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Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

Lilsh
New Arrival

I need a sanity check here, please.

 

My husband was refused boarding onto our flight more than 20 minutes from the scheduled departure time because the agents decided to close the gate early. Southwest states their policy of closing gates is 10 minute prior to departure time.

Instead of letting him on the flight, they had plenty of time to give me the option to stay on or leave the aircraft to stay with him. I deplaned. 

The employees then ignored all questions about why, and blatantly come up with strange excuses that simply don’t line up. Nothing was done except shooing us away to be rebooked by the agent at the next gate over. When we were at this next gate rebooking, we also witnessed the exact same supervisor re-opening the gate to let a straggler on to that flight 11 minutes before the departure time.

We’re rebooked on standby and losing eight hours of our day, so we’re working our way home... But this experience couldn’t be right, right? 

11 REPLIES 11

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

dfwskier
Top Contributor

I could be that by the time your husband tried to board all seats were already filled.

 

It could also be that straggler got on because you got off the plane - thus opening a seat.

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

Lilsh
New Arrival

No, sorry for the confusion. We saw the other straggler at a different gate when we were rebooking. 

and I had the seat next to me saved for him. 

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

bec102896
Top Contributor

Was your flight delayed then made up time in the delay? 

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

Lilsh
New Arrival

Nope, original time was 8AM, first delay was 8:30AM then bumped up to 8:21AM and never changed again. 

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

So, he was denied boarding at 7:40am? Or at 8:01am?

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

Lilsh
New Arrival

We began boarding at 7:40am, I was seated at A18 approximately 7:45am. He arrived just shy of 8:00am and they had just closed the gates. Our scheduled departure time was 8:21am, and the plane left at that time.

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

chgoflyer
Top Contributor
Solution

Ok, understood.

 

With any delayed flight it's important to know that you must be at the gate with a boarding pass in hand at least 10 minutes before the originally scheduled departure time -- not the estimated delayed departure time. Anytime after t-10 from originally scheduled departure, agents may opt to close the flight and end boarding. They are often trying to help reduce delays. This is important because often a delayed flight will actually depart as originally scheduled, because of things like plane or crew swaps. 

 

 

 

 

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

Lilsh
New Arrival

Ok, that makes sense generally speaking. But contradicts what we witnessed this particular incident, or so I believe.

 

1) they had enough time to let another passenger in right before my husband was denied at the gate. I watched as the other passenger came onto the plane and my phone rang almost simultaneously (husband telling me what had occurred after spending a couple minutes trying to ask the gate agents questions and beg his way on).

 

2) they had enough time to give me the option to stay on the flight or grab my things to deplane.

 

3) our flight still did not leave until 8:21am (the delayed departure time). 

 

4) the exact same supervisor approved re-opening the next gate over to allow a straggling passenger to board 10 minutes before their original departure time, causing that flight to depart late. (I’m confirming all times referenced via FlightAware).

 

I realize “it’s their right to make those calls” is probably the answer I’m going to receive, these inconsistencies above make me question  things.

Re: Refused boarding 20 minutes before departure

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

It is their call. Keep in mind that these inconsistencies happen because all flights are different, and there's certainly information you or I don't and will likely never know. Crew time outs, connections down stream, etc. I totally understand that it's hard not to take these things personally, and it's never fun when you're on the receiving end, but ultimately if your husband had been at the gate before t-10 he would have been able to board.