Beefing: Southwest Airlines Sucks

Southwest Airlines Contact Information
Two consecutive trips on Southwest — my primary conveyance between home and work — and I’ve been boned in Baltimore. First time was in June when the flight leaving Providence was hopelessly delayed by thunderstoms. I asked the gate geek if I would make my connection to Raleigh, and being told that I would I boarded the plane, only to land in Baltimore to find the Raleigh connection had departed five minutes before. Stranded in Baltimore, I went to the bank of telephones in the baggage area and started dialing for a room to spend the night. Hah. No one had rooms. So I went to the Southwest ticket counter where I was handed a green slip of paper with an 800 number on it. Some outsourced displaced persons service that also said there were no rooms. Okay, guess I was going to sleep on a bench, but I kept dialing and finally found a cancellation at 1 am, paid $150 for four hours use of a mattress and shower. I didn’t even expect Southwest to pony up for the pain in the neck. Weather is weather. But getting sympathy in the form of a green slip of paper that doesn’t work just sucks.

So there was that.

Now I sit at Baltimore, having deduced, on my own, that the connection to Providence was yet again delayed. First beef: Southwest’s mobile site for phone access only permits one to check in for a flight, not check status. So I went to the normal site, waited a few minutes for the thing to load, pecked my way through the menu on my Treo and found out the flight was seriously delayed. I immediately called home, alerted my son not to leave too soon to pick me up, and went to the flight monitors which only stated the flight was delayed.

Okay. Lots of passengers are eavesdropping on my conversation and start bumming out and dialing to warn their pickups that they too will be delayed. Second beef: Is there anyone at the gate making announcements? No. So I go to the ticket counter where a very bored guy confirms that indeed the flight is delayed. Finally, after he got tired of one individual after another asking him what was going on, he made an announcement, well after the original departure time.
Ticked off, I fired up the laptop, logged into and tried to send an email to them to essentially say, “Hey, would be kind if you warned passengers on a timely basis about delays so they can make plans, etc.” No serious rant, just a suggestion. Steven O’Grady makes the same.
And then I find this, my third beef:

E-mail Policy – Why We Don’t Accept E-mail

Call us traditional, but we elect to steer clear of the chat-style, respond-on-demand, quick casual format and focus on meaningful Customer dialogue. This is not because we don’t care. It’s because that style counters our commitment to Customer Service.

Our Customers deserve accurate, specific, personal, and professionally written answers, and it takes time to research, investigate, and compose a real business letter. We answer every letter we receive in the order it arrives, and we streamline in order to keep our costs low, our People productive, our operating efficiency high, and our responses warm and personal.”

Great, except the customer service line closed at 5 pm. Losers. So I go to their blog to vent my spleen and knock off a few hats and I find this under the rules of engagement, my fourth beef:

“One final disclaimer — the Southwest Blog is not the forum to address personal Customer Service issues. All of us have “day jobs,” and we simply don’t have the resources through this blog to resolve individual concerns. Even though this is not the forum, Southwest is eager to resolve your concerns. Our Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards folks want to assist you, and you can contact them by mail at Southwest Airlines, Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards, P.O. Box 36647, Dallas, Texas 75235-6647; by phone at (214) 792-4223; or by fax at (214) 792-5099. For reservations, please visit or call our Reservations Center at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).”

Okay, so no email beefs. No blog beefs (but I can submit a funny caption to their photo contest and read about the forthcoming Chili cookoff). Bottom line: pick up the phone (when we’re answering it) or lick a stamp. So progressive. This is one of the existential horrors of the travel life.

Just for grins I went to They get bonus points for registering that domain:

“Southwest Airlines strives to maintain a high level of Customer Service and is proud of its corporate reputation and responsiveness to its Customers. As part of that effort, Southwest wants to control the release of inaccurate and irresponsible information about the Company via the Internet. If you would like more information on Southwest, please go to”

So I’ll sound off here.

There isn’t a single airline except for JetBlue that at one point or another flipped me out into vows of “never again.” I was able to avoid United for a decade. I cheered when TWA died. I’ll suffer, but not in silence. And I’ll continue to fly on Southwest, the Greyhound of our times, wedged into the center seat with the wheeled baggage people, the babbling cell phone teenage girls, the angry salarymen and the Clampetts, figuring out their delays on my own.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Beefing: Southwest Airlines Sucks”

  1. I have always heard good things about Southwest AIrlines and even though I rarely fly, ( I hate it) I took the opportunity to fly them because of the uncertainity of Northwest Airlines. I booked well in advance online June 29th for an August 25 th trip.
    Well a family emergency arose and I had to cancel my trip. This came about on July 30th. Plenty of time to cancel, to be considerate? Wouldn’t you think?
    Well you write a letter, ( who the hell writes letters) or phone an endlessly ringing phone number. No e:mail contacts to reach. How nice. Makes it harder for people to complain…..don’t you think?
    Well not only did I finally get someone to finally pickup a phone, I get the usual drone whom can only spout off company policy like they are reading it from a book.
    NO REFUND! We are keeping your money for future use.!!!!

    So Southworst, keep my fucking money, stick it up your ass! I will never fly you. EVER!
    But I will complain to my credit card company and fight with them to not pay this, which is another faceless corporation like yourself which will show no mercy also, but they are fact of life, but not you!
    Bite me Southwest. I hope your business fails! Keeping a customers money is a crime, and I don’t give a shit about policies that approve it. I can get that twisted logic from dealing with the government.

  2. I have always heard good things about Southwest AIrlines and even though I rarely fly, ( I hate it) I took the opportunity to fly them because of the uncertainity of Northwest Airlines. I booked well in advance online June 29th for an August 25 th trip.
    Well a family emergency arose and I had to cancel my trip. This came about on July 30th. Plenty of time to cancel, to be considerate? Wouldn’t you think?
    Well you write a letter, ( who the hell writes letters) or phone an endlessly ringing phone number. No e:mail contacts to reach. How nice. Makes it harder for people to complain…..don’t you think?
    Well not only did I finally get someone to finally pickup a phone, I get the usual drone whom can only spout off company policy like they are reading it from a book.
    NO REFUND! We are keeping your money for future use.!!!!

    So Southworst, keep my fucking money, stick it up your ass! I will never fly you. EVER!
    But I will complain to my credit card company and fight with them to not pay this, which is another faceless corporation like yourself which will show no mercy also, but they are fact of life, but not you!
    Bite me Southwest. I hope your business fails! Keeping a customers money is a crime, and I don’t give a shit about policies that approve it. I can get that twisted logic from dealing with the government.

    You know it’s funny, I went to where I made my room reservations and was able to cancel and get a refund. WOW! What a way to do business huh? Southwest…we want your business and your money.
    Southwest…even when we don’t do business we’ll take your money!

  3. Well I use to work in the airline industry, and we did have a lot of morons that would take soft sided luggage and check it, then expect it to be covered when it got scratched and ripped. Most airlines will pay just to shut you up, but I haven’t seen one that states in their little time table booklets that soft sided bags aren’t meant for checking, and won’t be covered. We also use to get complaints from people that had baggage so old I could poke my finger through the side, with ease. Those are usually the people that scream about how they paid 150 bucks for this bag 20 years ago, and damned if the airline didn’t ruin it. I’ve seen both sides, and it’s horrible on both sides. I just try to remember to be happy when the pilot shows up sober and gets us there safely. hehe

  4. I’m writing this while sitting in Midway. Flight 643 was scheduled to leave MDW at 6:10 pm. However, the flight just left Houston and has to go to New Orleans prior to arriving in Chicago. I was just told that it will now be at least 9:10 before it will land. It wouldn’t be so bad except this is now four out of five times that this flight has been late.

    I have no options as the NWA flight has no seats and the other two SWA flights have pages of stand-by passengers who, like me, just want to go home.

