AirCalSNA
Topic Author
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:52 am

I've always been a big fan of Southwest, which I had the opportunity to fly twice this month (I'm admittedly not the most frequent of fliers). I've noticed some serious problems with Southwest customer service that I haven't seen before. For example, the front-line ground staff at LAX is abysmal ... unprofessional demeanors, ignoring people waiting in line while multiple employees cluster around one passenger with an issue that apparently required four people to deal with, bizarre and disorganized ticket-counter area with kiosks randomly placed, etc. And beyond the LAX "experience," there seems to be a good deal of chaos behind the scenes and a lack of coordination between the website and phone experience. For example, I understood that one was allowed to book multiple one-way flights on the same route and date and that, assuming you had purchased the refundable fare, one could get a full refund as long as the unused reservation was canceled before the flight departed. In fact the Southwest website allows one to do this even when logged in. I did this as my plans were uncertain and Southwest unilaterally canceled all but one of my reservations at midnight the night before I flew without advising me other than sending an email. Everything was refunded and I got to my destination but I had not experienced this sort of treatment from Southwest before. And to top it off the wait time to speak with customer service was 82 minutes, with no option for a call-back. I'm wondering if the Dr. Dao incident has caused some tightening of things at Southwest or if management is consciously deciding to move toward a more traditionally "corporate" (i.e., the customer is viewed solely as an income stream) approach to customer service. It seems the days where Southwest's customer service really stood out from the pack are over.
 
michman
Posts: 901
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:51 am

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:57 am

Southwest Contract of Carriage specifically prohibits such speculative bookings. Much discussion of this already on FT...

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/southwe ... ngs-7.html

A number of other carriers will also automatically cancel such impossible booking as well. You are tying up seats that you obviously won't be able to fly on and making them unavailable for sale to other passengers. Pretty obvious why the airlines would prohibit such behavior.
Last edited by michman on Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
grbauc
Posts: 1455
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:05 pm

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:58 am

You can't take experience from even a handful of flights and put out across the whole industry. Companies as large as these are always going to have not the perfect experience every time. Especially LAX at such a high pressure station hub.
 
AirCalSNA
Topic Author
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:06 am

michman wrote:
Southwest Contract of Carriage specifically prohibits such speculative bookings. Much discussion of this already on FT...

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/southwe ... ngs-7.html

A number of other carriers will also automatically cancel such impossible booking as well. You are tying up seats that you obviously won't be able to fly on and making them unavailable for sale to other passengers. Pretty obvious why the airlines would prohibit such behavior.


That's interesting because I have had Southwest reservation agents tell me in the past that doing this was okay, and it appears from the flyertalk thread that there was a recent policy change. Oh well, it was an enjoyable airline while it lasted.
 
usflyguy
Posts: 1728
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:29 am

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:02 am

Wait... so you had one experience trying to do something specifically against contract of carriage rules and Southwest is taking a "customer service nosedive"? The days in which Southwest let customers take advantage of the system are over so now they're horrible.

Lol. Sit down.
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
SFOATLFlyer
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:42 am

AirCalSNA wrote:
I've always been a big fan of Southwest, which I had the opportunity to fly twice this month (I'm admittedly not the most frequent of fliers). I've noticed some serious problems with Southwest customer service that I haven't seen before. For example, the front-line ground staff at LAX is abysmal ... unprofessional demeanors, ignoring people waiting in line while multiple employees cluster around one passenger with an issue that apparently required four people to deal with, bizarre and disorganized ticket-counter area with kiosks randomly placed, etc. And beyond the LAX "experience," there seems to be a good deal of chaos behind the scenes and a lack of coordination between the website and phone experience. For example, I understood that one was allowed to book multiple one-way flights on the same route and date and that, assuming you had purchased the refundable fare, one could get a full refund as long as the unused reservation was canceled before the flight departed. In fact the Southwest website allows one to do this even when logged in. I did this as my plans were uncertain and Southwest unilaterally canceled all but one of my reservations at midnight the night before I flew without advising me other than sending an email. Everything was refunded and I got to my destination but I had not experienced this sort of treatment from Southwest before. And to top it off the wait time to speak with customer service was 82 minutes, with no option for a call-back. I'm wondering if the Dr. Dao incident has caused some tightening of things at Southwest or if management is consciously deciding to move toward a more traditionally "corporate" (i.e., the customer is viewed solely as an income stream) approach to customer service. It seems the days where Southwest's customer service really stood out from the pack are over.


Your argument simply doesn't hold water. Go to Spirit. They sound more of your liking.
 
michman
Posts: 901
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:51 am

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:35 am

Southwest has introduced free same-day standby for A-List members which should reduce the need for such speculative bookings (at least for the A-List'ers). Additionally, they have stated they intend to stop overbooking which will reduce IDB rates. I think it's fair to assume that one of their rationales for overbooking was due to the duplicate bookings and knowing that a number of those duplicate seat bookings were going to go empty. The problem is knowing specifically which seats would go empty. Eliminate the duplicate bookings and you reduce the need to overbook thus reducing IDB rates. I think most people would consider reducing IDB rates to be customer service friendly move.
 
