Generally, I LOVE (or is it LUV) Southwest Airlines. But, there are some times when they really push my boundaries.
I’ve been flying Southwest for all my adult life as my airline of choice. It’s hard to complain when they don’t charge for bags, the flights are generally pretty affordable, and they don’t charge for cancelling or changing a flight.
Well… except in this case.
I booked a Wanna Get Away Fare flight for my 2 year old son, that he subsequently wasn’t able to take. So, like I normally do, I saved the confirmation number expecting to be able to re-use those dollars on one of my upcoming flights.
Overall, it is more important that I pay for my flights, while he uses my points, because I am trying to get to 110,000 points to renew my Companion Pass and because I have A-List Preferred, which provides me with 2x the points earned on all my flights. He can use the points I earn for his tickets. And, my wife gets to fly for free with the Companion Pass.
Well, like I said, except in this case.
I tried using his credit to book one of my flights. No go. It wouldn’t work. Granted, it had been quite awhile since I’ve tried this. I used to do it all the time when booking flights for me and my Dad.
So, I called Customer Service to try to book the flight over the phone. They said that the credit is only good for the person who originally booked the ticket. Which is BS because what 2 year old has enough money to buy a ticket, so obviously the money was mine.
Their “compromise” was that it would cost me $100 to obtain a voucher for my son’s credits. The excuse was that people were committing fraud and using other people’s credits for themselves, so they stopped allowing credits to be used for other people. Pretty lame excuse, if you ask me.
I HATED to waste $100 like this, but, again, if I’m going to spend money on a ticket, I might as well get 2x the points and get closer to renewing Companion Pass status for 2014. I asked if the Customer Service rep could make an exception based upon my long-standing flying history with Southwest, or my A-List Preferred or Companion Pass status. She said “Sir, you are talking to a Manager” and wouldn’t budge. So, after a long pause, I pulled the trigger, even as my body shuddered in disgust.
Southwest, sometimes you make it so hard to LUV you!
The only saving grace is that most other airlines would have charged $150 or so (less or nothing, if you have status) to re-book a flight or to cancel and recover points used to book a ticket. On Southwest, I could have also avoided this situation had I booked a Business Select or Anytime fare, but those would have been more money. And, since it is rare that I cancel a flight, why pay extra when the need is so rare?
Southwest’s Customer Service deserved a 1 Razor salute for this uncharacteristic blunder.
What would you have done in this situation? Should I have done something different? I’d love to hear your thoughts.