    I made a decision last week to take another job which does not require flying, at least for a year. I’d love to email Southwest to voice my displeasure but as other folks have noted multiple times, they just don’t do the email thing.

    When I do fly again, I will choose another airline.

  5. I traveled ALB-BWI-PBI July 23 and now find I have to swallow 3/4 of a $976 loss on my luggage that never arrived. They say their “contract” does not allow for payment of checked luggage such as i-pods or cameras. So, I’m stuck. Last time I fly “LUV” airlines. If this is how they “LUV” the customer, they won’t get my business or my family’s business. They are penny wise and pound foolish.

  6. I think that it is crazy that an airline can decide what attire should be worn on an individual basis. IF they do not have guidelines to go by, then what gives them the right to deem what a woman, or anybody for that matter, wears is acceptable or not. It pisses me off to the point that I will never use them for a flight.

  7. I found a URL that Southwest Airlines did not block:


    Replace the asterisk with a ‘u’.

    We should definitely see about bringing that one to life.

  8. I vehemently hate Southwest for their complete lack of caring or understanding when my father died seven years ago.

    My father had cancer and was dying. I had bought a full fare ticket to fly out to see him on a Friday to visit for the weekend. He died the Wednesday before. I called Southwest in tears and asked that my Friday departure be changed to a 4:00pm flight that day (Wednesday). They said sure but there would be a $90.00 change fee. I said I had already paid for a full fare ticket and needed to change the ticket because my father had just died. They said I had to pay it and I was so upset I just wanted to get a flight out and paid it. They asked if I wanted to change my departure date too. I said of course I was going to need to change it, but since he had just died I had no idea how long it was going to take to get all the affairs in order and so I couldn’t change the departure date right then.

    I called Southwest again that Sunday, my original departure date and asked to change the flight to the following Sunday. They said sure but there would be a $90.00 change fee. I explained that my father had died and that I had already paid for a full fare ticket and a $90.00 change fee, surely Southwest had a bereavement policy which would allow the waiver of a second $90.00 fee. I was told that Southwest did not have a bereavement policy. I asked to speak to a manager and was told the same thing. I hung up and got a one way ticket on Continental for $100.00. I wrote Southwest an e-mail complaining about their service and lack of a bereavement policy. I never got a response. I wrote again about a month later and still never got a response. Perhaps it was becasue this was in 2000, but there was then a customer service e-mail link which is what I used to contact Customer Service, and there was nothing stating that they did not use e-mail to handle Customer Service complaints then.

    I swore I would never buy a ticket from Southwest ever again, and I haven’t. The only time I have flown on Southwest since then is when others were arranging for and buying the tickets (about 4 times in the last 7 years). I take between 4 and 6 trips per year via other airlines now. Continental is my favorite airline.

    My beef with Soutwest thus goes beyond the fact that Southwest flights are often late and that they don’t have reserve seating. It is because they fail to have any policy or concern for fellow human beings during one of the most difficult times in a person’s life – the death of a family member.

  9. are you a donkey like to be abused by human scums?
    No? then try to respect yourself and stop flying SW.
    Humans have this ability called choosing which differ us from

  10. Recently on flying Southwest out of Manchester, NH they would not move me up to fly on a flight leaving 2 hours earlier though I had done that many times before. I actually had flown Southwest primarily because they were friendly and flexible. They wanted to charge me over 300 dollars to change our flight to an emptier flight leaving 1:50 earlier.

    Not only would they not allow me on the earlier flight but the counter person made the experience personal, confrontational and very uncomfortable. I had to repeat several times “just book me on the flight “(my original later flight) please while she continued in a very confrontational manner. I tried again at the gate and while not successful the person at the gate was quit professional. I don’t know why the change to such a strict no common sense policy so I simply changed mine. I will go back to flying US Airways for business and professional travel as they apply common sense an flexibility to these situations.


    We allow you to ‘move up’ to any earlier flight on the same day of your originally scheduled departure time at the airport (with the exception of flights to Hawaii and Europe). You can only make day-of-departure changes at the airport (and not by calling Reservations).
    If there is an open seat available on any earlier flight that departs on the same day as your originally scheduled departure, you may change to that flight and we will automatically confirm your reservation for $25 for flights within the 48 contiguous United States and $50 for flights to Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and Alaska. This lower confirmation fee replaces the usual $100 change fee, plus any differences between your old fare and new fare, for non-refundable tickets.
    If there is not an open seat on an earlier flight that departs on the same day as your originally scheduled departure, you may stand by for that flight at no charge. Standing by at no charge is not permitted if we can confirm that there is an open seat available for that flight. Seats on completely booked flights may become available if passengers with confirmed reservations don’t show up for the flight. Please note: Unlike a confirmed reservation, flying standby does not guarantee that you will get on the particular flight that you want and may involve waiting for two or more flights before a seat is available to you.

  11. Lost my baggage from Oregon into Vegas.
    Completed both lost baggage forms and had a response about 1 month later. My property lost value was $2000 (not including the $700 in fine jewelry, which they won’t cover). They need to see at least $800 worth of proof of purchase. It was hard enough to come up with $500.


    Anyone who had a similar experience please reply.
    I need to know whether that amount ($800 in receipts) will be my reimbursement!? Should I keep on searching for more documents to show proof of purchase? It’s already been 2 months for me, and all I came up with was $500 in bank statements, and receipts…



    (so i can get an idea)


  12. The level of hostility and the tone these complaints present is very interesting to me. I work with general public complaints and have concluded the following about difficult customers:
    — When a customer is upset, the story will be fabricated. — When the customer is at fault, he will not admit it. — When a customer uses profanity, it too will go unmentioned. The higher up the chain he gets, the nicer he becomes. Most importantly, if you’re hot tempered and you share your story with friends and family, they consider the source! — by the time letters have been written, voices have been heard, money has been paid, refunds have been issued, and credits have been granted, some customers remain displeased feeling, “IT’S REALLY NOT ENOUGH.” REALLY?? How much is enough? Let’s be honest here, we are a greedy society. In some cases, people seek opportunities to be wronged, hence reasons for legal counsel or “something for nothing.” SOUTHWEST AIRLINES has it’s flaws just like any other airline. They probably transport millions of people per month and receive commendation letters for the employees who DO go above and beyond their call of duty. LETS GO BACK TO BASICS HERE: The TSA’s involvement has impacted “ALL” airlines, remember TSA employees handle baggage before the airline does. Some people are unsure of where they left their cameras and ipod’s and immediately blame the airline. Some people falsify reasons to preboard, and are the first to whine when they can’t. Oh and by the way, planes are supposed to be full, it’s called SUCCESS! My suggestion to Mr. Complainer, if you’d like a more professional approach to handling these types of situations, then conduct yourself in the same manner. Stop living in your, “It’s all about me, world” and understand that the next guy, is just as important as you. Honest, proactive, and loyal customers are by far “WINNERS” in any heated situation. They remain composed, professional, realistic and they document the sequence of events. They attempt to comply with what is asked, and when a situation has ceased, they write their dignified letter and include their documentation. This person, is by far the one whose name you’ll probably NEVER see on one of these blogs because you see, unlike you, he WON his battle and continues to fly SOUTHWEST AIRLINES!
    Oh and in response to TEAL about baggage, really? You’re filing a $2000.00 claim (less jewelry) and you think they may just pay you $800.00? Here’s some advice: call and ask.


    Please don’t tell me you NEVER complained about ANYTHING in your entire life. If you haven’t, you LIE.
    Ironically, you are complaining about others complaining in that little reply above.

    They NEVER answer phones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Hi Teal,

    I too, had returned from a trip to Organ, and back to Las Vegas on 10/6/07.

