Southwest Airlines is the best airline

 

It’s probably known by most, but I travel the skies just about every day.  Living in Chicago, I have access to most every airline and destination.  I travel enough to be upgraded to first class on most any flight.  Given a choice, however, I choose to fly Southwest, sit in a small seat and eat peanuts.  Why would I do this when I could be in the big comfy seat, eating hot food and freshly baked cookies?  There are two simple reasons.  First, the people of Southwest are genuine, almost always cheerful, and always seem happy with their job.  The second reason is that Southwest understands better than any other airline something important to the traveler, and that’s the need to depart and arrive on time.  When it’s time to go, they go, and when they arrive, their agents never seem to have a problem getting the ramp to the airplane quickly. 

Last night while attempting to fly back to Chicago on a day trip to Orlando, we were diverted to Columbus, Ohio.  A lightening storm stretching from Texas to Michigan made it impossible to land in Chicago.  Needless to say, this experience was very stressful.  We landed around 11pm and sat at the gate in the Columbus airport until after 2am.  Although passengers were very frustrated and distressed, Southwest agents were great.  I couldn’t imagine where they got so many competent and happy employees to show up at that hour of night and handle the situation.  I eventually arrived home at 3am, and chalked the whole experience up to a bad spring-time travel day. 

This morning I was back at Midway Airport, boarding another Southwest flight and off to Washington, DC, and then to New Orleans.  Right now I’m at the airport in DC getting ready to board for New Orleans, and I received the below email.  At first, I thought it was a form letter evidencing great customer relationship management.  After reading the letter carefully, however, it’s clear that while it might have gone out to a lot of people, it was written by a Southwest agent that was at the scene in the wee hours of the morning.  Wow.  How can a big company deliver such a personalized touch?  There’s so many lessons to be learned from Southwest, and importantly I’m so appreciative of their service.  These guys own my travel loyalty.  Thank you Southwest.

 April 20, 2011

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.

 124455M

 F827

 Greetings from Southwest Airlines:                                

I regret the multiple disruptions of your April 19 flight to Chicago Midway.  I can certainly imagine that having your travel plans interrupted by the stormy weather must have been disappointing, and then having to wait at Columbus for an available gate only added to the frustration—I’m truly sorry for the overall inconvenience that you experienced last night.  Naturally, we’d like to provide you with better air travel memories; and in this spirit, I am sending you a LUV Voucher* (separately, but to the same e-mail address) that we invite you to apply toward a future Southwest reservation.  You can be sure that we are looking forward to welcoming you back again real soon!

                                                           Sincerely,

                                                           Adrienne Yurdyga

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