Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dear Southwest: You Get A Gold Star

It's not often we brag about awesome service. It's so easy to complain about horrible service. Let's face it, we live in a society where treating people well, going that extra mile, smiling for the sake of being happy, just arn't commonplace. We make it our personal mission to seek vengence on evil customer-service-doers by telling everyone we know, their grandma, and next door neighbour in hopes it will satisfy the enjoyable experience we of which we were robbed.

Not today. Southwest Airlines - You ROCK MY WORLD.

Today's travel could have been the perfect storm for a 'Top 10' bad travel experience.

Snowing - CHECK. Delayed flight - CHECK. Reservation processed incorrectly - CHECK. Last group to board - CHECK. Personal space-invader next to me - CHECK. No room reservation - CHECK.

Normally, I'd be livid and stressed, sweating and absolutely irritated to stand at a ticket counter for over 1 1/2 hours. In some cases, I'm sure the agent would have sent me back to the travel agent (who created the problem to begin with when they spelled my name wrong - who spells it Jeniffer anyway?) Overly apologetic, the agents were very friendly and visibly trying to do everything they could to help me. Poor Kate. I couldn't blame her. I know my corporate travel agent is useless.

At the gate, I grabbed a rail (the seats were full). As the plane started to board, I came to the realization I was among the last to board. Southwest's seating process of no assigned seats, first come, first serve by assigned group has never really sat well with me. I was overwhelmed with fear, imagining myself crammed between a big man with an unplaceable stench and a screaming child kicking the seat, whilst my baggage is shoved beneathe my feet. I walked down the jetway like I was bound for a 3 hour noisy, snotty, stinky hell.

I was wrong. Overhead bins galore. Aisle seats. It all came together:

Discount airline
Vacation destination
Fewer business travellers.
Lots of checked bags. More overhead room. Families wanting to sit together. Aisle seats OPEN.

The icing on this little blue & red, 737 shaped cake? Being warned to watch for monsters out the exit row window. So WestJet really did take the witty and friendly page from this book.

It was that much more comical to me, when I reached the hotel to find my reservation was not until tomorrow and the room provided was already occupied. Of course!

Like I said, it could've been a perfect storm.

You earned your gold star today, Southwest.

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