    ( it does seem that Las Vegas airport is mentioned a lot)

    My husbands luggage arrived on an earlier flight. SWA phoned him as we got off the plane to let him know that they had his bag. We went to the carousel and my bag did not show up. There is no way for us to know if it too was sent on an earlier flight, left unattended and someone walked off with it? There is nothing to prevent someone from walking off with your bag. Las Vegas airport no longer checks your baggage claim tickets! Our flight left Portland and stopped in Sacramento. Then we had to exit that plane (which went on to San Diego) and boarded another plane (from Sac to Vegas). Did my bag stay with the plane to San Diego? Did my bag ever make it on the original plane? Did someone steal it?

    I received the SW passenger property loss claim form, and it has taken me over a month to try to recreate a list of what was in my bag. I am in the process today of having the form notarized. Today I called three times SW’s Central Lost and Found dept. (214-792-7900) option 2 and got the recording saying, “unable to take you call.” I have some receipts, my question would have been, Do I send them now, or wait for them to contact me for them? Naturally, a lot of items I could not provide a receipt for. It seemed that the paperwork indicated that the contents of the bag was to help identify it as mine. No where did it say that they would reimburse me for anything. Anyway you slice it, it stinks!

    I read earlier that we should put our name and cell number inside the bags. I’ll do that in the future.

    Good luck with your claim!

  15. Dear Teal,
    I am still dealing with my claim for luggage lost on a non stop flight from Indy to Las Vegas on Oct. 13, 2007. The paper work to claims dept is horrendous and sooo time consuming. I was just asked for receipts for 700 dollars so after days of tracking down bank statements, checks, credit statements etc. I am still waiting for a response. My claims agent has been on vacation for 2 weeks and according to the claims office, no one else can answer my questions. They make the whole process so cumbersome that most people probably just give up.

  16. Southwest sucks. And who are these losers defending Southwest? I mean, I know you like your job and all but seriously – your employer doesn’t give a crap about its customers. My mom just bought a ticket from SW for her sister’s funeral. $600. That price is to be expected for a flight with such a short notice, but she naturally expected to get a bereavement discount. WRONG. No bereavement policy. When I called a SW customer service to ask about it on my mom’s behalf, the agent told me they do not have such a policy because it “keeps our fares low”. Then I told her my mom’s flight was $600 . That shut her up real fast. Nice way to treat your customers.

  17. I checked in 39 minutes before flight time. I went thru Security, bought a newspaper, ate a candy bar, checed phone msgs, sent an email, and still waited to board the plane. I was told at my destination because I didn’t check in 45 minutes before, then my luggage would be on the next flight and to come back to the airport then. I did taht, and when only one of two bags were there, I was told because I didn’t check in 45 minjutes before flight time, then my luggage would be on the following (3rd) plane. I complained that one of my bags was there, I was again recited the “45 minute law”, when I protested this lame explanation, I was told to look at a second carousel (I never heard of luggage from one flight being on two different carousels) and the clerk convinced me that my second bag could be on a different carousel from my first bag because she said that often happens.
    I then asked to track the missing bag with their bar coded id stickers, and was told their system can’t do that, all I can do is wait until whatever flight my luggage ends up on arrives within the next three days.

  18. I truly hate southwest, but it is cheaper to fly. Not only are my flights usually delayed from 10 minutes up to 2 hours, this time they have seemed to lost my baggage. There was some bomb scare going on at LAX that delayed everyone and everything. I wasn’t able to check in on time because of this and when I arrived to SJC I was told I’d have to wait up to 1hr and 30 minutes for another direct flight from LAX that my baggage MIGHT POSSIBLY be on. They should look into some tracking system for all baggages. But, I couldn’t wait 1hour and 30 minutes or even come back because I had to take a taxi to a Bus station and then ride a bus for 1 hour to get to a station near school and take another bus for 15 minutes to get back to school. If it was during broad daylight I might have been able to wait just a while, but it was late and I needed to catch a bus before it stopped running. So at the SJC baggage claim I had designated a person and authorized them to be able to come pick up my baggage the next day and the lady working at the baggage claim took a piece of paper, stuck my claim ticket on there and told me to sign and write who i authorize to pickup my stuff. i called the next day and another person working at the baggage claim service told me whoever handled what i did the day before didn’t take the right procedures and SWA isn’t liable for my baggage but that she’ll file a courtesy report anyways. Apparently they’re still looking for my baggage, I really wonder if they are.

    Honestly, wtf. I don’t work for SWA and I’ve never lost a baggage. How the heck am I supposed to know that their own employee did something wrong. That is not my fault that is SWA doesn’t train their employees well.

  19. I’m sorry you guys have had such a difficult time on SWA.

    Concerning many of the complaints throughout this blog, SW addressed these specifically with recent changes geared towards improving the travel experiences of the business traveler and frequent flier.

    For one, if you’re a frequent flier on SW you can now get “A-listed” – an automatic A boarding pass regardless of when you’ve checked in for your flight. There is also the new ‘Business Select’ fare that guarantees you will be one of the first few people to board, in addition to giving you extra Rapid Rewards credits.

    The new boarding process has all but eliminated the ‘cattle car’ boarding that forced passengers to line up long before their flight arrived. Now you’re actually given a numerical place in line, permitting you to line up just before actual boarding.

    One thing that hasn’t changed is the open seating policy. This isn’t because SW is opposed to changing it – they tested assigned seating at length in 2007. Simply put, customers overwhelmingly wanted the open seating. Not only this, but it takes considerably less time to turn a plane around when the seats are open rather than assigned – in other words the time it takes to board 137 passengers is greatly reduced.

    Regarding the last-minute changes to flights, unless a full-fare ticket is purchased you’ll be charged the difference between the fare you paid and the lowest fare available at that time. With that said, there are no additional fees to re-book a flight. If you paid a full fare or business select fare, the fare is fully refundable. If not, the funds can be applied to future travel on SW. This policy is actually VERY business traveler friendly as the savings potential is substantial if there are last minute changes to flights.

    As far as Tina’s account of the way she was treated by the flight attendants, I am truly sorry you experienced that from a flight crew. I can assure you that when a negative letter is written, the ENTIRE flight crew is required to respond to the complaint – both pilots and all three flight attendants – and each complaint is followed up on by base supervisors with a personal interview in most cases. So mentioning your experience to the pilots was the right thing to do. There are almost ten thousand flight attendants working for SW, and the VAST majority represent the best that Southwest has to offer. I promise you that the crew working your flight represented a very small handful of flight attendants and your experience was certainly the exception.

    I wish we had a bereavement policy for passengers. I’ve heard of people getting reduced fares (similiar to a senior or military fare), but that’s all. If reservations isn’t able to help, try talking to a Customer Service Agent at the airport.

    Lost baggage. Can there be a more frustrating part of travel? Even more than delays – at least with a delay you know you’ll (eventually) make it to your destination. I can’t relate to losing luggage and having to come up with receipts for hundreds of dollars worth of clothing, shoes, etc, and I hope I never have to. I can imagine the frustration and time and energy spent trying to sort the mess, and feel terrible for anyone that’s had this experience. I wish I had something more to offer in the way of advice than making sure your information’s on the inside of the luggage and valuables kept in a carry-on, both suggestions having already been made.

    I know what I’ve written won’t change the minds of many of the people that have come here to post, but I hope you realize there are SW employees that truly care about the unfortunate things that happen that cause us to lose customers. As a flight attendant I try every day to make a positive difference in the travel experiences of our passengers.

    Good things are happening at SWA – the Rapid Rewards program will be changing this year to make it even easier to earn free flights, SW will be the first US airline to offer satellite internet service on flights beginning this summer, and there will be expansion into more cities to be announced this year… not to mention more long-haul flights to reduce the number of stops on your way from LAX to BWI.

    I’m including the DOT Operating Statistics from last year as they were distributed to me, including some specifics for the month of December 2007 regarding SWA performance.

