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Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delayed

Cable-TV-Guy
Active Member

My question for the forum is what have been your experiences with Southwest when your inbound flight is delayed and standbys have already been boarded on the connecting full flight you were supposedly confirmed on?  Did you receive any compensation?  When this happened to me, all I got was a $75.00 voucher good for 90 days on any full-fare ticket on that airline.   This happened in 2008 and the outcome was extremely unpleasant with me arriving home in at 3:00 AM almost five hours past my original scheduled arrival after having to take a taxi over 70 miles from the airport I was re-routed to. I've only flown twice since then, in 2010 and 2013. And, only taking direct flights.  After driving cross-country every year since,  I've decided that after almost eleven years to “put feet to my Christian faith” and give Southwest a chance with connecting flights. While my trips require connections, I've hopefully “padded” my schedule with enough time between flights so delays won't impact connections as much. Any suggestions?  Thanks in advance for your response(s)...

14 REPLIES 14

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

elijahbrantley
Rising Star
Solution

Southwest today always seems to manage connections very well. As a matter of fact, the most impressed I’ve ever been with SW was how they handled my connection from a delayed flight. 

 

It’s my opinion that if you’re close enough to arrive after they have cleared standbys, they might just hold the flight for you )or for you and several others, which may be the case). Of course, they will only hold for so long, and even if they don’t hold, I always hear them make multiple announcements for folks who are missing. So if you have a super tight connection, you must get to your gate quickly. 

 

At at the end of the day, every situation is unique, and it is up to the Ops and gate agents. But if you will be connecting, you might consider things like: are you connecting through a northern city airport in the winter or a TX airport in the summer or a FL airport in hurricane season? If so, you might choose longer connection times. I don’t like to have connection times under an hour and a half ever. Tight connections are amazing most of the time when things are running smoothly, but even with slight delays, that extra time is helpful!

 

Good luck!

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

It's unfortunate that such a horrible experience 11 years ago has prevented you from flying much since then. In general, I think all airlines have gotten much better with connections, delays, and helping customers complete their trip without problems. Hopefully you'll give flying another chance and your travels are without incident.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

SWDigits
Rising Star

Following up on the statement from @elijahbrantley "I always hear them make multiple announcements for folks who are missing" --> this is exactly what happened when we departed on our flight from FLL last week.  They made multiple announcements for multiple passengers then the final announcement stated that all of the folks arriving from the Atlanta flight and heading to the boarded/boarding flight should proceed directly to gate B4 (I think that was the gate).  I presume they all made it.

 

@TheMiddleSeat people have looooong memories.  Speaking from personal experience.


Customer | Home airport DCA | Community Champion

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

Cable-TV-Guy
Active Member

Hi,

 

I want to thank everyone for their answers and encouragement.

 

I've willingly flown only once since then, in 2010.  Had a great trip.  But, that airline was acquired not too long ago by another airline.  Their customer service was outstanding.  But, their corporate existence was fought by competitors from its founding because of ownership and management.  Perhaps they feared the customer service one of its owners is renowned for?  The trip in 2013 was compelled due to a family situation.

 

As for the incident in 2008, I got to see the door being shut on what was supposed to be my LAS-IAD flight!  This was a RNO-LAS-IAD routing which ended-up being  RNO-LAS-BWI instead.  With the original routing, I would've been at home by 10:30 PM that night.  Instead, I got home at 3:00 AM as I live 70+ miles from BWI.  Imagine trying to get a taxi at almost 1 AM at BWI with a driver willing to take a fare to Northern Virginia!   BTW, I live under the downwind of 19L at IAD.  Between the way I was treated by that airline's representatives at LAS and BWI (and at IAD where I had to go to pickup my suitcase after putting in a day at work  (There was room on the original plane for my suitcase.  But, not for me!  I guess either the ramp people at LAS cared more about customers than customer service in the terminal did.  Or, freight was more important than people.), and being sent 70+ miles away when I live about 8 miles from IAD, it left quite an impression.  But, as we say in the business I just retired from, 'Customers give you one chance to make a bad impression.  Don't make it.'  As for the airline, while they are supposedly "legendary" for customer service, I didn't see it that day.  So, I'm taking a chance.  Perhaps it's not "fair" to judge an industry by one horrific experience with one business.  But, it happens in cable all the time!  If this flight goes well, I'll might try flying again.  There are a couple of places in Europe I'd like to go to next year.  I realize much has changed for the airline passenger "experience" since my first trip in 1965.  So, I'll see what happens and share with this forum how this trip with Southwest goes.

