Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A culture of keeping customers happy - Southwest Airlines

I made a quick trip to Las Vegas for the Affiliate Summit West and was happy to fly Southwest. My return trip would have been a disaster if not for Eve and Lynette at Southwest Gate C4 - 13th January evening. I have been flying so much that I am taking things for granted. I checked in and finished security and arrived at the gate to see my friend Adam Veiner there. He was flying to Washington Dulles, it is obvious that one flight could not go to 2 airports in the Washington Dc area. I checked my boarding card and to my horror it was clear that my travel agent had booked of to a different airport than the one where my car was parked. Even if it was not Eve's gate problem she patiently heard my story and after consulting with Lynette her Supervisor got me on a flight to Baltimore leaving almost at the same time. If the core idealogy of Southwest was only to make money they could have enforced the full fare requirement to change the ticket. Southwest has gained a lot of respect and furthered my loyalty. thank you Southwest.
The flight to Las Vegas actually went through St. Louis and I watched first hand the quick turnaround. The crew changed and the new crew quickly arranged everything and we took off I think after 30 minutes. I specially want to recognize Patsy who made everyone comfortable and was efficient. When asked why Southwest had the current free seating system, the crew said that it enabled them to quickly turn around the flights and they have tested this. I can understand that except I would someone to clarify if the boarding numbers are given on a first come first served basis ? Should we quickly hit the Southwest Website as soon as it gets to 24 hours before the flight?


Paula said...

Re: your question about boarding passes: 1 - 30 go to SWA's Business Select customers who pay extra (usually $20) to get low numbers and a drink ticket (maybe there are other perks too, but those are the ones I know about). But yes, you should hit the website as close to 24 hours in advance as possible, because everything after 30 is up for grabs during online check-in. I almost always get an A number when checking in online, but if I wait until the airport, it's usually B and sometimes C if it's a really full flight.

Shashi Bellamkonda said...

Thanks Paula. its good to know.