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Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: frequent flyer denied standby

 
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  #1  
Old May 7, 2009, 5:07 PM
lindsay422 lindsay422 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2009
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I used to be a frequent flyer with southwest, averaging 16 or so roundtrips a year and I will not fly with them ever again.
I was out in LA for vacation and used a frequent flier ticket for travel to and from LAX from Philadelphia. My return flight which went through Chicago was cancelled due to weather in Chicago which was fine, I understood. I proceeded to the ticket counter to change my flight and was told there were no available flights for three days! Now to make this better the person at the counter next to me was also going to Philadelphia and they were given a ticket for the next flight out so I asked why. Turns out that southwest only allows a certain amount of frequent flyer tickets on each plane. Okay, I understood and then asked to standby on any flight headed back east. I was told no. I was given a ticket for a flight three days later. It floors me that they will treat their 'valued customers' this way. Weather issues are neither my fault or theirs and I think that they should be as accomodating as possible to people in this situation, all I asked was to go standby. That's it.
I am still livid but keep reading, this gets better. I sat outside the southwest ticket counter in LAX for 20 hours with all my luggage telling everyone in line my story. The manager I think got sick of me and finally sent me standby on a flight back to philadelphia but not before I had wasted 20 hours stuck in the airport.
When I got back I called customer service to air my complaint and was told that there was a flight that had left an hour after my original flight with six empty seats. That is the best part of this whole ordeal.
I will fly southwest no more.
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  #2  
Old May 9, 2009, 6:32 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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As a frequent flier on Southwest you probably were aware that they don't allow standby unless you pay up to the highest walk-up fare. Since a Rapid Rewards ticket is not a paid fare there is no way to "pay up" to the walk-up fare and because they are capacity controlled you can be sure in a case where weather caused cancellations they will take care of revenue passengers first.

If getting home was really a priority why didn't you just simply purchase a walk-up ticket to your destination? Rapid reward tickets are valid for a year and since Southwest fares are all one-way you could have purchased another one-way ticket to match up with the unused return of your reward ticket.
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  #3  
Old May 11, 2009, 2:39 AM
lindsay422 lindsay422 is offline
 
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Interestingly, I didn't know you could purchase a ticket and/or were required to in order to fly standby and fly back and that was not offered to me by the numerous southwest employees I delt with while I was at the airport and on the phone.
I found the 'customer service' I received from the southwest agents to be ridiculous and to this day, I tell everyone not to fly southwest mainly because of the lack of customer care.
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  #4  
Old May 13, 2009, 10:55 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by lindsay422 View Post
Interestingly, I didn't know you could purchase a ticket and/or were required to in order to fly standby and fly back and that was not offered to me by the numerous southwest employees I delt with while I was at the airport and on the phone.
I found the 'customer service' I received from the southwest agents to be ridiculous and to this day, I tell everyone not to fly southwest mainly because of the lack of customer care.
You...WHAT? Not aware of the fact that you could BUY a ticket? I'm not going to say anymore!
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  #5  
Old May 14, 2009, 1:57 AM
lindsay422 lindsay422 is offline
 
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Considering I was told every flight was full, no I did not think I could buy a ticket. I tried to buy tickets on other airlines, also full.
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Old May 14, 2009, 11:53 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by lindsay422 View Post
Considering I was told every flight was full, no I did not think I could buy a ticket. I tried to buy tickets on other airlines, also full.
Did you...ask?
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  #7  
Old May 23, 2009, 4:15 AM
airhead airhead is offline
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lindsay422 I am sorry to here about your experience. I hope you have gained more knowledge about the complex world of airline tickets and operations. I can't comment on the ticket rules as far as frequent flier status goes but I want to offer some possible explanations why the aircraft had 6 empty seats.

If weather was the issue, then the aircraft has to take on more fuel for a diversion possibilities. It is safety. That means less passenger and baggage weight.

If that is not the reason, perhaps not all "checked in passengers for that specific flight" were present at the gate during boarding. If the flight is already running delayed, the agents don't have a whole lot of time to hunt other passengers. They can only go by that flight's list of passengers checked in or stand by. If you are checked in for another flight and not on the other list as stand by, then you will not be called up.

If you made a scene or made any of the agents uncomfortable then they will probably not go out of their way to help you.

Maybe their was a group of passengers on board who had to make a certain connection that meant life or death. Trying to delegate additional passengers for the sake of going home or business or vacation would take more time and cause a further delay.

Maybe the weight and balance of that aircraft just could not accommodate the additional passengers.

Maybe, just maybe the agent was not trained properly and I know that is not right. Frustrating on both sides of the counter believe me.

Another reason, probably far fetched although I have experienced this is, take off clearance (by the FAA) has been given for that flight for the next 10 minutes. After that, more passengers will be delayed and the logic is...6 delayed passengers is better that 50.

I know this information does not really help but I want you and other readers to be aware of why that type of thing happens. Perhaps one day the airlines will figure out how to simplify the process and be safe at the same time. I have no doubt the industry will turn for the better if that ever happens. Good luck to you.
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Old May 23, 2009, 10:03 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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[quote=airhead;8740]If that is not the reason, perhaps not all "checked in passengers for that specific flight" were present at the gate during boarding. If the flight is already running delayed, the agents don't have a whole lot of time to hunt other passengers. They can only go by that flight's list of passengers checked in or stand by. If you are checked in for another flight and not on the other list as stand by, then you will not be called up."

This would not have been the case on Southwest. If you are holding a confirmed reservation on a later flight and did not pay the "Anytime" or "Business Select" fare they will not allow standby.
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  #9  
Old Jun 2, 2009, 2:01 AM
lindsay422 lindsay422 is offline
 
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I find it very interesting that you insist southwest doesn't allow standby without a full fare. I did eventually end up standby on a flight with southwest just not the same day as the original flight I had scheduled and did not pay full fare. Not only that you ignore the fact that there were people right next to me that were given tickets for a flight same day but I was not since I was a 'frequent flier'. This is wholeheartedly wrong. Considering the issue was weather and was no fault of the airline or passengers, ticketing on later flights should have been a first come, first serve basis rather than what type of ticket you hold. One thing I have learned is to always read the contract of carriage published by the airline you are flying on.
My point still stands that southwest needs some serious help in customer service and they need to treat repeat customers a whole lot better than they did. I currently fly USAirways and while every flight I have ever taken with them is late, I still consider them a better alternative because I have never been stuck in an airport for more than a few hours.
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