The wind beneath Southwest Airlines’ wings

Three cheers for Colleen Odell and Clarize Angat

Three cheers for Colleen Odell and Clarize Angat

After checking my bag for free, I was ready to strip down to my socks and get ready for some unwanted attention from TSA agents.  They must have sensed my nerves were a little frayed because they sent me through the full-body scan..thanks.

Feeling vulnerable and violated, a common feeling for me after going through the screening process, I was ready to shadow some Southwest employees and get a better feel for what they do.

It’s amazing how the energy of another person can lift your spirits.  Especially if that person works in customer service.  Enter, Colleen Odell and Clarize Angat.  Two California transplants that actually think Atlanta is the friendliest city they have ever visited. Shh, let’s not tell them just yet.  Good thing, because Southwest has gone through a considerable amount of trouble and hoopla to call Atlanta a hub home.

Working in customer service is not for whoosies and these two gals could pull a smile out of even Victoria (Posh) Beckham. I can’t speak for the other airlines but Southwest’s Customer Service Agents have to deal with lost..I mean delayed luggage, and the gate and ticket counter.  After sharing a few battlefield stories, I was laughing soo hard that I had forgotten that the TSA got an image of me in my birthday suit, and confiscated an unfinished bottle of water.  Thanks ladies!

27 comments Add your comment

Des

February 12th, 2012
6:35 pm

I’ve been waiting and waiting for Southwest to make it to Atlanta because all I’ve heard is good stuff about rates and service. I’m bummed they’re not flying from Atlanta to Orlando yet, since that’s where I have to go most often, but when they do I’ll certainly give them a try. I’m curious if all the hooplah will last long…and if it really is a happier airline. Maybe this writer can do a review again in a few months to let us know if it’s still as merry.

Dave

February 12th, 2012
6:20 pm

Thanks Susan, I remain a sceptic. I read the rest of the posts and the comments, it is obvious that there is an agenda going on, unbecoming a real live newspaper, but then you aren’t on the journalism side I gather. I’d love “first-person accounts” from reporters, not PR flacks which you appear to head. Looking at the accounts, there was not one negative moment in the day for any of your folks, really? I’m quite curious about Southwest; but, I’d like honest reporting, not marketing.

Susan Puckett

February 12th, 2012
4:30 pm

Southwest advertises in the AJC. They did not, however, pay for this blog.

Jessica

February 12th, 2012
4:29 pm

I don’t know….in my experience, customer service reps who are actually happy and enjoy their jobs DOES constitute reportable news.

I appreciate reviews negative OR positive. What does it accomplish to only write reviews when something is wrong?? Thanks for the info!

Alex

February 12th, 2012
4:09 pm

So how much has Southwest paid the AJC for this blog? Because typically any content created by the marketing department is bought and paid for. Let’s just be honest, AJC, and admit that is glowing coverage is just paid advertising.

Marsi

February 12th, 2012
4:03 pm

Last I heard, the 1st Amendment hasn’t been repealed.

Meghan C

February 12th, 2012
3:09 pm

I disagree that there is “no value to your readers” Whether AJC is being paid or not the blogger is giving an honest opinion and in turn providing a “review” if you will about a new service in Atlanta. As someone that has never gotten the chance to fly Southwest myself because I’ve only flown out of Atlanta I am happy to find out all I can about them, it will help me make decisions for purchasing flights so that it isn’t solely based on who has the cheaper flights. Customer service and other services that she mentions are huge plus’s to me when flying.

Dee

February 12th, 2012
3:07 pm

This is a hoot! I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the flight experience was like – as an alternative to Delta/Air Tran especially I appreciate the feedback without having to take the flight. Although I have to say I”m halfway to booked on Southwest by happy customer service folks – seriously…that’s been a rarity in my experience. Not airline folks faults, they have to put up with a LOT of stuff.
Question for blogger: to Southwest reps know you are blogging on them, or are you annonymous?

Jason M.

February 12th, 2012
2:05 pm

@AJC and blogging team, thank you for posting 1st person experiences about this airline. I am a longtime customer of AirTran and honestly haven’t welcomed this aquisition. AirTran has set the bar high for all airlines. I have heard that the unionization of southwest employees has lead to poor customer experiences. I have no personal experience with southwest and I am greatful to read unbiased articles like this. Please keep these posts coming in as these articles are great research tools for my 20-30 flights I take per year.

Susan Puckett

February 12th, 2012
1:34 pm

Dave, the point is to give live, first-person accounts of the Southwest experience from Atlanta-based travelers of different backgrounds who are not reporters — including a taste of some of the behind-the-scenes action as well as the cities they fly to. Many news organizations, including the AJC, are covering the news surrounding it and we’re also posting some of those stories here. This blog is just one more way to follow a story that a lot of folks, especially those who have never flown Southwest before, are curious about.