My Oversold Southwest Flight Experience

I’m a big fan of Southwest Airlines… Ouch… I feel a little bit of judgement. All airlines have its flaws, but for a budget airline? It’s not that bad. You get 2 free checked bags, and have the capability of bringing a carry-on and personal airline without paying for it? YES PLEASE! In the many years I’ve been flying Southwest I’ve never had any issues until earlier this year. On Saturday, March 30th when I had my very first involuntarily denied boarding (IBD) experience.


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Sometimes plans don’t work out.

Earlier this year, at the end of March, I had a II-Part Trip planned to Seattle, Washington and Anaheim, California to visit family and create content for this website. While waiting in the SEA-TAC airport for my flight to Anaheim to board I was kind of alarmed when I saw an entire high school marching band board the flight ahead of me. I said to myself, “this doesn’t look good.“ You know what? I was right. Myself and two other passengers were denied boarding due to an oversold flight.

If you are involuntarily denied boarding, an airline is legally required to help you find an alternate route to your destination. Unfortunately, I was traveling during Spring Break and flights to Anaheim were booked. The only route available to me was from Seattle to Denver, Denver to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Santa Ana. However, my flights from Denver to LAX and ANA would be on standby because flights were sold out. They couldn’t guarantee that I would make it the same or next day. Disappointed, I made the executive decision to cancel the second leg of my trip since I was going to be re-routed home and not guaranteed a flight either the same or next day.

I was provided with a $130 travel voucher to reimburse my ticket (which was actually pretty awesome because I used my frequent flyer miles and spent WAY less than that on a ticket.) Plus an additional $400 voucher due to the time delay I’d be waiting to take my flight home.

Before leaving the customer agent desk, I asked about my checked luggage. I was told that it was pulled and that it would be on the flight to Denver with me. I said okay, and headed to Starbucks while I waited for my new flight.

Once I finally got to Denver, I stood at the carousel waiting… and waiting… my luggage wasn’t there. I was told my luggage didn’t get taken off in time and had to be transferred during my layover spot back to Denver. I live in Colorado Springs over an hour from Denver and ask them to mail my luggage to me when it came in. Johnathon picked me up and as soon as we left the airport grounds, I get a call. My luggage is here! We turned around and picked up my luggage. I was given another $150 travel voucher because I had physically left the airport.

Phew. That’s it! My IBD experience. I wont lie and say I wasn’t disappointed & frustrated. I was. But, now that time has passed I honestly think it was funny and laugh about it.


WHAT I LEARNED…

About Involuntarily Denied Boarding:

  • Even though you are frustrated, keep calm.

  • Be familiar with your rights with the airline. Don’t let the airline take advantage of you, but make sure you are calm.

About Delayed Luggage:

  • Before you leave of a trip, take detailed photos of your checked luggage. If you’re luggage is delayed, the baggage attendant needs as much detail of your luggage as possible.

  • Keep hold of your luggage claim ticket. I know it sounds like common sense, but it is REALLY important you have it.


Have you ever been involuntarily bumped from a flight?

Let me know in the comments below!