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Final Update and Apology on Systemwide Outages

‎07-21-2016 06:51 AM LindaRutherford Employee
Employee
‎07-21-2016 06:51 AM

Affected travelers: click here to view Travel Advisory regarding flexible accommodations.

 

UPDATED Sunday, July 24 at 9:00 p.m. CDT:

 

This will be my final update on the Southwest trouble that by now needs no introduction. We are grateful to our Employees for their dedication and our Customers for their patience, loyalty, and understanding as we worked to rebuild.


Today was the first day we could say, definitively, that our Operation is back on track. We know there are many, many Customers who still require assistance, having been inconvenienced by the disruptions. Flexible accommodations remain in effect for Customers who hold booked travel from Wednesday the 20th through Tuesday the 26th of July. These Customers have two weeks from their original date of departure to rebook and begin travel at the original fare, with no additional cost. You can do that on southwest.com.

 

If you're seeking a refund and did not book a refundable fare, we will still honor that refund, but you'll have to call us. I recommend you call when it's convenient for you, when volumes have returned to normal. It may take some time, but you have a year from when you purchased the ticket before that will no longer be an option. Refunds and requests must be submitted and processed by the ticket's expiration date.


Again--thank you. We know it's a long journey to re-earning your trust, but it's our mission to do it.

 

UPDATED Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 p.m. CDT:

 

Things are getting better, and our cautious optimism is starting to become tangible as the Operation stabilizes.

 
Our most pressing concern right now is weather, and our Meteorologists report the potential for afternoon and early evening thunderstorms in the Chicago metro area. We're paying extra attention to Chicago right now to navigate that system accordingly. Other airports currently under the microscope for weather--albeit with less emphasis-- are Des Moines, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, and areas in the Southeast.
 
We've done a lot of apologizing to our Customers and have thanked our Employees for their hard work, but what we haven't done is thanked both for having respect for one another. The last four days have tested patience and heightened emotions. Through it all, we have seen remarkable examples of People banding together to help each other. Our Customers need to be commended for keeping as positive an attitude as could be expected during such an unprecedented event at Southwest Airlines. While the system and our Employees and Customers were stressed and recovering, safety remained our first priority, with our aircraft, our Crews, our ground personnel, and our Customers.
 
Customers and Employees have shown compassion for each other by keeping each others' spirits up, paying for each others' meals, and showcasing their talents and skills during a very trying time. Take this group of scouts who pitched tents in the Denver airport.
 

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Or this Pilot who took children aside to make origami planes. 
 

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This group of teens in Midway got the terminal buzzing when they danced on the walkway.
 
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In our Centers, pep talks helped Employees focus on the day.
 

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 A young lady in San Jose wasn't able to get home to her parents in time to celebrate her birthday, and on one of our internal groups, Employees shared the story about how they banded together to throw her a birthday party in the airport to lift her spirits. This is a situation that neither the Employees nor the Customers planned to be in, or should have had to deal with. But it's also not in the job description to throw birthday parties. 

 
Make no mistake, Southwest created this problem. We own that, and there is no victory lap to be had for a situation that has bred disappointment and shaken the trust Customers have in Southwest Airlines. But during a terrible situation such as this, Love Above All remained the theme, as we tried to get everyone back in the air.
 
The machines failed, but Heart prevailed.

 

UPDATED Friday, July 22 at 10:45 p.m. CDT:

 

Good evening,


I wanted to provide you with a Friday night update on our Operation. This afternoon, we were able to catch up and fully assess the state of our Crews across the system. As a result of that assessment, we had an unexpected uptick in cancelations due to mandatory Crew timeouts. Safety is our top priority and FAA regulations require mandatory rest--it is not safe for Crews to fly beyond the required time, and our Employees are understandably taxed working to get back on track from this unique situation.


For our fresh Crews, we expect to extend our Operation past our normal flying times, in airports that do not have a curfew in place.


Unrelated but something we're keeping an eye on, there are thunderstorms in the Southwest that our Meteorologists are monitoring. As of this writing, that weather system has not impacted flying.


We are optimistic about our Operation tomorrow. We have a reduced schedule on Saturdays. We expect some cancelations, but far fewer than we experienced Thursday and Friday morning.

 

You're tired of hearing sorry--I know that--but I must reiterate we are doing everything we can to make things right. We are truly sorry and value you as Customers and People. Volumes remain high, but our Employees at the airport and in our Call Centers continue to work hard to meet your needs. Our Representatives are able to rebook travel, refund your money, and answer your questions. Our Social Customer Care Employees are working around the clock to do the same. If you have flexibility or your question is not urgent, we recommend contacting us once our volumes are at a more manageable level.


Thank you again.

 

UPDATED Friday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m. CDT:

 

We were live from Network Operations Control to discuss the latest on our efforts throughout the system.

 

UPDATED Friday, July 22 at 10:00 a.m. CDT:

 

I wanted to provide the latest update regarding our outage recovery. We continue to manage through lingering disruptions following performance issues across multiple technology systems Wednesday. As of 6:00 a.m. Central (CDT), planners have canceled more than 250 flights today, primarily as a result of displaced Crews and aircraft. We're continuing our focus on getting Customers and their baggage to their destinations safely.

