Despite trading on the NY Stock Exchange under “LUV,” Southwest is taking some heat from customers because of the Boeing 737 MAX plane groundings. According to a USA Today report, customers says Southwest didn’t handle rebookings well:
They're peeved about Southwest's handling of passenger rebookings, especially last-minute flight cancellations that leave them with few options. And they're perplexed by Southwest's uncharacteristic lack of flexibility, with affected passengers given two options: take the alternate flight, even if it's days later or to a different airport, or get a refund.
Our first clue about problems came with Southwest’s first statement about the plane groundings. Little guidance was offered for customers to rebook. The first three comments on a Southwest message posted on March 13 illustrate the problem.
A Southwest spokesman said it’s a challenging situation—like a snow storm that lasts for many weeks—and claimed that the airline did everything it could, including offering "massive flexibility'.'
Southwest could not have prevented the Boeing 737 MAX disaster, but what about its own customer service situation? What, if anything, could company leaders have done differently?
How should Southwest react to customers’ complaints now? I see nothing on its website or blog.