Let’s Hear Your Airline Complaints! Here’s Mine: Avoid Southwest!

Once upon a time, living in Houston as I do, I had this favorite airline. It was conveniently located at our smaller airport (closer to me) and the fares were reasonable and they flew everywhere I needed to be, mostly non-stop since Houston was their hub.  It was a “fun” and casual airline, with attendants that had some personality. Seating was open, so if I got there early, which I always do,  I had my pick of seats and plenty of room for an overnighter wheelie bag.

The airline was Southwest Airlines, and in the past five years, turning a profit and packing people in from central locations became their focus and priority and there were no longer non-stop options from Houston. In fact, sometimes to go east, they would fly me through Chicago, where they flew in a lot of other annoyed people from other locales, just so they could pack us in like sardines to go east. Premium up-front seats now had to be paid for with priority boarding, and so there went that perk as well. The new flight itineraries patterns meant changing planes from just about anywhere we were traveling to from Houston, which in turn means the more chance of one of their now notorious delays due to: weather in the city the plane was coming from, waiting for people from other flights elsewhere that were delayed, and all kinds of other assorted delays. If I flew Southwest, I knew I could expect to arrive at my destination hours later than expected.

Of course then their airfares went up too. No longer was it the “fun” small and homey airline. I lost my “Luv” for it and now avoid it like the plague. (If you follow advertising, Southwest airlines used the word “Luv” for many years.)

Sometimes though, especially with free tickets due to frequent flyer miles, Southwest is still convenient. For a weekend getaway recently, we needed a direct flight to Ft. Lauderdale at convenient times. We had Southwest miles and they had a direct non-stop flight from Houston. That’s when all the fun began once again.

Going to our destination, there was a maintenance issue. As we sat at the gate waiting, and feeling the ominous delay getting longer, we were finally told they were ordering a new plane and it could be at the gate an hour an a half after our original departure time.

Okay, many say better safe than sorry. But why is Southwest ALWAYS having issues?

Coming back home to Houston was an even better story. Get this one: a woman boarding smacked her luggage into the exit sign as she was putting it into the overhead and broke it.

Seems that due to air regulations, you cannot fly a plane where the rear exit sign is not working. (As a weary woman near us sighed, “If they plane is going down, a lit up rear exit sign doesn’t make any difference at all.”) The Sunday maintenance crew called in was stumped on how to change it out for a new exit sign. So after waiting on the plane for the fix that could not happen, they de-planed us and told us we would wait for another plane arriving from another city. This was a two hour delay, minimum, thanks to a clumsy woman and her luggage.

We finally arrived home, and once again, I was swearing to myself that I would not fly Southwest airlines anytime soon. It is not even worth writing to them to complain, because they send you a voucher towards a future ticket, and this time I am determined not to use them no matter what.

3 comments

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  • I’m a BIG FAN of Virgin America and Jet Blue…neither of which fly into Houston. You nailed Southwest Airlines on the head. Pity I’ll probably need then to fly to Colorado next month.

  • Their attitude toward plus-sized PAYING customers is despicable. Thank goodness as a plus-sized American I never had to use them and I never will. I fit quite fine into one seat, thank you, and seldom need a seatbelt extender. But Southwest Airline would take one look at me and beg to differ

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