 

Our Employees in airports, online, and on the phone are assisting a significant number of Customers and hold times are much longer than average.  In the midst of peak, Summertime travel, we recognize many flights through this weekend were already close to full and as cancellations continue, we recommend Customers who have flexibility explore rebooking on alternate dates beyond Sunday by checking availability on Southwest.com.  Customers who are holding booked travel Wednesday the 20th through Sunday the 24th of July have two weeks from their original date of departure to rebook travel at the original fare, at no additional cost.

 

We extend a heartfelt apology to our Employees and our Customers who are inconvenienced by the disruption in service. We appreciate their patience as we continue our work to make this right.

 

Customers traveling today should check flight status on Southwest.com and plan to arrive at the airport early, as longer than average lines are likely.

 

UPDATED Thursday, July 21 at 4:50 p.m. CDT:

 

I wanted to provide the latest update regarding our outage recovery. Systems are stabilized and have been performing normally throughout today. Our main challenge right now is getting our Employees to the right places. As Mike Van de Ven mentioned in the update below this one, we have identified the cause as a technology malfunction in our network that affected multiple systems and platforms.  When systems became inoperable, our crew scheduling technology was among the affected platforms. As of 2:00 p.m. CDT today, planners have canceled nearly 450 flights, primarily as a result of displaced Crews and aircraft. Simply put, if the Crews aren't in place, the planes can't fly.

 

We understand the enormous inconvenience our technology challenges have put on our Customers, and the colossal burden it places on our Employees. Our Employees in airports, online, and on the phone area assisting Customers in large numbers and that is taking longer than average. We recommend Customers who have flexibility look to rebook on alternate dates beyond Sunday by checking availability on Southwest.com.

 

Customers who are holding booked travel Wednesday the 20th through Sunday the 24th of July, who were not able to complete their trips, have two weeks from their original date of departure to rebook travel at the original fare, at no additional cost. Customers who missed their flights can resolve this issue by contacting our Social Customer Care Team on Facebook or Twitter, or visiting southwests.com/contact. Please be aware, though, that volumes are extremely high right now for those who try to call in or reach us digitally.

 

It's never too early to say thank you or to extend an apology; neither is it to continually apologize when a situation hasn't been fully resolved. I'm sorry. We'll continue to work to make this right.

 

UPDATED Thursday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m. CDT:

 

Earlier, we used Facebook Live to address the effects of yesterday's technology outage.

 

UPDATED Thursday, July 21 at 6:45 a.m. CDT:

I want to start off by once again apologizing to our Customers and reiterating that your experience throughout the past 24 hours is not the service you should expect from Southwest Airlines. Most of our systems are back online this morning following yesterday's technology outages, but recovery will take some time. We expect some cancelations and delays as we position aircraft and crews.

 

As of 6:30 a.m. CDT, we have canceled more than 221 flights and continue to manage the flight disruptions across our system. Our Employees are the best in the business, and they are working extremely hard to get you and your luggage to your destination. Thank you for hanging in there with us. We will have more information later regarding flexible rebooking, and we will continue to work with each and every affected Customer to make this right.

 

 

76 Comments
New Arrival Marticalu
New Arrival

My flight was cancelled, I've been trying to rebook for an hour an a half, website is not working, been waiting on the phone all the time. I need to get home desperately.

Tourist JNNichols2
Tourist

 Southwest is nothing special, now just another airline. Unhelpful gate agents (FLT 761 BHM), flight boards inaccurate, no cancellation announcements, and still unable to get flights sorted out.

Tourist JNNichols2
Tourist

Your 6:00AM post is a little ironic, don't ya think?

Tourist tmhcoups
Tourist

Big system outtages happen occasionally, I can roll with that. My big problem with this was the lack of communication and consistent information:

 

-The airport info and google flights were telling me my flight was on time all day, but as the afternoon progressed flightaware.com kept pushing it back until it was at a 3 hour delay. This delay was never reflected until boarding was expcted to begin. Their solution was a post-it note over the monitor that said "WAY LATE". How did flightaware scoop you on this for so long when they're pulling flight tracking information from your systems?

 

-For a company that prides itself on customer service, and to some extent innovation, there's no reasonable excuse for why your re-booking/voucher lines take so long. Why not utilize all forms of customer support when you have 100+ passengers to attend to and only 2-3 gate agents? I waited for over an hour, and I'm sure other passengers have worse stories. Part of the delay was due to computer issues the gate agents encountered, which is understandable, but they weren't telling customers in line about this over the PA until the crowd got restless. Here's one suggestion-when this happens, give folks a unique code that can be plugged in on a website or over the phone, where they can recieve remote customer support to see what re-booking/voucher options are available. Your ability to triage these stressful situations is significantly impacted by relying on an outdated process that worsens the customer experience. 

 

-Huge lack of transparency. Unless it was a matter of national security like hacking, I feel a lot better about these massive outtages when there's someone taking accountability, explaining what went wrong and providing updates. After mentioning the initial system problems, your twitter went silent for 6 hours. 

 

I like traveling with you guys but I'm typing this from a United flight. Didn't want to wait another entire day and risk further problems from the fallout. If the news this morning is any indication, there are still plenty. 

