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Southwest Airlines Community

Discrimination at Orlando Airport

Explorer C

I recently had surgery on my left shoulder and cannot lift objects. I flew into Orlando on 3/1/2024 on Frontier airlines and had a return flight out on Spirit on 3/3/2024. At the last-minute Spirit cancelled my flight and I booked my return flight with Southwest. I booked my flight and in my hast thought I requested wheelchair assistance. When I arrived at the Orlando terminal for my flight (arm in a sling) I approached the wheelchair assistants for help. There were about 8-10 people sitting at the entrance just congregating there. They all looked at me as if I had 2 heads and then looked at each other. I asked if I could get help because I needed to get to my flight, they told me to ask the boss and pointed me in his direction. I spoke with the "boss" who took my flight information and asked one of the assistants to assist me to the terminal so that I could catch my flight. He came over and asked for the same information. I gave it to him, and he said, you didn't ask for assistance. Another gentleman came over and spoke in Spanish I assume with the other gentleman and then said No. I again advised them that I recently had surgery and inadvertently left off needing assistance because it was a last-minute booking due to a cancellation from another airline. He then again refused to assist me. I then got frustrated and told them that I would walk. Standing there being refused service was not only hurtful but embarrassing as Orlando International airport is a large airport with people from all nations in and out of there every day. I spoke with the "boss" and advised him of what had just been done to me and he didn't help either. I am a faithful Southwest Airlines customer and until this last-minute trip only flew southwest because of your many benefits. To be treated this way by your contracted employees is very disheartening. Me having to carry my bag through the airport with just having surgery and having 4 metal screws in my arm could have severely damaged the repairs that were just done to my shoulder.


This is not the first time I had this kind of discrimination happen to me at this particular airport. When the first incident happened, I brushed it off because they eventually did assist me with a lot of hesitation. If this is how Southwest allows their contract workers to treat their faithful customers, I may need to rethink who I patronize when flying. I tried to speak with several employees before leaving the airport but was unsuccessful. I asked the gentleman who refused to assist me for his name, and he turned his back to me spoke with the other assistants sitting by the door in Spanish, laughed at me and gave me some made up name which I cannot even remember at this moment. I have never been treated so disrespectfully in my 48 years of living.


I would like for someone to contact me so that we may discuss this further as I would like a copy of the take, the name of the gentleman that refused to assist me to my terminal and I would like him terminated as I know this was not the first time he has refused to assist someone. It is his job to take passengers to and from the terminal despite how he feels and how it looks to him. This to me is a blatant sign of discrimination and that should not be tolerated in this line of work. 


I have read in Southwest has a policy that they Concerning Harassment, Sexual
Harassment, Discrimination & Retaliation. This should apply to your employees and/or contract employees as well. 


Re: Discrimination at Orlando Airport

Aviator A

Sorry to hear you ran into trouble.


But the fact of the mater is that people that provide wheel chair assistance at any airport are either employees of the airport or are contract employees of the airport. Southwest has nothing to do with them.


Thus your complaint should be filed with the airport.

Re: Discrimination at Orlando Airport

Explorer C

I appreciate your response. I was told by a Southwest Agent that they were contracted by Southwest Airlines. 

Re: Discrimination at Orlando Airport

Aviator C

I had a situation with the people who service the wheelchairs as they ran into the back of me when they were in a hurry to a gate and the smart-mouthed person doing the job told me to get out of their way.


I wrote to the airport authority and asked to present my case to the board.  I was told that they had identified the individual and appropriate action was being taken.


Go to the airport authority at Orlando and make your concern known.