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Explorer C

On a flight from Santa Ana to Austin. Had to stop in Phoenix. I paid extra for my family of 7 to all board A 7-13 boarding position. We took the 2 front rows. Upon landing in Phoenix (where we did not have to get off the plane) we were told we had to move out of our seats for wheelchair customers, they said they needed 5 of our 6 front row seats. 

They seated 2 wheelchair customers and then allowed other people to sit in the front row while I was in the second row seperated

from my husband who was now seated next to 2 tall and definitely not disabled men!!


 I asked and was told sorry, I could ask the people to move if I wanted!! Really!!! Will never fly Southwest again. Horrible customer service 


Re: Frustrated

Frequent Flyer A

That is a frustrating experience although having to give up two of your seats for the wheelchair passengers is completely understandable. Do you know if the other three seats you gave up were taken by passengers accompanying the wheelchair passengers?

Hopefully the Operations Agent boarding the flight was at least courteous and explained why you had to give up your seats in a calm and professional manner.

I suggest calling Southwest Customer Relations at 855-234-4654 and explaining what happened. If you were not shown the Hospitality that you deserved or if a Southwest policy was not followed, they will want to know so that they can prevent it from happening again.

Sorry for the frustration you experienced. I know you are angry with Southwest right now, but I hope you will give them another chance. I've worked for a few of those other airlines and know that nobody can consistently top Southwest for Customer Service and Hospitality.

Re: Frustrated

Explorer C

I absolutely have no issue giving up seats for customers in wheelchairs. The other ones who took the seats I was told to move from we’re not accompanying them. And in fact said wow we lucked out!! Front row seats while my daughter and I were moved from my husband. And all the flight attendant man did was say you could ask him to move.. the guy who took my seat just laughed... I won’t bother calling, just want this flight to be over and never have my family or company fly Southwest again.

Re: Frustrated

Frequent Flyer A


I suggest you contact Customer Service as @rtbarron suggested, though I personally would write in rather than call.  When upset, writing helps me frame my points much better. It also tells Customer Service that you were seriously concerned enough to put a written letter down on paper.


I am sorry that this happened, and I wonder about FAA policies.  I think those policies (used to?) limit the number of children under age 15 who could sit in one row.  The idea was that in the event of an emergency, the airline needed an adult who could/would listen to crew member instructions and help sort out the oxygen masks.  Perhaps the same logic is applied that if a person needs help getting on, they might need help exiting in the event of an emergency, but then again, a disabled person could travel alone so maybe not or maybe the best practice is for them to alert the crew beforehand.  When a child travels alone, they have to fly as an unaccompanied minor which means the airline is responsible for extra safety measures if something happens.  Safety is the primary responsibility of the crew, so sometimes when things look or feel unfair, it may be because of safety concerns.  And we in the general public do not know all those procedures.


I do think that Customer Service would be able to partially refund your tickets, and you should specify that a refund is requested rather than travel vouchers.  That said, I do hope that you will give the airline another chance.  Their processes can be unsettling to those who mostly fly other airlines (especially airlines with assigned versus free-range seating)  but I have grown to understand their culture of service and their dedication to safely flying their customers to destinations at a reasonable price, and it has made me a big fan of the company overall.  Of course, they still have bad days and some employees who don’t seem to fit in, but I found Southwest better than most other airlines, especially for the short haul trips that they grew up on.  


Come back to the forum and let us know if you contacted them and the results.

Re: Frustrated

Aviator C

@Smhemstreet I agree with everything @rtbarron@CareforNOLA said, but remember that employees for SWA are human and sometimes make the wrong decision based off of mis-communication, lack of details, etc.  With that being said, I would contact Customer Relations and voice your concern. What do you have to lose? 


Good luck! 


SWA Passenger, Community Champion