Midway Airport 7-17-05 Southwest Airlines Fiasco

Posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2005 at 12:00am CDT by 0199af25

Company: Midway Airport 7-17-05 Southwest Airlines Fiasco

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Midway Airport 7-17-05 Southwest Airlines Fiasco

In thirty years of flying into most of the larger airports in the U.S. I had never run into a situation like the problems at Midway Airport in Chicago on Sunday morning 7-17-05 at 07:45 hrs at Southwest Airlines. We had taken the advice of TSA of going to the airport two hours ahead of the flight to avoid delays but, I did not anticipate that the situation at Midway would be so far out of control that it would take over two hours to get from the front door of the terminal to the ticket counter. Our flight SWA # 276 to leave Midway at 09:45 hrs. Here is the timeline;

Arrive at Midway at 07:45, passenger lines are from the ticket counter of SWA in a long Z style out the front of the doors of Midway up to the driveway in front of the terminal. Curbside checkin is along the driveway extending over two blocks south of the terminal. Since we had no access to obtain an online boarding pass, we had to go to the ticket counter to get a boarding pass. After standing in line from 07:45 to 08:10 (the line has not moved) a SWA rep and airport police officer advise they are moving the line so that customers will not extend out of the front of the terminal (an apparent security issue). We are moved from the entry door area on the west side of the terminal (2 set of doors south from

the north walls) to an area toward the middle of the terminal where a line extends south in a hallway that has the airport administrative offices and doors marked communications. This hall is full of people in two lines. One line (the one I am in) moving south and a second line moving north past where I am standing in another hallway leading north from the middle of the terminal.

We continue into this line first south to the end of the terminal, then into a loop which goes out toward a TSA baggage screening area on the south end of the terminal then back into the hallway again going north where we move slowly the entire length of the terminal in a hallway behind the ticket counters. As we come out of the hallway on the north end of the hallway, we end up at the north west corner of the terminal where baggage is piled in the TSA screening area.

As we get to original area that we started in 90 minutes earlier, we are again approached by a SWA rep who tries to direct the group in front of us to another line which leads back to the long lines into the hallway again. A small passenger uprising starts when everyone realizes we are going back into the

lines to the hallway instead of to the ticket counter and the SWA rep then starts putting people into the Z line in front of the SWA ticket counter. We move up through the Z lines and get to the ticket counter at 09:51 hrs. The SWA rep sees that my family (2 adults 2 children) have already missed the flight and gives us cards to go to the boarding area of B17 / B19 and to check in with the SWA gate agent to go on the standby list for SWA flight 405 scheduled to leave at 12:30 hrs. When we get to the gate agent, he looks like he would have rather been anywhere else but there because of all the irate passengers that he had just talked to before we got there. He places us on the standby list for flight 405, we are number 11 on the list. At 12:20, SWA has filled all the standby slots they can and have pulled off the aircraft all the non-rev passengers which leaves no seats available for flight 405. We are again on

the standby list for flight 1932 scheduled to leave at 15:05 for Omaha.

At 15:00 hrs, SWA announces that the aircraft was delayed due to weather in Pittsburg and would not arrive till 16:00 hrs. When the aircraft finally does arrive at Midway, SWA does get us on in the C section and we depart sometime after 16:20 for Omaha. The good news is they have our bags in Omaha when we get there. The bad news is we spent 8 hours in Midway Airport on our last day of our vacation. My complaint is with Midway Airport and their apparent lack of ability to handle the passenger traffic they get. I will say that SWA did try to do everything they could to accomodate us when they had control of the situation but, SWA can only control things after your boarding pass is issued or you baggage is checked. Do you think its reasonable to have passenger wait in line over two hours to miss a flight? Once you miss the flight, then the process of being on the standby list on fully booked flights is not a viable option. The fix is either reduce the number of flights (and number of passengers) out of Midway or expand the capabilities of the airport facility to handle the passengers coming into the airport. Historically, complaints of this type are found all over the internet since 2001 when increase security went into place. You would think in four years all of the tax dollars in Chicago, homeland security money for facility improvements and increase fees charged by the airports to the airlines would have brought Midway up to speed. Another complaint by a visitor to Chicago that, will NOT go through Midway again and will probably not use SWA because they chose to tolerate the situation. Great way to handle a business that makes press releases about how they are losing money because of fuel costs but, pack the airport in

excess of any logical capacity that compromises passenger security in the process. Jon

Lincoln, Nebraska. Click this link to e-mail the message author: COMPLAINTS.COM_FORM_MAIL_46489#


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