Tourist azdbac
Tourist

My flight was cancelled after waiting in airport for 6 and 1/2 hours with very little information prior to cancellation.  Called 800 number several times and never received call back.  Now that online service is back up all flights are booked. It would be nice if I could get someone to return my call 

New Arrival VonZipper
New Arrival

For those of us who work in the IT environment, this is a systemic issue related to companies that decide cost outweigh customer service.  According to ISO standards these systems should be tested on a regular basis, which obviously SWA has neglected to perform.  Shame on you SWA, shame on your executive team for signing off this short cut to add to your big profits at the cost of customer service.  We've seen this coming for years as the airline industry continues to spit in the face of their customers.

New Arrival blessed40
New Arrival

You need to update your post - the website is still not working properly. I have been trying to purchase a ticket and keep getting an error message. I have called in and been on hold for an hour.

 

VERY POOR SERVICE!

New Arrival jeanjan
New Arrival

Not only did you not bother to send an email informing your customers what was happening, but you have not offered any decent solutions.  I've never been so disgusted by lack of options given to us. I have had plenty of flights canceled on other airlines but they have always offered some reasonable accomedation.  I have 2 kids flying alone. Offering a flight tomorrow night with a layover in Denver when they had a direct flight this morning is not a reasonable accommodation. You also offered a departure from Austin when they live in San Antonio is not an option.  Your airline is far inferior to your competition. Right back to the old Southwest which is why we quit flying you a decade ago.  

Tourist zwhitt
Tourist

In the 10 years I have been flying with SWA this is the WORST experience and I have had some experiences!  This experience makes that fee for luggage on the other airlines look like childs play.  My flight was scheduled to board at 9:45 pm (818) it wasnt until 10:30 I was told the gate had changed.  To be told there would be an additional hour and a half delay with boarding to we do not have a pilot to fly at that time, to I am unable to rebook your flight call the 800 # for rebooking.  My last wait call lasted 2 hours and 4 min, it is a 2 and a half hour drive from Dallas to my home!!! #verydissatisfied

Tourist dagustin
Tourist

I have been flying SWA for over 10 years and I am very dissappointed. My daughter was supposed to fly out yesterday as an unaccompanied minor we waited for three hours before they decided to let tell us that she cannot fly alone. They were unable to find her luggage and I can't reach anyone on the 800 number. I left work early yesterday and drove an hour to the airport and have to do it all over again today. It would be nice to be able to reach someone who can give me an update on her flight...luggage or if she will be able to fly as a UA today. #dissappointed#dissatisfied#youvegottobekiddingme

Tourist kryptokal
Tourist

Is anyone picking up the phone yet?  

New Arrival 111464312
New Arrival

Flying my 16 year old child from Los Angeles to meet me in Phoenix.  Booked this flight months ago. I received no text or email about possible issues. Los Angeles is not an easy place to get to airport.  His mom had to leave work early etc to get him there.  Once there found out flight delayed 4 hours.  After waiting 3 hours was informed that they would not let anyone under 18 fly alone due to system failure.  Typically cut off age is 12 but because of this system issue he was informed nothing they could do.   I called customer service and spent 4 and a half hours on hold hoping someone would answer.  I did not want to lose my place in the cue in case they were just busy.  I have a family trip waiting on his arrival and I can't get thru to anyone at the airline.  I got up this morning and called at 630 am and was given the option to leave my number and estimated call back would be in 76 minutes.  It has been 3.5 hours.  I called back from a landline and have been on hold for over an hour.  I have sent urgent email to customer relations and received a automated responce.  I have never in all my years seen something like this.  All I hear on the automated message is how much they care about me! I can't imagine an issue that you would not call all hands on deck to answer the phones.  I would rather you say phones are down rather than keeping me hopefully waiting for over 7 hours now.  I have a good rate for him since I booked months ago and now force to pay 4 times the amount.  With that being said I just need someone to answer the phone and tell me that you have no solution.  Why are you treating your loyal customer this way.  If this is a system hack or a true security issue than announce it and my inconvenience would be considered petty to our safety.  On the flip side if this is a glitch etc than get on the phone or make an announcement that you can't answer phone rather than trying to save this sale!!! This is mind blowing!!!!

Tourist dagustin
Tourist

No one has picked up yet...still waiting..

Route Finder Codenator
Route Finder

We were supposed to fly from Spokane to El Paso yesterday. Needless to say we didn't make it. I know there are other worse stories than ours but I think the reason to post what has happened isn't just to vent but so, through the collective disappointment and frustration of so many thousands of people, those who manage big corporate opporations can begin to understand why little things add up to big problems. Our flight was supposed to leave at 3:25 from Spokane with a connection through Las Vegas. It wasn't a great connection to begin with but as a loyal SWA customer (A-List with Companion Pass, Business Select etc. etc. etc.) I booked it through "Old Faithful" not because of price or even the schedule/ connection but JUST OUT OF HABIT. After all, I've been flying this airline since it had just three destinations, Love Field, Houston, and San Antonio. 

