Southwest reveals how to not deal with clients throughout a pandemic

It continues to be surprising that some companies are refusing to show customers who have been working for so long despite the slightest variation in the global epidemic that has already killed 235,000 Americans.

I mean, really?

Time is of the essence, for sure. Entrepreneurs are busy earning as much money as they can.

But it seems to be a lack of loyal customers at a time when people need help, and when a little compassion can go a long way to ensure future benefits.

I say all this after talking to the other day with Barbara Ashton, 76, who never asked Southwest Airlines to allow her to add $ 156 to unpaid salaries after the last day of September 17.

A resident of Playa Vista claimed to have been a south-west satisfaction for more than 40 years. He called the carrier “my plane, wherever possible, for the best customer service and the flexible flight plan.”

Ashton said she and her husband used the loan, dubbed the Southwest “travel money,” to make a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco to see her relatives early in March.

As the coronavirus spread, the couple decided to stop fleeing and move north instead. Ashton has a condition called polymyalgia rheumatica that puts him at risk for the disease. Her husband of 75 years, Bruce, is seriously ill.

Flying doesn’t seem to make sense, all things considered.

Ashton said he was aware that travel expenses would expire at the end of September, but he thought it would be best to travel at that time.

He told me: “By mid-July, without the problem of the epidemic, I can see that we can’t leave before the day is over.”

Ashton said he had connected with the Southwest in the summer and had been told by delegates that he would call again after the last day of September 17 to make arrangements.

Her husband did this a few weeks ago. He told me that he had been told by the Southwest that no extras were being offered. A spokesman for the project explained that the aircraft must “protect the integrity of what we do,” he said.

The $ 156 bill had expired.

I have written about the hardships that some people have experienced in seeking reimbursement for travel expenses, road trips and hotel reservations that were canceled as a result of a tragedy that occurred once a generation.

One of the eye-openings is about travel insurance companies that keep people’s money even when other related travel is banned.

Without a doubt, this is a sad time to be in the airline business. Four major U.S. carriers have earned at least $ 10 billion in total over the last two installments.

The third quarter is usually the strongest for aircraft because it involves summer travel. But American Airlines says a quarter of $ 2.4 billion has been lost. The Southwest lost about $ 1.2 billion.

Although carriers say they are hopeful that things will improve with the holiday season in the region, they think it will take years to make it possible due to the economic hardship they experienced as a result of the epidemic.

The Southwest is said to be re-selling mid-seat seats from December 1, based on its “scientific findings from reputable medical and aviation organizations” rather than for cash.

“Our ultimate goal remains, and always will be, the safety of employees and customers,” the airline chief, Gary Kelly, said in a statement.

Carriers say their air filter reduces the risk of coronavirus. Some health experts say the courts are still out.

In any case, Ashton told Kelly. They wrote him a letter with details of their experience and politely asked that the plane be kept under its control.

“He can’t lose any money,” he told me. “We are not asking for a refund. We just need a place to sleep because the world is going through a crisis. ”

Ashton added: “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.”

In response to his email to Kelly, a senior employee said he was “sorry” for the company because of Ashton’s “frustration”.

“I understand that, like many of our clients, you have had some travel concerns, and I am saddened to hear that you have not been able to spend your travel expenses at the end of the term,” said the rep.

He also expressed regret over the “any inconvenience” caused by a summer summit in which the plane said the couple had to call again later in order to make more time.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to fulfill your request for a refund of the lost money,” the rep. “Thank you so much for the loyalty you have shown over the years. We are delighted to serve you, and look forward to welcoming you and Bruce soon. ”

What about brushing your teeth?

Southwest is grateful for Ashton’s ninety years of faithful management and hopes to sell him more tickets. But, no, it does not show the slightest change in the midst of the global epidemic that has disrupted travel around the world.

Again, this is not about restitution. It is about allowing a customer to take advantage of a loan they have already received in many cases.

Ashton said it’s not about money for him. That’s the point. ”

For me, it’s a business that ultimately manages to take action on word of mouth over the years and how they value customer loyalty – and less.

A Southwest spokesman declined to comment on the long-running nature of debt relief efforts.

But when I arrived at the airport, an official contacted Ashton and said that his loan would be extended for six months.

Enough, Ashton told me later.

“I feel like they’ve done what they should have done,” he said. I feel like I’m not wasting my money. ”

I’m glad it worked. But I also worry that it will take a lot of effort for the business to do the right thing.

“We are committed to caring for our employees and customers by protecting our company’s assets during the most difficult time in our nearly 50-year history,” said a Southwest official announcing such a quarterly loss.

These are not the only goals. And customers should remember who they were when the time was tough.

And those who were not.

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