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Customer Service
COMPLAINT: Alaska MVP Gold turns to Southwest Airlines

 
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  #1  
Old Aug 17, 2009, 1:03 AM
[email protected] lweaver@galaxydesserts.co is offline
 
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I have been an Alaska MVP Gold for serveral years and am finding myself preferring to fly on Southwest Airlines. The flight attendants on Southwest are so much friendlier, they don't have baggage charges, I can easily rebook unused tickets on the website and they also allow a passenger to use several unused tickets to book a new flight. Alaska only allows a passenger to use one ticket and if the new flight is less than the value of the unused ticket you lose it.
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  #2  
Old Aug 17, 2009, 5:18 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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WalMart of the air claims another victim. I've never found SWA's FA's to be any friendlier than any other airline.
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  #3  
Old Aug 17, 2009, 6:43 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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If you live in the northwest, or northern Rockies, as I do, or travel there a lot, Alaska is probably your best bet for convenience AND, relatively, decent service. Southwest does serve Seattle, Spokane, Portland and Boise, however a lot of their service is connecting. For a trip to the east coast there's no question that Alaska Air first class has Southwest beat for comfort. Also Alaska has interline agreements with other airlines which allow travel ending in a city not served by Alaska.

Southwest has just about everyone (compared to other US-based carriers) beat when it comes to an overall on-time record. This on-time record may take a hit now that Southwest is flying to New York--LaGuardia and Boston. If I'm wrong about Southwest's on-time record I'd appreciate Jetliner, or one of his friends, providing the link which indicates otherwise. Unlike Alaska, Southwest does NOT have ANY interline agreements with any other airline. An agreement with West Jet, of Canada may, or may not, emerge within the coming year. If you want to connect to, or from, Southwest you must claim your baggage then re-check your bags with the next airline. Southwest's fare rules DO seem to be the most "customer friendly" of any US-based airline. During the winter months I strongly suggest purchasing Southwest's "Anytime" fare which is fully refundable.

As to flight attendant attitudes: I think someone who says labor relations do NOT have an effect on employee morale has a lot of convincing to do. Maybe Jetliner, et al, can accomplish that. I believe Alaska recently signed an agreement with their bargaining unit, the Teamsters. Southwest, compared to other US-based carriers, has enjoyed relative labor peace.

And now about mystery meat, or something dead with gravy on it (served in first class): Yes, if you think airline food is the greatest thing in the world, Alaska is your airline. Southwest has peanuts for their "main course." Indeed, Southwest has run ads almost mocking their non-food flights.

Lastly, there's the matter of profitability. Southwest has enjoyed 130+ CONSECUTIVE quarters of profitability, or around 32 years. No other US-based carrier can make that claim. Worldwide, Lufthansa and Singapore are two carriers with a relative sustained record of profitability. To say that profitability does NOT impact on the quality of the service product is being out of touch, at best.
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Last edited by Butch Cassidy Slept Here; Aug 17, 2009 at 6:48 PM.
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  #4  
Old Aug 17, 2009, 8:01 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I have been an Alaska MVP Gold for serveral years and am finding myself preferring to fly on Southwest Airlines. The flight attendants on Southwest are so much friendlier, they don't have baggage charges, I can easily rebook unused tickets on the website and they also allow a passenger to use several unused tickets to book a new flight. Alaska only allows a passenger to use one ticket and if the new flight is less than the value of the unused ticket you lose it.
I like this post. Although not a true complaint about (a) specific issue(s) it points out that as consumers we do have options. Not every airline will be a good fit for every customer.

I agree that Alaska's policies about reissuing tickets is somewhat restrictive and not always consumer friendly. You must realize, however, that Southwest's and Alaska's ticketing systems are vastly different. Southwest treats unused tickets as travel funds which are "deposited" into a "bank" which can be "withdrawn" in any increment desired. With Alaska a ticket is a ticket and can only be exchanged on a one for one basis. If that exchange results in a net decrease in fare you do lose the difference. When that has happened to me I've had agents who will match my existing ticket with a higher fare so that the loss in value is minimized.

