It takes Southwest to know Southwest!

Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
21,837
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Well, I was one of those people that got caught in all this Southwest mess. I am not their particular fan, but they have a regular connection to Las Vegas, where my wife's parents live, so they come in handy. We have driven numerous times to Vegas before, but with two kids and a busy schedule, we occasionally do, especially in winter, Southwest. Regardless that we did this route numerous times, this title is still appropriate because it just fits what happened.

On 12/24, we were supposed to fly from Colorado Springs (COS) to Las Vegas (LAS). In LAS, we would take my in-law's Honda Pilot they have there, drive to San Diego, then LA for some Disney torture, then on 01/03 back to LAS< then on 01/06 fly back to COS.
Our flight was around 05.30, and since the airport is like 20 minutes away, and it is really not a busy one, we left maybe around 3.45. I checked the statuts of the flight as I heard there were numerous cancelations, and all was OK. Well, we get there, and the flight is canceled. I was waiting in line to see options, and web site crashed, and finally, around 7pm, I talked to the lady at check-in. She offered us a flight from Denver that was supposed to leave at 07.30 pm but is now delayed until 10.46 pm. Ok, jumped into Honda, hit the gas, and off we went. Somewhere around Castle Rock (approximately halfway between Denver and COS) I checked the status of the flight, and an airplane is gone.
Turned around, dropped my wife and kids home, and went to COS airport as phones at Southwest crashed. Around 10.30 pm I talked to an absolutely exhausted, but very nice lady, who is a Southwest supervisor, and she said: oh, you were a no show in DEN, so your ticket is blocked. I can't do anything as our phones are down, the ticket is blocked. The only thing I can do is make a note, and you call SW customer service and they will resolve it. Just be patient; it will take you a few hrs. So, around 10.45 pm, I call SW, get in the car, and just stay on the line (this is part where those earbuds really come in handy). Came home, poured some whiskey, and waited.
Somewhere around half a bottle later, or around 1.30, I am thinking: I am going to sleep at 02.00 am and call again in the morning. Well, around 01.45 am, someone answers. Lady offered me the first flight out of DEN, through Orange County (SNA), then LAS, on 12/28 at 05.45 pm. OK, it is what it is.
Sunday, Christmas Day, well, nothing works, and we do not have anything as we anticipated we would be gone until 01/06. I go out looking for some Asian stores as they are usually open, and get one thing, in other, another thing, just to stumble onto Safeway close to home that is open until 3 pm (that is after 3hrs of driving around).
On Monday, we went to Denver to check VW Atlas I was interested in, and Boulder for my wife to buy some fish for her aquarium. Anyway, 11.30 pm, I am hanging out with whiskey again, and I get a text that the flight from SNA to LAS is canceled on 12/28. THAT WAS IT!
I get crossbars out of the storage room and install them on my wife's Tiguan (I did not want to go with Honda we have here as a. does not have snow tires, b. it is ridiculously uncomfortable). By 2am I have Yakima on top. In the morning on 12/27, we got up, got all our stuff ready, fed the kids, got gas at Costco, etc. and by 11 am we hit the road.
I was thinking of going directly to San Diego via Phoenix, AZ. But to come in 2 days, I would have to do 650 miles a day, and with two small kids, that would be a stretch. So, I decided to go from I70 to I15 and spend the night in Green River, UT. That is 408mls from our house, and from there to LAS is 421mls. Then, the day after, we arrive at LAS, drive to San Diego. Not bad:

Screen Shot 2023-01-09 at 8.04.01 PM.png


So, off we go. Armed with Mobil1 ESP 0W30 in the sump and Bridgestone Blizzaks WS90, we hit the road.
As soon as we hit the mountains, things started to get really cloudy, and clouds were promising if we were going to ski. By the time we hit Vail Pass, it was a full-blown blizzard. Good decision to skip Honda and go with VW as things got really bad. At that point, I was not paying attention to tires as much as to the fact that having HiD lights on Tiguan really paid off. By the time we hit Glenwood Springs, it was a mix of heavy snow and rain, then snow again, etc. Finally, when we reached Fruita, CO, we were able to see dry pavement for a bit and gas up:
IMG_1062 Medium.jpeg


Around 8.30 pm we finally hit Green River, UT, and it was some super cold rain:

IMG_1063.jpeg


When I got up the next morning on 12/28, their parking lot was a skating ring.
Off we go. Of course, Utah, while deserted, has its charm:

