A Ledder to Southwest Airlides

(Yes, I have a cold. Also known as a ‘code in by node’. New germs, you know, possibly imported from New York. And you know how I love me some New York, so it’s probably appropriate and fitting that I’ve been boarded by an East Coast snot-train. Overshare? What, are you new here?)

Dear Southwest Airlines:

It’s been a while since I’ve used your services, probably because you don’t fly to any of my usual destinations. My experience last Monday will go down as one of the longest and most frustrating in quite a long time, and that would include being stuck on the tarmac at Heathrow for three hours and having a drunk woman upend her meal tray on me.

It started with me checking my bag because I’d purchased an array of habanero hot sauces for my youngest sprog. (Don’t judge – he likes the heat.) At the terminal, the boy behind the counter said, “Uhh, lady, your flight’s been delayed, okay?”

No, not okay. Why has it been delayed, and how long is the delay?

“Uhh, it looks like an hour.”

But my layover was only an hour. Will I miss my connection?

“Uhh, lemme check with a supervisor.” *Cue Jeopardy music here* “Uhh, my supervisor says you should have a ten minute window, so that’s enough time. Should I check your bag through to Portland?”

Ten minutes? Will they hold the plane for me?

“Uhh, my supervisor doesn’t know. We can’t make any promises.”

But I paid you because you promised to get me home tonight.

“Uhh, lemme go check with someone.” *Cue Jeopardy music again* *I age approximately seventeen years* “Uhh, you need to go to gate seven and talk to them.”

What about my bag? I can’t take it through security because of the dangerous habanero hot sauces of doom.

“Uhh, I’ll check it through and you can pick it up sometime.”

Check it through to where, and pick it up sometime? Really?

“Thanks for flying Southwest Airlines.” Yelled over his shoulder, “Should I take my break now?”

Now I travel through security, remove my shoes, remove my laptop, shut off my phone, and do the happy stance inside the big glass scanner-thingie. (It’s almost like a dance move in a Pat Benetar video, so the child of the 80’s inside me is strangely smiling every time I assume the position, which makes the security people a little nervous.) After I reassemble on the other side, I travel to gate seven, where I get someone who actually knows what he’s doing, even if he doesn’t know why he’s doing it. I’m re-routed, and instead of arriving at 10:30 pm, I’m now arriving at midnight. But being re-routed means I have to get new boarding passes, and have to surrender my original ones.

Here’s where I have a problem, Southwest. Let me give you some history: I set a timer on my phone to remind me to get my boarding passes. I clicked the ‘check in’ button approximately 0.0004 seconds after the clock ticked over to exactly 24 hours before my flight time. I received A groups for both flights. Boarding in the A group means I will most likely get a window seat, which means I won’t have to impose my very large aft section on anyone else’s space. It’s important to me. I hate imposing on others. Hate it.

My new boarding pass was B43. I was to be approximately the 100th person on the plane. Imagine my joy. After waiting three hours in the Austin airport, I finally board the plane. And the guy in front of me gets the VERY LAST aisle or window seat. Now, only middle seats are available.

Seriously? Am I being pranked? Is there a video camera somewhere? Because no one is willing to make eye contact with the large woman with the ass the size of Nebraska who will now have to wedge herself into the middle seat. For three hours. After much apologizing, I sit between a guy who looks like he’s working on a five day hangover, and a young woman. Once I sit, I try to make myself as narrow as possible, which means I’m in for three hours of clenched muscles. Awesome.

That story was a very long way of asking for this: when you have to re-route someone because of a problem on your end, or unforeseeable issues somewhere down the line, can you please issue them one of the A group passes you reserve to sell as an upgrade? I don’t want to poke anyone else out of line, nor do I want to deprive you of income, but this small gesture would go a LONG way toward assuaging bad feelings on the part of your clients. It was a very long and uncomfortable day for me, one I won’t duplicate because I’ll not be using Southwest unless I absolutely have no other choice.

Yours uncomfortably,

Julie

P.S. I have to mention that I was impressed you let the girl sitting next to me carry on the homeless and very tiny kitten she found inside her rental car in Dallas. While the kitten was loud and hungry, he was a nice distraction, and the flight attendants didn’t hassle the girl at all. So you do have that going for you.

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2 Responses

  1. Huge bummer that you’re sick AND you had a crappy experience with SWA. 😦 I totally agree that if you’d already gotten in the ‘A’ group and SW was rerouting you based on issues on their end, you should have been given a pre-boarding pass or whatever they do.

    And finally, anyone who gets to sit next to you, anywhere, is super lucky because you are Miss Awesome!!

    • Aww, thanks G. It was frustrating, but so many people had a worse day. I wonder how much Boston had to do with my delay and rerouting. *shrug* They wouldn’t say and I became a little numb somewhere around the fourth hour of TV coverage. *sneeze* I’ll feel better soon. 🙂

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