    DOT Releases Year end and December Operating Statistics for 2007

    The top performers in each category of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report  for Yearend 2007 are listed below. The Air Travel Consumer Report can be viewed in full online at

    For December 2007, Southwest ranked first in Consumer Complaints with 0.16 complaints per 100,000 Customers enplaned. In Ontime Performance, we ranked fourth with an ontime percentage of 72.5. Our December 2007 ranking in Mishandled Baggage was eighth, with an average of 7.65 reports per 1,000 enplanements.

    YEAREND 2007:

    1. Aloha 0.21
    2. Southwest 0.26
    3. ExpressJet 0.45
    4. Frontier 0.66
    5. SkyWest 0.71
    6. Hawaiian 0.72
    7. Alaska 0.76
    8. JetBlue 0.78
    9. Mesa 0.83
    10. AirTran 0.83

    1. Hawaiian 93.3
    2. Aloha 92.2
    3. Southwest 80.1
    4. Frontier 77.6
    5. Delta 76.9
    6. AirTran 76.8
    7. Pinnacle 76.3
    8. Skywest 75.7
    9. Continental 74.3
    10. ExpressJet 73.8

    1. Hawaiian 3.41
    2. Aloha 3.88
    3. AirTran 4.06
    4. Northwest 5.01
    5. JetBlue 5.23
    6. Continental 5.33
    7. United 5.76
    8. Southwest 5.87
    9. Frontier 6.16
    10. Alaska 6.39

  20. Finally — a voice of reason for Southwest appears here. I don’t know who you are Chris, but you just did more to rehabilitate my view of Southwest than any of your cohorts or colleagues have over the past two years.

    I’d really like to end this blog’s role as the lightning rod for unhappy Southwest customers.

    this post is now ranked first for the search term “southwest sucks” — as a person devoted to figuring out the role of blogs in customer satisfaction, this is something of an interesting experiment in what can happen when an unhappy person writes “brandname sucks” and proves the corrosive power of search engines on brand reputation.

    To wit — southwest registered — smart move. Except it is ranked pretty low against the term whereas this post and thread is first.

    People like Chris should continue to leverage the comment string here to
    a) respond to specific complaints and seek the movement of those complaints off of and onto the airline’s turf
    b) make the case that things are improved. To wit, I didn’t know about the frequent flier, business flier designation into the A category

    I am not grinding an axe, I continue to avoid Southwest, but only because I have a direct alternative to my most frequently flown route. Southwest plays a vital role in providing affordable air transport and is, like the rest of the industry, challenged in a post 9/11 age of air travel.

    Good going Chris. Next time I might suggest providing some more open identification of who you are and how people can contact you or the good folks in Southwest customer service.

    And the offer still stands — if someone from Southwest makes an official request I will delete this thread and replace it with a pointer to the Southwest destination of Southwest’s choice.

  21. I appreciate your explanations, Chris, but I just had a terrible experience with “Customer Service”. I have always flown SWA, didn’t mind cattle car boarding, understand the checking in early, etc., and never had any problems at all. I enjoyed it, especially being in Chicago where United rules. However, after my conversation today with a gentleman in customer service (and I unfortunately cannot remember his name), all I want is someone to objectively listen to my complaint without making me feel unimportant and, for lack of a better word, stupid. A “Celia” I spoke to on a second call was very nice, but could do nothing to help per company policy. Customer service at all levels has deteriorated at SWA over the past few years. I guess the company just got too large to be friendly.

  22. I recommend emailing any senior manager at Southwest Airlines directly. For example, Brian Lusk – Manager of Customer Communication and Corporate Editor can be reached by

    All you need is the first and last name of the person, or Google Southwest Airlines senior management and look at the results.

    All of their email addresses are:

    This eliminates having to send them a written letter and waiting two months for a reply.

    Hope this helps!

  23. Well, I’m sitting Houston-Hobby waiting for my flight to Denver. So far things have been terrible. I came to Houston to see my new nephew and things were going well until southwest got involved. My father, who had been staying with my brother, decided to move his flight up a couple a days so that he could fly home with me. He called early this morning to get his flight changed and spoke with a representative on the phone. She said that this would not be a problem and even charged my father one hundred and sixty dollars. I knew things were to good to be true. When we arrived at the check counter, to our surprise the rep moved my father’s flight up two hours instead of two days. I had worked in a call center for a year and knew that most phone calls are recorded. When I asked Gabriel (a manager) to pull the call he said this was not possible on Sunday. Of course, the flight a has been over booked and once again Southwest took no blame. I asked if Gabriel if southwest was going to pay for hotel accomendations. Once again, no. I tried to convince family and friends not to fly southwest, but no one listens. Well, now my father will never fly with southwest again. My only recommendation is to avoid southwest and all costs.

  24. Some Reasons why Southwest Airlines isn’t cool anymore:

    1. Rapid Rewards travel is even harder to get than frequent flyer seats on a regular airline.

    2. The employees are cranky and aren’t funny anymore. What happened to all the good people? The gate agents are downright mean, as if Southwest stole them all from United.

    3. It’s practically impossible to get an A-pass because they go to the Business and Business Select customers.

    4. Southwest doesn’t seat families traveling with children first anymore.

    5. Cheating to get past FAA inspections!?

  25. I’ve never flown Southwest, but I see their gates in many of the airports I frequent. I must say that the boarding procedure looks like all the passengers are treated like cattle, not customers.

    I work for a very large company…one of the largest in the world. Southwest is never recommended by the company as an option for any travel by company employees. Why? Because Southwest is CHEAP. They cut corners, including in passenger safety. My company knows this…My company’s insurer knows this. Are you catching on?

  26. southwest is the best airline i have ever flown on, they will get my service for my entire life, they are the best, i don’t know about everyone else but i love them.

  27. Too the guy who says southwest cuts corners, have you noticed that almost all other airlines are cancelling and losing money for having their planes”checked” so please keep babbling on about saftey when they have a great track record. But I am sure you will be the first to complain when your flight is delayed due to a mechanical problem.

  28. And to the admin who had the link of one of southwests crashes out of what 3 in 35 years or more? check other airline track records southwest wins that one too.

  29. I am a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines.
    Love the job Love the company. and after having worked for another major airline for a long time, trust me, I KNOW southwest treats the customers the best. and for those who say we are cheap, then what do you call ALL THE OTHER AIRLINES who charge for blankets, meals, checked luggage, pillows and even SOFT DRINKS. I am not understanding very well how you call us cheap and not those other desperate airlines who are struggling to stay in business. There is a reason why we are number one. there is a reason why our flights are always full. and obviously, we do not need all you whiners’ help to maintain our profit. I see some of you talking about JetBlue. Great company. just like us. The only reason for that is because the founder of JetBlue used to work for Southwest. for a long time as well. where do you think he learned all those great things about the airline industry? at SOUTHWEST. I am not expecting every single customer to be completely satisfied, but anybody who complains about us not taking care of their bags the way they wanted us to take care of them, to me, seems like just a whiner. any airline issues such as baggage issues, delays, cancellations and missed flights could happen to anyone, anywhere, and at ANY AIRLINE. you must be such a small person if you hate us just because your flight was delayed and the customer service personnel did not treat you like a king or a queen. or because your bags were mishandled. I had my bags lost not once, not twice, not three times, many many times on other airlines when I traveled as a revenue passenger. Do I hate them? no. Do I expect them to pay for the damage? yes, to a certain extent…however if their policy says “we do not cover any damages to wheels or handles” then ok, that is their policy. I am not going to cry over that. Those baggage agents did not lose my bags. They are just there to HELP ME FIND MY BAGS…why yell at them??? because you are an a-hole. Well, as a frequent traveler and a flight attendant, I have been in both shoes, Passenger and an Airline representative…and I still think that SWA is the winner and the whining passenger is the loser.

