for those of you not as lucky as me to be able to fly all the time, you may not know how unbelievably cool southwest airlines. let me tell you why:
1. they fly through anything. for real. i used to fly southwest to houston every month when they flew into IAH. now they only fly into hobby but when the airport would literally shut down because of tornados, the only flights getting out were southwest. now i am exaggerating a little bit here. of course they would never put anyone in harms way. but when it seems all other airlines are delayed or cancel if the clouds even so much as sneeze a raindrop out – southwest goes goes goes. i actually love flying through bad weather but more on that later.
now i have to tell you one of my favorite sw storm stories.
it was a very early morning flight to tulsa, oklahoma – like 6:30am ish. it was absolutely pounding rain. i never got a notice that the flight was cancelled so I kept going to the airport. it was storming too. the whole time, i was just waiting at the gate for them to cancel the flight, but no, we boarded. LUV IT! so because it is a short flight and so early in the morning – 99.9% of the people on the flight were businessmen/women. with their papers and suits and it probably was just a day trip for them. the .01% was this little girl – probably about 9 years old and her mom. the mom was comforting the little girl saying “it’s ok, it’ll be fine” but actually (they were sitting in front of me) i think it was the mom that needed comforting. anyway, i am still amazed that we are taking off and don’t believe it until we’re actually pulling away from the gate. the captain gets on the loud speaker and says “ok folks, as you can tell, it’s gonna be rough on take-off so hang on and make sure you’re belted up.” no one paid attention, everyone is reading their paper. the plane taxied down the runway, lifted up and sure enough we got some great bumps. the little girl screamed at the top of her lungs “holy s**t!”. it was so very funny. gotta watch out what you say around the house because kids will say the darnest things. everyone, and i mean, everyone laughed. of course the flight attendant got on and said “ditto” and everyone laughed again.
2. hands down, they have the best customer service of any company. (says me, who knows all companies)
i have too many stories that come to mind here
but the biggest one was when i flew to houston, was on phone and late getting my bag from baggage claim, luckily it was still going around on the circle when i got there, i picked it up, jumped in a cab and went to the hotel. i was fiddling around for a while on the computer when i decided to open my bag. and found out it wasn’t my bag. panic ripped through my body. the meeting was at 9am and i was in jeans with someone else’s stuff. it was about 8pm and i called southwest at the airport and actually got a real person. she told me that she was supposed leave at 8pm but that she would wait around for a call from the people who had my bag. how nice. at 8:45pm she called me and said that the couple that took my bag, were 45 minutes away from the airport. she told me that she would wait there for the bag and then because my hotel was on her way home, she’d bring it to me. for real. i’m not even joking. and she did. i tried to give her my debit card (just kidding, you know i don’t carry cash) – some money and she refused. this is my southwest.
3. their own employees love southwest. i mean all of them. i’ve worked with them several times on marketing programs and i had a neighbor who works in their customer service and they all have their dream job. but what i experienced flying home from Amarillo was really emotional.
it was a long day and i had a short trip home to dallas
it was a friday, i was in the front of the queue to get on plane and i got a great seat. when i got on the plane, it was already pretty full which i thought was odd but that is the case sometimes. however, upon closer observation, i notice they are all wearing t-shirts with someone’s face on them. we get up in the air and the entire trip from amarillo to dallas love field was filled with a walk down memory lane for a captain pilot’s final flight before retiring. on the plane were a ton of southwest employees, his family and close friends. he got over the loud speaker and waxed poetic about his time as a pilot first in the service and then signing up with southwest. then his friends and family took the intercom and gave everyone free champagne. as we landed….this gives me chills as i type… they had fire engines on the tarmac and the plane drove under the sprays from the water hose. not a dry eye in the house. i guess to have happy customers, you have to have happy employees.
thanks southwest. i love you!