Do The Math, Southwest: 25-Minute Layover, 20-Minute Security Screening

Tsk tsk, Brandon, obviously you failed in your responsibility to wear Velcro sneaker when flying Southwest Airlines. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in this mess. Brandon writes:

…I flew from Sacramento to the connection hub in San Diego, where I had a 25 minute layover. While I would not have chosen a 25-minute layover, Southwest doesn’t give you your flight times until you’ve booked….the two gates were in separate parts of the building, separated by security…

UPDATE: Brandon got a refund after a Southwest rep on Twitter saw the story on Consumerist. (He also agrees his statement about not getting the flight times was incorrect, details inside…

I had to be rescreened through security, which took twenty minutes, and run to the gate, carrying my shoes, belt, laptop and backpack.

Upon arriving, a hostile gate agent told me I could not board without first putting on my shoes. After an exchange with this gate agent, she denied me boarding altogether, and I watched my flight (and my bags) leave without me.

As it turns out, all the other flights to Baltimore were sold out until roughly Wednesday, and unless I wanted to fly standby and take my chances, I would have to make other arrangements. Not wanting my bag to sit in Baltimore for two days, nor my brand new boss (I was supposed to be starting a new job today) to fire me, I opted to make other arrangements.

Southwest insists that it behaved appropriately and denied be boarding under Article 10 of the Contract of Carriage (which basically says they can refuse to fly anyone for any reason) but refuses to provide me a refund, under Article 90.

I’ve left more than one phone message for Fred Taylor and his assistant. None of them have been returned. I’ve spoken with their customer relations department and their general 1-800 number and gotten no satisfaction beyond a “well sorry that happened but your fare is non-refundable.”

I am home now, and my boss was understanding, but it still sucks. I may file a chargeback to get my money from Southwest.

C’mon, Southwest, you couldn’t have held things for 30 seconds so the guy could put on his shoes?

UPDATE: Brandon responds your comments:

Couple notes on the comments…

1. I arrived at Gate 1 and was supposed to leave out of Gate 9. Between Gate 1 and Gate 9 is a security checkpoint. Had I arrived at Gate 3, I would have been fine.
2. As for the altercation with the gate agent, I told her I was going to complain to her supervisor about her attitude when I got to BWI, and at that point she told me I wasn’t flying on this flight and I could complain to her supervisor right then and there.

Oh, and as for the flight times, they are right: you do get told after you pick the tickets. I was incorrect about that part. And I did notice the flight times when I booked on July 8 (after I got the email); however, knowing San Diego as I thought I did, I figured it would be no problem. And Southwest has always had an exemplary record with regards to holding flights for connecting passengers and rerouting those who are going to miss connections.

UPDATE 2: Brandon got a refund!

I had contacted Christie on Twitter (@SouthwestAir) and she and I were talking this morning before you posted my story. After the story was posted, she was able to convince customer relations to refund my entire return trip ($212). Thanks very much for your help!

(Photo: AComment)

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