 

Thanks for letting me share.

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

SWDigits
Rising Star

@Cable-TV-Guy wrote:

There are a couple of places in Europe I'd like to go to next year.  I realize much has changed for the airline passenger "experience" since my first trip in 1965.  So, I'll see what happens and share with this forum how this trip with Southwest goes.

 

Thanks for letting me share.


That would be great for you to come back to share about your next experience with Southwest!

 

We love to travel and sometimes have to roll with the punches.  We just came back from Spain, obviously with another airline, and our flight back to the States was delayed a few days by hurricane Dorian (hooray for trip delay insurance courtesy of our credit card).  Then when we finally did fly home the flight was delayed a few hours because of a "technical issue" (hooray for lounge access courtesy of our credit card).  Even with the hiccups and delays there is no way in the world I would trade our time in Spain to avoid them.

 

I hope you have a great time and I hope you get to those places in Europe soon!


Customer | Home airport DCA | Community Champion

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

Cable-TV-Guy
Active Member

Rick,

 

With all due respect, if either I or the company I just retired from after almost 36 years of service, expected our customers to "roll with the punches", it's improbable that we would've celebrated our 120th anniversary last year.

 

The U.S. domestic airline business has changed much since "deregulation".  And, not much for the better from either the customer (passenger) or employee perspective.  For one thing, the tarmac is littered with the cremains of not just legacy carriers unwilling/unable to adapt; but the memories of "post deregulation knockouts"..  Carriers that tried entry but for a variety of factors, didn't survive.  And, there are the carriers which fell victim to the business dictum of "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em".  As a result, there are fewer long-haul carriers now than perhaps the 1950's.  The absence of competition on too many routes has increased fares (except where "The Southwest Effect" applies) , lowered service standards, and depressed compensation for employees.   

 

That is why when I travel overseas, it'll likely be on a foreign flag carrier.  And, what I liked about Virgin America.  The employees seemed to value the customer.  It was probably the closest we'll ever see to a foreign flag carrier flying domestic U.S. routes.

 

Maybe I was Blessed where I worked because we had a customer-centric culture.  What was best for the customer was at the heart of our decision-making.  Our organizational charts were "hub and spoke", with the customer at the center.  Then again, our competitors referred to us as "the asylum designed and operated by the inmates"!   

    

 

        

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

SWDigits
Rising Star

Oh wow, it's amazing in a bad way how my tangential comments were interpreted.  That specific wording was in reference to my own travel experience where weather threw our plans out the window.

 

It makes me sad that you want to see more in Europe but haven't.


Customer | Home airport DCA | Community Champion

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

Cable-TV-Guy
Active Member

From Strong Detractor to Neutral

 

As asked/promised, here’s my evaluation of my recent Southwest flights:

 

Outbound

 

10/29 WN 1163 IAD-DEN Grade: A+  Several of the cabin crew were wearing some form of Halloween costume with their uniform.  They seemed cheerful and enjoyed their work.  Seemed to go out of their way to make people happy.  Flight was on-time

 

10/29 WN 2454 DEN-LAS Grade: C- Despite announcements about powering down and stowing personal electronics until reaching 10,000’ altitude, the male FA walked past several passengers in my immediate vicinity who were still using laptops, tablets, cellphones, etc., while at the gate, taxing, during climb, etc., without at least admonishing them to power down and put away the stuff.  If this is an FAR, why weren’t the FA’s enforcing it?  Perhaps the comment of “Thank you for not paying attention to this announcement” at the end of his safety briefing was not in humor as much as it was in truth?  Flight was on-time...

 

Airport experiences:  The security check at IAD reminded me of going through customs and immigration into and out of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Hungarian Peoples Republic back in 1980.  Having the palms of my hands swabbed with an unknown chemical which the TSA agent wouldn’t identify has me wondering if I’ve been exposed to a potential HAZMAT.  And, I got a “pat down”.  Also, if your have an early flight out of IAD, be prepared with your own food as there is very little open early in the AM in terminal C.   Denver International Airport is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst as the design allows the outside temperature to become the inside temperature in the waiting areas.  It was freezing cold in there!  This is third-world at best.  Passengers shouldn’t have to accept this and neither should airport tenants like Southwest.  The use of “air doors” like those used at supermarket entrances might help.  The moving sidewalks at LAS were all kaput causing a lot of hiking.  Also, honesty/truthfulness at LAS on baggage carousel assignments would help.  The display at the entrance to baggage claim read for a carousel different from the one where the bags actually arrived.  Truthfulness/honesty would no doubt be appreciated by your customers.

