25 July 2010

Southwest: A Mechanical Is An Act of God and It Always Has Been

"If there's a God who controls floods and earthquakes, does the deity also have a hand in an airline's mechanical problems?"

If that is not the statement of the decade and maybe the history of the airlines as we know it!

Southwest comes out and says "mechanicals are an act of God" and with that statement they are re-writing the history of airline delays as we all know it. Passengers usually don't have a clue about their flying rights and they usually never read the back of their boarding envelope to find out what the "contract of carriage" to find out either.

Southwest has always been know for their leaps and bounds in the airline world by not totally following the "norm" and kind of trend setting or creating their own flavor within the airline world. Well this is a pretty extreme step as far as being different is concerned but I'm not sure if making such a bold statement as this is a power move. Now it will create publicity and a buzz amongst the passengers that fly Southwest Airlines with a cult like following but when it comes to Southwest i think they can experiment with just about anything and it would become a hit.

On page 11 of 32 pages of fine print called a "contract of carriage," which many passengers don't read, but which spells out their recourse in mishaps such as flight interruptions or baggage loss.

Mechanical difficulties - what type is not defined - now appears on a list of events such as wars, riots, storms, earthquakes and other acts of God that are "outside of (Southwest's) control." Now that being said Southwest has now changed the bar possibly and it may grab new passengers to fly their flights but it's still too early to tell. 

Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst based in Port Washington, N.Y., called it "surprising" that Southwest, which has a reputation for stellar customer service, would make a change that puts passengers at a legal disadvantage if an aircraft breakdown delays their travel. This makes Southwest have the upper hand in many different situations and they can hide behind mechanical problems because they didn't list the problems protected under their newest policy announcement. 

"I can see (carriers) saying, 'It wasn't our fault the airplane broke down,' and I also can see customers saying, 'I bought a ticket from you and I have reasonable expectation that the airplane is going to work,' " Mann said." The passengers are going to jump at this everytime there is a delay to get the real story on the delay.

Well everyone knows that the airlines play "Monkey See, Monkey Do" and now we all need to watch and see who will be the next airline to follow suit. I think they will wait a bit to see if Southwest catches any backlash from the rule but if they don't you could expect some of the airline to get on board and adopt some type of equal ruling or facsimile.

Now let's just wait and see what happens next!

Remember Be Proactive Not Reactive and Enjoy Your Flight!!!


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