If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of Southwest Airlines. I still am at this moment, but they’ve shown a side I hadn’t seen before.
Our flight from Midway was due out at 8:00 PM. “Conditions” (a word which covers a multitude of sins) didn’t allow us to depart on time. Hey – it happens.
The departure time was changed to 9:25 PM, so Stef and Helaine headed out searching for food. I sat on the floor, playing online poker.
A little after 8:00 PM, I faintly heard an announcement from the boarding area. I wasn’t sure what I heard, but Hartford was included. With Helaine and Stef gone, my laptop open on the floor and five bags next to me, I was stuck.
Next to me, another laptop user was also sitting on the cold marble. I had heard her mention New Haven in her conversation. I asked if she’d mind watching my stuff for a moment while I checked out what was going on.
At the gate, the CSR told me “we’re boarding now.” Yikes!
I called Helaine on the cellphone. She was at the far end of the concourse and I was at Gate 24. “Run,” I said.
To show the agents I was earnest about getting on, I disconnected from the poker game, pack muled myself and carried all the bags to the gate.
I will remember that for a while because my hip is killing me with the twingy pain that probably means I pulled a muscle!
It looked like they were about to close the door, but they weren’t. A minute later, Helaine and Stef, who had ordered dinner and then canceled it (thanks Harry Carey’s who understood their situation), pulled up to the gate.
We got on a half empty plane. Many of those who held boarding passes were nowhere to be found.
Imagine you’re told that your plane is delayed nearly two hours. You walk away to get a drink, a sandwich, go to the men’s room. When you come back, your flight is gone! I suspect this counts as “your fault.”
A few more, but not all, the passengers made it on the plane before we left for Connecticut. We arrived at Bradley after midnight.
While I went to get the car, Helaine and Stef stayed for the bags. The buzzer buzzed. The carousel spun. Some bags came down – not all.
A disembodied voice on the PA system apologized. Another plane was about to leave. Our bags would have to wait a few minutes more.
I know it’s tough to be in the airline business on a night when Mother Nature just isn’t cutting you any slack. I just think, in this case, Southwest didn’t live up to its reputation – at least it didn’t in my eyes.
The delay in Chicago wasn’t handled properly. No one was ever advised the plane might not be held until 9:25. I’m not sure what to make of the baggage snafu in Hartford, other than to say we once had this same problem with Carnival Air.
Does any airline want their attention to customer needs compared to Carnival?