Thomas Travia bought a ticket from Philadelphia to Omaha on Southwest Airlines but couldn’t use all of it. Nothing unusual about that — plans change all the time, and the airline offers some of the most flexible ticket change policies in the industry.
What sets this case apart is the type of ticket Travia got. Since he bought it at the airport, it was paper. Then he lost the ticket halfway through his trip and later asked Southwest for a refund. The airline told him he needed to wait, and now it’s telling him he waited too long. Maybe that’s because he traveled in 2008.
When Elisabeth Haas took her window seat on an American Airlines flight from Orlando to Dallas earlier this year, she discovered a problem – a very big problem.
“A morbidly obese seatmate encroached into my personal space,” she says. “He required a seat-belt extender and that the armrest divider be raised to accommodate his girth during the entire flight, including takeoff and landing. He also had to walk down the aisle oriented sideways and moved quite slowly.” (She sent me a photo of the offense, which I’ve published above.) Read more “XL passengers invade my economy class seat — and airlines let them”
Jennifer Kucinski lives in Kansas City. Her father lives in Orlando. Make that lived in Orlando.
A few weeks ago, she received devastating news that her dad had passed away unexpectedly. Compounding that tragedy was the fact that Southwest Airlines was trying to stick her with two overpriced plane tickets, a decision she calls “heartless.”
J. Gillula had a Southwest Airlines ticket from Oakland, Calif., to Baltimore last year. But he didn’t have his ID.
That shouldn’t have been a problem, at least according to the TSA. It allows passengers who don’t have identification to undergo a secondary screening.
But it was a problem.
After a long wait, and an interrogation by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, a Southwest airlines employee approached me and told me that I would not be able to fly that day.
When I asked who it was — the TSA or Southwest — that was denying me the right to travel, she clearly indicated that Southwest was denying me boarding, in the presence of several TSA employees who made no attempt to correct her.
I was then escorted back to the ticket counter, where the Southwest employee processed a refund for my round trip ticket; she did not, however, make any attempt to re-book me or provide me with alternate transportation.
One of the things travelers love about an airline like Southwest is that it goes against the grain. When other airlines charge baggage fees, it doesn’t. When they impose change fees, it doesn’t. When they have assigned seats, Southwest refuses.
Gratitude trees are small plants to which you hang cards bearing the things for which you’re thankful. They were a favorite arts and crafts project a few years ago, but I had never seen one on this scale until I stayed at Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga, Calif., earlier this week.
I’ll have more details on my visit to Napa on National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog in a few days. But I wanted to say something about what I discovered on the tree.
A lot of readers have asked how they can help. Nancy, the toddler’s step-grandmother, has asked that donations to be made to the Aurora, Colo., location of the Ronald McDonald House, which has arranged for her husband and step-daughter to stay in a local hotel at no charge. Donations should be made in the name of Caden Rodgers.
Here are a few details about the case. The boy, Caden Rodgers, was reportedly body-slammed by his mother’s live-in boyfriend, last week. He died of his injuries on Thursday, according to reports. Here are a few more specifics on this horrific case. I can’t bring myself to write more.
Nancy also had a few comments after reading some of the feedback on the original post.
Yes, Mark works for Northrop Grumman. However, as all his flying is done under a government contract he is required to purchase the lowest fare possible per a DOD directive. That is usually SWA when it’s factored in there’s no checked baggage fee.
2. While Mark DOES work for Northrop Grumman, all travel purchases are made via American Express Travel. There’s nothing on his account or ticket that says, “Hey, this guy works for Northrop Grumman!”
3. Mark is a minion at NGC. His bosses might fly business class, but he doesn’t, much to his chagrin.
I’m grateful to the readers of this site for their compassionate response to this case, and to Southwest Airlines and its principled pilot for holding the plane.
It’s easy to be an airline industry critic in an era of “no waivers, no favors” and fees on top of fees. It’s easy to paint airlines as heartless corporations that treat us like self-loading cargo.
But every now and then, you hear a story that turns you into an adoring fan. Like Nancy’s story.
Before I continue, I should mention a few things: Nancy is a faithful reader of this site, and I agreed to use only her first name because of the brutal nature of the crime and the age of the victim. Second, I’m not an emotional, John Boehner-type, but I can’t read her story without getting a little teary.