Peggy Uhle’s plane was just about to take off when she was told to get off the plane. She assumed the worst. They could have asked her to give up her seat to someone else or she might get told that there’s an issue with her reservation. But her opinion of the airline was changed forever after she endured the following shocking chain of events.
Recent news have made passengers worried when they’re at the airport or aboard a plane. In fact, some airlines have properly trained staff or place a higher value on profit and not so much on the comfort and well-being of their passengers. But Peggy didn’t have a clue what awaited her on that fateful day.
Peggy was heading from North Carolina to Ohio, where she resided. Chicago was her layover city, and she was about to finish her journey with Southwest Airlines. But first, she waited until all of the passengers came aboard. Then finally, the plane started taxiing. But then, the plane stopped before it took off, turned around, and headed back to the gate.
Peggy wasn’t too worried until a flight attendant walked over to her just as the plane neared the gate. The attendant told Peggy to get off the plane. Shocked, Peggy asked why, but all the flight attendant told her was that she had to speak with the gate agent. To avoid an argument, Peggy obeyed orders and got off the plane.
Peggy told BoardingArea.com,”I figured I was on the wrong plane.” At the gate, she met with one of the agents, who escorted her to the check-in desk. That’s when they said something that made her even more confused. The gate agent asked her to call her husband.
Peggy spoke with her husband, who had some bad news. Their 24-year-old son, Michael, who resided in Denver, Colorado, was in a coma after suffering a major head injury. Peggy tried to come up with a plan to get to her son, and that’s when the gate agent shared some news that was downright miraculous.
It turns out that they had already made all conceivable arrangements just for her, and she owed it all to the Southwest staff, who were apprised of the situation before she even got off the plane. In the next two hours, she’d get on the direct flight to Denver. Peggy walked to her gate, where more surprises awaited.
Aside from changing her flight, Peggy claimed, “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.” Although she worried for her son, she took comfort in the fact that she would join him soon. When she got to Colorado, she appreciated the lengths Southwest went to in order to care for passengers like her.
Peggy stated that: “My luggage was delivered to where I was staying, and I even received a call from Southwest asking how my son was doing.” She didn’t care how much it would cost because the level of service was great. Although Southwest doesn’t charge for rebooking, she assumed that they might charge her for some of the trouble. Turns out she was mistaken.
“Southwest never asked for payment for the Denver flight, luggage delivery or anything else,” shared Peggy. “The care that I was shown is second to none. We have always liked Southwest Airlines and now we can’t say enough good things about them.” Naturally, Southwest praised their staff for their actions.
Thais Hanson, a Southwest spokesperson, made this statement to WGN: “We’re certainly proud of, but not surprised by, any of the hard work that went into doing the right thing for Ms. Uhle and her family.” But Hanson reiterates that looking after passengers in distress is the norm for Southwest Airlines.
Hanson added: “This example is a direct reflection of the Southwest Airlines culture. Employees are empowered at Southwest to go above and beyond the call of duty and follow their hearts to make decisions that positively impact our customers.” Peggy would agree that it had a huge impact in her life during a terrible crisis.
Reporters contacted Peggy three weeks after her son’s accident. While she didn’t share details of his condition, she told them he was in recovery. At least Southwest airlines gave her one less thing to worry about with their quick thinking and compassion. But not everyone had the best experience ever with airlines.
In 2015, a woman tried to call her husband after getting an alarming text from him, claiming he was going to commit suicide. But the flight attendant cited FAA regulations, which didn’t allow her to make the call. Southwest stated that the flight attendants failed to adhere to policy to notify the pilots of such an incident, and claimed they’d look into it. But a recent survey suggests that they’re definitely making customers happy.
In 2017, Southwest Airline was named the top-rated carrier in the annual J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study for low-cost airplanes. That’s an 18-point increase from the previous year, where the airline got second place, behind JetBlue. Fortunately, Peggy Uhle’s story likely gave Southwest a serious bump in its reputation.