I felt like I was in a scene of Planes, Trains and Automobiles on my flight home from Florida Monday, January 2nd.
It began around 10 a.m. with the first flight delay #3551 which would leave me only 10 minutes to make my connecting flight in Houston headed home to Austin. I call Southwest customer service and explain my delay and ask if I need to be booked on another flight to ensure I get home. The agent was encouraging that I would make it, but asked I go to the SW counter once I get there.
A few hours pass and I check the flights again to see if anything has changed. Yep, sure enough it’s delayed even further completely missing my connecting flight, which happens to be the very last flight of the night. I call Southwest again, was put in a hold que for 23 minutes when I received a call back. Now there are NO available flights for the next day except for the evening. I would surely miss work now. This SW agent confirmed the issue was in fact “mechanical issue”. Well, that was good news. I just knew SW would take care of me no matter what happened.
Remaining positive I was resolute it would all work out and even believed there was a chance I could make my connecting flight. So my love, Mark took me to Tampa to catch my plane and off I went.
The Tampa agent said it was not mechanical but weather related which they are not responsible for. She even called her supervisor who backed her up. Assertively I told her what the SW agent verified as a mechanical issue that began in Philly. She just hit repeat. At this point what do you do? I knew I would at least make it to Houston tonight.
The Tampa flight waited and waited further delaying our departure, but the pilot did an amazing job avoiding weather and made up time only to find out when we landed that my connecting flight was gone … just like that! My flight #3551 took off 5 minutes ago. Gone! I was stranded in Houston Hobby airport where all the shops, restaurants and merchants were closed. What once was a bustling airport looked more like a ghost town and it was freezing. I was cold, thirsty, hungry and completely exhausted.
Still trying to be hopeful, I finally found a Houston Hobby SW agent. I retold my story of the first phone agent who said it was a “mechanical issue” only for her to who tell me it was “air traffic”. She was quick to add that SW isn’t responsible for that either.
To make a long story short or a short story long I was up all night in a deserted airport, freezing and in shock that Southwest would do this, abandon a passenger overnight.
I messaged SW Facebook page and retold the very accounts in hopes of them making things right in some way.
Southwest Airlines reply:
Re: Confirmation# BUNYOO
According to our records, Flight #6286 was delayed over an hour due to a mechanical problem. Our ongoing comprehensive maintenance program helps keep our aircraft in excellent condition, but unexpected mechanical problems sometimes arise despite our best efforts. Though we sincerely regret inconveniencing our Customers, we obviously will not operate a flight under conditions that could jeopardize the Safety of our Customers and Crew Members. Nonetheless, we apologize that we weren’t able to get you to your final destination as originally scheduled.
First and foremost, please know there is nothing we value more than the Safety and Security of our Passengers. We have one of the youngest fleets in the sky, a stringent maintenance program that meets or exceeds all Federal Aviation Administration requirements, and some of the best Pilots in the airline industry. Though we sincerely regret inconveniencing our Customers, we obviously will not operate a flight under conditions that could jeopardize the Safety of our Customers and Crew Members. We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back onboard under more favorable conditions. As a gesture of goodwill, I am sending you a $100 Southwest LUV Voucher (SLV), which will arrive via e-mail: within the next 30 days. Instructions for usage will be printed on the voucher. -Rachel
All I wanted was a warm bed, some sleep and to get home as soon as I can. When I purchased my ticket it was agreed upon that SW would get me home. I did not expect 3 agents to lie to me which left me stranded, freezing, thirsty, hungry and completely exhausted.
- How do you compensate for common decency?
- How do you compensate for fundamental comfort (food, water,shelter, warmth)?
- How do you compensate in hopes to rebuild trust after several lies?
The other circumstances I did not bargain for. Who does right? Through it all I was kind and polite to everyone I spoke with. I did not get angry or take my frustrations out on anyone. Instead, around 3 a.m. I began to cry. Tears poured down my face. I was not valued as a human being. I was not valued by a merchant whom I trusted.
Will I trust again? Absolutely. And today, although my 100% hopeful is gone hopeful I still remain.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
… to be continued …
Image credit: author