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A.D.A Policy

Explorer C

My 86 year old father was not allowed to board his flight home due to Southwest overbooking the flight and now expect him to stay overnight at the airport. What is your American with Disability Act policy on this? 


Re: A.D.A Policy

Frequent Flyer B

Did he have an actual disability?

Was SWA informed of his disability at check-in or at the gate so that he received Priority boarding?

Was he present at the gate at the appropriate time or was he late?


More information is needed...


Here is SWA's Policy:

Advance notice of disability

Customers with disabilities are not required to provide advance notice of the need for assistance; however, doing so helps us better prepare for the number of Customers who will need our help.

We give Customers the opportunity to proactively notify Southwest Airlines of any specific disability-related needs during and after booking.

When booking a new reservation, Customers may use the “Special Assistance” link on the Passenger & Payment Info page to indicate that he/she requires assistance. When booking online, Customers may notice that there is a link (identified with an italicized "i") that directs the user to the details of our policies for assisting Passengers with disabilities. After the Customer has selected his/her option(s), the Customer should scroll down and complete the booking process.

If a reservation has already been created, simply click on the “FLIGHT | HOTEL | CAR | VACATIONS” link located on the top of our home page. Then, select “Manage Reservations” from the “Flight” column, input the required information, and select “Search.” From that page, click on the "Special Assistance" link under the Passenger name. Once a Customer has added his/her option(s), the Customer should click “Update Information” and the information will be saved to the Customer’s reservation.

Customers may also advise us of any disability-related travel needs at the time of booking by telephone or, if a reservation has already been made, by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) prior to travel.

We recommend that Customers arrive at the airport no later than the recommended airport arrival time. If traveling with a power wheelchair, in the event that we need to prepare the wheelchair for stowage, we may ask that Customers relinquish his/her power wheelchair up to an hour in advance of departure. In this case, the Customer will be transferred to an airport wheelchair until boarding begins.

If traveling in a group of 10 or more Customers who use wheelchairs, please advise us at least 24 hours in advance by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) so that we can ensure adequate staffing and room in the cargo compartment of the aircraft for the wheelchairs.

Re: A.D.A Policy

Aviator A

@Marrero001 wrote:

My 86 year old father was not allowed to board his flight home due to Southwest overbooking the flight and now expect him to stay overnight at the airport. What is your American with Disability Act policy on this? 

I hope he’s doing okay - is he waiting right now?


Overbooking would mean that he was compensated, which would include that he’ll be staying at the airport or find accommodations and that he would have either agreed to be bumped or was involuntarily bumped. I don’t know that ADA figures into this. 

Here is the full contract if you want to verify:




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

Re: A.D.A Policy

Aviator A

Southwest stopped  intentionally  overbooking several years ago.


Southwest has been having a lot of flight cancellations and delays all week.


What likely happened was the passenger was originally n a 737-800 o r 737 Max8. They have 175  seats, and for whatever reason the airline had t use a different plane - a 737-700 which seats 143. So however many people in excess of 143 on the cancelled flight would not have seats on the substituted plane.




edit add:

Here's what your dad is entitled to

1) Denied boarding compensation - a voucher if voluntary and cash if involuntary

2) Meal vouchers that would let him get food at no cost

3) If SW can'r get him out today, he should get a free hotel room


Also, contact customer relations after he get's home. COMPLAIN and he might get a voucher from the airline good for future travel.


I also am sorry to hear that this happened to him. Hope he is alright

Re: A.D.A Policy

Aviator A

LOL. Southwest doesn't do involuntary denied boarding. They barely do voluntary denied boarding. Haven't for years. They'll just say it was weather and issue a refund of the fare paid. Expecting anything else is simply fantasy, sad as that is.









Re: A.D.A Policy


@Marrero001 I'm sincerely sorry to hear this. As a Customer-to-Customer support forum, we are not equipped to assist you here, but I encourage you to Contact Customer Relations via the email option to receive a response from our Customer Advocacy Team. Thanks!


Community Manager