We left Spokane over a hour and a half late, but weren't worried since we had a FOUR HOUR layover anyway in Vegas. When we got to Vegas, everything had already fallen apart. No information so we sat and waited, 3 1/2 hours. Finally the monitor indicated our connecting flight to El Paso was cancelled. This is where it became unbelievable. No one knew anything and literally thousands of people were sitting around with nothing to offer them, especially information or understanding. A few gate attendants tried to step up and meet the challenge but for the most part, everyone retreated into the "I have no idea"..."Call Customer Service"..."Go to the website"..."Here's a number to call" (so I can move on to not helping the next guy and make it to the end of my shift and go home)

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 The result of this is at 11:30 we're told we have a "Paper Ticket" to leave Vegas on Friday at 1:05, no info on a place to stay, no baggage. We took a taxi to a local hotel, got a room on our own, got to the room and started calling at 3:00 am to get non-answered calls to the baggage desk at McCarren. We called several other numbers, no answer. Finally called Rapid Rewards number and spoke with "assistant" who said to go to website and email someone who I would find on the website--I'm in a hotel at 3:00 am with no baggage (much less a handy computer) just my cell phone with 2% power remaining. After going to the gift shop at hotel and buying a new charger, I plugged it in and went to bed. In the morning I called all the numbers again--same no answer....

As I sit here, 20 hours after this ordeal began, I have no more information than when I left the airport last night. Lots of feigned apologies. 

This not the Southwest that I have "put up with" over the years. This is a failed company with little to offer its customers except excuses. That is sad. When I get home TOMORROW AFTERNOON from my 4 day "quick" trip to Glacier National Park, I will sit down at my computer and figure out what happened, and how to pay for it. 

Thanks, Southwest!

Tourist Roma
Tourist

Southwest i love your customer service. But yesterday's incident was extreme set back. My flight was delayed and it so happened that the time of delay showed 55 mins but actually it was > 60 mins. Southwest's policy is to rebook next day if the flight delays beyond 60 mins. But they were extremely smart about displaying a delay of 55 mins only which annoyed me a lot. I could have just left the next day rather than waiting at the airport.

Tourist jgatsby
Tourist

Wow.  I love this.  Typically you get, "well we cannot control the weather" or Air traffic 

control has grounded our planes.  This is 100% on you guys.  My husband works with your lawyers there.  Antiquated technology from 1985 will cause these problems.  My last few flights with Southworst have all been horribly delayed, rescheduled, all kinds of stuff.  So honestly I am becoming numb to it.  We had business select tickets out of SFO, after lining us up and sitting us down they just told everybody to board (we were delayed 3 hours already).  Then as we got there and sat on the tarmac for 90 minutes, they told us all flights were pushed back two hours.  We got to our connecting flight sitting at the gate and they would not let TWENTY of us on.  20.  and let it take-off.  Got rerouted to Sacramento and rented a car and drove home.  12 hours of dealing with your horrible company and my story is butterflies and unicorns compared to what you did to others.  To put it bluntly, you pay K-mart prices, you get K-mart quality.  Oh and that line you have your flight attendants saying to the passengers when you land - "Thank you for not choosing Delta also known as "Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport" - you might want to stop.  I watched Delta flights come and go yesterday.

Tourist jgatsby
Tourist

IT dept. is working hard to resolve the issue.

Peanut KristinaMM
Peanut

 This is absolutely atrocious! My flight from Portland to Phoenix was cancelled this morning after we sat on the plane for almost an hour while technicians "inspected" a hydraulic leak. At least 75% of the flight was supposed to connect in Phoenix to other destinations. The rest of the Phoenix bound passengers were told by YOUR gate agent that we might as well go home and call the 800 number because we weren't getting out of Portland today. So after taking a 90 minute train and bus ride home to get in front of my computer, I've spent almost 3 hours waiting to talk to your "customer service" about rescheduling. I would have expected more from this airline. I've flown Southwest for years with no problems. But what I've experienced today makes me seriously reconsider ever flying this airline again. I'm so utterly disgusted with this airline right now I have no more words.

Tourist jgatsby
Tourist

Apparently they didn't like my picture of the monkey working hard to resolve the issue.   

This makes sense.  The last 4 flights I have had with Southworst have had issues.  I'm thinking this is just the beginning.

Lindsey Employee
Employee

Thank you for taking time to visit the Southwest Community and share your thoughts with us, everyone. There is no denying it has been a difficult couple of days for our Customers, and we are truly sorry. We hear you, and we are working hard to reinstate flight schedules, reunite people with their bags, and accommodate those whose travel experience has been disrupted. 

 

For assistance with specific Customer Service concerns, please reach out to us through one of the options listed on our Contact Us page. We will continue to post updates on Facebook, Twitter, and the Southwest Community as they become available. 

 

Lindsey

 

 

Route Finder Spisapati
Route Finder

If you wanna help the situation, please get additional help at the gates.

 

I fly southwest for business on almost weekly basis, never experienced such a poor customer service. Flying home this afternoon from SJC, gate 23 and there was a single representative and about 50 people in the line. Asked for the manager after waiting for an hour and the manager showed up  and was absolutely useless. 

 

I understand you are busy supporting other passengers but be smart enough to prioritize based on the flight departure schedule.

 

i am typing this sitting on an Alaska flight heading home.

