Southwest Airlines tells Chicago teen he's too big for one seat

4:56 PM, Nov 30, 2010   |    comments
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Southwest Airlines tells Chicago teen he's too big for one seat

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Eighteen year old twins Tim and Will White were so excited to take their first flight they got to the airport in Chicago hours ahead of takeoff on Thanksgiving Day.

But just a few minutes before boarding the plane to Minneapolis, Southwest Airlines told Tim he was too big for just one seat, and would have to buy another.

Tim says he quickly called his aunt in St Paul to get her credit card number for the second seat, but that Southwest then told them they wouldn't sell a ticket over the phone because of the risk of fraud.

And even though the plane wasn't full, the gate agent refused to let Tim sit next to an empty seat.

So the twins had to leave the airport, and take an overnight bus to Minneapolis instead.

"If they would have told us when we first got there we'd have enough time to buy the ticket and fix everything that was going wrong," Tim said. "But instead we had to hurry up and make other plans at the last minute."

"We had already spent the money for the ticket so that was never the issue," said Melanie White Smith, Tim and Will's aunt. "I just think their employee was rude to him and he didn't have to handle it that way. If they're comfortable enough to have the poilcy, they need to be comfortable enough to disclose it."

Southwest is not saying whether it'll change that policy, but the airline did apologize, refund both tickets, and give the family a travel voucher.

And Tim did buy a second seat for the trip back to Chicago, saying he hopes his experience will encourage all airlines to make their rules clearer when customers book ticket, not at the gate.

 

 

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