I had a really nice run today. I ran fast, way faster than my usual pace. It was the pace of a woman desperate to make her connection and get back to her family after a three day work trip. It was the pace of a woman who did not want to get stuck in the Denver airport for five hours.
It was the pace of a woman who already had a really, really crappy experience with Southwest and had zero faith in their ability to deliver on their lofty claims of Loving Their Customers (side note to Southwest: Putting words in Capital Letters doesn’t Mean anything if You don’t Deliver on Said Words. Just Saying).
It was the pace of a woman who landed ten minutes before her connection from Denver to Houston was taking off, and had a good 1/4 mile of airport to get through.
And it wasn’t like I was sprinting in my usual running clothes. Oh no. I was in a maxi dress and sandals, pulling a roller bag, holding a purse and a book. But I bet if you clocked me, I was going cheetah speed.
Let me step back a minute. My day started in Sacramento, CA. I had an 11:05 flight to Denver, landing at 2:20, then Denver to Houston, taking off at 3:15, landing in Houston at 6:40. I would be home in time for dinner! I would be able to tuck Jones in for bed ! I would soon be made a fool of for ever thinking that newly-incompetent Southwest was going to allow any of that to happen!
I watched with stomach churning dread as I got email delay after delay. I headed to the airport with hope in my heart, hope that lifted when I got an email rolling the delay back ten minutes, then hope that was quickly dashed when I got a follow up HA HA JUST KIDDING email, delaying us a full hour.
We were for sure for sure NOT going to make our connection. I had to break the bad news to my boss, who was also flying with me.
She was already in the A group but I was in the C, so sucked it up and paid the extra $40 to upgrade to business class and maximize my chances of making my flight. I sat in the first row on one side, her on the other. Aisle seat. I wasn’t messing around.
During the flight, much like survivors of a ship wreck, we kept trying to pep each other up. Surely they will wait for us, right? I mean, it’s just a few minutes! I’m 100% positive that if they know we’re ALMOST there, they will wait for us. The people who were sitting around us, many of who were also at risk of missing connections, helped to feed into our psychosis.
Oh yes. They will wait. Ya, the guy on this plane calls them and tells them. There are too many of you going to Houston for them to leave you. You guys will be fine! We land at 3:11 and you’re taking off at 3:25. Pfhhhhh. There is NO WAY they are leaving you!
We land in Denver and get to the gate. I’m first in line to get off. I start stretching (being in a rush is no excuse to abuse your muscles) and mentally preparing myself for the task ahead. I already knew I had to exit the ramp, make a right, and run like I have never ran before.
I made a silent prayer that my boss understood I would block the door to wait for her, and took off. My lungs burned, my breathing was labored, my sandals were slapping the ground as I flew past gate after gate, pushing myself past my natural limit, saying to myself THEY WILL WAIT THEY WILL WAIT THEY WILL WAIT.
They did not wait.
As I blasted into the gate, wheezing, they were juuuuuuuuuuuust closing the door. Had I more air in my lungs, I could have possibly, maybe, yelled WAAAAIIIIIIIITTTTTT. I want to get HOME to my SON.
I bent in half, panting, and asked the gate attendant if the door was locked. It was, she said. You JUST missed it, she said. Well thanks for THAT bit of info! Super helpful. Insult was added to injury that they were clearly still loading luggage in to the plane.
I waited for my boss to catch up and the other poor souls on the Sacramento to Denver flight, connecting to Houston. We all made our way to the gate agent to make sure we were booked on the 8:20 PM flight, FIVE EFFING HOURS LATER.
I jokingly said, how many free drink tickets do we get? The gate attendant snapped, ‘None’. OF COURSE NOT! Why would I, why would anyone, expect to have a little something extra after running like Usain frigging Bolt through the airport, only to literally JUST miss her connection? Why would anyone in their right mind expect Southwest to know that a flight is AT THE GATE WITH PASSENGERS TRYING TO GET TO EFFING HOUSTON SO MAYBE WAIT FIVE GODDAMN MINUTES.
I understand a flight can’t be held forever. However, with Southwest’s latest policy of We’ll Get You There, Maybe!, you would think an extra five minutes is no big deal.
And after all of this, as I sit in Denver with a solid three hours left (and they just issued a flash flood warning. If I get stuck here overnight… let’s not even think about it), and Southwest can’t even cough up a mother trucking DRINK TICKET?
Oh, and I’m starting to take bets on whether or not we even get out of here tonight. Here is the forecast for the next few hours:
And if you’re curious as to how Southwest resolved my last horrible experience with them, here you go:
Sorry, Lan. This IS becoming the typical Southwest experience.
The ONLY good thing to come out of this? I bought this puppy. This is going to take my Selfies at the Airport Drinking Wine to the next level.
So remember, folks. Southwest does not care about you, your comfort, or making your life any better when, through no fault of your own, you find yourself victim to their bottom-feeding customer service. Your missed flight, a flight you missed because of their delayed flight, your five hour sit in an airport, your missed night at home with your kid, your late night after a long day, they care about none of this. You, customer, are nothing to them. Your pain and suffering isn’t worth a drink ticket. I didn’t even get an ‘I’m sorry’, and that’s FREE.
I don’t care how many times you Capitalize Customer, Southwest. You suck, plain and simple.
Yours in I never thought I would say this, but United is the better airline,