 

No DR strategy for an airline business? No business continuity solution?

 

Stop apologing. What are your doing to avoid this from happening again? 

New Arrival vivientuma
New Arrival

Hum! All the Southwest employees were very patient today for the seven and half hours I spent with many of them standing on my feet. I was only able to sit for 10 minutes of those 7.5 hours. 

 

Unfortunately, many of the SW employees were missinformed and had many of us stand in lines for hours. Kiosk, 5 minute wait. Flight cancelled. Told to stand outside in the cold in two different lines at OAK from 5:32 AM until 8:30 AM. First line I was told to go to the special problems line. In the special problems line we stood for what seemed forever. Finally a woman rebooked my flight. I was told to go stand in another line at gate 23 to check in. I thought I had checked in. I stood in my third long line for two + hours. I got to the front and asked some clarifying questions. I asked, "So, I am not on this flight?" The attendant said I was on standby. Well this was the first time I was told this. I was number #17 on standby. Then I was told to sit and wait for my name to be called. Shock of all shocks, my name was called. I ran up to the check-in to have a boarding pass reprinted. In the meantime, a man with an outburst started to scream a bit. He was worried about something. Everyone's attention focused on him. I remained patient. Then instead of going back to the beginning of the line, the attendant called out the out burst guy's name. He shouted as if he hit the lottery. She boarded him. Then I spoke up because it had been my turn, but she got side tracked, and she said she had just given away the last seat on that flight. No rewards for being kind, patient for 7.5 hours, flashing smiles at the weary SW employees. Just a "I'm sorry." 

 

The CEO is correct when he speaks of this mishap causing folks to miss precious irreplaceable moments with loved ones. A college class reunion with friends from all over the globe Friday night will be missed. A visit with a sister, whom I have not seen in five years will be missed. A long needed massage appointment wil be missed. 

 

Stuff happens. Patience didn't pay off today. In the end I still tried to encourage the bedraggled SW employees with my gift of chocolate that was meant for my San Diego sister. 

 

A discourage mother of six with 20 years of pent up energy to play with family and friends,

Vivien

 

Next time, please text to let us know there is a problem. Next time, have a backup that will really backup. Hire my husband and his friend now to help you with some needed consulting so that this will never happen again. You need a contingency plan in place and well established for circumstances like these.

Tourist A-Lister
Tourist

A Lister deserve better!!!

We're loyal we spend lots and  lost of money with Southwest

Southwest completely failed us yesterday

At the Las Vegas airport not enough staff for regular day, the computer boards were completely  inaccurate Lines for customer service for three hours

No food or water was offered by Southwest for people stranded at the airport

You want to keep our business you really think you really think about offering a complete reimbursement and  free round-trip 

Sorry just doesn't cut it anymore

 

New Arrival dreamwalking78
New Arrival

Another that was the Portland to Phoenix and got canceled. We were trying to go on to LIT which is home for us. It was going to be Saturday late before we could be booked again. Which meant either sleeping at the airport for 2 days or find an extremely overpriced hotel, which is what we had to do. We did take the earlier flight to Dallas and we are renting a car to drive home from there since another 24 hours and another $256 for a hotel is too much. Other than book us to Dallas, no one has offered any form of customer service to find us a cheaper hotel, transport, anything. I was handed a card to talk to customer service about compensation of any form. There was not a phone number on the card anywhere. Only after I had been on hold for 30 minutes for the wrong number did I get a correct one. Another hour on hold just to be told that since they checked us in at the gate for in the morning, we were already considered "in progress" and the system would not allow them to compensate us anything. This is not how I expected to be treated by this company that I had been using for the last few years and I am beyond disappointed.

New Arrival dbarry
New Arrival

Southwest has embarrased me.  I arranged for an elderly cousin to fly SWA from Buffalo NY to visit me in Seattle.  Her flight required a change of planes in Las Vegas.  Her departure from Buffalo was delayed and upon arrival in Las Vegas she was informed that her flight to Seattle was cancelled.  She was told that the earliest flight she could be placed on was Saturday morning.  This would require her to find and pay for a hotel room for two nights before perhaps leaving for her destination.  Not only did SWA refuse to pay for or assist in acquiring lodging they also failed to offer any of the compensation responsible airlines routinely provide in situations such as this.  Similarly, the SWA agents refused to offer any suggestions as to other airline possibilities for completing the trip.  Apparently holding this elderly fare hostage was more importatnt than facilitating the completion this woman's journey. 

Just yesterday SWA beat Wall Street's quarterly earnings expectations probably predicated on cost cutting behaviors such as this ...probably good for short term stock valuations but wait for the long term effects of damaged coustomer confidence.

It looks like I could use some help for my mother and father in-law who are sitting in wheel chairs in the airport in chicago right now, after being told their flight was cancelled. They are in a line of almost 200 people that were just told their flights were cancelled at 12:35am. and were given NO other information. 

They are both in their 70's, with him having several medical issues including suffered a stroke last month, so this is not a situation that is good for his health and well being.

I am extremely dissapointed that Southwest had to have known the flight would be cancelled and chose to put people at risk rather than to let them know they would not get to their destination safely. 

I tried to rebook a flight for them online as the website says that online purchases can be rebooked, but when trying to do so, I get a message that says my itinerary can not be changed online.