IMG_8289.jpeg


But, the most beautiful part of the road, that I always absolutely enjoy driving through (unless it was my Sienna) is the I15 stretch that goes through AZ:

IMG_8337.jpeg


We came to LAS around 4 pm:
IMG_8346.jpeg


My car was brown. There was snow storm through UT, maybe an hour North of ST. George that turned into rain. Tried to find a car wash that had a self-serve pressure washer, but no luck. The next morning before we hit the road to San Diego, I managed to find a self-served wash close to the intersection of Charleston Ave and Rainbow Blvd. We hit the road around 12pm. Oh boy, I forgot about the traffic on I15 between LAS and Riverside. The first issue was just outside LAS. I went through Handerson and hit some local roads:
IMG_8356.jpeg


I passed two buddies in Teslas. One behind had to show me that his EV had a bunch of power and immediately passed me, just to slow down again. I had to pass him again. I am glad I helped him address his insecurities:

IMG_8353.jpeg


Finally, I15, and thinking: well, this is not bad (assumption is the mother of all screwups):

IMG_8375.jpeg


Now, I forgot how challenged drivers are on this road. I mean, it is like they are all hanging out in the left lane. I literally saw a girl that bit the steering wheel and drove with her theeth. I really did not want to take a photo of someone. But she drove 10mls below the speed limit, and traffic was like 3mls behind her.
But things got really, really bad when going down toward San Bernardino:
IMG_1112.jpeg
 
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The next day we went to have lunch with my wife's cousin that we were staying with, showed kids the place we rent there by Montgomery airport, and then went to La Jolla:
IMG_1127.jpeg


12/31, off to Brea, CA. We reserved a hotel there and went to visit another wife's cousin that we will celebrate New Year. On 01/01, I actually managed to meet with one colleague regarding some work stuff. All this time, I am negotiating with VW dealership in Denver about 2021 VW Atlas SEL Premium with 15,000 miles.
On 01/02, we went to Disneyworld. I will just say Colorado altitude prepared me for that torture.
On 01/03, we went back to LAS. That was uneventful. Went to some restaurants, etc. The dealer in Denver finally agrees to the lower car below $41,000. OK, I wire money I intended to put down, and the plan is we will pick up the vehicle on our way back.
On 01/06, we are on our way back. Again, the best part:

IMG_8450.jpeg


Again, we spent the night in Green River, UT. This time weather cooperated.
By 2 pm we were definitely in CO:

IMG_1245.jpeg


At 04.00 pm we were at a dealership in Denver. By 04.30 pm I started to move some stuff out of Tiguan (everything out of Yakima to get the weight from the roof). Kids wanted to drive with me, so seats had to get out too ( more about Atlas in another topic):
IMG_1247.jpeg


We finally got home on 01/07. Of course, I kept all receipts to send to Southwest.

Overall, the trip was successful and pretty eventful. Not sure if I would buy Atlas if Southwest did not cancel our flights.
Tiguan did a remarkable job and unlike Southwest, did not cough once on the trip:

IMG_1252.jpeg


It is now at 99,257mls (yes, for those interested, in 743 miles, all wheels will fall off, and the engine will self-destruct).

The average speed was pretty decent:

IMG_1253.jpeg


Consumption not so much. Yakima took its toll, and Tiguan is not some gas-sipping champion. That Aisin transmission is absolutely horrid for this engine. While I managed to hit 37mpg with my VW CC and the same engine, but DSG transmission, Tiguan is really challenged by 6-speed Aisin. Also, we had a lot of wind, mostly headwind, plus I was keeping all the time above 80 to 95mph:

IMG_1255.jpeg


Overall time:

IMG_1254.jpeg


On Atlas, another day.

For those interested, the engine did not use a drop of oil. I was actually surprised, as I usually add 1/4 of a quart before 5k hits. Now, this oil has 4, 257mls and not a drop is used. I think before consumption was a result of fuel dilution that is a result of the fact that this car is primarily driven locally, with the longest drive being 2hrs once a month or in two months when we go to visit my wife's sister in Erie, CO. Last time this car saw the serious drive was when my wife was moving from San Diego to COS after I moved already, and that was New Year 2013/14.
 
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I was stuck with the same issue at DIA. I was in line for 6 hours. Unfortunately Southwest had flight schedulers manually creating new flights which took so long that they couldn't react fast enough to conditions. Second I was told the next morning that the 9am flight was overbooked by 14 people. I watched everyone board and thankfully I walked up to an employee that happened to be the pilot. He looked at the screen and told me oh 8 people didn't show up do you want to get on this flight? Not one time did the employees at the podium ever mention this fact. Thankfully I took it as my 5pm flight later on was cancelled.
 
