My Southwest Airlines flight from New Hampshire to Philly yesterday sucked the big one. Flying into Philly is always a gamble but yesterday I went all in and flew SWA for the first time instead of US Scareways.
My flight was supposed to take off at 5:20 PM. It actually took off at around 7:45 PM. Due to "weather," once we arrived over PHL airspace, those of us in the bovine express class then endured 30 minutes of low-earth orbit in a holding pattern awaiting vector approach clearance to land once we got there.
Upon landing, we waited almost 30 minutes for our luggage only to find that they had to go back for a second load since the first wasn't large enough of a sweep to claim them all. The baggage came...and went. Mine wasn't amongst them. It was now 10:30pm. At this point, one of my VP's who was also traveling to the same locale wisely left. Cue the violins.
I filed a claim next to a woman who was going apeshit over her drenched and soiled suitcases. The migrant baggage helper person said that another flight was due in shortly (about 45 minutes) and I could wait to see if it was on that flight. I made some remark about pitching a pup tent in baggage claim. I could hear crickets chirping...
This was all friendly and helpful enough. There was no reason to get medieval as the poor souls behind the counter can't even track bags to tell if they landed -- or so they say. Upon filing my claim, I asked that my bag just be returned to NH or delivered to my hotel given the fact that I was staying only one night before returning home. They would try the latter as the last run to "local" hotels was around midnight.
I was prepared for the old fake-finger-teeth-brushing and washcloth-the-armpits routine to get me through my meeting if need be. Wow.
It was now almost 11pm. I still had to collect my rental car and drive 45 minutes to my hotel.
As I was walking out, I saw a strange man return my bag to the carousel. I reckoned that if he took it, loaded it with explosives and put it back, that hopefully I would suffer a quick death. No such luck.
I picked it up and wrung it out. It was soaked.
I shrugged it off, got the rental and got to my hotel in one piece.
Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment...
Of course I twittered the entire experience with my normal (lack of) withholding. I didn't address the tweet to @southwestair or anything, but I obviously mentioned them by name.
This morning I was quite amazed to see that someone (not something) from Southwest was monitoring Twitter feeds and responded to me. I can tell it isn't a bot because of the responses to the rather colloquial nature of some of my tweets. Check it out:
The plea to let them try again to earn my loyalty and prove that "Southwest=Awesomeness" came from a statement that "Southwest=Suckage." ;)
It's pretty interesting that they have people monitoring Twitter for brand/reputation purposes -- it comes across as a customer service effort, also. I know it's not as profound as some of the remarkable Twitter stories of late, but it was cool.
Cool and frightening at the same time. So, thanks for the attention, SWA. We'll see how you do on my return flight today.
Anyone else have an experience such as this?
Update: The flight back was great. It arrived early, to boot. I have to say that my Southwest Twitter experience wasn't just a single fire and forget incident as "they" twittered back again to check up on me: