Grace under fire: My adventures with Southwest Airlines

One of the reasons this is my first post for October is that I have been traveling and away from my computer. On September 30, a friend and I attempted to fly to Raleigh/Durham via Baltimore at 8:30 a.m. on Southwest Airlines. The weather all along the coast was wretched, so it was no surprise that our flight to Baltimore was delayed several hours. This meant that the plane we were supposed to take from Baltimore to Raleigh/Durham had already left before we were able to even get in the air, so they pulled us off that plane and told us there were no more flights we could get on that day to get to our destination. All their flights from Baltimore to Raleigh/Durham were 100% booked.

So, they booked us in a 6:30 a.m. flight the following day, October 1, that took us to Raleigh/Durham via Chicago…which nearly doubled the travel time and required getting up at 4:00 a.m. to be at Bradley on time for the first leg of the trip.

On the way home on Tuesday, our flight from Baltimore to Hartford was delayed three hours, which meant I didn’t get home until 2 a.m. Both coming and going we ended up on different planes than our bags so there was that worry of whether our luggage would be waiting for us each time. Fortunately, it was. Phew!

Now, if this sounds like a modern-day air travel nightmare, it pretty much was except for one thing. To a person, the staff we dealt with from Southwest was pleasant, helpful and upbeat. The bad attitude I’ve come to take for granted from the employees of other airlines was nowhere in sight. (Yes, I’m talking about you, US Airways.)

It truly was an outstanding lesson in how, to quote Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. And it raises the question of why more companies don’t train their employees the way Southwest has trained their workers. Yet, being surly with passengers who are having a really bad day seems to be more the norm than the exception.

This was my first time flying with Southwest. Thanks to how they performed under the worst of circumstances, I will give them a shot next time around, too.

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