I had quite a pleasant experience with Southwest Airlines today, and since it's understandably rare that people post anything nice about the airline industry these days, I figured I'd share this.
Earlier this morning I booked a flight to San Diego for a trip coming up next month. I used Southwest's “Ding” service to get a pair of killer rates – $139 non-stop each way. Each flight was booked separately as a one-way trip, which explains the low fare and the screw-up I'll be explaining momentarily. Other airlines I had looked at started at $300 round trip with stops.
I booked the flight out to San Diego first, and all was well. I double-checked the dates and times, and everything was correct. I then booked the flight home from San Diego, but I didn't double-check my work. It was two hours later, when I was telling my wife that I'd made the reservations, that I discovered that I'd made a mistake. She asked what time my flight was, and I didn't remember exactly, so I looked up my confirmation email and realized I'd booked for September 24th.
Don't ask me how that happened.
Well, I called up Southwest, and figured I'd be on the phone for the next hour. I shouldn't have worried – a representative picked up in less than a minute. I explained my situation, and the representative suggested that the easiest thing to do would be to simply cancel the reservation and re-book it, rather than try to finagle the system into accepting a date change on an internet-only fare. At that point, I figured they'd hit me for a $25 cancellation fee or something. Nope! No fee, he said. I hung up the phone praising Southwest – but I wasn't done yet. My wife pointed out that sometimes, when you cancel a reservation, they don't refund your money, they give you travel credits. I called Southwest back and re-explained the situation to a new representative (again, after picking up in under a minute). She was friendly and helpful, and quickly looked up the confirmation number and told me that the full amount had been refunded to my credit card.
I went back online after thanking her, and booked the correct flight home from San Diego – and double checked my work before hitting that Submit button.
Southwest Airlines earned my respect today.