My twin grand nieces are in Oceanside, near Camp Pendleton. Tati drove up to Capitola earlier in the week; I got Southwest tickets (San Diego to San Jose) for Xiomi to fly Friday (23rd) night and back home Christmas evening so she could be to work on Monday the 26th.
Friday was cancelled after she waited like 5 hours at San Diego. I offered to jump in the car and go get her. She finally got rescheduled for Sunday (Christmas) morning; she got in to SJ around 10 AM.
Of course she had to be back at the airport by 5:00 PM or so for a 6:30 PM flight. She waited another 5 hours before it was cancelled. We rented her a car and she drove home on Tuesday or Wednesday. I am working with Southwest to get some $$ back. Dunno.

They didn't know where planes, pilots, stewardesses, support, etc were. I love Southwest; I fly with them numerous times per year. Just like so many businesses, they refuse to upgrade equipment until it breaks down. And at the worst time. They knew the risk.
 
My twin grand nieces are in Oceanside, near Camp Pendleton. Tati drove up to Capitola earlier in the week; I got Southwest tickets (San Diego to San Jose) for Xiomi to fly Friday (23rd) night and back home Christmas evening so she could be to work on Monday the 26th.
Friday was cancelled after she waited like 5 hours at San Diego. I offered to jump in the car and go get her. She finally got rescheduled for Sunday (Christmas) morning; she got in to SJ around 10 AM.
Of course she had to be back at the airport by 5:00 PM or so for a 6:30 PM flight. She waited another 5 hours before it was cancelled. We rented her a car and she drove home on Tuesday or Wednesday. I am working with Southwest to get some $$ back. Dunno.

They didn't know where planes, pilots, stewardesses, support, etc were. I love Southwest; I fly with them numerous times per year. Just like so many businesses, they refuse to upgrade equipment until it breaks down. And at the worst time. They knew the risk.
I think this traffic from LAS to Riverside was a consequence of this debacle.
Usually, that route just before New Year is OK going to CA, and busy going to LAS.
 
The next day we went to have lunch with my wife's cousin that we were staying with, showed kids the place we rent there by Montgomery airport, and then went to La Jolla:
View attachment 134863

12/31, off to Brea, CA. We reserved a hotel there and went to visit another wife's cousin that we will celebrate New Year. On 01/01, I actually managed to meet with one colleague regarding some work stuff. All this time, I am negotiating with VW dealership in Denver about 2021 VW Atlas SEL Premium with 15,000 miles.
On 01/02, we went to Disneyworld. I will just say Colorado altitude prepared me for that torture.
On 01/03, we went back to LAS. That was uneventful. Went to some restaurants, etc. The dealer in Denver finally agrees to the lower car below $41,000. OK, I wire money I intended to put down, and the plan is we will pick up the vehicle on our way back.
On 01/06, we are on our way back. Again, the best part:

View attachment 134864

Again, we spent the night in Green River, UT. This time weather cooperated.
By 2 pm we were definitely in CO:

View attachment 134865

At 04.00 pm we were at a dealership in Denver. By 04.30 pm I started to move some stuff out of Tiguan (everything out of Yakima to get the weight from the roof). Kids wanted to drive with me, so seats had to get out too ( more about Atlas in another topic):
View attachment 134866

We finally got home on 01/07. Of course, I kept all receipts to send to Southwest.

Overall, the trip was successful and pretty eventful. Not sure if I would buy Atlas if Southwest did not cancel our flights.
Tiguan did a remarkable job and unlike Southwest, did not cough once on the trip:

View attachment 134867

It is now at 99,257mls (yes, for those interested, in 743 miles, all wheels will fall off, and the engine will self-destruct).

The average speed was pretty decent:

View attachment 134868

Consumption not so much. Yakima took its toll, and Tiguan is not some gas-sipping champion. That Aisin transmission is absolutely horrid for this engine. While I managed to hit 37mpg with my VW CC and the same engine, but DSG transmission, Tiguan is really challenged by 6-speed Aisin. Also, we had a lot of wind, mostly headwind, plus I was keeping all the time above 80 to 95mph:

View attachment 134870

Overall time:

View attachment 134869

On Atlas, another day.

