Hey Southwest Airlines, knock-knock, anybody home?

A year ago, in a fit of air rage, I blogged about how Southwest Airlines let me down a couple times in Baltimore. Typical blogger rant about bad service, no big deal, right?

Wrong. Southwest never contacted me, and I refuse to follow their caveman rules for not communicating via email, and only during business hours on the phone, or in a written letter. I don’t fly them anymore, can’t recommend them to anyone who asks, but all in all have written them off as a company I don’t really need to do business with.

Here’s where Southwest is screwing up. I lead a team of people who read the blogs and look for expressions of customer sentiment, good or bad, and then try to do something about it. See the post below? The one where I flip out because one of our own products has done me wrong? That’s the sort of post I look for every day.

Well, Southwest, if you are reading this, which I doubt you are, check out the comments on the original post.  51 comments. Some are obvious astroturfs by defensive Southwest employees (yo, Southwest, having your people in Las Vegas pick fights with angry bloggers only makes the situation worse, not better), but a lot are very angry people with lost bags, who hate your seating system, or think your customer service needs to be improved.

I am not waging a war against Southwest. They are what they are: cheap transportation and a bag of 14 peanuts. Nothing more. Nothing less. But, I blogged that post a year ago, on July 12, 2006, and it is still receiving comments from angry passengers today.

Google “Southwest Sucks” — an understandable action on the part of a frustrated customers — and it would appear I have done my job in terms of search engine optimization. My post ranks number three for the words that any marketer dreads:

I’ve considered killing the post simply because I am tired of being reminded of my negative experience everytime some other poor soul shows up here to vent their spleen. I am not hosting an anti-SW blog like the passengers did on Jet Blue after their infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at JFK. And speaking of Jet Blue, after I blogged to praise them for sending me, proactively, a certificate for something because the in-flight entertainment system failed on a flight (which I was unaware of), I know they read the blog because my server logs told me so.

Southwest, do you have anyone who reads the blogs on your behalf? If so, let’s make a deal. I kill the post if you ask me to. But you have to ask. That’s all. And please ask in email. I don’t accept letters, even if handwritten in your CEO’s blood. And I get to post that you asked. I don’t want a free ticket, lifetime platinum status, a seat in the cockpit, a pedicure. This is, pure and simple, a test of your monitoring capabilities. Give me a sign. Anything. And the original post goes away.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Hey Southwest Airlines, knock-knock, anybody home?”

  1. My wife and I have a family website, and we decided to post our experiences regarding local companies as the good, bad, and the ugly. We would get plenty of emails from others about similar experiences every time we posted a company up in the ugly section, so, I say leave the blog post up, because if Southwest did you wrong and didn’t take care of it, all you are doing is stating a fact. If they take care of it now, then all that means is that they have reverted to the squeaky wheel mentality that drove most of their competitors to bankruptcy.

  2. Go Express Jet! I know of many SW customers who made the switch. Kill the post. It’s probably pointless, and they will never read or contact you. Which is a bummer. 🙁

  3. .. after reading several of the blogs .. i just have to say .. southwest is neither the exception nor the rule when it comes to problems in the airline industry ..
    come on people .. delays .. lost bags .. inconsiderate employees .. this is not a southwest problem .. this is an industry problem ..
    largely due to 9/11 ..

    just remember .. don’t check your common sense with your bags ..

  4. Well I had my bags lost and I kept getting the run around from these jerks. One lady told me if they found it Ill have to come and pick it up my self SOUTHWEST SUCKS and they finally said write tx and hope they reply. I have $1500 worth of dress clothes and other items in my bag they said who travels with that much dress clothes. I called Chicago and Det (where I flew to) none of them have a CLUE where my bags are plus they took my bag claim tix that I need to write to tx what do I do ?

  5. Northwest sucks. Jet Blue sucks. Delta, United, American, AirTran, Qantas. They all suck to the person who’s in-flight movie system fails (or they got 13 nuts instead of the agreed on 14). Everyone’s got an opinion. No surprise here. As much as I’d like to see a customer service revolution (in more than just the airline industry), I don’t think it’s gonna happen because some guy won’t accept snail mail.

  6. Oh please don’t kill the post, I think expressing the anger might keep someone from punching a snotty C.S.A. (myself this a.m. I am including).

    I made the horrid mistake of paying southwest for a ticket to florida. A move and a death precluded my using it then an illness in their time period. I thought O.k. well I’ll call them and we’ll work this out. After all I paid them my money didn’t expire, they can oh i don’t know provide customer service. I was not asking for a refund. I was asking for a ticket to be issued that i did not use. You would have thought I was asking for a private jet to arrive at my house, land on my roof, pick me up give me champagne and fly me straight to Miami Beach for personal set down.

    Let’s just say it’s been an unpleasant morning, an unpleasant extremely snotty experience and now I’m angry!
    (as if they care). however — I can refuse to fly them. Ever again. And hope that others refuse to be treated as cattle with no rights as well. Just say no.

    Keeping my money : legalized theft.
    Acting snotty on the phone to customers : stupid

  7. The Customer Service that Southwest Airlines was once known for is a thing of the past. Ever since Gary Kelly became CEO, Southwest has been cleaning out the company. Those with a brain and education were laid off and replaced with people who don’t know their ass from their head. The reason being that Southwest would rather pay less for their employees. I know this because I am one of the few originals left and I am disgusted with what is going with that company. I also know that six years ago an unhappy Customer could have requested the moon and gotten it. What sickens me is that so many companies try to use Southwest’s business model because they think it is sucessful. They have no idea the millions that Southwest pays to keep a clean profile and to keep people quiet. Many of you will ask me, “Why do you stay with a company that does such things?” The plain truth as we all know is that there just aren’t enough jobs out there. I can’t leave until I have something else lined up. That being said this is just a job to me and nothing more. But to all of those who are unhappy with Southwest Airlines or even hate them, Southwest will get theirs. They won’t be able to operate like this for much longer and they will go down. Too many VP’s are getting greedy…we all know what happened to Enron. Its just a matter of time.

  8. I agree with the previous poster, I too work for SW and Gary Kelly is bringing this company down, he says one thing, but does another. He tells us we need to be “more efficient” and “more productive” and save money where we can, but then he spends no telling how much money on stupid software and hardware that are useless and make are job harder. He spends a $100 to save $10. I don’t trust him at all. He doesn’t care about his employees or his customers, all he cares about is the almighty dollar.

  9. All airlines have screwed me over. I used to luv SWA, but they screwed it up eventually. They are all cattle herders by the way. Living in a city that is not a hub, I have experienced American, Continental, Air Tran, SWA, Delta, Northwest, America West, Frontier, US Air, United, and Xpress Jet (briefly); sooner or later, they all piss you off.

    You basically have to learn to take care of yourselve when travelling. Don’t check bags, carry one that you know you will find room for. Don’t ask for the airlines help. Don’t book goofy tickets to save a buck then get stranded, like one stupid posting individual’s blog I saw who attempted to book over 65 tickets and different intinerarys on the same trip. Come on, 20-30 years ago, the middle class did not fly. You were considered rich if you got near an airport. At $300 bucks for an 800 mile or less trips, you can’t beat it. $300 bucks 30 years ago was like $1500 bucks today.

  10. Even for a week long trip to Hawaii, I still never take more than a carry on. Nobody needs two 50 lb. suitcases worth of junk for a 5 night trip. Want to know how to avoid bag fees and Southwest Airlines at the same time? Pack smarter.

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