 

Return

 

11/5 WN 2286 LAS-SJC  Grade: A  Nothing remarkable or unremarkable about the flight.  Everything clicked perfectly including being on-time...

 

11/5 WN 1465 SJC-DEN-IAD Grade: F-/A+ The SJC-DEN part was OK.  However, the notation on my itinerary provided by WN of “Stop: Denver no plane change” was Bull---t at best and an outright lie at worst as it wasn’t announced until after we’d been at the gate in DEN for a while before the FA’s notified the dozen or so of us IAD-bound passengers that we’d need to deplane and go to gate C41 as that was where the plane going to IAD was boarding!  So, we had to hike a considerable distance (especially for this senior citizen with some mobility problems) to the new gate.  However, to the credit of WN, those of on the inbound flight were allowed to board after those needed pre-boarding, but before those already lined-up for the flight.  However, I had to find that out from a fellow passenger, and not from any WN announcement.  Unacceptable.  Yes, there were already passengers lined-up for this different aircraft.  So, this didn’t look like a last-minute change.  Or, was it?  If you’re going to have a change of planes, be honest about it!  If it’s planned in advance, say so at the beginning!  If it’s a last-minute change, tell all your passengers ASAP!  And, not at the last minute!  There was no mention of this change when I checked my phone before leaving for the LAS airport.  And, there was also no apology for the change of planes made to us inbound passengers.  Also, this new flight was 21 minutes late in pushback from the gate at DEN (At least it wasn’t 9F degrees and snowing this time!), making us late into IAD.  The A+ on this evaluation is for the DEN-IAD cabin crew.  While both of the forward FA’s were the cheerful and friendly as usually expected on WN, one of them had to “protect/defend” the area of the forward lav/cockpit door while the captain was in that area (restroom break)  when a possibly inebriated passenger (He was swaying quite a bit!) made his way towards the area while one FA was blocking his path.  He (much larger male) kept approaching and she had to get quite demonstrative that she was prepared to “deal” with him if he continued his approach. At about row three (I was in 5C), he finally got the message and turned around.  In the 45 years since my first commercial flight (9/17/65 IAD-LHR on a TWA B707-331), this was the first time I’d seen an FA have to do what they’re supposed to do in the first place: Ensure the safety of the passengers!  When I complemented her later on what I’d observed, she initially brushed it off as if it happened every day.  If that’s the case, I pity the FA’s for a task more thankless than I’d previously thought.  I’m contacting WN about her performance. 

 

Airport experiences:  If you’re renting a car at LAS, allow at least an extra hour besides your drive to “the airport” for the return.  The car rental facility at LAS is located a considerable distance off-site from the airport itself and after you get your car checked-in, you’ll still have to hike through the building, stand outside, wait, and endure a long bus ride to the terminal through local (non-airport) traffic.  The TSA experience at LAS was slightly less intimidating than that at IAD.  The layover at SJC allowed me to have a leisurely lunch.  However, when I used to fly regularly (3-4 times a year before 9/11), some airports made a point of their concessions having prices comparable to the locality.  Either SJC isn’t one of these or restaurants in the area are expensive!  (Maybe that's why Chick-Fil-A had such a long line?)

 

Overall evaluation: C- /D+  The professionalism of the FA on the DEN-IAD flight in her readiness to defend the cockpit area of flight 1465 is what kept this from being an F+ evaluation.  Had it not been for the CF at DEN on what was supposed to be a no change of plane trip, this would’ve been an A-/B+.  Like too many businesses, WN needs to learn the benefits of prompt and honest communication with customers when SHTF.  Reasonable customers know things occasionally go wrong.  And, reasonable businesses realize that they need to communicate quickly and honestky with customers.  And, make amends.  Having the inbound (from SJC) passengers on this flight board ahead of the DEN origin passengers went a long way with me on this.  The cheerfulness/friendliness of the cabin crews on the IAD-DEN, SJC-DEN, and DEN-IAD also brought up the score.  As a result, despite the lessons I’ve had in trust and forgiveness (courtesy of my ex-wife) and the honesty/forthrightness of WN (see above about flight 1465 on 11/5), I plan to give WN another try.  And, sooner than the 11 years since my last flight! 

