacy. SWA needs to be working toward the 330 day schedule window that is common in the industry instead of justifying the backward system that you now employ.
Contrary to what SWA may believe -- many customers need to be able to plan travel for periods further than 120 to 180 days in advance. As an airline, you should be planning further in advance than 4 to 6 months.
Perhaps if the Schedule Planning Lead Planner spent more time doing his job and less time blogging then SWA could schedule out 330 days as others in the industry are able to do. SWA needs to hire some people to handle customer relations and the schedule planners need to stick to their job.
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Why is it that SWA can find enough planes to add flights to SFO but after nearly a year and a half has not restored the direct flights between Birmingham and New Orleans? SWA continues to give lip service to saying they care about customers and are committed to helping New Orleans, but the actions prove otherwise.
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