Why I'm Never Flying Southwest Again

So amidst writing my planned entry for today, I was suddenly inspired instead, to write about air travel. This is largely due to the fact that the person in the seat behind me has been kicking the back of my chair for the last hour and a half. I turned around, expecting a small child who was getting restless, only to see a middle aged woman. Now I’m even more aggravated, because she should know better.

I spent this past week in Central Florida visiting with my grandparents. It has been the first time I’ve used Southwest and I have to tell you, I’m disappointed. For one, I actually like their ads on TV and the concept of open seating intrigued me. However, I think that for future trips I will go back to my ever reliable Jet Blue. 

The biggest advantage in flying Southwest was the ability to leave out of Providence. Though I live in Boston and Logan is only a quick train ride away, I’m traveling with my grandmother who lives outside the city, so to be dropped off at TF Green eliminated the hassle of driving back into the city and security only took a few short minutes. 

But these conveniences have nothing to do with the airline themselves. I noticed that while boarding for our flight down, people were getting very antsy about the seating situation. You line up in groups A through C and then numbers 1 through 60. Easy enough, right? Yet when a man said to a couple, “Oh I’m just ahead of you, I’m number 40.” The couple seemed taken aback and said, “Don’t worry, there are plenty of seats.” Sure there are, but some are better than others!

I also think this concept is easier for some people to understand than others. Many people seemed a little confused or were disappointed when they couldn’t sit with family. I myself like to choose my seat ahead of time. Window, on the wing, preferably the emergency exit row. I live by seatguru.com which rates the best seats on all models of commercial airlines. Window seats have the best views, sitting by the wing ensures the smoothest flight, and the emergency exits have an additional two inches of precious leg room. But with this flight, I just had to hope to get lucky and I only got two of the three, a window on the wing, but no emergency exit, and my legs are already getting cramped.

I also like the TVs on JetBlue flights! Even though I prefer to relax to my iPod, I like the map station which tells you where you are. I just like to know these things, especially on longer flights. 

In its defense, Southwest has offered very good customer service. All of the flight attendants have been very pleasant and upbeat, which I certainly appreciate. The pilots seem experienced enough though we did have a very shaky landing on the trip down and a rocky takeoff this morning. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and blame it on the wind. 

These airlines rely on customer loyalty, and they need to be innovative to attract new customers in an industry that’s not exactly a money maker. So thanks, Southwest for thinking outside the box and offering cheap fares but I’m just not so sure you’ve hooked me as a customer.

The flight attendants SANG the safety instructions for landing... SANG. Also, the landing home was horrible too... but it could've been worse, I could've flown Oceanic!

1 comment:

Steve G. said...

Nice entry. I've always wanted to travel more, but I never seem to have either the time, money or drive to get it done.