For those interested, the engine did not use a drop of oil. I was actually surprised, as I usually add 1/4 of a quart before 5k hits. Now, this oil has 4, 257mls and not a drop is used. I think before consumption was a result of fuel dilution that is a result of the fact that this car is primarily driven locally, with the longest drive being 2hrs once a month or in two months when we go to visit my wife's sister in Erie, CO. Last time this car saw the serious drive was when my wife was moving from San Diego to COS after I moved already, and that was New Year 2013/14.
Great trip report and pics!
Is it really faster to go up 25 to 70 westbound than it would be to take 24 to 9 to 70?
 
Great trip report and pics!
Is it really faster to go up 25 to 70 westbound than it would be to take 24 to 9 to 70?
Yeah. If traffic cooperates. Traffic is usually ok if it doesn’t snow.
If it snows, I go 24 to 9. That day that section was fine, snow came later.
 
My twin grand nieces are in Oceanside, near Camp Pendleton. Tati drove up to Capitola earlier in the week; I got Southwest tickets (San Diego to San Jose) for Xiomi to fly Friday (23rd) night and back home Christmas evening so she could be to work on Monday the 26th.
Friday was cancelled after she waited like 5 hours at San Diego. I offered to jump in the car and go get her. She finally got rescheduled for Sunday (Christmas) morning; she got in to SJ around 10 AM.
Of course she had to be back at the airport by 5:00 PM or so for a 6:30 PM flight. She waited another 5 hours before it was cancelled. We rented her a car and she drove home on Tuesday or Wednesday. I am working with Southwest to get some $$ back. Dunno.

They didn't know where planes, pilots, stewardesses, support, etc were. I love Southwest; I fly with them numerous times per year. Just like so many businesses, they refuse to upgrade equipment until it breaks down. And at the worst time. They knew the risk.
I've always had issues with Southwest. My parents seemed to get good service. Even a few years back my flight was delayed and was told verbatim "We don't know where the airplane is". Someone hopefully does as 737-700s aren't Cheap and something you don't lose.
 
Well, I was one of those people that got caught in all this Southwest mess. I am not their particular fan, but they have a regular connection to Las Vegas, where my wife's parents live, so they come in handy. We have driven numerous times to Vegas before, but with two kids and a busy schedule, we occasionally do, especially in winter, Southwest. Regardless that we did this route numerous times, this title is still appropriate because it just fits what happened.

On 12/24, we were supposed to fly from Colorado Springs (COS) to Las Vegas (LAS). In LAS, we would take my in-law's Honda Pilot they have there, drive to San Diego, then LA for some Disney torture, then on 01/03 back to LAS< then on 01/06 fly back to COS.
Our flight was around 05.30, and since the airport is like 20 minutes away, and it is really not a busy one, we left maybe around 3.45. I checked the statuts of the flight as I heard there were numerous cancelations, and all was OK. Well, we get there, and the flight is canceled. I was waiting in line to see options, and web site crashed, and finally, around 7pm, I talked to the lady at check-in. She offered us a flight from Denver that was supposed to leave at 07.30 pm but is now delayed until 10.46 pm. Ok, jumped into Honda, hit the gas, and off we went. Somewhere around Castle Rock (approximately halfway between Denver and COS) I checked the status of the flight, and an airplane is gone.
Turned around, dropped my wife and kids home, and went to COS airport as phones at Southwest crashed. Around 10.30 pm I talked to an absolutely exhausted, but very nice lady, who is a Southwest supervisor, and she said: oh, you were a no show in DEN, so your ticket is blocked. I can't do anything as our phones are down, the ticket is blocked. The only thing I can do is make a note, and you call SW customer service and they will resolve it. Just be patient; it will take you a few hrs. So, around 10.45 pm, I call SW, get in the car, and just stay on the line (this is part where those earbuds really come in handy). Came home, poured some whiskey, and waited.
Somewhere around half a bottle later, or around 1.30, I am thinking: I am going to sleep at 02.00 am and call again in the morning. Well, around 01.45 am, someone answers. Lady offered me the first flight out of DEN, through Orange County (SNA), then LAS, on 12/28 at 05.45 pm. OK, it is what it is.
Sunday, Christmas Day, well, nothing works, and we do not have anything as we anticipated we would be gone until 01/06. I go out looking for some Asian stores as they are usually open, and get one thing, in other, another thing, just to stumble onto Safeway close to home that is open until 3 pm (that is after 3hrs of driving around).
On Monday, we went to Denver to check VW Atlas I was interested in, and Boulder for my wife to buy some fish for her aquarium. Anyway, 11.30 pm, I am hanging out with whiskey again, and I get a text that the flight from SNA to LAS is canceled on 12/28. THAT WAS IT!
I get crossbars out of the storage room and install them on my wife's Tiguan (I did not want to go with Honda we have here as a. does not have snow tires, b. it is ridiculously uncomfortable). By 2am I have Yakima on top. In the morning on 12/27, we got up, got all our stuff ready, fed the kids, got gas at Costco, etc. and by 11 am we hit the road.
I was thinking of going directly to San Diego via Phoenix, AZ. But to come in 2 days, I would have to do 650 miles a day, and with two small kids, that would be a stretch. So, I decided to go from I70 to I15 and spend the night in Green River, UT. That is 408mls from our house, and from there to LAS is 421mls. Then, the day after, we arrive at LAS, drive to San Diego. Not bad:

