View Poll Results: Have you had an unpleasant experience at BDL with a Southwest kiosk attendant?
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Customer Service
COMPLAINT: Southwest CSA - Hartford: Worst Airport Experience to Date

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Old Sep 21, 2012, 7:06 PM
Guest550 Guest550 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1

My overall experience with Southwest over the past few years has been exceptional, almost all of the employees are friendly and they have excellent direct flight offerings.

This said I will now share the story of the staff member located at the Hartford Bradley International Airport whom was extremely unprofessional, down right rude, and exuded the exact opposite of the upbeat friendly, helpful atmosphere that is the Southwest culture.

The actions of this individual were absolutely appalling. I travel a decent amount on business so am aware of airport delays and procedures. The morning of my flight I arrived at the luggage check kiosk approximately 25 minutes prior to my flight, input all the info and printed my boarding pass. Yes, PRINTED my boarding pass at the airport, of which I still have a physical copy. As it was past 30 min prior to the flight, (due to unrelated events beyond anyones control or expectation) the kiosk warned luggage may not make it on the flight, which was perfectly acceptable to me. I was on a direct flight, as I had a meeting 2 hours after I was scheduled to land. I would have happily made the trip back to the airport after the meeting to pick up luggage.

The gentleman attending to the kiosk, Mr. C. (as his airport name tag identified him) was helping the lady next to me as I was patiently yet anxiously waiting. When he had finished with the lady he turned to me, almost immediately displaying the worst attitude I have ever encountered a Southwest employee having. He informed me that he would not let me get on my flight, that I have to get the next one, which routed through MDW arriving after my scheduled meeting. When he was informed I had a meeting and needed to be on my originally scheduled flight, Mr. C. rudely threw up his hands, scolded me and said that it was not possible. Frustrated at the morning’s events, and the treatment Mr. C. I reiterated that I needed be on my scheduled flight as I had a important meeting scheduled. At this point Mr. C. took offense to my tone, and went into what can be best described as a temper tantrum. Stating that I was yelling at him, "You can not treat me this way", "I do not deserve this type of treatment", flailing his arms about huffing and puffing. While I was appalled at this display of childish mannerisms, I knew that pointing out the irrationality of his actions would be of no benefit to any party involved. This in mind I assertively told him that I was not yelling at him, I am just frustrated and trying to get to my flight. Mr. C. was to hear none of it, threw up his hands, wagged his finger at me again exclaimed that "he was not to be treated this way", he could "deny me boarding" and stormed off through the back door saying "I am going to speak with my manager". 5+ minutes plus later he comes back, this is after I had already moved to a different kiosk to seek help from one of the normal, rational Southwest employees that regularly assist customers. Unfortunately the other lady at the desk was busy assisting another customer so I hesitantly dragged my bag back to his kiosk as he informed me that his manager is "allowing" me to get on the next scheduled flight, but with "one more outburst" he will "refuse to issue me a boarding pass".

Mr. C. carried out the rest of the process of changing my flight with this overbearing smugness, to which I could only be silent, biting my tongue practically in tears over the way this gentleman had treated me. To add even more insult to the situation he booked me as standby, stating there was still open seats you shouldn't have a problem getting on the flight. Although this infuriated me even more I calmly noted his name off his badge and let it slide, knowing that any questions, no matter how justified on my part would result in another temper tantrum from Mr. C., and me being even later getting to my destination. At the baggage drop the TSA attendant asked if i was ok and commented on the outlandish behavior exhibited by Mr. C.

To add cap this whole atrocious experience off, after clearing security I arrived at the gate just moments after the doors had closed for my original flight. Now if Mr. C. had not thrown a temper tantrum, disrespected, insulted, and threatened an A-List customer, you would not be reading this post, and I would have been on my originally booked flight, happy as could be with the continued Southwest service that I had come to enjoy. The actions of Mr. C. not only caused me to have to cancel and re-schedule my meeting, ship around the US to get to my destination, it also cost me to incur additional out of pocket expenses of my own. I do not expect to be reimbursed for these, things happen, I mention this only as it is part of the story.

The behavior exhibited by this gentleman was inexcusable, and does not reflect the morals and corporate culture of Southwest. I understand everyone had bad days, and servicing customers in the stressful atmosphere of an airport must be trying at times but there is no excuse, under any circumstances, for any customer, in any industry to be treated as I was. Customers are the life blood of any company, the companies means of revenue, the reason that all employees at any level receive a paycheck, and if Mr. C., who's main responsibility entails direct communication with those very customers is not astute enough to comprehend this, he has no business having any interaction with customers at all.

The Southwest Mission Statement is clear, the companies success has been built on a foundation of caring for their customers:

The Mission of Southwest Airlines
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.
To Our Employees
We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.
January 1988

Stated again in the Contract of Carriage:
Again, the mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

And, the information in this document is intended to show you that, regardless of the circumstances that may arise during your flight, we have already thought about your safety, your wellbeing, your pocketbook, and your expectations. You see, we are here not only to get you from point “A” to point “B,” we are here to help when things aren’t going quite right for you or for us.
To further emphasize our promise to you, our valued Customer, Southwest Airlines is proud to incorporate its Customer Service Commitment in its official Contract of Carriage.

The ladys at the gate were pleasant and helpful but said unfortunately they would only be able to refer me to the manager on duty which would most likely be the same one Mr. C. consulted in the back room during his tantrum. They recommended either calling the 1800 number to file a complaint or using the online service if I did not want to speak with his direct manager. At that point all the events were too fresh, and my level of frustration with the situation was too high for me to calmly address Mr. C.'s unacceptable behavior with his manager and come to any sort of rational resolution without getting extremely agitated. Customer Service 1-800 number also advised complaints go directly to customer care from the online portal, when I spoke with them while waiting for the next flight at the terminal gate.

Had there been another carrier that would have gotten me in earlier that day I would have switched immediately out of principal alone, but now that I have calmed down a little I realize that Southwest as a company can not be held accountable for the actions of this individual, even if he was wearing an uniform with the company logo and working behind their service kiosk. With the exception of Mr. Peter C., any interaction with Southwest employees has been ok or more than pleasant.

This is why I exercised my right to file a complaint. Southwest does not provide ample room on the online portal for anything other than an extremely condensed version of events.

The timely response from Southwest consists of a series of canned lines with the pathetic attempt to appease the concerns of the complaint. They do not address the underlying issue:

No customer should be threatened or treated as an inferior that is causing the customer service attendant to go out of their way and inconveniencing them as that customers mere presence is requiring them to preform their job.

I am normally one to let things go, as one can not control the actions of others. One also does not know the under lying circumstances, which may have caused the actions of others. In this case I am so utterly appalled at the blatant display of disrespect to the company (Southwest), the culture the company was established with, and the customer (myself) that I could not let this one go. This is why I chose to share this encounter with the rest of the traveling community in a hope that others are as deeply troubled by the actions of this one Southwest employee as I am. I sincerely hope that Southwest management will take the appropriate disciplinary action to ensure that Mr. C. does not have another temper tantrum and inflict this extremely unpleasant and completely avoidable experience on another customer.

Is it Southwest's policy to leave their customers in tears?
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 2:25 AM
azstar azstar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

So, you tried to check a bag 5 minutes after their probable 30 minute cut off. Most airlines will not accept a checked bag within 30 minutes of flight departure due to security screening requirements. You, naturally, were polite and rational, and for no reason, Mr. C flew into a rage and had a tantrum while you were being cool and utterly polite. Mr. C deserves to be fired for treating you so shabbily!
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bdl, complaint, customer service, hartford, southwest

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