  30. Mr. Presley — I’d agree with you, the service has dropped. As the former HOU Customer Service Agent touched on earlier in this blog, there are many issues within the Company due to erosion of its former Culture. It is not the “happy happy, let’s work together ‘family’ ” that Herb Kelleher built and maintained over three decades. Far from it.

    When John Denison came out of retirement to assist SWA in shaping the International Association of Machinists (IAM) contract in 2002-03, he helped design a package that tempted union officials (and conned rank-n-file members) with inordinately high wages for senior reservations and airport agents. It also slipped in verbiage that IAM leaders were either … largely oblivious to, took kickbacks on, or also blinded by The Benjamins (they double as senior agents [a conflict of interest, no?] — 11 yr. persons would pull in more than $50k annually on a 40 hr./week schedule).

    This contrasted sharply with Kelleher’s focus on “low costs (including modest wages) and high spirits” as a formula for company success.

    Denison and Co.’s proposal was passed; the begining of the end for the famous “Southwest Culture” and subsequently, external customer service folks had becomed accustomed to.

    It accomplished one of Herb’s two cardinal rules: low costs, as it sent tons of senior agents to the turnstyles — many by termination, some through buyouts — and brought in numerous entry level hirees, along with temp agency workers.

    Yep, workers on the cheap… The shortcoming is that experience is not a commodity … and much of it received a dropkick in the butt and was sent out of the door.

    Remaining senior agents see a bleak, threatened existence. The Union flails to adjust to rule loopholes, leaving agents with little actual defense.

    A worker at a very busy West Coast station called the present working environment a “jungle … a contentious relationship [between RSAs and management], at best. If you have seniority, you have a bullseye on your back — every day.”

    No wonder external customers get short-sheeted, eh?

    So Mr. Presley, you’re right: Southwest customer service has certainly slid from what it used to be. Write a letter and thank greedy Company leadership for that .. or e-mail them directly.

    Nevermind previous notes that e-mail is not accepted; send it direct to their work e-mail and circumvent the nonsense.

    Here’s the Universal Naming Convention:

    For example:
    Southwest President Colleen C. Barrett

    Southwest CEO Gary Kelly

    Happy e-mailing — and flying!

    Southwest Executive Vice President & Chief of Operations, Jim Wimberly

    Southwest Vice President Reservations, Ellen Torbert

    Happy e-mailing!

  31. I can’t even begin to tell you how poor of an airline this is. I will never fly with Southworst again. I wouldn’t even fly them if they gave me my own plane. OMG. Find another carrier people.

  32. My brother just had the worst experience on Southwest last night and I have been trying to find a way to complain ALL DAY!

    Basically, just as his flight from Salt Lake City to Oakland was about to take off, the flight attendant announced that they couldn’t account for all of the passengers and someone had forgotten to turn in their boarding pass. Instead of going back to double check the list vs. the paper passes, they went through the list and checked off passengers. Allegedly, my brother’s name was not on that list, though he calmly told them he had indeed handed them the pass and could they check again. Instead of doing their job and offering any sort of customer service, they told him to exit the plane immediately or he would be physically removed by security. When he again asked if they could just double check before he did so, the captain announced that they would call security if he did not exit, so he did. As they were leaving, a stand-by passenger–who was already on the plane for some reason–took his seat.

    When they got to the gate/kiosk, my brother’s boarding pass was AT THE TOP OF THE PILE. Not in the middle, not stuck to another pass, BUT ON TOP. The flight attendant didn’t even have the decency to apologize. Instead, she said “how did that get there, it wasn’t there before.” Really? Because when my brother asked her to double check, she hadn’t left the plane. Seems very shady to me.

    So the plan takes off without my brother on it and when the manager came out, they acted like my brother had done something wrong! They didn’t even get him on the next flight out. He had to wait 4 hours only to be given a C boarding pass! They didn’t even have the decency to offer him pre-boarding or a friggin A for that matter.

    My brother is the nicest guy in the world and just simply wants an apology from the flight attendant and Southwest, and their acknowledgment that it was their error, but we can’t even find a place to complain! If anyone knows how to get a hold of these people please let me know.

    Thank you for letting me vent!

  33. Follow-up!

    I wanted to share the next leg of this story. Today my brother called into the customer service line and the customer service woman was absolutely appalled by what happened. She said that it isn’t even their policy to pull people off the planes in that situation, much less have someone waiting in the wings to take their seat.

    The woman gave him the flight attendant’s ID number and then she checked to see about his “missing” boarding pass. Turns out, it wasn’t missing at all and her computer showed his boarding pass being scanned at 6:46pm. It was never even lost in the first place! Definitely some shady business going on, but at least the person on the phone agreed and is helping them with their complaint.

    I am happy that at least someone in the Southwest organization was helpful and acknowledged the poor treatment. I can’t fault the whole airline for one, bad apple, but if given the choice, I would most likely not fly them out of Salt Lake City!

  34. I don’t hate Southwest, but sometimes I hate some of the things they do. The latest: When I go online to checkin and print my boarding pass, that boarding pass now appears with several garish full color ads on it. I don’t care that much about them trying to make a buck selling ads on the boarding pass. I think it’s crass but hey! This doesn’t make them different from the other airlines as far as scraping the bottom of the barrel for revenue and nickel and diming their customers. But I DO object to having to waste all that ink to print out the stupid pass on my home inkjet printer. Two or three of these boarding passes with ads —- and I fly Southwest a LOT — and I’ve got to go out and buy expensive inkjet cartridge refills. Come on, Southwest, why do you treat me this way??

  35. I flew Southworst Airlines once and never again, next time rollerskates. I flew for a living in the 1980s and had to catch a SW flight from Phoenix to Abq. I was ready to deplane before the flight left the gate. The stewardesses’ behavior gave one suspicions that they were drunk. I asked a passenger next to me if this was going on before they arrived in Phoenix, he nodded his head yes, with a look of resignation. An FAA regulation was violated on climbout and I finally got these freak stewardesses to sober up when I asked for their names. I asked them if the FAA knows about their behavior and the reply was “the FAA are our friends”. The stewardess didnt appear to friendly when I deplaned – I asked to speak with the pilots and one of the pilots said that “we are encouraged to joke (not exact words). I filed a complaint with the FAA for this one flight. That was my only flight on a joke of an airline. I was almost speared by a Southworst flight taxiing in Phoenix as they taxi so fast they practically miss FAA Tower instructions. This is an unsafe airline. Sorry they are still in business,


  36. Southwest Airlines robbed us of over $360.00 today by claiming that we could not use our funds from a prior unused ticket (purchased within the year) because $71.00 of it was from a prior ticket over a year old. So instead of deducting the $71.00 from the $360.00, they kept the entire $360.00. Nice. I’ll drive before I get on one of their beater planes again.


    on a recent trip to vegas for my bestfriends 21st birthday they lost my bag worth of $4,225 worth i followed the procedures as i was asked to and got a phone call today after a whole month and a half telling me Your claim sound questionable and we are not going to honor it…. how are you going to tell a customer in which you have caused so mnayyyyy and multiple inconvinieces that you are not going to honor the claim..I will be taking this rediculous compnay to court and JUSt have to see what happens from their..THEY deserve to GO out of bussinesssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  38. I too loathe SWA. We flew our family down to Tampa for some family time this summer, and it was the first time dealing with them. Six tickets ran us about $1,300, so it was by no means a bargin.

    When I asked my family how the flight was, all I got was raised eyebrows……no one wants to be negative…esp. at the start of a very rare and dear family vacation…….I let it pass. Later, my daughter just said the seats were quite cramped, and the attendents had the kind of attitudes you DON’T want small children to see.

    When they returned, we were permitted to help them all right up to the gate…….and wow, just WOW. There were two couples, who apparently didn’t understand the Cattle Trough line up procedure, or were not listening when their letter was called. Our girls were in trough B………so when they didn’t move, we proceeded onward to the gate, while these other people just stayed in trough A. When the last child’s boarding pass was being taken, these people rushed up, pushed two of my grandchildren aside, and stuffed their boarding passes into the face of the gate attendent. Like a zombie, she just looked at them, took their passes, and let them cut right through our group of six who were boarding.