It seems this company has failed in every possible way, and is hiding those failures from everyone they can. I just hope this doesn't cause harm to the elderly people they have abandoned in that airport.

Tourist Jcisler
Tourist

First time we flew SW as a family and this will be my last time. I guess you get what you pay for...poor operations management, inconsistent communication and a willingness to refund money but not get passengers to their destination. I will be asking for a refund of our car rental fee since we had to drive the last leg.

New Arrival MichelleS
New Arrival

Southwest failed!!!  My family's vacation ended with a night spent at midway in Chicago. Arrived at Midway to catch a connecting flight only to find out that the flight was canceled and after waiting 4 hours in line told no to a request for vouchers and was told that to spend the night at the airport. Southwest should have notified everyone that the flight was canceled prior to leaving the original destination and allowed customers to rebook for the next day. 

Tourist davidmarler
Tourist

TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE! Absolute worst ever.  Stuck in Denver.  Two consecutive days of cancellations.  I'm "A List Preferred" yet have received little to no help in getting a plan for me to actually make it home to San Diego.  Unbelievable.  I travel every week on Southwest but that is stopping today.  And just so it's not all blamed on this weeks operational issues - I had the same cancellation problem two weeks ago so this outage isn't the only reason Southwest strands it's customers. And just two weeks before that, I experienced a mid-flight diversion to Phoenix as we were experiencing a fuel leak at 37,000 feet. So I've just booked my flight home this morning on United.

 

Every company has problems - even outages.  It's how they are handled down the individual customer that makes the difference Southwest.  Lost all my "LUV" and plan to tell everyone about my experience.  UNITED HERE I COME!

Tourist markdconner
Tourist

My family and I were supposed to fly out Wednesday and had to be rebooked to today, Friday. That flight is now cancelled and we had to rebook on Sunday. The only communication we received is an email. No explanation. This is now a 4 day delay. When does Southwest step up and book us on another airline to get home? I can purchase tickets on several other airlines to get home today. Of course, this is at walk-up rates. Will Southwest reimburse? We don't know since the communication coming out of Southwest is non-existent (besides a notification on their website that you can rebook your SW flight). On the brightside, as my daughter said, we were on the local news as they were reporting on the delays from the airport. We are blessed that we are able to stay with the grandparents as we figure this out.  In reading this blog we know that there are many who are going through much greater challenges trying to get home. Southwest is going through a great challenge at this moment and have a huge task ahead in customer recovery.  

Route Finder SWAPOS
Route Finder

SWA is a POS.

 

On hold for TWO HOURS AND 24 MINUTES  so far.

No response, no rebooking options, NO SERVICE.

 

If I ran a business and had a catastrophe like this, it would be ALL HANDS ON DECK ON THE PHONES.

 

Man Sad

Route Finder SWAPOS
Route Finder

Stunnigly inept in handling this system outage. Thousands of people inconvenienced. Many, many customers who will never fly SWA ever again.

 

Even went so far as to blame it on weather in the 5:00 am text they sent me.

 

Lying? Really SWA?

 

 

On hold for two and a half hours so far.

Route Finder SWAPOS
Route Finder

Stunnigly inept in handling this system outage. Thousands of people inconvenienced. Many, many customers who will never fly SWA ever again.

 

Even went so far as to blame it on weather in the 5:00 am text they sent me.

 

Lying? Really SWA?

 

 

On hold for two and a half hours so far.

New Arrival TWheel
New Arrival

Why won't SW tell you what they are doing for all the people they have stranded far from their destinations without their luggage? Because it's embarrassing and they should be ashamed.  I have never seen such a lack of customer service and a lack of caring for people. I have burned my rapid rewards card and will never fly SW again. Also, we all need to tell everyone how SW is treating their customers not just here, everywhere you can blog so other unsuspecting people can make an informed choice, a choice that will not be SW.  BTW, do you know this happened just 6 months ago? SW's abandoning of their paying customers for what is clearly their fault and that instead of fixing a known issue, continues to harm people in the name of their own profits.  Tell everyone - Don't fly Southwest Airlines.

Tourist markdconner
Tourist

Still no update. How many flights are being cancelled today? Any help in getting people home?  Meanwhile, Southwest has extended their fare sale in some weird attempt to apologize on their homepage.  My family can't get home but hey, I can get cheap tickets through their extended sale. Of course, I am not sure those tickets will be any more valid than the ones I am currently holding. Are they trying to apologize or are they trying to recoup the estimated $5 to $10M that they lost on Wednesday when their system was down (according to Gary Kelly)?  I have no issue with Southwest extending their sale because their system was down. They have to make up for lost sales. I do think that tying it to an apology to those who are stranded is a bit disingenuous.  I don't want cheaper tickets, I want to get home.

