For many years, I never had any problems with Southwest. It got me where I need, and they don't care where I sit-- which is a bonus so I can scan the airplane and avoid the dreaded passengers (parents-with-restless-kids, tissue-blowing, choked-with-perfume, talkative).
Until last Saturday. It was the most horrible and LONG flight I ever endured in America. When you fly across the ocean, it is understandable that things take a long time to get done-- the security, the passports, et cetera. But this one-- A DOMESTIC FLIGHT took me 12 hours to get to the front door of my home from the time the airplane took off from the Lindberg airport in San Diego. Yes, 12 hours when it should be a merely six hours trip!
I took off at 11am PST from San Diego and finally drove up to my home at 1am EST. (30 minutes of driving from Dulles airport-- so 11 and half hours-- that is still too long, don't you think?)
It so happened that I was sitting on the cursed 3232 flight with a stopover at Chicago's Midway airport. I have no problems with Chicago-- I heard horrible stories about the airport, especially with lost luggages. I didn't check in any bags-- I carried on two bags (one personal, one carry-on). No problem, I can handle Chicago.
Uno problemo-- Southwest FORGOT to let the passengers know that they were actually making TWO stops. One in Chicago which we already knew, but Phoenix somehow magically showed up when we walked up to the airplane. I was upset that Southwest Airline didn't state this when we purchased the ticket. We didn't WANT to stop more than once, but... we swallowed and prayed that it would take us to Chicago on time (and take us home around 10pm as stated on our itinerary.)
To be honest, we first thought that maybe they got two airplanes to a hub and plan to hurry up all passengers for Chicago onto one airplane and then herd the Phoenix passengers to another plane right after the Chicago plane moves onto the tarmac.
We should have stepped up to the booth and cried out against this trick. Well, there was no attendant/worker behind the booth anyway. So like good schoolchildren, we sat quiet among the sea of oblivious passengers.
The stop at Phoenix was uneventful-- we stayed on the airplane while all other passengers (minus quite a few passengers who like us are destined to Chicago) and waited for the new wave of Chicago passengers to join us on our flight.
The stop at Chicago was quite an opposite. We walked off the airplane and scurried to the next flight-- only to find its gate number being changed. Fortunately we caught a worker and she guided us to the correct gate. We hurried to a nearby cafe to grab our quick dinner (we only had less than a hour in between arrival from Phoenix and takeoff to Dulles). We finally got herded onto the airplane after, maybe 20, 25 minutes of waiting past the promised boarding time. The take-off time was still 07:15 PM from Chicago's Midway airport. We were one of the first passengers so we sat in fourth row, aisle so we can run off with our light carry-on luggages-- all planned out.
Well... not quite so.
We snapped on our seat belts and the airplane pulled out and turned around just a bit... and then stopped. And it had been like this for a good hour... I got a bit restless and became pissed because my butt was developing bedsores and cramps. So I unsnapped my seat belt (gasp, the ultimate sin!) and stood up to stretch. I grabbed one of my snacks from my backpack. The flight attendant gave me a dirty eye. I gave her one right back. I began to complain (in signs, to my husband) to make it clear that I was an angry passenger. She gestured me to sit down. She said the airplane was about to move-- I raised my eyebrow but I conceded and sat down.
The airplane never moved. Before I knew it, in a matter of seconds, there was a mutiny-- passengers standing up, going to the bathroom, turning on their cell phones while the very same flight attendant gave rows upon rows of rebellious passengers an evil eye and shook her head as if she was tsk-tsk'ing us.
After two hours of sitting on the tarmac, the very same interval that would have taken us to Dulles Airport at 09:55 PM... the flight attendants decided to pacify us by giving us drinks and snacks. I was browsing on my SK to find the flyer's bill of rights-- and found out only Jetblue and American Airlines do have their own bill while all other airlines haven't signed on to this. Jetblue promised to not keep their passengers on the tarmarc for more than five hours while American Airlines for 4 hours. All other airlines promised for "a lengthy period of time." ... how "lengthy" is it too long? Nobody knows for sure.
So it had came around to almost three hours when the airport/airplane/pilot had decided with their greedy power to permit us to go home.
So three hours of my life had been wasted away on a lousy Southwest airplane that oughta never left Southwest and let Chicago being flown by other airlines who can handle the ice and the snow.
Southwest Airlines, QUIT LYING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!!
(I found more stories where Southwest Airline has been lying to people about # of stops... go to this rateitall site and read more, but I will copy and paste one story that isalmostsame as mine.
Plain and simple: Southwest Airlines suck. Its a bait and switch, cattle hauling bus. Beware of "direct flights" with these clowns. I recently flew from Sacramento, California to Dallas. My ticket plainly stated a one stop-change planes deal. It said nothing about a stop in Amarillo Texas. When i asked why Amarillo, the idiot behind the counter said that is what a "direct flight" is. Now being a commercial pilot myself, thats not what a direct flight is.
My return flight was a total disaster. Leaving Dallas we were 4 hours late due to weather (which i totally understand) but once again, my ticket stated a one stop deal- Phoenix then Sacramento. When i looked at the board it stated a stop in El Paso. El Paso? Thats not what's on my ticket! By the time we finally did roll into Phoenix it was 11pm at night and all departing flights were done for the day. I had to get a hotel and then take the first (and only) available flight at 6am. Now i totally understand weather delays/ cancellations...thats a safety thing. BUT the added stops and not telling passengers ahead of time is what infuriates me. Had i would have known about these little detours i would have never booked a flight on that airline. Why should going from a major city to another less that half a country away take 2 or even 3 stops? Why not tell people up front that that's what its going to take? My mistake was not taking another major carrier that was non stop. I could have done the same trip with American Airlines non-stop for 30 extra bucks ( and probably got a meal with it) AND got assigned seating to boot. Bottom line is Southwest Airlines is a bottom feeder. They bait and switch to make the general public THINK they are getting a good deal when in reality they would be better off looking somewhere else. My advise- ask before you travel on this cattle hauler exactly how many stops it will take (they will try and lie to you) and what options you will have in case that flight cancels. You may not get the answer you are expecting. If Southwest was a little more honest then they might not have the crowds of sheep lining up at the A B or C lines.