I was making a day trip from Orange County to San Jose on Thursday when I was notified that my return flight was cancelled. I quickly managed to rebook out of Oakland and so had to spend over 2hrs driving there and pay extra Hertz fees for not returning the car to San Jose. Later, my 9pm flight into Orange County got cancelled and because there were no more flights into Orange county that night, I had to rebook for Friday but the only availability was from SFO at 9am. The attendant told me that they had no instructions on booking hotels for passengers left stranded overnight and could not help. She did print a boarding card and checked me in for the flight. I rented another car and drove to SFO and stayed overnight. On my way to the airport at 6am, I checked the flight status and found it cancelled too.......this time I had NOT been contacted. I called cutomer service but was on hold for 45mins and arrived at the airport before anyone answered, so I thought it better to go straight to ticketing. Oh and more fees on he rental car for dropping it back to a different airport again. I waited in line for over an hour at ticketing to be told that I then needed to join another line to rebook from a cancelled flight. That line ws about 30mins. There was no availability into Orange County until Saturday, so I booked to San Diego and figured I could rent another car there and drive back to Orange County, pick up my own car at the airport there and eventually drive home. We had yet another delay on the San Diego flight when a passenger heading there for cancer treatment, along with his wife and young children, had to leave the flight after it had first left the gate. The crew were rude to the family and caused a big scene. However, this families troubles put our delays and inconveniences into perspective. I hope they got more compassionate help off the plane than they were getting on it before deboarding. More paperwork and 30mins later, we were in the air. Rental Car : San Jose to Oakland = 102.99 Rental Car : Oakland to SFO = 103.70 Hotel in SFO = 178.60 Rental Car : San Diego to Orange County = 120.07 Being home with my wife and 4 kids after driving around for two days .......... priceless. Sorry isn't cutting it. You need to empathize with the customers an understand that there IS more involved here than moving quantities of customers from A to B and even C. You need to make up for the inconvenience. Something as simple as giving out snacks, water or airport vouchers for a drink would go a long way to put a positive spin on this debacle. An airline that looks after passengers. Perhaps there is some form of insurance you can take out to ensure that this doesn't cut in to your bottom line and that your customers don't have to be out of pocket due to a company HW/Systems problem. So that other customers stranded overnight know of the Southwest policy, I posted it below. A link to this on your main Web page or just general advice to passengers would help too, but we understand why it's not there. Eg, we're having problems, but are trying to get back on schedule......so you may want to pack extra Sox and underwear 🙂 Cancellations Within Airline Control If, for any reason, a passenger’s Southwest flight does not operate as scheduled, Southwest Airlines will, at the passenger’s request, refund the unused portion of the passenger’s fare or will assist him or her by arranging transport to the passenger’s destination on another Southwest flight with available seats. If the passenger elects to take an alternate Southwest flight, he or she will not be charged any more money even if the ticket for the disrupted flight has usage limits or fare restrictions. If circumstances within the airline's control cause a passenger to miss the last possible flight or connection of the day to his or her destination, Southwest's customer-service agents have the authority to arrange for overnight lodging for that passenger and will find the passenger a hotel or motel as near to the airport as possible, at no additional cost. Customer Service may also arrange for ground transportation to the overnight facility.
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