A woman claims she and her daughter and her friend were bumped off a Southwest Airlines flight to accommodate a passenger of size who needed more room onboard. But if that sounds far-fetched, it’s probably because there likely is more to the story than simply an accommodation of an obese passenger.
Woman Claims She Was Bumped Off Of Southwest Airlines Flight To Accommodate Passenger Of Size Needing Extra Seat
As flagged by View From The Wing, a woman named Lana posted a lengthy video on Tok Tok which frankly leaves more questions than answers:
She says she was stranded “outside of the country” on a trip from Montego Bay (MBJ) to Denver (DEN) via Baltimore (BWI) but appears to be 1.) filming and 2.) interacting with a Southwest Airlines customer service agent from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Last I checked, Baltimore is still in the United States.
She says that her party (herself, her daughter, and her daughter’s friend) was bumped off their flight so because a passenger of size (overnight passenger) needed an extra seat. Southwest liberally provides a free extra seat to passengers of size, though ostensibly on a space-availability basis. Those passengers can also purchase a second seat in advance.
Beyond the inconsistency of claiming to be trapped outside the USA while in Baltimore, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told VFTW that “from a regulatory sense, there was not a denied boarding on the flight referenced as there was an error with one of the reservations.” The woman seems to reference this, arguing that she was not on standby but had purchased confirmed tickets.
The Southwest spokesperson further explained that the carrier “followed established procedures for both the customer of size and reaccommodating these customers” and further added that it “compensated the customer for interim expenses, offered three LUV vouchers as a gesture of goodwill and booked them for the following day when seats were available.”
It is still not clear what happened, though the passenger denied boarding wrote on TikTok, “I came almost 3 hours early and they there was another SW mistake that snowballed into this.” It is not clear what that mistake was.
Here’s my theory. Southwest offers two daily flights from MBJ to BWI. I suspect that there was a problem on WN907, the first flight at 12:10 pm, which bumped them to WN917 at 3:00 pm. By the time they reached Denver at 7:25 pm, the last flight of the day to Denver, WN3148 at 9:40 pm, was full. What was that problem?
She says on Tik Tok that she booked her ticket over the phone. I bet that she changed her ticket and somehow it was not re-ticketed so when she showed up to the airport her reservation and ticket did not match. Or perhaps she misunderstood the agent and thought she was rebooked on a later flight but was actually indeed just put on standby even though she did pay for her ticket (the two are not mutually exclusive).
We will see if anything more comes out from this, but I think the takeaway is that this was not simply a bump to accommodate a passenger of size. Yes, it appears they ultimately did not get on the flight because the POS took a second seat, leaving only two seats (and you cannot exactly leave a teenage girl behind). But there were other issues with their ticket at play which contributed to them missing their flight.
If anyone has any other theories, please share them below.