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Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

Penny2021
New Arrival

I am not one to complain about the little stuff and I think that SouthWest usually does an outstanding job with customer service, but in this instance, they failed us and perhaps others.  I wrote an email to SouthWest regarding Handicapped seating on a flight because of a delayed connecting flight.  To my surprise, I received a rather flippant reply from a Customer Advocacy Specialist. So I am posting what happened here.

 

My husband is disabled and cannot walk very far.  Please know that we really appreciate the wonderful ability to use wheelchair service at the airports to get to the gates and onto the plane when we fly.

 

In this case, my husband is handicapped and is needing a wheelchair to get from the curb to the gate. We checked into the first leg of our flight and the plane took off with us aboard.  Chicago airport knew our plane would be arriving a bit late and they were holding the connecting flight as several from our flight were making this same connection. There were only 2 passengers, my husband and another lady, needing assistance that were getting on our SouthWest connecting flight. By the time we disembarked and were driven over to the connecting gate, the plane had been fully boarded and passengers were seated. As a result, our seats were way in the back of the plane.

 

In my opinion, the flight crew should be made aware of how many handicapped passengers have checked in on a connecting flight and will be boarding their plane.  They need to have the ability to TEMPORARILY save front seats for handicapped passengers if they have checked in and are aboard a delayed flight. (Since no pre-boarding courtesy is available.)  These passengers need wheelchairs to be mobile... walking is very difficult for them.  My husband was forced to struggle to make it down the isle to find a seat in the BACK of the plane.  In my opinion, this should not have been the case.  A seat for both the Handicapped passengers should have been temporarily saved near the front of the plane because they cannot walk far.  This seat can always be filled before take off if need be.

 

I hope SouthWest is able to expand the handicapped policies to include this accommodation.

 

Thank you

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

Sorry to hear this, I’m not sure what the mixup was or maybe they were able to convey that there were connections but didn’t communicate the handicapped status. 

The response you received shouldn’t have been flippant though, if there was a mistake on the handling of the connection the rep should have just offered a straight apology and mea culpa.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

NicoleAshley
Employee
Employee

@Penny2021 I am very sorry to learn of your husband's experience, and I apologize that we let you down with our response to your concerns. As a peer-to-peer support forum, we are not equipped to assist you here, but I encourage you to Contact Customer Relations to make them aware of the response, so we can review the situation internally. 

Nicole
Community Manager

Re: Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

Penny2021
New Arrival

Thank you NicoleAshley... I have sent in another note to see if this policy or seating practice can be amended.

Re: Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

Penny2021
New Arrival

It does not appear that our concern will be under consideration at all.  This is the follow-up response I received from the same person:

 

I received your follow-up email, and I’m sorry to hear of your continued disappointment with the handling of your complaints. It’s clear that this matter still weighs on your mind, and I appreciate one more opportunity to revisit your concerns. 

As previously mentioned, we appreciate your suggestion that we proactively save seats for late-arriving Customers with disabilities, such as in your husband’s case, when they are delayed on an inbound flight. Please know that your feedback in this regard has been provided to our Senior Leaders, though we now respectfully consider this matter closed.

I realize my response may not provide much in the way of closure for you, but it is our hope that you will return for a more favorable experience.

 

.... my response is a deep sigh.... 

Re: Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

bwallet
Active Member

Other than an apology and a statement that your concerns have been shared, what are you expecting? Are you looking for compensation?

Re: Seating for Handicapped Passengers on Connecting Flights

Penny2021
New Arrival

I am hoping to find enough interest in this cause that Southwest will update the handicapped policies to assist all handicapped passengers to get a front seat when they are known to be on a Southwest delayed connecting flight. I am certainly not looking for an apology or compensation... merely a correction to the inconsiderate handicapped seating policy.