Jshank83
Posts: 2956
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:23 pm

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:51 am

In my recent experience with Southwest, talking to them on Twitter has worked wonders. I don't know if their twitter people have more power than others but they seem to have done a lot for me lately. The night before a flight I had booked I asked if I could fly standby the next day, to try to get on an earlier flight. They just rebooked me on it instead for free (even though the ticket was $250 more at the time) and I am not a-list. Another time my significant other was in the air and I noticed her connection was canceled. Went on Twitter and 10 minutes later I had her booked on the next flight, before she even landed. They had her new ticket waiting for her at the gate. 20 people on her 1st flight got stuck trying to get on her later flight on standby.

Obviously, everyone has different experiences but if you have Twitter I suggest trying to talk to them on there first. It is way easier than waiting on the phone and I feel like it goes smoother.
 
AirCalSNA
Topic Author
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:41 am

michman wrote:
Southwest has introduced free same-day standby for A-List members which should reduce the need for such speculative bookings (at least for the A-List'ers). Additionally, they have stated they intend to stop overbooking which will reduce IDB rates. I think it's fair to assume that one of their rationales for overbooking was due to the duplicate bookings and knowing that a number of those duplicate seat bookings were going to go empty. The problem is knowing specifically which seats would go empty. Eliminate the duplicate bookings and you reduce the need to overbook thus reducing IDB rates. I think most people would consider reducing IDB rates to be customer service friendly move.


Which is understandable. What is not understandable is why they continue to allow people to book duplicate flights online. Something rather schizoid about that. They also allowed me to change online my departure airport in So Cal within two hours of departure, but when I arrived at the new airport the system didn't show the change and I was on stand-by. I eventually got on the plane, which is fine. But, again, why they allowed the change to go through online without any warning is a mystery to me, and then when I inquired about what had happened (after nearly two hours on hold) they played CYA by misrepresenting that I had made the change over the phone during a time when I wasn't even able to place a call! For an airline with poor on-time performance that is at best erratic about keeping passengers advised ("your flight is delayed for two hours" ... twenty minutes later: "your flight is now leaving in 15 minutes") they sure feel free to play fast and lose with their customers' time and sanity. I'm mainly disappointed because I have held them in such high esteem for years and Southwest is now losing its human touch (and, it seems, some of its operational competence) and becoming just like the other major carriers with the concomitant chaos and disrespect for customers. Oh well. I have other options and other frequent-flier accounts so I might just as well spread my "luv" around to them as well and earn miles that I can use on more interesting destinations.
 
jetwet1
Posts: 2938
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:19 pm

Interesting, I flew them last week, my international flight landed late, no way I was going to make the connection, I was on the phone with them as soon as the wheels touched down, by the time we got to the gate they had me on a flight leaving an hour later, no charge, no stress.
 
airzona11
Posts: 1555
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:44 am

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:59 am

AirCalSNA wrote:
michman wrote:
Southwest has introduced free same-day standby for A-List members which should reduce the need for such speculative bookings (at least for the A-List'ers). Additionally, they have stated they intend to stop overbooking which will reduce IDB rates. I think it's fair to assume that one of their rationales for overbooking was due to the duplicate bookings and knowing that a number of those duplicate seat bookings were going to go empty. The problem is knowing specifically which seats would go empty. Eliminate the duplicate bookings and you reduce the need to overbook thus reducing IDB rates. I think most people would consider reducing IDB rates to be customer service friendly move.


Which is understandable. What is not understandable is why they continue to allow people to book duplicate flights online. Something rather schizoid about that. They also allowed me to change online my departure airport in So Cal within two hours of departure, but when I arrived at the new airport the system didn't show the change and I was on stand-by. I eventually got on the plane, which is fine. But, again, why they allowed the change to go through online without any warning is a mystery to me, and then when I inquired about what had happened (after nearly two hours on hold) they played CYA by misrepresenting that I had made the change over the phone during a time when I wasn't even able to place a call! For an airline with poor on-time performance that is at best erratic about keeping passengers advised ("your flight is delayed for two hours" ... twenty minutes later: "your flight is now leaving in 15 minutes") they sure feel free to play fast and lose with their customers' time and sanity. I'm mainly disappointed because I have held them in such high esteem for years and Southwest is now losing its human touch (and, it seems, some of its operational competence) and becoming just like the other major carriers with the concomitant chaos and disrespect for customers. Oh well. I have other options and other frequent-flier accounts so I might just as well spread my "luv" around to them as well and earn miles that I can use on more interesting destinations.


You got your money back. How were you harmed?
 
Airstud
Posts: 4717
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2000 11:57 am

Re: Southwest customer service taking a nosedive.

Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:14 am

AirCalSNA wrote:
Southwest unilaterally canceled all but one of my reservations at midnight the night before I flew without advising me other than sending an email.


Sending you an email = not advising you?
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