December 25, 2012: Southwest Airlines Stressing Us Out

I decided to sleep in a lot this morning.  I’ve been getting behind on sleep and I had nothing that needing my attention this morning so I stayed in bed until ten or later.  At nine-ish Liesl came in and got into bed with me and snuggled for a long time.  That was really sweet.

I got a lot of downtime today.  There was nothing going on this morning so I got to see the girls a lot.  The weather in Houston turned nasty today.  It stayed warm this morning, in the mid-seventies, but we got really high winds and some rain.  It was pretty nasty.  But at least I was down here and not driving in it.  It was snowing up in Dallas.  Most of the country was getting really awful weather today.  We are pretty lucky down in Texas.

Dominica’s parents flew from Albany directly to Hobby (Houston) on Southwest and were only delayed a very little bit because of the weather.  They took off half an hour late but they worked hard to make up the time in the air.  Unfortunately the flight was the least of their worries.  Dominica and Francesca drove out to pick them up and were gone for hours even though the airport is right around the corner.  It turns out that even though the flight was direct, Southwest “misplaced” their luggage.  And not just one bag, all three bags (is it just me or is that extra suspicious – an accident would have been just one bag, right?)  This kicked off a day of luggage disaster.

The Southwest screw up of the luggage was so lengthy and complicated that I’m not even sure that I can real describe all of the problems.  Needless to say every conversation had with Southwest turned out to be the airlines lying about one thing or another.  Southwest Airlines at Hobby refused to even answer the phones and relied on Dallas to handle the calls for them.  One agent would tell us one thing and the next would inform us that they had been lying and that something completely different had or would be happening.  Southwest even made the outrageous claim that they can’t tell where luggage is because they don’t track things that go on their planes because they “aren’t FedEx.”  One would hope, of course, that as they carry humans rather than packages that they would be more careful, not less careful, with what they ship!

After hours and hours of fighting with Southwest they finally called and said that the luggage had been found and that they had it.  We were holding up Christmas dinner pending getting the luggage sorted out.  So a few people ran to the airport to pick up the luggage.  I advised to leave someone behind because Southwest, after lying left and right all day long, was not to be trusted and there was no way that they were going to reliably keep the luggage for them.  So for an hour or two they were out trying to get the luggage and when they got back it turned out that I was right – Southwest didn’t give them their luggage claiming that it had already gone “out for delivery.”

So since we were already holding up Christmas I told them that I would stay behind at the house and wait on the luggage delivery and everyone else could go ahead on over to Joe and Britt’s house and get on with Christmas dinner.  Southwest said that they would be calling before arriving at the house but we couldn’t trust that they would simply not call and use that as an excuse to claim that we weren’t available for the drop off.  So I stayed at the house.

I got to watch How to Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole which wasn’t too bad.  And I got caught up on SGL.  And earlier in the day both Liesl and Luciana took turns snuggling with me on the couch.  I got a lot of time with them today.  We have all really missed each other.

I was right that Southwest never called.  Everyone got back from Christmas dinner and after many hours of waiting on their truck Dominica’s mom had given up and called them and Southwest said that the truck had never gone out (um, then why did they refuse to give them the luggage at the airport when they were there many hours ago?) and that they weren’t even considering delivering the luggage until tomorrow (no guarantees on tomorrow either, just a guarantee that it wasn’t happening today.)  To be extra ridiculous, Southwest shipped the luggage across the city so that they would have to drive extra far to go try to pick it up (remember they’ve already driven around for hours following Southwest instructions today.)

This time Southwest finally was willing to give them the luggage.  It took quite literally the entire second half of Christmas day continuously dealing with it from our side to get that luggage back.  Southwest never once took any initiative to be helpful or truthful.  They lied left and right and never intended to do anything to get that luggage back.  Losing luggage on accident happens.  Lying about it and being jerks was something they did for fun.  Southwest has some seriously crappy people working there.  Not just to do this to people but to do it on Christmas!

I’ll certainly be reconsidering any Southwest flight plans that I was thinking about using in the future.  I don’t care how close they are to our home, I don’t want people like that staying in business.  Their customer service department refused to even respond to us today.

At ten Dominica and I had to run out and drive all around trying to find more wrapping paper and Scotch tape so that we could keep wrapping presents.  So many presents.  We ended up getting about sixty dollars worth of wrapping paper and tape just for the extra “last minute” wrapping needs.  That is kind of crazy.

So that was my Christmas.  Sleeping in, waiting on luggage and running around.  Not ideal.  But at least it wasn’t the day that we were celebrating Christmas.

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