As for the friendliness of the flight attendants for the most part that is a completely subjective observation. I still think Alaska has some of the best in the industry. That's not to say that there aren't some really terrific FA's over at Southwest either. As with any group of people there will be some that are exceptional and a few who are "bad apples." The majority will fall somewhere in the middle.
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  #5  
Old Aug 17, 2009, 10:33 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Quote:
I like this post. Although not a true complaint about (a) specific issue(s) it points out that as consumers we do have options.
In reality for many, no such choice exists. The pattern of the airlines has been to distort normal market forces by created monopolistic "fortress" hubs. The purpose of these so called fortress hubs is to make it very difficult for viable competitors to emerge. It would be nice if the kind of choices customers had to make were between Alaska and Southwest. Instead, many are forced to fly Delta, US Air and American as they happen to live near their hubs and the range of flights, times or frequencies dictate which airline you will need to fly.
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  #6  
Old Aug 18, 2009, 7:06 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Butch Cassidy Slept Here View Post
As to flight attendant attitudes: I think someone who says labor relations do NOT have an effect on employee morale has a lot of convincing to do. Maybe Jetliner, et al, can accomplish that. I believe Alaska recently signed an agreement with their bargaining unit, the Teamsters. Southwest, compared to other US-based carriers, has enjoyed relative labor peace.
Correction. Alaska's flight attendants are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) which is part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). There is no affiliation whatsoever.

Try using Google every now and then.
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  #7  
Old Aug 18, 2009, 7:23 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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Alaska is organized. I don't know if a debate about the relative merits of Teamsters vs. CWA is needed. I'm a retired CWA (not airline division) member myself. Delta, on the other hand, gets their kicks from blocking/busting unions. Just ask those who work in Delta's Northwest division. And, as to my original point, I submit this reflects upon the attitudes of the workers, including flight attendants.

Phx, give it a second try. That was the ONLY problem you could find in that post???
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  #8  
Old Aug 18, 2009, 8:07 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Butch Cassidy Slept Here View Post
Alaska is organized. I don't know if a debate about the relative merits of Teamsters vs. CWA is needed. I'm a retired CWA (not airline division) member myself. Delta, on the other hand, gets their kicks from blocking/busting unions. Just ask those who work in Delta's Northwest division. And, as to my original point, I submit this reflects upon the attitudes of the workers, including flight attendants.

Phx, give it a second try. That was the ONLY problem you could find in that post???
When I first started at the "telephone company" I was in the CWA as well. I was a shop steward as well until I was promoted to management. Your mentioning of the teamsters was obviously meant as a derogatory dig at the Alaska airlines flight attendants. We all know the negative connotations that are behind that statement.

Now it's your turn to "try again" Butch! Besides, why can't you just admit you were wrong. Oh, I know why. That would never happen! You're always right...in Butch's world...
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  #9  
Old Aug 19, 2009, 4:15 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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spmaoqyxm reported for spam.
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  #10  
Old Aug 28, 2009, 5:22 AM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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  #11  
Old Aug 28, 2009, 11:44 AM
abutterfinger25 abutterfinger25 is offline
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[quote=Butch Cassidy Slept Here;10849]
Southwest has just about everyone (compared to other US-based carriers) beat when it comes to an overall on-time record. This on-time record may take a hit now that Southwest is flying to New York--LaGuardia and Boston. If I'm wrong about Southwest's on-time record I'd appreciate Jetliner, or one of his friends, providing the link which indicates otherwise.
[/quote]

From our most current Air Travel Consumer Report (http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/repor...200908ATCR.PDF)


On Time Arrival Percentage

31 Major Reportable Airports
Alaska - 84.4%
Southwest - 77.4%
Total* - 75.1%

All Reportable Airports
Alaska - 84.5%
Southwest - 78.1%
Total - 76.1

* I believe that the Total percent is only for the ranked carriers.
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  #12  
Old Aug 28, 2009, 4:33 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Another reason I fly Alaska whenever possible.
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  #13  
Old Aug 28, 2009, 7:09 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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I guess this must be the week of resurrecting old posts. I'll try to look on the positive side: 10 days old sure as heck beats-out the two-month one "DL" dredged-up. The latter party has yet to be forthcoming about his/her motives in doing that.

