Dear Southwest Airlines: An Open Letter
*This is NOT a sponsored post. I just really freaking love this quirky, fun and affordable airline.*
Dear Southwest Airlines,
As you might have heard, these are not great times for air travel. While I’m thrilled that air travel has become more accessible and affordable for the masses, there’s something to be said for the, ahem, “user experience.”
You don’t need to look very hard to find examples. Do you remember when an airline became the “fashion police?” Or when a passenger was forcibly dragged off an overbooked flight? There are countless stories. Suffice it to say that the user experience of flying is just not all that great.
On one had, I’m thrilled that flights are so affordable these days. A couple decades ago, the thought of a “weekend girls trip” or a quick flight to see your favorite sports team play was reserved for the wealthy. Now, it’s pretty common. Accessible. Which is great. But you know what? I’m a millennial. And I expect more. I fully expect that efficiency and customer service can go hand in hand. In fact, that’s the mark of a remarkable company.
And you, my dear Southwest Airlines, have delivered. You’ve radically challenged the idea that a company can be profitable only at their customer’s expense. Affordable prices. Ease of changing your flights. An egalitarian seating system based not on some annoying “status” but on a passenger’s motivation. Have a lot of time? Set a reminder to check in for your fight as soon as possible. Have more money than time? Pay for automatic check in.
Southwest Airlines, here are 5 reasons I adore you, and will remain loyal to your awesome business.
- As a travel hacker, I really really like to…wait for it…HACK FREE FLIGHTS. Shocking, I know. But man, I love me some free flights. You make this incredibly easy. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. In fact, you’ve been consistently ranked by the Freddie Awards as the top airline reward program in the USA. Love it. Love you, SW!
- Customer service. You could say that I travel a lot. And I’m reasonable, and fully recognize that sometimes things go wrong. Flights get delayed. Or cancelled. Bags get lost. On the rare occasion that’s happened on a SW flight, you and your team go above and beyond. In my former life as a restaurant manager, we always discussed this “unicorn” of customer service…exceeding expectations. The ability to change an unfortunate experience into one that leaves a customer feeling totally satisfied is the pinnacle of outstanding service.
- Thanks for not making me pay for the “extras” that really shouldn’t be “extra.” The checked bags and the drinks. The snacks. The smiles from the attendants that other airlines reserve only for their business and first class flights.
- I fly a lot. And I always choose you, except sometimes when I don’t. This only happens if there’s no option to fly where I want to fly. Like on a recent flight to Vancouver, BC. And I totally forgot how spoiled I am with the amount of leg room and seat space I get on your airline. Like seriously, how do people deal with other carriers and the lack of space? At 5’4, I’m not even that tall and it was so damn uncomfortable.
- And my favorite bit? Due to your outstanding egalitarian structure, the snobbiest passengers opt for other airlines. When I board a Southwest flight, I can rest assured that it’s the friendliest option in the sky.
Your customer for life, who’s about to board her third SW flight in the last 4 days.