Following the fiasco that has been United Airlines customer service and public relations for the last few weeks, it’s easy to become very cynical regarding airlines. Most airlines are going to get the customer service thing wrong from time to time, but right now it almost feels like airlines are competing with one another to figure out how to treat their paying clientele worse.
However, this story will remind you that from time to time, an airline can actually get it right.
When Peggy Uhle got on her Southwest Airline flight from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio, she did like most of us would do and turned off her phone. After all, aren’t we all instructed to do just that?
Her plane began to taxi, then turned right back to the gate where Uhle was asked to get off the plane. Needless to say, she was confused.
Once the plane was anchored at the gate, a flight attendant approached Peggy and asked her to get off. Peggy thought she had boarded the wrong plane, but when she got back inside the terminal, a gate agent told her to call her husband. He had been forced to contact Southwest Airlines because Peggy’s phone was turned off. But luckily, the airline managed to get the two spouses in contact with each other at the last moment.
It turned out that Peggy’s 24-year-old son had suffered a serious head injury and was in a coma in Denver, Colorado.
Peggy had barely taken in the shocking news before a staffer explained that the airline had reticketed her on the next direct flight to Denver and arranged all of the other practical details. For free, of course!
“They offered a private waiting area, rerouted my luggage, allowed me to board first, and packed a lunch for when I got off the plane in Denver. My luggage was delivered to where I was staying, and I even received a call from Southwest asking how my son was doing,” Peggy Uhle told Elliot.org.
That’s taking care of your customer.
As a result, Southwest has a loyal customer and ambassador in Uhle who will attract more loyal customers for their airline, all by doing the decent thing and helping a mother get back home to her injured son.
Her son has reportedly recovered from his injuries as well, making this an all-around happy story.
Who would have thought an airline could still be involved in those these days?