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Re: Airport Checkin Required?

Aviator A




- favor a discussion with a ticket counter agent at a non-US airport (not a Southwest employee, but a local contractor), and





I know what happened. For an international flight you have to prove you have a passport before you can check in.

Re: Airport Checkin Required?

Aviator A

@mjpuz wrote:
Your detailed reply to each question is respectfully requested

You'll probably get a voucher and a nice little note, but there are no answers to what was obviously a one off error and demanding answers, even "respectfully", is what was wrong with this entire conversation.  Enjoy the voucher, squeaky wheel gets the grease.



Re: Airport Checkin Required?

Explorer B

Received a reply from SWA this morning


- nice little note


- no voucher


- no answers


- confirmed my suspicion that this was not a 'one-off' error, but


"...there are circumstances where the customer may be required to proceed to the airport in order to complete the check-in process and reserve their boarding position”


The complete text  of SWA's response below


Since the e-mail response did not reveal the specific 'circumstances' I called SWA Customer Service to follow up


From the conversation with the CS representative:


"There are several circumstances that may require check-in at the airport..."


" error in passport information [name not as depicted on passport, error in the birth date or passport number]..."


"...passport information not entered at the time of purchase, but entered later..."


"...or a TSA flag..."


In response to my question, she further replied


"There is no error in your passport information that I can see"


"We do not receive notification of a possible TSA flag, or have a record if a flag is received..."


"I do not know why TSA would flag a Global Entry Trusted Traveler for airport check-in, or even if this occurred in your case"


"I cannot explain the error message"


Not what I hoped for, but about what I expected


I concluded the conversation with this:


"In past times when I have traveled this route with SWA, I availed of 'Early Bird' check-in"


"...on these previous occasions, 'Early Bird' did not produce a boarding position automatically; but when online check-in within the 24-hour window was attempted, a notice was received that (1) a boarding position was awarded, and (2)  the check-in process would be completed at the airport" 


"That I did not avail of 'Early Bird' on this most recent occasion was an oversight on my part..."


"Please tell me, how does 'Early Bird' check-in differ from 'Online' check-in within the 24-hour window?


The CS agent's reply:


"'Early Bird' automatically assigns a boarding position before the 24-hour window opens..."


"Online check-in without 'Early Bird' will award a boarding position unless there is a requirement to check-in at the airport"  


My question in reply:


"Should I elect to travel internationally on Southwest in the future, must I purchase 'Early Bird'] to avoid this experience again?"


The CS agent:


"That is your choice sir"


"Should you decide to travel with us again, we will do our best to provide a better experience"


Lessons learned:


- As mentioned by others in this thread, Southwest can be 'glitchy',


- For international travel, take the time to enter passport information at the time of ticket purchase,


- Be sure to purchase 'Early Bird', and


- If 'Early Bird' is not purchased, expect to receive a 'last in line' boarding position at the airport (the purchase of 'Upgraded Boarding' a possible 'workaround' not attempted in this recent experience)


Any other suggestions?


All the best


Dear[name redacted]

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about your reservation [destination redacted]. I welcome the opportunity to respond. 

I regret to learn that you and our Employees had trouble attempting to reserve your boarding position for Flight #1018. Although I am unable to determine the cause of the error, as you alluded, for itineraries that include at least one international leg, Customers can typically secure their boarding positions via the online check in process on as early as 24 hours in advance of their flight’s departure time. In order to receive a boarding pass and proceed through security, they must check-in at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter or kiosk to have their passport verified and check their luggage. 

That said, there are circumstances where a Customer may be required to proceed to the airport in order to complete the check in process and reserve their boarding position. I apologize that you were impacted by one of these requirements, and I understand you ultimately elected to travel on an alternate carrier. Please note that you have a travel credit of $179.31 that is good through September 7, 2022 associated with the confirmation number.

We appreciate your patronage, and we hope to welcome you onboard again soon. 

[name redacted]
Southwest Airlines



Re: Airport Checkin Required?

Aviator A

For security reasons, you might want to delete the confirmation number in the text above.