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Involuntary Denied Boarding

New Arrival

Southwest Airlines involuntarily denied my boarding on a flight from Laguardia Airport (NYC) to Dallas TX in August 2018.  The airline never requested volunteers and bumped me just seconds before my boarding call.  The delay cost me a late night delayed (four hours) arrival into Dallas and many more hours in wasted correspondence with the airline.  The airline has never compensated me (the injured party) or the US Government Agency for which I was traveling.  I will never travel on Southwest Airlines again.

 

When traveling on official business for the US Government, an employee may only retain compensation after "voluntarily" giving up a seat.  US Government policy requires that airlines pay vouchers for involuntary denial of boarding to the "US Treasury".  Southwest has refused to pay any "voluntary" compensation to me (as I am the only injured party), and has refused to re-issue the voucher payable to the US Treasury despite numerous correspondence and attempts to educate them about this problem.  Southwest has not even returned the original voucher.

 

Resigned to the fact that Southwest has escaped "any" penalty for unfairly denying me my seat (in violation of US Government Department of Transportation policy), I only hope to provide a public service by educating and warning the public about Southwest's behavior .  If you travel on US Government business, be aware that Southwest Airlines may involuntarily bump you (without first requesting volunteers), and while the US Government may receive compensation (in my case they did not), you as the injured party will not receive anything that you can legally retain.  If you travel on personal business or vacation,  Southwest may bump you without regards to any deleterious effects that delay might cause.

10 REPLIES 10
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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

Active Member

My sympathy for your inconvenience.   I'm glad it's quite rare with SWA, much more so than other airlines who make a habit of it.   Considering it happened to you almost 2 years ago,  it appears it was indeed an anomaly.  Maybe that's why they aren't so well equipped to deal with it. 

 

Considering you're still harping on a four hour delay almost two years later, it seems you aren't either. 

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

New Arrival

I have long accepted my uncompensated loss of time due to my involuntary denial of boarding by Southwest Airlines.  I will never accept that Southwest airlines, or any airline, would involuntarily deny boarding to satisfy their own business need, and then not compensate the injured party.  This airline even failed to compensate the US Treasury in defiance of US Department of Transportation rules.  That's why I have never and will never fly on Southwest Airlines again.

 

As I explained, I presented this event as a public service, to warn any potential traveler about Southwest Airlines behavior, arrogance, and disdain for what should be morally expected, and also to educate and prepare employees traveling on US Government business about the consequences of an involuntary bump and the special consequences when bumped by airlines that do not respect the importance of compensating injured parties.  It’s about respect.

 

Ironically, I would have accepted a good faith voluntary payment of $200.00, almost the cost of my ticket, as a trade with Southwest Airlines for my contracted seat. I have wasted more than enough hours with this and I hope my post saves other travelers some aggravation.  Sometimes knowledge is power.

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

Top Contributor

@JamesIshikawa In your first post you correctly state that since this was an involuntary bump for a flight paid for by the government as part of official travel you the individual traveler are owed nothing.

 

Then in your second post you claim that had Southwest paid you directly you would have been ok with everything, despite this being against the policy you stated in your first post. To reiterate what you already said, while on government travel the individual traveler can only receive compensation for a voluntary bump, not involuntarily. 

 

It's unfortunate, but because of the specific situation, you are not personally owed any compensation and I can't see how you can claim with 100% surety that Southwest did not reimburse the US Treasury. This transaction is not something that you are privy to. 

 

Individuals on non-government paid travel who may run into the now rare situation of an involuntary bump are compensated on the spot by Southwest so this "warning" does not apply to the typical traveler.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

Active Member

I don’t understand why gsking can send such a harsh sarcastic message? The issue is he didn’t get one penny back ? You lecture him almost to a use the acuser. Even if an injustice was 2 years old SW is the airline of LUv and needs to know. Nicole Ashley of SW would forward this poor soul( who is in service of our government ) to contact SW to mitagate his economic loss let alone his pain and suffering. In my country we have a saying of people who bully innocent moral people If you have evil in your heart your nothing but a clever devil. What Goodwill gdskier did you hope to accomplish by berating a person in service to greatest Country in World. I was in India’s Military and nothing is more respected in my Country thN those that serve the people.

you should apologize. Where is the❤️?

