Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stroller in the Skies


(Below is a copy of an email to Southwest after a minor inconvenience. Their response to follow. I was limited to a certain number of characters or I would have been more descriptive.)
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First off I would just like to say that you are my preferred airline.

That being said I feel the need to let you know about a recent negative experience. I'm notifying you, so that you have the opportunity to make it better for your customers in the future.

A business man may claim that his laptop is his most important carry-on. A leisurely traveler might say its a book. A mother on the other hand will tell you: I would lose my mind in an airport without a stroller.

I recently checked our stroller at a gate for a return flight, a regular occurrence. It's always there waiting for me on the jetway upon arrival. I've never given it a second thought.

However on this flight it was not waiting for us. I checked with a flight attendant and a gate agent, who were friendly. Both told me the stroller was likely sent to baggage claim and that I should check there.

Herein lies my problem. We have a toddler (3) and a baby (9 months.) The baby is a solid 21 pounds. And the toddler moves at a rate that nearly has him moving backwards, especially in an airport with so much to see. You can imagine how much fun it was getting said baby, said toddler, and all of our gear from the gate to baggage claim, where we continued to wait another 20 minutes for every last bag to be claimed, before I was allowed to file a claim.

John at claims was very friendly. But my 21 pounder was definitely weighing on me. (Sidenote: I also noticed the blatant mistreatment of another couple by the manager on duty, who refused to file a claim for them.)

Yesterday, the stroller was waiting for us on the front step. Thank you for returning it.

I know mistakes happen. But, the real problem? At no point in all of this were we offered any help getting our family from the gate, to our vehicle.

It was a minor inconvenience, but an inconvenience none-the-less. I'm looking for a minor advantage in exchange. Suggested options:

-A1 boarding on a future flight + VIP treatment at check-in and security
-A massage
-An adult beverage. Or 5.

I will give you one last option:
-A video of your CEO in my position: carrying a 21 pounder plus his carry-on and a kiddy bag from our gate to the terminal at the slowest rate possible. This rep must answer a constant steam of unending toddler questions. Preferably he/she is at the end of their shift or a very long day of travel.

Thank you in advance for making sure every parent who needs one, has a stroller ready for them in the future.
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What was your best airport experience? What was your worst?

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