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Denied travel due to "invalid ticket" - at the gate

Explorer C

My son-in-law purchased a ticket to travel from DIA to Ont. airport last Friday.  He arrived at Denver, took shuttle to the terminal where he checked in and obtained a paper boarding pass.  He proceeded through security and then took the train to the gates.  After waiting there approximately an  hour he was paged.  The gate agent told him there was an issue with his ticket, that it was "invalid".  They could not tell him any more details.  He showed them his bank account with the transaction, he showed them the boarding pass he received when he checked in at the airport an hour prior.  He also asked them how the ticket could be invalid and he be issues a confirmation number and a boarding pass.  The agent simply said he could not get on that flight.  The flight was not cancelled and it was not overbooked.  He then asked if he could purchase another ticket and was told it was not two hours prior to departure time.  He asked if he could fly standby - keep in mind he HAD a ticket, boarding pass and there was room on the flight.  The agent told him he could get on a flight the following day.  


My son-in-law is active duty Air Force pilot and was to fly to Ca to see his 93 year old grandmother-in-law and his bride of 6 months.  The gate agent was not helpful in any way and did nothing to help the situation. 


My question is why was he issued a paper boarding pass from southwest counter two hours prior to being told his ticket was invalid?  Why would they not let him use the southwest confirmation number and boarding pass?  


The next day he was refunded the money for the cost of the ticket.  


Customers should not be treated this way!  Military service members should not be treated this way.  The error was 100% on the Southwest computer system and employees, it is wrong to penalize the customer. 


My son-in-law was unable to see his grandmother-in=law and his wife.  I am thoroughly disgusted by the treatment he received from Southwest.  

I would have understood IF the flight had been cancelled or overbooked, but there were seats available - the gate agents simply would not let my son-in-law use his boarding pass and purchase confirmation number to travel.  Very disappointing to say the least!!


I am now advising people to not fly Southwest!  When you show up 2+ hours prior to scheduled flight - after driving 1.5 hours to then be told one hour prior to departure that you could not go because of an error on Southwest's part, something is pathetically wrong! 


Do NOT book with Southwest if you want to travel at the day/time scheduled!  


Also, Southwest was very disrespectful to a military pilot - over the 4th of July weekend. Inexcusable!



Re: Denied travel due to "invalid ticket" - at the gate

Frequent Flyer B

He was refunded and that was good. Did he use refund for another flight on SWA or  another carrier to LAX area?

Re: Denied travel due to "invalid ticket" - at the gate

Aviator A

Your son in law can Contact Customer Relations and they can investigate. Sorry to hear your son in law had these issues. 



Re: Denied travel due to "invalid ticket" - at the gate

Aviator A

Why am I having such a hard time believing these stories?  Perhaps I'm being too optimistic and don't think Southwest has gone downhill that much, but also things just don't add up.  After supposedly being denied boarding your son in law just left the airport?  Didn't bother asking for a supervisor or additional information about the issue?  That seems rather unlikely.  And what's the 2 hour before departure issue?  You can get on your phone and buy a ticket up until the very last minute so the 2 hour thing you mention just does not make sense.  Seems like another fable with a military connection tied in to tug on heartstrings.