Tourist dagustin
Tourist

This has been a dreadful experience...I've spent the last two days taking time off from work to drive my daughter an hour to the airport just to find out she couldn't fly out on 7/20 then on 7/21 the flight was delayed so late I could not send her. So we thought third time would be a charm...her flight was rescheduled again to 7:05 am this morning but was cancelled at 4:30 am. I sat on the phone for an hour trying to reschedule. The agent was nice but didn't have any solutions to offer. I changed her flight again to leave Austin the same day I leave on the 27th and the agent could not reimburse me the UM fee that I was charged for the original flight. Since I my daughter couldn't leave on 7/20 (like we planned) I had to change her return date to a later date in August, which is an inconvenience but I'm trying to be flexible and make this work. And get this, Southwest charges me the difference and another UM fee for her return flight...this is mind blowing! So they can't figure out a way to give me my money back but they can surely charge me additional fees, no problem...The sadest part for my family is my daughter was on her way to California to spend time with her great grandfather who was admitted into the hospital last week for another stroke...my family has been rearranging their schedule to care for him and deal with this crazy airline situation...shame on you Southwest!

Tourist allenc209
Tourist

The CEO of SWA announced this fiasco would cost them $5-10 million.  Are you kidding me?!  I really don't care how much money this company loses right now.  But, what this company fails to tell you is they made over $800 million in PROFITS in the second quarter of this year.  One quarter alone!!!  How bout the quarter before that.  And the quarter before that...  So stop with your pity song ok?

 

Has the CEO had to sleep on an airport floor like my family had to.   Has the CEO had to wait in snail paced lines only to have the line cut short right before I got to the front because they had to close down computers to reboot at 2:45 am?  Has the CEO had to wait on a tarmac for over an hour?  Has the CEO lost any baggage like mine did with no timeframe when I'll get it back, even if I do?  

 

Note to SWA.  Nobody cares how much this is going to cost you.  You put it on yourselves for not having proper running systems to prevent stuff like this.

Tourist jseger3
Tourist

You did not merely inconvenince your customers.  You disrupted the lives of thousands of customers and their families.  No amount of apologizing will undo that.  Your lack of a working Disaster Recovery strategy is sending ripple effects through the travel industry and is continuing to do so 2 days later.

 

I made alternate arrangements to get myself and my 12 year old son home, but I am out over $400 as a result and am still missing over $500 worth of cycling equipment that was in my luggage.  No one is answering when I call about it and no one is returning my calls.

New Arrival ahole
New Arrival

You must think ALL your passangers are AHoles.  I was never notified that my flight was cx'd.  I was to leave Tampa this AM but instead was rescheduled for Sunday.  That's 2 days in an airport.  You offered NOTHING !  Not ever a food voucher.  I got thru to your customer service after holding 53 minutes.  Shove your 50% off !  I will never fly your airlines again.  Leaving today on DELTA !!!!!

Tourist jseger3
Tourist

Just put in an inquiry through the website and got a response that included the following:

 

"Please allow up to 30 days for a response. The file reference number for your e-mail is xxxxxxxxx."

 

Um, no.  Not acceptable.

New Arrival JacobKeltner
New Arrival

6:09am notified 8:45am flight cancelled, great. Can't get a refund online, busy signal on phone, no call back either after 5 hours, so we had to wait in the airport ticketing line. They said while waiting that we could get a refund or change to a later flight, okay so we wait... When we get to the front we are told they can't give a refund, to call the 800 number or send an email in a couple days, since, as we know, they're busy. No flight, no refund, only alternative is to book at same-day rates on another airline and wait an indefinite amount of time for a refund. Outrageous. We expect a cash refund NOW, not credit for a future purchase for this poor situation, customers are not investors in your IT mistakes.

Tourist dagustin
Tourist

I just put in an inquiry as well and I received the same auto message..."allow 30 days for a response"...in the meantime we have no luggage and when I changed my daughter's flight they did not reimburse me UM fee...ridiculous!

Tourist jgatsby
Tourist

First of all I don't believe it only cost them $5-10 million.  And if that is the case it is because they are not in any way shape or form helping anyone with hotel, or rental car options, so they are not out any $$$ that way.  I have been flying most of my life, and only use Southwest 1/4 of the time.  They are the first airline that I have ever traveled with that has not helped with some type of accomodation with something like this.  My husband has business travel, and because of what happened on Wednesday he missed three key meetings.  He has another trip on Monday from SFO to LAX, it being a short trip he booked through Southworst.  We have cancelled that flight and are using Virgin.  Southwest (LUV) were a company that prided themselves on taking care of their passengers.  I think they need to change their slogan.  At a time when people needed them to step up, they crapped the bed and did the opposite.

Lindsey Employee
Employee

I'm so sorry that you all are continuing to face travel challenges today. 

 

We're working through the lingering disruptions from Wednesday. As of 10:30 a.m. Central (CDT), we've canceled approximately 300 flights for Friday, primarily as a result of displaced flight Crews. Our technology systems have been fully restored and we'll continue to focus on getting you and your bags to your destinations safely. 

 

Our Employees in airports, online, and on the phone are assisting a signifcant number of Customers and hold times are much longer than average. 

 

We've extended our flexible travel accommodations for Customers who are holding booked travel Wednesday the 20th through Tuesday the 26th of July. If you are traveling today, it's a good idea to check your flight's status on Southwest.com and plan to arrive at the airport early. 

 

Please accept our heartfelt apology for what's happened this week. We appreciate you, and we will continue our work to make this right. 