    After they all were out of earshot, and on the plane, I asked if that’s how she was taught to handle situations like that. With a flat affect, and an even more vacant stare, she just looked at me, and said NOTHING…….I mean not one word.

    Later that week, I called and was put through to the complaint department. The woman was extremely defensive, then devolved to downright rude. She proceeded to go into a hyper-rant as to all required information I would need to start the complaint process, then asked what kind of PROOF I had. SCREW THAT…….our intention was to make this a yearly thing. However, we won’t be buying SIX TICKETS at a time from SWA, only non-stop from Buffalo, or not.

    When you allow people to shove toddlers out of the way while boardning in a family group, and let it go unchecked, well, I have to say YOU SUCK.

  39. SOUTHWEST SUCKS! They have crappy attitudes and this whole ‘aren’t we a fun airline’ is BS.

    I flew SWA from PHL to LAS and they SUCK! I will do everything within my power to NEVER – repeat NEVER – fly Southwest again. They lost my luggage – with all my personal items and Christmas presents from my family. And they were *NO HELP* in finding it. The people at the LAS airport we just like ‘well, it probably got hung up in security’ and told me to go and look again — they didn’t offer to help me look, nope, nothing, I had to go and look again…and that whole ‘hung up in security’ BS — funny, because there were at least 3 others from my flight also logging lost luggage complaints….hmmm, did ALL our luggage get ‘hung up in security’. What BS. I fly from PHL to LAS and back on a regular basis and my luggage has never been ‘hung up in security’ before – oh, wait, but that was on a REAL airline, not this crappy one.

    So they told me it should be on the afternoon flight – so I’m waiting and waiting and hearing nothing – so I called the 888 number, was on hold for OVER 40 MINUTES! Got nothing…so I called their 800 number – guess what the geniuses there do? Well, gee, they transfer me to the 888 number so after waiting on hold for ANOTHER 30 MINUTES someone finally answers and just says ‘Well it looks like they are still looking for it’ and that’s it…nothing else….no ‘sorry we lost all your Christmas presents’…nothing at all…and I am SO PISSED at them right now and I told the guy that I have been flying for YEARS and this was my first flight with SWA and the first time I *EVER* lost baggage and…he hung up…not so much as a goodbye…nothing…yep, he hung up on me. Now, that’s *GREAT* customer service.

    SOUTHWEST SUCKS! and I will spend the rest of my days telling everyone I know that they suck. It’s bad enough with their seating crap but then to lose my luggage and just not give a s*** about it is WRONG.

    Oh, yeah, and Customer Service is closed for the holidays…YES, it’s CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS and won’t reopen until Dec 29th. WTF??? You people are running an airline and you close your Customer Service for the holidays?? WTF???

    I went with SWA to save money and now it’s costing me more then the $100 or so I saved – all my stuff is gone, my presents from family, all gone…


  40. Ok so here is how it went…my orig flight was Sat 27th dec 08….but seeing how i have not seen my family in quiet some time (in the military) I paid the 83 dollar upgrade fee to leave a day sooner…Ok then the weather hits at the last moment before i get to chicago from biggie act of God, so KC here we come…..well we land and i am stuck there for the night..again sucks, but no biggie, i will still make it home 15 hours ahead of what my original flight would have been..worth 83 bucks, nah but still ok…well we get on the runway in KC and I sleep wake up 2 hours later, still on the runway…sheesh, call my folks and say hey Im gonna miss the flight in Nashiville to Detroit, so ill call u when we take off in KC and land in nashville….well yup i missed my flight in nashville because of the delay in KC (weather) Sucks but again nothing they can I end up in Chicago, wait 6 hours and finally make it to Detroit…..49hours later..ouch but again weather…So I just want to pick up my seabag and go to sleep…But oh wait, they lost my luggage…WHAT???!!!! So its been three days, no luggage, no clothes, and worst off I have no military uniforms anymore..ouch..well after the first 24 hours they said i could spend 50 bucks and buy underwear and what not…great, just save the reciepts and they will give me money, ok we will see…..oh they didnt give me my 83 bucks back, but i got a 100 credit good for a year towards my next flight, so thats kinda good, but still no luggage, so We shall see…I hope they find it, as I had gifts from over seas in there, and well all of the clothes that I own, including harley shirts from all over the world…so this sucks, on leave and well yea no clothes, they said they will find them and if not cool they will replace them…but it takes 6-8 weeks to get paid…HUH? I NEED MONEY NEXT WEEK, how am I suppose to do my job without my uniforms??!!!! Who has a extra 2k laying around to replace shoes, boots, and clothes… far I dont know what I think of them….I hope they take care of this, but we shall see…I know stuff like this happens but well sucks when it happens to me lol…….

  41. My family and I were traveling on SWA everything was well, we had great refreshments and the attendents were friendly and polite.When we landed we waited at the baggage claim where only one bag showed up. A employee was looking at the baggage claim and collected any baggage that went around more than 3 times. she piled them in a corner and then lined them up rudely telling people to look there for their luggage or go inside the office to look. The other employee behind the counter helped filed a lost bagage claim but then commented ” this is a bad time to travel” ..UH DUH!!! there’s no such thing as a bad time to travel (unless she meant bad weather) in which case it was a clear sky and the sun was shining. I had some items on the luggage which are important and all SWA offered was a 50$ reimbersment for the “future flight” which was only good if they found our lugage and we drove back to the air port ourselves to claim it. If they delivered the luggage no such thing would happen. Also the luggage carring carts ran OVER our lugagge crushing the side and leaving small shattered pieces in side and around the lugage. SWA really made me angry when they simply replied that the damage THEY had done was from another time and that they had nothing to do with it. They also refused to futher discuss anything more about the luggage. Even if they didn’t want to do something about it or tell me what happened to my luggage can’t a customer at least have a decent conversation before denied the right to know what the heck happened?

  42. Gary Kelly
    Chairman and CEO
    Southwest Airlines

    Dear Mr. Kelly,

    I realize that this is a lengthy letter but I want you to know the details of what I experienced when your airlines lost my bag. I know that you are a busy man but I would appreciate it if you would take the time to read my letter.

    On January 13, 2009 I dropped my wife off at Southwest Airline curb service at the Portland International Airport for flight #1156 to San Diego, California, with one stop in Sacramento. While I was driving to long term parking, she checked our two bags in with the skycap, requested her wheel chair and was transported to the gate. After dropping off the car, I came back to the airport and met her at the gate. We boarded the plane about 10:20AM and departed at 10:50PM. We flew to Sacramento, where we remained on the plane and then flew on to San Diego. When we landed in San Diego, a wheelchair was waiting for my wife and the gentleman that was pushing the chair told us that he was going to take us on a short cut to baggage claim. When we arrived at the baggage claim carasoul, it was not turning and I noticed on the reader board that I was at the correct carasoul, for flight #1156. The conveyer belt started and my wife’s bag was the first one out and I remained at the carasoul until all of the bags were out. My bag never came out. I then went to other carasoul’s to check for my bag and it was no where to be found. I when to the Southwest Baggage office, which is right next to the carasoul and told them that my bag was missing and they told me to go back to the carasoul to check for my bag and that sometimes there are delays in putting the bags on the carasoul, after an airplane lands. I stayed out by the carasoul for another one-half hour and nothing. I then went back to the South West Baggage office and told them that I wanted to file a claim. I told them that I couldn’t believe that they could possibly loose my bag on a direct flight from Portland, with a stop over in Sacramento. The lady that I spoke with was a bit sharp with me, with her tone of voice but I decided that I should just file the claim and hopefully my bag would arrive in a few hours or so. I completed a Lost/Delayed Report Receipt, report no. 1002535832 at 14:12, bagtag, PDXT556450. I told the lady that my sleep apnea equipment was in my bag and that it was very important for me told have this equipment, each night. I also told her that this was the first time that I had ever checked my apnea equipment in my bag and that it was based on the fact that it was a direct flight. I have flown several times in the past few years and I have always carried my equipment, especially, non-direct flights. I was told that they would be searching for my bag and that they would deliver it to the hotel where we were staying at in San Diego, when they found it. They also told me that this happens on occasion and that most of the time, they find the baggage.

