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Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: Delayed Flight That Picked Up Time In Air And Left Early

 
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Old Oct 14, 2010, 10:35 PM
[email protected] jachristensen1@gmail.com is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1

My name is Joyce A. Christensen and I am a Southwest Rapid Awards member.

I am writing this letter to you to explain to you the situation that I ran into while traveling with Southwest Airlines on Saturday, October 2nd from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale, FL.

I arrived at the Las Vegas airport by 11am on Saturday, October 2nd, as I had paid for an early check-in and already had my boarding passes in hand, which put me in the A group. When I arrived at the airport, and was checking in curb side, I was informed by the sky cap that my 12:15 pm flight #983 had been delayed to 1:15 pm. He expressed a bit of concern over whether I was going to make my connection to Denver, CO or not, but then said that he felt that I should just make it. He checked my bags and I went through the security check point and walked down to my gate. My gate was located in a cul-de-sac where there were 5-6 other gates. Up and down the hallway leading to the gates there were shops. So, after walking down and getting a visual on where my actual gate was located, I went up and began walking through the shops, as I still had close to an hour's time to kill. I made a purchase for a sandwich to bring on the plane and looked at the receipt, saw the time, and figured it was time to start making my way back to the gate. I especially wanted to make sure that I was back there in time to get in the "A" line, as I am slightly claustrophobic and always want to sit in an aisle seat. When I came down the aisle, I passed by one of the video/tv screens that lists the flight arrivals and departures. As I passed by, I quickly glanced at it and noticed that next to my flight # it was listed "DEPARTED". I started running to the gate, thinking that most likely it was a mistake and immediately made contact with the gate attendant there, who was very short and acted as if she didn't have the time of day to give to me.

She rudely told me that they had announced over the loud speaker a last call for all passengers for the flight to come to the gate. I told her that I did not hear any announcements at all. She also made mention that this announcement was made because the flight was leaving earlier than planned and that they wanted to get everyone on the plane as quickly as possible. I asked her why they wouldn't have called my name, when I am sure that they could tell that I had already checked in and was physically in the airport.

She told me that Southwest Airlines does not call out names of passengers that are not at their respective gate. She again repeated that an announcement had been made. I know from a previous experience that airlines do call passengers to gates. I asked her "ma'am do you really think that everyone knows their flight #", and she ignored this comment. I certainly always do listen for my name to be called, but never have I been aware that a flight #' would be called versus a passenger's name. She was busily typing away and then told me that I better start running if I wanted to get to thet gate she was sending me to and see if I could possibly get on another flight that would get me to my final destination.

At that time I took off running to the new gate, stupidly without ever getting her name or employee #. At the new gate, I spoke with the attendant, who I do have to say seemed generally concerned and was helpful. By this point, I was in a sheer state of hysteria as I am not a frequent traveler, I was now alone in an unfamiliar city, and I immediately became very concerned about what was going to happen to me. The gate attendant told me that there was no way that she could get me all the way to Fort Lauderdale that day. She said that all she could do for me today, would be to get me out of Las Vegas, but she said that I would more or less be in the same situation being stuck in whatever connecting city she sent me to until the following day. The only other option she said that I had was to be moved to flight #1333 which would not be leaving until the following day Sunday, October 3rd at 11:40 am.

At this point, I had already been in Las Vegas for the past few days, and even though my entire family had already departed the city, I decided that it would be best that I stay where I was already at versus leaving there and going to a city that I had not been to and would have no idea where to go.

So, I agreed to change my flight to the following day. However, what I did not know was that the change, she was telling me was my only choice, was going to be an additional $295.20 onto my already existing paid fare. I tried to re-explain to her what had happened and she told me that all she could offer me was the ability to list me as the 1st person to get on the plane the following day, 2 free drink tickets and an 800# to call.

At this point, I didn't know what else to do. My luggage was already on its' way to Ft. Lauderdale, as was my phone charger. I was running out of battery time on my phone, I was in a city that I was not really familiar with, I had only my handbag and the clothes on my back, so decided that I really did not have any other option, and agreed to change my flight to the following day and return back to the hotel I had already been staying at, the Wynn.

After much thought and deep consideration of this situation, I feel that I should not be held responsible for the additional charges for the change of the plane times. Especially as records will show, that I was already in the airport on time, had already checked in for the flight, checked my luggage, and had already passed through security. And on top of the additional charges for the flight, I also had to incur fess for an additional night's stay at the hotel, an additional day of meals, and additional transportation fees, back and forth to the airport/hotel again. Plus not to mention the emotional stress of having to be in an unknown city all alone with none of my possessions, incluidng all my prescription medications that were packed in my luggage.

I feel that there should be some sort of compensation made on behalf of Southwest Airlines not only for the flight but for the additional expenses incurred due to the fact that no effort was made to even call my name when there had to be some record of the fact that I was in the airport on time, had already checked in, and passed through security in a timely manner.

I would also like to mention of the fact that when I arrived back to the airport the following day, I was still so upset about the fact that I never heard any public announcements, that I decided to speak with one of the employees in the Hudson Book Store, who told me that she has gotten many complaints from other passengers who have also complained about the fact that it is very difficult to hear any of the announcements made over the PA system in the airport when you are inside of the stores.

I am hoping that Southwest Airlines will do the right thing here. I will anxiously await your reply.

Sincerely,

Joyce A. Christensen
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Old Oct 16, 2010, 4:16 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Joyce;
As heartfelt and genuine as your complaint is... there is no chance that you will succeed. As you are not a frequent flyer, you may not realise some basic facts:

1. If a flight is showing as delayed, you cannot rely on it going at the shown time. It is common for airlines to switch equipment to get an aircraft back on schedule.

2. Airlines are under no obligation to call you by name. Some do, some don't, but none will accept responsibility for you if you fail to hear a flight being called

3. Shopping close to the departure time is a dangerous game... you are distracted and announcements inside the stores are sometimes muted. No airline will accept liability for this.

The sticker shock you experienced with Southwest is minimal compared to what some of the mainlines would have charged you.

I think you should dust yourself off and put it down as a learning experience... there is little help or sympathy in this world for the inexperienced traveller sadly.
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