 

Lindsey

Community Moderator

Tourist lisatutt
Tourist

I understand problems happen, but Southwest needs to work on a workflow when problem happen.  My heart went out after being at Midway airport for over 12 hours between 7/21 and 7/22 to the elderly people and people trying to travel with small children.  I was traveling with my 72 year old father and waiting in lines for over 3 hours at a time twice in southwest lines not TSA. No blankets, cots or chairs were offered.  What employees were working were very rude and the policy were the luggage goes to your destination even though you don't get to go is not a good one.  My original destination was suppose to be Phoenix, AZ leaving Midway on 7/21 at 10:10pm, but flight was cancelled when I arrived at the airport because no pilot or flight attendants were available for that flight.  Got on a flight to Sacremento, CA with a connecting flight to Phoenix which was cancelled after getting through TSA quick and to gate B21.  Waiting in line another 3 hours to be told we could get you to New Mexico with a layover and then to Phoenix.  My luggage went on to Sacremento on the next outbound flight, but couldn't be told what time or what flight? Waiting in baggage line for over 1 hour to get a message sent to Sacremento to return my bags to Midway after they are not claimed and then I should be contacted to find out if they have them and/or when I can get them.  This was a nightmare, but very lucky I was able to come home even thought my dad doesn't have his needed medication and I don't have my glasses that are in our bags along with other important items to us. Final destination=homePlainfield, IL - bags

New Arrival ellishoover
New Arrival

Scheduled to leave Las Vegas at 9:05 a.m. today.  Flight directly before our's left the gate only a couple of minutes late.  Our plane was sitting idle somewhere out on the tarmack in the blazing heat.  It took the ground crew over 1 and one half hours to bring the plane to the gate.  They sat on their tractor on the tarmack for amost an hour before they even attempted to go get the aircraft.  The plane, when it was finally brought to the gate, had to be cleaned and serviced and stocked and the baggage loaded.  This delayed the departure until 10:45 a.m. with arrival in Nashville at 3:31, over one and a half hours later than scheduled.  The crew was waiting in the terminal in Las Vegas with the passengers waitng for the aircraft to brought to the gate.  This is totally unaccepatable.  A company the size and prestige of Southwest should have absolute redundancy with their IT systems.  I back-up my laptop on a regular basis.  Why can't you guys do the same?  

New Arrival sandrapace
New Arrival

I can't believe this is happening... My 12 year old was not allowed on his flight home this afternoon from Harligen to Nashville. This is his first time flying alone and he was visiting my brother and his family at South Padre Island. Nobody let us know what was happening! He just wasn't allowed on the flight. They booked him an the ONLY flight avaliable tomorrow at 6am (a one hour car trip for SPI) but they would not guarantee he would be able to travel. They just said to call a 1-800 number before heading to the airport. I tried calling that number and after waiting for an hour I didn't get any help. I explained to the nice girl on the phone that my brother and his family had to go back to Mexico so WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO MY SON! I needed a solution and all I got was a nice apology read from a prompter. I've checked... a last minute one way ticket home will be over $700 on another airline and I can't even book anything yet. I'm holding my breath until Southwest let's me know if my son can come home with them or not! I'm beyond mortified.... i just want my son HOME!!!

Tourist FreddyP
Tourist

Be careful for me this week was a double cancelation!  I drove 4.5 hours during the night to catch a 5:50 AM flight that was cancel about 1 hour prior to departure.  Not sure what are they doing but they are not taking care of business like they uses to!  I spent an additional $800 dollar today to get home!!  Not sure why they were not recommending to fly with other Airline until their flights were under control.  That was my expectation like AA and CA has done in the past with similar issues.  No body is perfect but you can tell how a company is doing based on how they handle adversity.  I guess SW is not doing well!

 

i am disappointed!

Route Finder mariemarie
Route Finder

sh*t happens, I get it... but this is pretty bad. No warning today for my flight until txt 1 hr before saying flight canceled, and now on hold for over an hour. You know, there are such things as temp agencies that can help you quickly hire & train customer service reps for situations just like this. So that those of us who are impacted can actually get the information we need to make decisions about travel. You're clearly understaffed in the customer service arena, and that's too bad. 

New Arrival gatordce
New Arrival

As a loyal SWA customer (11+ years as a Rapid Rewards Member), I am deeply disappointed in your gross neglience of your network system causing this avoidable fiasco that ruined countless vactions/trips and cost your customers $100s.

 

We are missing two days of vaction and losing $100s.  I choice SWA over cheaper flights on other carriers because this will be my Baby's first plane ride and I put faith in SWA that you could delivery a comfortable trip but the only derlivery has been hassel, heartache, hours in line, hours on the phone and an insulting valued voucher.  

 

Unless you do a significatly better job reconccilling this matter i will never fly SWA again and will but my trust (and money) into another carrier.

 

You should follow you "bumped" passenger policy and offer up to 4 times basefare vouchers.

 

https://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/overbooking_faq.html

 

"If your alternate flight(s) is scheduled to arrive at your destination or stopover point more than two hours later than your originally scheduled flight(s), your compensation will increase to an amount equal to four times your remaining one-way flight coupon(s). In these cases, the maximum amount of denied boarding compensation increases to $1,350.'