Old Apr 26, 2012, 2:27 PM
nottheactress nottheactress is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2
Thumbs down Don't let your boarding pass hit you on the way out

My two minor daughters and I tried to fly home to Boston from a weekend in the D.C. area a few days ago. We were flying home Sunday night in time for the girls to return to school the next morning. The kiosk printed out our boarding passes, but my daughter's was the last to come out, and had no letter or number on it for boarding. I did not realize this until SW customer service paged us thirty minutes before the flight. They needn't have bothered - they had no intention of finding a seat for my 16-year-old daughter. We stood in line as the airline told waiting single adult passengers that they had won a seat on this booked flight. I was told that my other daughter and I were guaranteed seats, but that my 16 year old couldn't fly until tomorrow and that I should find an adult to stay with her overnight in D.C. until the flight departed the next day.

Find an adult?

Needless to say none of us flew home. We were not provided any other assistance with airlines that could get us home. The SW staff jokingly suggested we take Amtrak. When asked how to contact them I was told it was an 800 number and easy to look up. Suffice it to say I did not accept this response and was given the number for Amtrak. My daughters and I boarded a train leaving Baltimore at midnight, not knowing until 11:50 p.m. that we all had seats on the train. We arrived in Boston at 8:00 am, took a cab, took showers, and went to school and work. Never again, Southwest Airlines.
Old Apr 26, 2012, 5:13 PM
Matt_FLL Matt_FLL is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 100

I’m glad you made it back to Boston. So sorry to hear about this appalling ordeal.

You pointed out that your daughter’s boarding pass did not contain a group/position number. Can I assume that this flight was overbooked and she was involuntarily denied boarding?

Please make sure that you read this: http://www.southwest.com/html/genera...oking_faq.html

As you will see at the link above, she is certainly entitled to significant compensation during these situations.

I verified that Soutwest does not provide accommodation on other airlines (see their Contract of Carriage which you “signed” when you purchased the tickets). So the gate agent was correct in that case. However, I’m a bit disturbed if he/she never offered you the compensation. Is that true? Please reply and if so, the gate agents should be held accountable for such an egregious act.

I hope that you got some sleep on the train and keep us posted if you decide to write to Southwest or collect your compensation.
Old Apr 26, 2012, 7:18 PM
nottheactress nottheactress is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2
Default thanks Matt

Hello Matt,

Thanks for your reply. The SW service desk assured us that Lucy's ticket would be reimbursed, but of course my ticket and that of my other daughter were denied a refund because, technically, we had seats on the plane. In my letter to the airline I asked for reimbursement of those as well because I was not willing to leave my 16-year-old daughter behind. Thank you for attaching the over-booking policy to help us avoid this nightmare in the future.

And yes, we got back to Boston without incident thanks to an Amtrak employee who worked past her shift to make sure the three of us ended up on the same train. Would have appreciated that kind of service from Southwest.
Old Apr 27, 2012, 1:58 PM
Matt_FLL Matt_FLL is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 100

I understand. What a disaster! Keep the forum updated with the response from Southwest. You deserve an apology, refund, and compensation. I can't believe what happened.
Old Apr 27, 2012, 3:23 PM
seeker80 seeker80 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 14

Recently, there was a frequent poster (and "airline sympathizer) who started a thread chronicling his travels with Delta. According to this poster, everything went swimmingly. I thought I would post my first real experience on Amtrak (had taken day trips to Chicago many years ago) and post the results.

But I thought I would censor myself because it wasn't an "airline complaint". Since SW has introduced Amtrak into the discussion, I thought I would use it as an opening.

For a number years in a previous job, I flew frequently including a lot of international flights. As an operations manager for many years in many organizations, I found being a customer of the airlines as the worst experience in life. I would always tell people flying was like being at the craps tables in Vegas. Delays, cancellations, bumping and lack of commication from the airlines are the norm. And it is never their fault. Never. Once I slowed down and chose a different career, I travel only for pleasure. And I only fly as a last resort. We rent cars to go on vacation and recently we decided to book on Amtrak's City of New Orleans.

Loved it. Ready to do it again.

- We were on time at every single point.
- Surprisingly smooth. At times it felt like flying. (the yard in Memphis was rough)
- Staff were friendly and attentive. One offered to uncork our wine. (see below)
- Had a roomette which afforded privacy for naps/cards
- Meals were included with our room. Coming and going sat at dinner in dining car with "strangers" who shared their life's stories. Amazing.
- No TSA/security nightmare. None
- Able to take 6 bags. One was a cooler which had wine/cheese to celebrate our Anniv..
- Caught the train in a little town in Ill. which was closer to our home. It stopped for 2 people right next to their car!
- Stopped on the return trip to drop 2 people right next to their car!
- Was cheaper than taking a flight which had a connection in either Houston or Atlanta. Every time you introduce a point of failure to the airline, they can and will use it.
- The Amtrak station was a $11 cab ride to our hotel. We could have walked if we wanted to.
Did it take longer? Of course. But we didn't have to be there hours early to insure it wasn't our fault the airlines couldn't seat us. No paying for parking football fields away from our gate, no groping in order to prove we meant no harm, no grouchy gate agents who hate their jobs, no seats where the possibility for leg room for a 6'2" human is a joke, no bag limits, free food, good wine, no waiting and hoping our bags showed up, etc., etc., etc.

I am not sure when I will ever fly again.

But I do enjoy being able to come on this site and laugh at how somethings never change and to reinforce why I decided to see the countryside at gound level and not be trapped in Hell at 30k ft.

BTW the trains were completely booked coming and going on a Sunday and Thursday.

Last edited by seeker80; Apr 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM.

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