Southwest Airlines and Their Stupid Check In Requirements
I’ve been a big fan of Southwest Airlines over years. I love their lower prices and that they let you pick your own seat on the plane. I also loved that they let you print out your own boarding pass 24 hours in advance of your flight so that you can save time when you check in at the airport… well, that was until today.
I’m sitting at the Oakland International Airport right now because when I tried to do my normal online check in earlier today I was told that I could not. Today when I logged in I got an error message telling me that *my* itinerary was not available for online check in. So I called Southwest to ask them about this. The person on the phone was unhelpful. She told me that she could give me no information on the situation and told me only that I would need to check in at the airport, that she was getting the same error message I was when she tried to look into my reservation. I asked to talk to a supervisor and was told that there was nobody there who could help me.
Finally she relented and gave me the customer service (a toll number) for Southwest Airlines in Dallas. I tried calling this number for about a half hour (it was busy most of the time). Finally I got through and after a wait on hold for a while another woman came on the phone who looked into my record as well.
She also told me that I couldn’t check in online and told me that she thought it might be security related. She could provide me no specific information on why I could not check in online beyond her opinion that it was “security” related. She did give me the telephone number to the TSA though.
So I paid my $4 on BART and another $3 for the airport shuttle and went out to the Oakland Airport. I waited in line at the Southwest ticket counter until it was my turn at the employee assisted ticket kiosk. Here I entered my flight confirmation number again and got an error message saying “additional ID required.” The agent asked to see my drivers license and then printed me out a boarding pass.
Now, so today I’ve wasted 3 hours or so $7 to get to the airport only to show my driver’s license to a lady behind a counter. Now tomorrow when I take my flight I’m going to have to show THE EXACT SAME F***ING DRIVERS LICENSE to the security agent when I pass through airport security. So why in the blazes does Southwest Airlines inconvenience me and make me come all the way down to the airport in order to get a boarding pass the day before my flight? I could of course have tried to do all this tomorrow, but then I’d end up packed into a middle seat with a horrible boarding pass for my flight to Nashville.
How is “security” enhanced by my having to show my drivers license today AND tomorrow? And is it worth inconveniencing customers to this degree for no real enhancement in security.
Thanks for nothing Southwest Airlines!