Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Flight Home

I am usually Southwest Airlines biggest fan, but this trip home was a nightmare. We arrived extra early to the airport since we were leaving on a Saturday & expected it to be busy. There were surprisingly not a lot of people. But good thing we arrived early because all of Southwest's luggage checking system was down. So we waited in line for it to come back up. After that we processed through security and customs. I of course get the random check, and apparently it is a rule in the Bahamas if a mother is the one to get a random check, and her children are under 18, they too have to be pat down. No issues for me, but you have to touch my children? It was kind of an issue for me as we teach our children to have boundaries and that it's their choice whether someone can touch them or not. So they watched mommy do it first, then it was there turn. You try to get a scared 3 year old to hold out her arms and stand away from her parents. It was not easy. 
Ok we finally make it up to our gate. It says delayed. Our flight was supposed to leave at 12ish & now it says 4pm. There is 1 Southwest agent at the gate and she starts to leave, telling us all she will be right back and to wait at the gate for more info. Hours go by and there are ZERO Southwest agents to speak to. The other airlines try to call and get an employee to speak to with no resolve. I finally resolve to following the flights status online just to get an update. Apparently there was a gate change, although the board at the airport never reflected this. So after waiting at the new gate, a representative finally appears. At this point we know we will miss our connecting flight home. The agents tell us as soon as we land in Baltimore, we will be put up in a nice hotel and have our dinner covered. 
Plane finally departs Nassau around 4:40pm. We arrive to Baltimore & I am the first in line (perk of front row seating!) at the Southwest counter. The two women their had no idea our flight was arriving 4 hours late, no prep work was done for rescheduling flights or hotels ect. I remained my happy smiley self, the next day was Sunday and we had no plans anyways. She gets our flights scheduled for the first flight out in the morning & hands me a voucher for a la Quinta Inn. I ask if there is any other choice and told it's there or the Best Western. The voucher was for $85, so I asked if that could be used towards ANY other hotel and told no. The agent starts making a huge scene shouting that "Ms Fancy Pants needs a 5 star hotel" and this isn't good enough for me. I try to explain that I have spent 10+ hours in airports & planes today, with 2 children, me being on chemo and how I just wanted a nice clean hotel that was in a safe place. NOT the motel that on TripAdvisor the most recent review stated "Worst Stay Ever."  Another worker came over and tried to tell me he had never had any complaints about putting passengers there ect. After 15 minutes of being bullied and made fun of, me, full on crying, accepts the voucher. The agent again says that she doesn't have a gun to my head making me stay there, that's just what they'll pay for. 
I realize I have nothing about the comped dinner. The gate agent again starts getting really loud saying "Who is THEY that promised dinner?" THEY cannot promise that as they aren't even in this country. After most of the line behind me chiming in, she only obliges to giving us $14 vouchers good at the airport. Whatever, it works. We spent half the money for dinner and the other half the next morning for breakfast. 
Oh and PS that La Quinta was pretty disgusting. I'm not going to use this space to talk about all the wrongs, but the one good thing was they had a great free breakfast. I will never be staying at a La Quinta again based on the room we stayed in here at BWI airport. 
Now to the next morning, we arrive to the airport. When we handed the TSA agent at the security line my boarding pass, it does not scan. They send me back to the Southwest ticket booth to have it reprinted. We do and wait again in line. It still does not scan. Only my pass, the other 3 worked fine. The agent says in 5 years he has never seen this error message. Apparently it was a three "S" error. He had only seen four "S" errors. After getting his boss down, they decide I would just get the strictest pat down/search to be allowed through. Lucky me. My families bags also were thoroughly checked. 
I find it VERY hard to believe that this was a coincidence that happened after the agent the night before incident. Several other passengers that were with us through the whole ordeal also commented they believed the agent had purposely done this. 
I was pretty relieved to get home. 
A week or so later Southwest did email me on their own, with no contact by me, with $100 LUV travel vouchers per person. Another couple on the flight said they were given $200 each. I am content with the $100 x 4.