Dear Southwest Airlines,
Thank you for responding to my letter. I appreciate you trying to explain why such a mess happened in the first place. I must state, however, that you have left us with more questions than answers. In two separate correspondences from two different people at your company you give different reasons for the poorly made decisions of our return trip:
“Because we had to bring in another aircraft from another city, we had passengers in ATL that we needed to drop off or pick up as well; hence, the reason for the stop in ATL.” (-Maddie)
“The decision was made to operate your flight to Atlanta in order to clear Customs and accommodate you to Austin the following morning. “ (Adrienne Yurdyga)
Neither of these reasons sounds like a good explanation why this decision was even thought to be a good business decision. Neither does this:
“We carefully evaluate every available option to minimize delays and serve the greatest number of Customers while inconveniencing the least.”
What delay did you manage to minimize exactly? And who did you inconvenience the least? Did anyone benefit from this? As far as I could tell, everyone was inconvenienced including your staff in Mexico and Atlanta. I do not think this excuse holds much water.
If you did have passengers on the flight that were trying to get to Atlanta, did you take them all the way to Mexico and then back to Atlanta? How is that fair to those customers? Would it not make more sense to send in an empty flight? This is what I mean by having a backup plan. It just makes good business sense to be prepared for the unavoidable.
I completely understand the maintenance issue, as I stated in my previous letter. That was never the problem. The “solution” to the problem is my issue. The fact that YOU HAD NO BACKUP PLAN is all I want you to consider for future flights. Bringing in another aircraft from such a long way and so late in the game just showed that your company had to scramble to avoid a major meltdown from over 100 people. You must set up better policies to avoid such horrible conditions for the customers you claim to value so much.
Also, there are other issues that you did not even bother to address from my letter. Mainly, why sell tickets with flight times to choose from if you do not have the ability to keep those times. There should be some sort of warning that flight times are not guaranteed. This would make the fact that you can’t control your schedules clear to customers BEFORE they purchase a ticket and make their arrangements to fit those schedules.
Your apology email ended like this:
“We want you to have a better experience when you travel with us; and in this spirit, I’m sending a LUV Voucher* (in a separate e-mail) as a gesture of goodwill that we invite you to apply toward a new Southwest reservation.”
A little discount is what that means, right? Unfortunately that won’t entice my family back especially if it’s like the meal voucher you gave at the airport instead of finding accommodations for everyone you inconvenienced from children to elderly, from pregnant to those with medical issues and everyone in between. I’m afraid that for the rest of us, no “discount” will make up for the horrible experience.
I hope you do review this situation as well as every bad experience that keeps getting posted in your Facebook page and make the necessary changes.
Thank you for your time. Good luck in the future.
Still a disappointed mama
To see my original letter to Southwest, please see link below