Thursday, August 6, 2009

I LUV Southwest Airlines

I travel to Houston from Dallas every week. That makes me the kind of business traveler for whom Southwest Airlines was invented. In case you don't know, SWA was conceived on a cocktail napkin, with a vision of servicing passengers between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

One of my favorite things about SWA is the people. Forget about the convenience, on-time status, low fares, abundance of flights, etc. This is just like any other business. It's PEOPLE that make the difference. Today was no different.

One of the perks of being a frequent traveler with SWA is their Rapid Rewards program. You can earn a free round trip with just 16 flights. If you fly 32 flights in a year, you are put on the "A-List". The A-List guarantees you an "A" boarding card (1st 60 passengers to board) and more importantly, earns you coveted access to the "Fly-by lane" at airport security. This is an amazing perk, similar to being able to bypass the line for attractions at Disney World or at Universal Studios with certain hotel room keys, etc.

I very recently regained my A-List status. It was so recent that I have not yet received the plastic card in the mail, so I printed temporary documentation from the SWA website, in preparation for today's flight. As I approached the Fly-by lane this morning, the attendant (not TSA) waved me to the other line. I showed him my printed documentation of A-List, but he did not even look. He just kept pointing to the other line. I patiently explained to him that the printed sheet documented that I was A-list, and that I had not yet received my card. He still looked up, and just pointed to the other line again (it was a LONG line) and told me to go complain to someone else. So I did.....

...But I didn't actually have to complain. I walked over to the SWA ticket counter, and before I got all the way there, was greeted by a smiling Southwest employee (it was 6:30 am). I told her what had happened, and smile still intact, she walked immediately to get a supervisor. The supervisor (Janice), also smiling, glanced at my printed sheet, and offered to help. She walked me back over to the line attendant (not an SWA employee) and told him I was clearly A-list and to let me through. She further explained that there may be others like me who did not yet have cards, and instead might have something printed. He grumbled that he did not have time to read it. Finally, her smile went away. She said to him "honey, you have to read it. That's how you give customer service. I'm going to talk to your supervisor." Her smile quickly returned as I walked through the Fly-by lane. She wished me safe travel, and walked away smiling.

Thank you Janice. You are why I fly Southwest every week.


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