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Yet another delayed flight
It can’t get more casual then that with Southwest
It can’t get more casual then that with Southwest. I don’t fly this airline for various reasons, but my business travel agent seems to always book me with Southwest as they apparently offer the lowest ticket price from SFO to Phoenix Sky Harbor International. I have flown with them many times and I sort of know what to expect including their open seating policy and boarding by this very strange, on my opinion, system of boarding by group numbers. However, it seems I still can’t over the fact how casual and often way too casual is the demeanor of their on-board crew. “Do you want something to drink”, asks the flight attendant. I answer “Yes.” She replies “What do you want?” and it goes on and on the same way with this indifferent expression on her face screaming at me: “I just need to do this. Let me get it done as fast as I can.” At least that’s how I felt on this flight from SFO to PHX that morning.
Speaking about their uniforms, I don’t know what to say. Wearing shorts, full body aprons, or being dressed in cardigans or shirts with the Southwest logo – it is all on the table. So speaking of budget airlines, this is how casual and low the service level has become by a flight attendant walking the aisle with a garbage bag repeating again and again the same phrase: “Garbage, please. Trash, please.”
The unexpected flight cancellation
This is not about the on-board service but how Southwest handled my cancellation. I was not supposed to end up at San Jose Intl Airports on my trip to Reno, NV from OAK. Little did I know that my flight to Reno NV was cancelled this morning when I showed up at Oakland Intl. Airport (OAK). Quite surprising… I was offered the next flight that was arriving too late for my business appointment in Reno. Bummer. Offered to go to San Jose Airport – to travel on my own risk 30 miles away. No way I am not doing it, I firmly replied. Reason for the Southwest cancellation: not enough passengers. Are you kidding me? Then, after some negotiations with Southwest, the airline attendant realizing that I was not one of those unaware passengers that would simply go along with the airline’s unexpected and untimely cancellation, decided to provide me with personal transportation to the San Jose Airport. The surprise: Chevy limo came to pick me up. The driver: Syrian who was telling me all about the suffering of his family and friends in Syria. As far as I see, this flight to Reno was really going to happen for goodness sake...
Habitual and Prolonged Delays
Taking Southwest lately has become a gamble. I mean, you show up for your flight on time to find that it’s delayed or much worst, cancelled. This was my story on October 16 when I had to fly this a little over an hour flight from Los Angeles Intl (LAX) to San Francisco Intl (SFO). As I showed up around 9 am at LAX to our surprise, the 11:05 am flight we had to take was cancelled. I was part of over 30 people on a group ticket.
Our group was split by the airline in an effort to accommodate the cancellation into several smaller groups all departing at different times including some arriving at nearby airports in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Group member and I were schedule to depart on flight 2565 at 5 pm. Having the prospect to spend my entire day at LAX for a 1 hour flight seemed a little too much to bear. Went back to the airline and requested to go stand-by for any earlier available flights to SFO. Luckily I got on a flight 2653 scheduled to depart at 12.35 pm but delayed for 45 min due to unknown reasons.
However, my friend decided to try his luck on the flight to Oakland (OAK) as it was more convenient for him to go to OAK instead of SFO. Unfortunately, he was not as lucky as I and was not able to board a flight to OAK, thus, having to wait for his 5 pm flight to SFO. Guess what? That 2665 flight scheduled to depart at 5 pm went through multiple delays and finally departed at around 7.30 pm as he told me.
I have traveled several times before with Southwest. I few years back I was schedule to take an early 8 am flight from OAK to Reno, Nevada on a business trip. As I showed up at the airport I found the flight was cancelled. From the airline explained they did get enough passenger to flight hi morning. Can you believe it!? I had an important meeting in Reno, so I had to argue with them that traveling at noon as what the airline offered was not an option to me. They decided to shuttle me from Oakland Airport to San Jose Intl Airport some 80 miles away. I made it on time for the meeting, but I mean, what a service is that?
Now I see their habitual practice of delaying fight hasn’t not change much.
On that trip I was describing in the beginning when had to fly to LAX from SFO, the original flight was around 9.30 am. The airline delayed the flight multiple times and around 1.30 pm I departed. This is like a joke. I’d never buy a flight on Southwest as long as I have other option no matter the price.
So I had to travel from SFO to LA. Leaving from SFO, the flight was delayed 3 times. The total delay time ended up being 4 hours. The weather was light rain, but that was that. So, when we finally started boarding, I had to deal with the whole open seating thing. It definitely takes longer than assigned seating especially for the last group boarding. Everybody is scrambling to find a place to put their carry-on and find a seat. The service on the way to LAX was really good. We got there in about an hour, which was good because the estimated time to get there was an hour and a half. So, that was cool.
My scheduled flight from LAX to SFO was canceled the day of, so I had to catch a flight from LAX to Oakland 2-3 hours after my original scheduled flight. Once again I had to deal with the open seating situation. During my flight to Oakland I was rudely awakened by a flight attendant by peanuts being thrown down at me.
So yeah, It was my first time traveling with Southwest and it's safe to say I'm not going to fly with them again unless I REALLY, REALLY have to.