Desh Gupta (Br Gen India)ret.

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

Active Member

Nowhere did I infer that the person creating this message was traveling for a military reason.  They said, for government purposes.  I work for the Government for over 30 years and have traveled over 50 times, for government business.  I am not military.   They may actually be military, but it isn't mentioned. 

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

New Arrival

To "The Middle Seat" I reply:

 

Southwest Airlines violated Department of Transportation (DOT) rules when they denied me my seat, just moments after my boarding call, without first requesting volunteers. Had Southwest offered to me almost any usable compensation, I would have respected the airline's business need, voluntarily given up my seat, and bought a nice lunch for a few colleagues in Dallas - explaining that the burgers and fries were courtesy of Southwest airlines.  Accepting "voluntary" compensation does not contradict anything I've explained or US Government travel rules.  A good faith offer would have satisfied the airlines need, followed DOT rules, and respected my rights.  When Southwest involuntarily bumps someone traveling with a time sensitive emergency, Southwest's lack of due diligence would cause unnecessary hardship, an avoidable hardship if the airline would simply follow DOT rules and respect the rights of it's passengers.

 

DOT and US Government travel rules require an immediate monetary voucher, presented to the traveler, and payable to the "US Treasury" when involuntarily bumping passengers traveling on US Government business.  I returned the first voucher (payable to me) and I have not received any correspondence or reply of any kind from Southwest Airlines.  Southwest "may" have paid the US Government, but I have no knowledge of that even though I, as the traveler, I would expected a reply and some information as a common courtesy.  I advised the US Treasury Inspector General about their missing funds and I expect their office would have notified me about any payment received as a consequence of my travel.  I have fulfilled my responsibilities in this matter.

 

The almost two year hiatus between the bump and these public service messages simply reflects my willingness to give Southwest Airlines an excessively long time for the airline to ignore my correspondence and fail to remedy their action.  And yes - I have closed my Southwest Airlines frequent travel account and will never fly on that airline again.

 

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

Top Contributor

So there's no chance you just didn't hear the request for volunteers?  Eagerly sitting at the gate two hours prior to departure, listening to each and every announcement, never diverting your attention?  You seem so certain of the events from several years ago.

 

And not hearing back from the Inspector General who probably doesn't have anything better to do than to contact you about these funds is your indication that nothing was ever done about it?  You did fulfill your responsibility, good job.

 

That's quite a grudge to hold onto for several years and odd that you just now find it worth venting about.  As I said before, it is such a unique set of circumstances that 99%+ of Southwest flyers would not encounter the same situation.  Curious what you will do when Southwest has the lowest contract rate on a route you need to fly for government travel in the future.  Will the rule follower bend the rules to choose another airline?

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

New Arrival

I've stated what happened and this is my last post.  It makes no difference to me whether the individual reader agrees or disagrees.  The discussion was worth my trouble if it helps save one person from a similar event.

 

I stood for over one hour waiting for my boarding call and never heard a request for volunteers; maybe next time Southwest's associates should whisper louder.  The bottom line is Southwest used my seat for its own business use, certainly did not ask me to volunteer, and cost me many hours of uncompensated time.  Southwest doesn't understand nor do they seem to care about this fact, and I won't waste any more time trying to educate the airline.  I do hope by experience may help another airline passenger avoid the same bad experience.

 

I hope the snarky comments by "Middle Seat", by providing a devil's advocate argument, serves to provide the reader with a well rounded and fair analysis, and helps them evaluate this issue before their next trip, and hopefully the information will help them experience a more pleasant trip than mine.  Knowledge has power.

 

Signing out.  I will read future posts but, most likely, I will not respond.

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Re: Involuntary Denied Boarding

Top Contributor

I was really hoping to hear from how you would bend the rules to avoid Southwest in the future. 

 

I'm sure all of those flyers on official government business who get involuntarily bumped will be glad to have your "warning". Thanks for your input. 

 

--TheMiddleSeat