How I Got $150 From Southwest Airlines by Complaining

A few weeks ago I flew on a Southwest flight to Denver, which ended up being delayed 2.5 hours. The delay was quite annoying logistically, but I was able to kill some time in the US Airways lounge while I waited. Usually I find the airline crews are apologetic about these types of delays and will at least give you a free alcoholic drink or two on the flight. Shockingly the crew on my flight was not apologetic and did not offer me a free drink.

I think Southwest is generally cheap when it comes to offering customers compensation for issues or delays, but I thought I’d try a complaint letter anyway.

It took me 10 minutes to look up all my flight info and craft an email that properly conveyed my disappointment, including my having to change hotels and not being able to meet my family that evening.

To my surprise, Southwest was extremely kind in their response. They not only described the exact reason for the delay (aircraft shortage due to previous delays and mechanical issues), but they also gave me a $150 voucher! This was much more than I expected, especially since I booked my flight using points.

The lesson here is you should always complain about any kind of service issue, and it pays (literally) to be polite when you do.


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