As to your post Gromit: I'll say basically the same things your airline friends on here would say if the tables were turned--

On your numbers: I suspect Southwest CONSISTENTLY comes-up with numbers like that, or better. The "legacy" airlines WISH they had numbers like that on a REGULAR basis. And, yes, I know--Alaska is, technically, a "legacy" airline.

I can't believe the cities Alaska serves doesn't have something to do with their numbers. I suspect it's been a long time since there has been a tarmac delay at Nome or Barrow airports. The biggest source of delay (aside from snow and wind) at those airports is probably chasing moose off the runway.

I don't know how one can, with a straight face, say Alaska's route network compares to Southwest's.

Still, Alaska is on my "A-list" of domestic airlines. Next to Southwest, their flight attendants are about as fair and rational as anyone could hope for. Alaska's (mainline) first class service is a plus when it comes to comfort. As I stated previously, first class food service is your typical something dead with gravy on it. By the way, does anyone on here remember the STEAKS on the old Northeast Airlines circa 1969?

As to the collective bargaining agent at Alaska (from a post, by Phx, in this same thread): So far I have NOT been able to find any Teamster representation. Thus my previous post is corrected. Still, to equate the Teamsters with the era of Jimmy Hoffa, SR. borders on the absurd. Hoffa, Sr. has been dead (or in the barrell?) for something like 20 to 30 years. At one point the union was re-admitted to the AFL-CIO. Whether they're still affiliated I don't know.
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  #14  
Old Aug 31, 2009, 5:14 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Butch Cassidy Slept Here View Post

I can't believe the cities Alaska serves doesn't have something to do with their numbers. I suspect it's been a long time since there has been a tarmac delay at Nome or Barrow airports. The biggest source of delay (aside from snow and wind) at those airports is probably chasing moose off the runway.
Seattle, SFO, San Jose, Oakland, LAX, San Diego, Burbank, Denver, Tuscon, Phoenix, Fresno, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Newark, Dulles-DC, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, Vancouver BC, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Mexico City, Los Cabos, La Paz, Guadalaraja, Manzanillo, Ixtapa and many stop of course, in Alaska.

Do a little (very little) research Butch. I'm thinking there's more than a few busy airports with Alaska Stations.
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Old Sep 1, 2009, 12:09 PM
abutterfinger25 abutterfinger25 is offline
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Seattle, SFO, San Jose, Oakland, LAX, San Diego, Burbank, Denver, Tuscon, Phoenix, Fresno, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Newark, Dulles-DC, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, Vancouver BC, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Mexico City, Los Cabos, La Paz, Guadalaraja, Manzanillo, Ixtapa and many stop of course, in Alaska.

Do a little (very little) research Butch. I'm thinking there's more than a few busy airports with Alaska Stations.
Alaska serves 16 of the 31 reportable airports (31 largest) while Southwest serves 20.
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  #16  
Old Oct 28, 2009, 5:09 PM
joy105 joy105 is offline
 
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If you can fly Southwest you are much better off. We live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and have zero competition to the Continental US. Alaska Airlines used to be so good, but they have hit rock bottom when it comes to policy and fees. I do think for the most part the flight attendants and gate agents are good, but it all depends on who you get and what kind of mood they are in.
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  #17  
Old Oct 28, 2009, 7:38 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Delta and NWA (though about to be merged) also fly out of Fairbanks. So "zero competition" isn't true.
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  #18  
Old Oct 28, 2009, 9:10 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Delta and NWA (though about to be merged) also fly out of Fairbanks. So "zero competition" isn't true.
Actually they don't. They codeshare on Alaska. I believe NWA cargo has flights to FAI but not scheduled passenger service.
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  #19  
Old Oct 29, 2009, 4:13 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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I stand corrected. I wonder when that happened?
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