Re: Denied Boarding on Connecting Flight Because Standbys Already Boarded and the Inbound was Delaye

chgoflyer
Top Contributor
Solution

@Cable-TV-Guy wrote:

From Strong Detractor to Neutral

 

As asked/promised, here’s my evaluation of my recent Southwest flights:

 

Outbound

 

10/29 WN 1163 IAD-DEN Grade: A+  Several of the cabin crew were wearing some form of Halloween costume with their uniform.  They seemed cheerful and enjoyed their work.  Seemed to go out of their way to make people happy.  Flight was on-time

 

10/29 WN 2454 DEN-LAS Grade: C- Despite announcements about powering down and stowing personal electronics until reaching 10,000’ altitude, the male FA walked past several passengers in my immediate vicinity who were still using laptops, tablets, cellphones, etc., while at the gate, taxing, during climb, etc., without at least admonishing them to power down and put away the stuff.  If this is an FAR, why weren’t the FA’s enforcing it?  Perhaps the comment of “Thank you for not paying attention to this announcement” at the end of his safety briefing was not in humor as much as it was in truth?  Flight was on-time...

 

Airport experiences:  The security check at IAD reminded me of going through customs and immigration into and out of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Hungarian Peoples Republic back in 1980.  Having the palms of my hands swabbed with an unknown chemical which the TSA agent wouldn’t identify has me wondering if I’ve been exposed to a potential HAZMAT.  And, I got a “pat down”.  Also, if your have an early flight out of IAD, be prepared with your own food as there is very little open early in the AM in terminal C.   Denver International Airport is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst as the design allows the outside temperature to become the inside temperature in the waiting areas.  It was freezing cold in there!  This is third-world at best.  Passengers shouldn’t have to accept this and neither should airport tenants like Southwest.  The use of “air doors” like those used at supermarket entrances might help.  The moving sidewalks at LAS were all kaput causing a lot of hiking.  Also, honesty/truthfulness at LAS on baggage carousel assignments would help.  The display at the entrance to baggage claim read for a carousel different from the one where the bags actually arrived.  Truthfulness/honesty would no doubt be appreciated by your customers.

 

Return

 

11/5 WN 2286 LAS-SJC  Grade: A  Nothing remarkable or unremarkable about the flight.  Everything clicked perfectly including being on-time...

 

11/5 WN 1465 SJC-DEN-IAD Grade: F-/A+ The SJC-DEN part was OK.  However, the notation on my itinerary provided by WN of “Stop: Denver no plane change” was Bull---t at best and an outright lie at worst as it wasn’t announced until after we’d been at the gate in DEN for a while before the FA’s notified the dozen or so of us IAD-bound passengers that we’d need to deplane and go to gate C41 as that was where the plane going to IAD was boarding!  So, we had to hike a considerable distance (especially for this senior citizen with some mobility problems) to the new gate.  However, to the credit of WN, those of on the inbound flight were allowed to board after those needed pre-boarding, but before those already lined-up for the flight.  However, I had to find that out from a fellow passenger, and not from any WN announcement.  Unacceptable.  Yes, there were already passengers lined-up for this different aircraft.  So, this didn’t look like a last-minute change.  Or, was it?  If you’re going to have a change of planes, be honest about it!  If it’s planned in advance, say so at the beginning!  If it’s a last-minute change, tell all your passengers ASAP!  And, not at the last minute!  There was no mention of this change when I checked my phone before leaving for the LAS airport.  And, there was also no apology for the change of planes made to us inbound passengers.  Also, this new flight was 21 minutes late in pushback from the gate at DEN (At least it wasn’t 9F degrees and snowing this time!), making us late into IAD.  The A+ on this evaluation is for the DEN-IAD cabin crew.  While both of the forward FA’s were the cheerful and friendly as usually expected on WN, one of them had to “protect/defend” the area of the forward lav/cockpit door while the captain was in that area (restroom break)  when a possibly inebriated passenger (He was swaying quite a bit!) made his way towards the area while one FA was blocking his path.  He (much larger male) kept approaching and she had to get quite demonstrative that she was prepared to “deal” with him if he continued his approach. At about row three (I was in 5C), he finally got the message and turned around.  In the 45 years since my first commercial flight (9/17/65 IAD-LHR on a TWA B707-331), this was the first time I’d seen an FA have to do what they’re supposed to do in the first place: Ensure the safety of the passengers!  When I complemented her later on what I’d observed, she initially brushed it off as if it happened every day.  If that’s the case, I pity the FA’s for a task more thankless than I’d previously thought.  I’m contacting WN about her performance. 