View attachment 134848

So, off we go. Armed with Mobil1 ESP 0W30 in the sump and Bridgestone Blizzaks WS90, we hit the road.
As soon as we hit the mountains, things started to get really cloudy, and clouds were promising if we were going to ski. By the time we hit Vail Pass, it was a full-blown blizzard. Good decision to skip Honda and go with VW as things got really bad. At that point, I was not paying attention to tires as much as to the fact that having HiD lights on Tiguan really paid off. By the time we hit Glenwood Springs, it was a mix of heavy snow and rain, then snow again, etc. Finally, when we reached Fruita, CO, we were able to see dry pavement for a bit and gas up:
View attachment 134849

Around 8.30 pm we finally hit Green River, UT, and it was some super cold rain:

View attachment 134850

When I got up the next morning on 12/28, their parking lot was a skating ring.
Off we go. Of course, Utah, while deserted, has its charm:

View attachment 134852

But, the most beautiful part of the road, that I always absolutely enjoy driving through (unless it was my Sienna) is the I15 stretch that goes through AZ:

View attachment 134853

We came to LAS around 4 pm:
View attachment 134854

My car was brown. There was snow storm through UT, maybe an hour North of ST. George that turned into rain. Tried to find a car wash that had a self-serve pressure washer, but no luck. The next morning before we hit the road to San Diego, I managed to find a self-served wash close to the intersection of Charleston Ave and Rainbow Blvd. We hit the road around 12pm. Oh boy, I forgot about the traffic on I15 between LAS and Riverside. The first issue was just outside LAS. I went through Handerson and hit some local roads:
View attachment 134857

I passed two buddies in Teslas. One behind had to show me that his EV had a bunch of power and immediately passed me, just to slow down again. I had to pass him again. I am glad I helped him address his insecurities:

View attachment 134858

Finally, I15, and thinking: well, this is not bad (assumption is the mother of all screwups):

View attachment 134861

Now, I forgot how challenged drivers are on this road. I mean, it is like they are all hanging out in the left lane. I literally saw a girl that bit the steering wheel and drove with her theeth. I really did not want to take a photo of someone. But she drove 10mls below the speed limit, and traffic was like 3mls behind her.
But things got really, really bad when going down toward San Bernardino:
View attachment 134862
@edyvw I just noticed on your luggage carrier on the passenger side there is an "AUM" sticker on the rear. Is that the infamous AUM as in Auburn University - Montgomery?
 
Great write up very interesting. Your Tiguan is 4Motion? Looks like it I think? We had a 12 fwd and really liked it, very reliable up until about 115k then it got expensive. My father is still driving his 17 Wolfsburg fwd, around 60k now. Congratulations on the Atlas!

I haven't flown since 1990 and I don't want to lol.
 
Great write up very interesting. Your Tiguan is 4Motion? Looks like it I think? We had a 12 fwd and really liked it, very reliable up until about 115k then it got expensive. My father is still driving his 17 Wolfsburg fwd, around 60k now. Congratulations on the Atlas!

I haven't flown since 1990 and I don't want to lol.
Yeah, 4Motion. It is absolute beast in snow as I put narrowest possible tires in winter.
Mine had intake manifold replaced before we got ut with 36k in 2013. At 64k I changed preventively timing chain tensioner and VW recalled water pump around 75k. Other than that, of actual failures, we had HVAC resistor failed which was $5.
Suspension is still really good. I calculated we had around 650lbs of total weight and it still behaved really good on the road.
 
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