Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thumbs Down, Southwest. Thumbs Down.

I feel this post needs the prefacing label #firstworldproblems 



When we were debating our move to Arizona, we became very friendly with the airport in Phoenix (PHX). We learned PHX has two main carriers based here: Southwest and US Airways. Oddly, they are ranked first (Southwest) and last (US Air) in customer service. It was a no brainer who we'd do our flying through. We already loved Southest. Their flight attendants are funny, their pilots do humorous things like congratulate themselves on the intercom for nice landings, and they even have a heart in their logo! What's not to love? 

When we were flying from Phoenix to San Jose for our wedding, they had even arranged for champagne to be delivered to us on the flight! (We ended up having to change our flight for the next morning after already checking in and checking bags because we had forgotten our SCUBA gear, so it ended up not happening. Southwest, however, was awesome with letting us switch with no charges, getting us on the very next flight, and having our luggage that had already been checked waiting for us on the other end). 

Sometime ago (circa 2010), Southwest announced they were giving one year's notice before they would be discontinuing their drink coupon reward system. Under this old system, with every eight roundtrip flights flown, passengers would get a free roundtrip flight and two coupons for free alcoholic drinks. Yum. Beer, wine, G&T, whatever. With all of our flying, Max and I had accumulated some number of these drink coupons (which had no expiration date!). I remember dismissing the announcement, thinking perhaps they weren't serious about no longer honoring the old coupons. 

Somewhere at the end of 2011, the new system went into effect. True to their word, Southwest stopped taking the old drink coupons. Someone is actually suing them over it.

I definitely flew Southwest over the holidays, and didn't give it a second thought. I'm guessing though that passengers must be trying lately to still use these coupons because when flying out to San Jose a few weeks ago, instead of witty jokes in the intercom I heard this: Southwest is no longer accepting drink coupons with no expiration date. If you have one you will not be able to use it.

Where were my jokes about traveling with kids or adults who act like kids? This was probably the meanest thing I'd ever heard over the Southwest intercom. And it didn't even make sense! Not honoring coupons that had no expiration date? I had old drink coupons I'd been using as a bookmark. I looked down at them. Seriously, Southwest? There was no expiration date! They shouldn't expire! 


Apparently Southwest had put too many of these coupons out into circulation and wanted to purge the system. Well in my opinion, that is Southwest's own fault and they should not punish their loyal customers. Of course Southwest still does a bajillion other very nice things for their flyers. I mean, bags fly free? If you're a two-bag a trip kind of gal, that's saving $200 in baggage fees for a round trip flight. I in fact had checked two bags for this California trip. So looking at my drink coupons (estimated former value $10) and thinking of the two free bags I had just checked (a cost of $100 on any other airline) I resigned myself to that fact that I was still getting a good deal : )

Click here for a drink coupon update!

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