 

Airport experiences:  If you’re renting a car at LAS, allow at least an extra hour besides your drive to “the airport” for the return.  The car rental facility at LAS is located a considerable distance off-site from the airport itself and after you get your car checked-in, you’ll still have to hike through the building, stand outside, wait, and endure a long bus ride to the terminal through local (non-airport) traffic.  The TSA experience at LAS was slightly less intimidating than that at IAD.  The layover at SJC allowed me to have a leisurely lunch.  However, when I used to fly regularly (3-4 times a year before 9/11), some airports made a point of their concessions having prices comparable to the locality.  Either SJC isn’t one of these or restaurants in the area are expensive!  (Maybe that's why Chick-Fil-A had such a long line?)

 

Overall evaluation: C- /D+  The professionalism of the FA on the DEN-IAD flight in her readiness to defend the cockpit area of flight 1465 is what kept this from being an F+ evaluation.  Had it not been for the CF at DEN on what was supposed to be a no change of plane trip, this would’ve been an A-/B+.  Like too many businesses, WN needs to learn the benefits of prompt and honest communication with customers when SHTF.  Reasonable customers know things occasionally go wrong.  And, reasonable businesses realize that they need to communicate quickly and honestky with customers.  And, make amends.  Having the inbound (from SJC) passengers on this flight board ahead of the DEN origin passengers went a long way with me on this.  The cheerfulness/friendliness of the cabin crews on the IAD-DEN, SJC-DEN, and DEN-IAD also brought up the score.  As a result, despite the lessons I’ve had in trust and forgiveness (courtesy of my ex-wife) and the honesty/forthrightness of WN (see above about flight 1465 on 11/5), I plan to give WN another try.  And, sooner than the 11 years since my last flight! 


 

So much to unpack here... but I'll just address a couple specifics:

 

It's no longer necessary to power down and stow electornics below 10,000', and hasn't been since the FAA changed the rule back in late 2013. You likely misunderstood the announcement, which was probably to the effect that larger devices such as standard laptops do need to be placed under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing, as these items may cause injury in the event of turbulence. Tablets, cell phones, games and most other PEDs (portable electronic devices) can continue to be used during takeoff and landing. In fact, Southwest proudly advertises that on their planes, such devices can be used "gate-to-gate" as a benefit of their satellite-based internet connectivity.

 

Lately, I've noticed that the required use of headphones with PEDs, including for children,  has been specifically mentioned as part of pre-flight announcements. I certainly appreciate this. Smiley Wink

 

When your belongings or your hands are swabbed by TSA, there is no chemical used. The pad is simply used to collect a sample that is then machine analyzed, looking for traces of explosive elements. You've not been exposed to anything hazardous, TSA is just checking to see if you've had any exposure to chemicals that might have been used to make an explosive device.

 

I've had similar experiences with incorrect baggage carousel information at LAS, and I agree it's an area for improvement. My home airport is MDW, and it's even worse, IMHO, when it comes to baggage services. I've found it's worth mention this specifically to Southwest whenever you'd had a negative experience. Hopefully, improvement is coming.

 

Unfortunately, changes from a direct flight to a connection do happen, and often occur last minute. This could have been caused by a number of different reasons, including weather, which may require plane swaps or other late changes. Assuming you didn't receive any prior notification before travel, that is most likely the case. It does sound like this apparently wasn't communicated as well as possible, which should be brought to Southwest's attention, and is another area for improvement. 

 

FYI: This is primarily a customer-to-customer forum. I'd recommend you reach out to Southwest directly, so that they can reply to your concerns -- including addressing why your flight was changed. At the bottom of this page is Contact Us -- your best bet for a lengthy message such as yours might be to send a written letter to the street address provided. If you'd prefer a quick reply, try reaching out via a short direct message on Twitter or Facebook.

 

One last comment: From your overall grade, it seems to me like maybe you're a tough judge. Smiley Wink Or perhaps just have high standards or expectations, some of which may not be reasonable with respect to the general state of domestic travel today. Keep in mind that many of the negatives you mention are no fault of Southwest (TSA, rental-car location, airport food prices). I would say that your description sounds like what I would call a pretty average travel experience these days.

 

Hope this helps!