    My wife and I flew to San Diego for a church meeting with the Presbyterian Church’s, Self Development of People. We checked into our room at the Town and Country Resort and I called the (888)202-1024 number on the lost/delayed report to find out about my bag. . I was told that it hadn’t been found and they were sure that they would find it soon and would have it delivered. I called the front desk to find out find they had any shaving gear and tooth paste and brush and they delivered it to my room. I wore a sweat suit and tennis shoes and I am now, without any other clothing and I have meeting the next day. I called the (888) around 9:00PM and still no bag. This would be the first night in about eight years that I wouldn’t be using my apnea equipment.

    The next morning, January 14th, I called the (888) and still no bag. I went to the church meetings and told everyone about the lost bag and that I didn’t usually attend church meeting in a sweat outfit. This was on January 14th. The members of the church committee told me that they would be praying for my bag and especially my sleep apnea equipment. I told the lady that I didn’t have any other clothing or shaving gear and I was told to go out and purchase it, keep receipts and that I would be reimbursed by the Southwest Baggage office, before I departed from San Diego. I took a cab to Target and to JCPenney’s, which cost me $8.00 and purchased the lease expensive dress pants, $10.00 each, three shirts for $5.00 each, socks, shoes and shaving gear, items that I needed for the week and for the meetings. I called the (888) again in the PM and still no bag. I told the lady about my sleep apnea equipment and she told me that I could call Medical Rental Company in the San Diego area and that they rented sleep apnea equipment. I called the company and told them about my problem and was told that they were not equipped to feed the equipment with my specific data. Well, that wouldn’t help. The lady also told me that she had sent (3) emails, one to Portland, one to Sacramento and on to San Diego, asking them to check their baggage lockers and the she should receive feedback from them in a short period of time.

    The next morning, January 15th, I called the (888) number and was told that my bag was still missing and I told the man that I thought it would be important for them to know the content of my bag. He agreed and I gave him a description of the clothing, shoes, apnea equipment, my wives hats, socks, and etc. He told me that it was a good idea for them to know that information, just in case, all of the tags were pulled off. This man was probably the most helpful and understanding. He told me that Sacrament and San Diego had gotten back with him with emails stating that they didn’t have my bag and that Portland didn’t respond. He told me that he was going to send another email to Portland. In fact, during the entire time that I was in San Diego, your Portland baggage claim office never responded to any of the emails regarding my lost bag. Most of the people that I spoke with at the (888) could have cared less. I understand that this is an answering service that Southwest using with missing baggage and I was told at the Southwest Baggage Claim office that they didn’t think that this was a good idea to have, someone outside of Southwest, handle the calls and that all of it was based on them, the (888) people, calling baggage claim. The man told me that they were looking for my bag and that it would be delivered as soon as they found it. Several church people and employees, namely the front desk people at the Resort, couldn’t believe that Southwest had lost my bag, in that it was a non-stop flight. (So to speak).

    I spoke with the Resort’s Consigner and told her about by lost baggage and she told me that she would do some tracking for me. I gave her all of my flight information and she told me that she would look into it and would get back with me. She called me that afternoon in my room and gave me the bad news. Southwest Airlines doesn’t have a tracking system for baggage. What! She told me that she called your airlines and told them about my situation and was told that they didn’t have a tracking system and the Consigner told the Southwest employee, “then you don’t know if the bag ever made it to the plane in Portland” and she said, “yes”. I was shocked. I guess I assumed that every airline had a tracking system. With all of the latest technology and companies striving to “Satisfy Customers” I would have thought that your airlines had a tracking system. So what is to prevent a skycap or a TSA employee from stealing a bag, before it goes to the plane? If they aren’t tracked, then it is an open field.

    I called the (888) again and voiced my complaint and was told that they were only an answering service for Southwest and that if I wanted to; I could call the main baggage office in Dallas, Texas and talk to them. I called the 214.792.4223 and spoke with a lady that “could have cared less about my bag”. Nothing about, sorry about you bag, we are looking for your bag, or anything that was reassuring about my bag. She told me to call, 214-792.7900 and I received about the same treatment. Perhaps you could have a training session with all of your personnel that have to do with lost or missing baggage, at a central location in the US, that have them fly to the destination, and when they check into the hotel, you purposely take their luggage and store it for several days, so that they discover what it is like to be without their clothing and other necessary items. Perhaps they would have more empathy for the passengers who lose their luggage or it is missing. Harrison Ford starred in a movie several years ago and had his staff in hospital beds for several days and wanted them to experience what it is like, being in a bed at the hospital. It was a true story and it was successful.

    It is now, January 16, and I called the (888) again and was told that they were still looking for my bag. I can’t believe it. It has now been 3-1/2 days and they still haven’t found my bag. I attended several church meeting during the day and at each meeting, I am asked, “Have they found your bag” and my reply is “No”. Well, we will keep praying for your bag”. It is now around 7:00PM and I called the (888) again and I am told that they had found my bad and that it would be delivered that evening. I was so excited. I asked that lady, ‘Where did they find it and she told me that she didn’t know that information”. I was elated. My wife was in a meeting and I went into the meeting room and told her that they had found my bag and she was not only, excited but the entire room explored with, “Amen’s”, “Glory Halleluiah” and more. That night, I went to bed, knowing that my bag had been found and that they would be delivering it, soon. I woke up several times during night and was wondering, “Where is my bag?”

    It is now, January 17th, and I called the (888) and told them that me bag wasn’t delivered and was told that it was a mistake. That they hadn’t found my bag and that the lady that told me about the bag didn’t have all if the information about the bag and that she shouldn’t have told me that it had been found. I am dumfounded! You are kidding? No, it was a mistake. Unbelievable. My wife was in the room when I was told this information and she, couldn’t believe it. “Why in the world would they tell you that they found the bag, when in fact, I hadn’t been found?” I told her, “That’s it with Southwest Airlines”. They don’t have a baggage tracking system and they don’t have a good follow-up system regarding, lost baggage. We went to some meeting and I told them about the bag and they were, again, shocked. You are kidding! “No”. We are so sorry.

    It is now, January 18th and still no bag. I called the (888) and was told that they still hadn’t found my bag. I told them that I was leaving the Resort and going home and if or when they found my bag to contact me at my home phone. When I arrived at the airport, I went directly to you baggage claim area and spoke with Bruce. He told me that they had found a bag in Ft. Meyers, Fl. with some sleep apnea equipment and told me that he was going to follow-up on the bag. He placed several calls and was not able to get through to anyone. He went on to tell me that the equipment was in a separate bag and I told him that my equipment was packed in my bag and it wasn’t separate. I then presented my receipts for clothing and shaving gear and the total came to $150.00 for items that I needed during the week. I told Bruce that I found the least expensive clothing and shaving gear that I could find. He and an associate looked at the list and told me that they allowed only $50.00 and I told them that there was no way so cover what I needed for the meetings and basic survival, during my stay. The lady called a supervisor and it was authorized to pay me the $150.00. I am attaching a list of items that I purchased for my stay. This was the happiest moment that I have had, regarding this awful experience. I thanked both of them and told them that I could be reached at home at 1.800.818.7862 or 503.824.4700. As of this date, February 3, I have not heard anything from Southwest Baggage.

    When we arrived at the Portland Airport, I went directly to the Southwest Baggage Claim with my lost baggage report and asked a lady to look at the bags that were in storage, which they did and told me that me bag wasn’t there. A male Southwest employee came in and I told him about my lost/ stolen luggage and brought up the fact that my bag had either been misplaced or stolen and he said, “What do you mean stolen”. I told him in the fact that you don’t have a tracking system to track bags that it would be easy for a skycap or a TSA employee to steal the bag and he became offensive and said, “I don’t think so” and I replied, “Then were is my bag” and he walked away.

    I follow-up on the 19th and called the Kaiser Pulmonary Department and told my doctor about the lost bag and the apnea equipment and told him that I had been off of the machine for almost a week and he was, very upset. I told him about the situation regarding the Medical Equipment Company in San Diego and he told me to come in and pick up a loaner. I went in that morning and picked up a loaner to use until I am reimbursed for the machine that was lost or stolen. I am attaching a letter from Kaiser, showing the amount it will cost me to have it replaced.

    I sent all of the information that I was told to send to Southwest Airlines, Central Baggage Services, P O Box, 36663, Dallas, Texas, 75235-1663. I received the letter from Southwest regarding the Passenger Property Loss Claim and I am in the process of filling it out and I am also attaching a copy of the completed, Description of Luggage, Contents and Value which I am sending in today’s mail. In the cover letter it states that receipts might be requested and most of the items that I have listed, we paid cash. So there is no way that I can produce receipts for clothing and other items that were in my bag. The main item that I need is the sleep apnea equipment.

    I have filed a stolen property report with the Portland Police Department because I think that my bag was stolen in Portland, before my flight to San Diego. In the State of Oregon it is a felony if the property is more than $250.00 and the Police Department is going to investigate the situation. They told me that they were going to look into other incidents at the Portland airport regarding missing baggage and Southwest Airlines.

    A couple of other ideas as to, as to what happened to my bag. It was on the plane to San Diego and when we stopped in Sacramento, someone in baggage, mistakenly took my bag from the airplane and sent it somewhere else or stole it or took it from the plane and stole it. When we landed in San Diego, someone in baggage mistakenly took my bag from the plane and sent it somewhere else or stole it.

    I am attaching letters that I found in the Internet from Southwest customers regarding their treatment they have received in the past and many situations about lost luggage. Time and time again, customers are arriving at destinations, and are on non-stop flights and there bags are missing. They then go on to say how they were treated and it sounds very similar to the way that I was treated. “Without Respect”. I don’t know if you have read any of these complaints but I think it might be a good idea to read some of them. An eye opener.

    I am attaching some information about my wife and myself to let you know more about our background:

    “ABOUT US”
    Both George and I are in our late-sixties and we started “Held’s Discount Knives” in 1997. We started selling both Puma Knives and Coast Cutlery Products at Gun and Knife Shows throughout the Pacific Northwest and at shows in Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee. We also sold our products at the O’loughlin’s Sportsmen’s Shows in the Pacific Northwest. Our business grew rapidly and we decided to sell our products on the Internet. We started selling our products in our web store, and over the years we have established any excellent selling reputation throughout the United States and on an International bases.
    We take great pride in “Customer Satisfaction” and strive to process your product orders in a very timely manner and we have super fast shipping.
    I am a Native American, a registered member of the Winnebago Tribe and I am a retired registered nurse. I grew up in Oregon, attended Willamette University in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon Nursing School. George also grew up in Oregon and I graduated from Lewis and Clark College, where I played football, baseball and was on the wrestling team. Upon graduation, I played professional baseball with the Cincinnati Reds Organization for two years, was a high school teacher and coach and was a motivational speaker for Motivation Unlimited. George and I are high school sweethearts.
    We have a farm in Oregon, which is located on the edge of the Mt. Hood National Forest, where we raise horses, buffalo, cows, chickens, dogs, cats and rabbits. We have five adult children; two sons who are Portland Firefighters, a son that is a Major in the Army, a daughter who is a Nurse Practitioner and another daughter who owns a computer company.
    We are members of the West Linn Presbyterian Church, members of the Oregon Duck Hunter’s Association, and members of the Native American Chamber of Commence, Ducks Unlimited and Northwest Steelheaders.
    I am 68 years old and have been diagnosed with major depression and I am taking medication for this everyday. An experience like the one that I encounter with your airline, certainly doesn’t help my mental condition and the lady that told me that my bag had been found and to find out that it was a mistake was awful. On top of the events during the week in San Diego and not being on the apnea equipment, it has been very trying for me. A trip to Kaiser for the apnea equipment, then the papers arrived from the passenger property loss claim department and I have spent hours, with me wife, trying to determine the dates that we/I purchased the items and trying to remember the original costs. In addition to my items, my wife didn’t have enough room in her bag so she put four of her dress hats in my bag, hats that she always wears to church meetings. I had a baseball cap in my lost bag that I received in 1964 when I was trying out in spring training with the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Team. Several of the church members wanted to see it so I packed it in my bag. What is the value for something like this? I have no idea, but I put down, $65.00 and I know the value is priceless. Plus, to replace the sleep apnea equipment from Kaiser, they are going to charge me $986.00 for the machine and $223.00 for the mask.

    Thanks for reading my letter,

    George Held
    PO Box 515
    Colton, Oregon 97017

  43. I don’t work for SWA but I am a ticket agent for another major airline. It seems when we have weather delays is when we run into the greatest conflict. I work in Phoenix, so the weather is always beautiful. However, the plane is coming from somewhere else. Often for me, the plane is coming from Chicago O’Hare. Guess what, it snows there. There is always some idiot telling me that he called his uncle who lives in Chicago and his uncle said its sunny. That is the most annoying thing! First of all, the weather problem could be somewhere in route. Secondly, we have to land the planes at the airport, not at your uncle’s house. Also, the planes fly at 35,000 feet and things are slightly different up there. Lastly, no matter what u think, if the air traffic controllers tell us that they need to implement a ground delay program, we have to obey! And this creates a traffic jam, much like the freeway during rush hour when one of the lanes get closed. So quit your bitching and drive if your that spoiled!

  44. south west f–k n is the worst. eventually wish n they go out of bussiness
    they don t deserve to be in bussiness let alone fly crappy asshole . delayed for
    three hours circling phl for another three hours. that why i will stay with
    A I R T R A N S. no problems missed my plane without any problems
    airtrans guy put me on the next plane ya

    no business

    A I R T R A N S 100% the way to go
    friendly get u going cheaper then southwest
    all business

  45. South West dropped the ball big time on me, I was flying from Oakland Ca to Austin Texas transfer in PHX and short layover in Reno NV first.

    They unloaded my Wheelchair in Reno, They said they found it in Reno,
    My suitcase was no where to be found. when i talked to coustemer service they left over for me, I was surprised about that in Austin, only to find out my baggage wasn’t there. and they don’t know where it is. I’m not going say i had the Hope diamond in there. but i had leg socks 8 of them at 25.00 each and those are one of the most inportant things i need in a daily basics there for my left leg Im a BKA Below the knee amputee i lost drawings someone did of me and professional stage make up what is around 500 dollars and 2 full suits ,
    plus more
    i can show that i use the make up in pictures of me onstage. i hope they find it. i called them today and they didnt know where it was so they asked me what was in it. i just said the basics what i had and i said i had more in it.
    so i have to be home from 5-10 pm to wait for my chair i was kinda hopeing they didnt find it i can use a newer one. a new one is over a grand for the brand of chair i had.
    i flew south west 10 times or more. all of the times i flew, so i don’t fly much only to shows when the venue pays for them.

    any ideas if they dont find my suitcsae what the best things to do.

  46. @Tina… like personal oxygen tanks were even allowed onboard…you’re making that story up….my poor Granny was abused…please

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