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Old 04-24-2013, 03:09 PM   #121
Paging Tom Morrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
You need to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation, not the FAA.

http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint
The FAA is an agency of the DOT.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:45 PM   #122
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As stated in my last post, I highly recommend you write a formal letter to WN's (Southwest Airlines) parent company expressing your complaint succinctly and firmly. Make sure you add any details you have, such as time calls were made and to whom you spoke (if you have it). Let the addressee know what you want (cash compensation), but do not mention filing a complaint as of yet. Instead you can state that if you do not have a resolution by a specific time (you pick the date), you will need to forward the concern to the DOT for review.

This provides a formal written communication that the DOT can use to challenge WN, states your desired outcome, and provides evidence that you did due diligence to resolve the complaint prior to getting the DOT involved.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:11 PM   #123
lost*in*cyberspace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paging Tom Morrow View Post
The FAA is an agency of the DOT.
Relevance?

You still file your complaint to the DOT, not to the FAA.

Good luck, OP.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:42 PM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace View Post
Relevance?

You still file your complaint to the DOT, not to the FAA.

Good luck, OP.
Because the FAA is an agency of the DOT, if you file a complaint with the FAA, you have filed with the DOT.

From the FAA.gov website:

Aviation Consumer Protection

Call Aviation Consumer Protection at (202) 366-2220 to:

Report a concern about airline service including:
Lost baggage
Ticketing
Denied boarding
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:54 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paging Tom Morrow View Post
Because the FAA is an agency of the DOT, if you file a complaint with the FAA, you have filed with the DOT.
No, you haven't. FAA handles largely technical/safety issues and wouldn't do anything with a complaint regarding denied boarding, except perhaps forward it to DOT.

By your reasoning, one could also file an aviation-related complaint with various other agencies under the DOT umbrella (such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the Research and Innovative Technology Administration) and expect it to be effective. Obviously, it wouldn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paging Tom Morrow View Post
From the FAA.gov website:

Aviation Consumer Protection

Call Aviation Consumer Protection at (202) 366-2220 to:

Report a concern about airline service including:
Lost baggage
Ticketing
Denied boarding
Oddly, you omitted the next line from that FAA web page, which makes clear that FAA is referring these issues to DOT and not accepting complaints itself:
Visit the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division webpage
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:14 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
Oddly, you omitted the next line from that FAA web page, which makes clear that FAA is referring these issues to DOT and not accepting complaints itself:
Visit the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division webpage
I disagree with your assessment that it is [made] clear that the FAA is referring these issues to DOT....

The complete text as shown on the site is:

Aviation Consumer Protection

Call Aviation Consumer Protection at (202) 366-2220 to:

* Report a concern about airline service including:
- Lost baggage
- Ticketing
- Denied boarding
* Visit the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division webpage

The use of the outline format refers back to the initial sentence that starts the subset of information. If one were to read the second bullet as a completion of the initial thought, it would actually read: "Call Aviation Consumer Protection at (202) 366-2220 to visit the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division webpage."

Whoever assembled that information on the FAA.gov website did not do so in a proper grammatical context. Any assessment that grammatically incorrect information is somehow clear is beyond my comprehension.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:10 PM   #127
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Just some additional info for the OP about complaining to the FAA/DOT. My mother has been with the DOT for 32 years, working with both the FAA and several other agencies under the DOT umbrella. Filing a complaint with the DOT is useful, however you should still file the complaint with Southwest/AirTran regarding the compensation you're owed.

When you file a complaint against an airline using the DOT form, the complaint is logged and reported against the airline in the monthly consumer satisfaction report that goes to all airlines and is released to the public. The DOT would rarely, if ever, respond to the consumer making the complaint. An airline may take action to resolve your issue after the DOT passes jt through to the FAA, because they don't want those complaint numbers to go up every month, but if you're looking for the airline to make good on their CoC requirements/denied boarding you're better off using the airline's official channel for complaints and the Better Business Bureau.

Just wanted the OP to know what to expect. If you're not getting anywhere with AirTran/Southwest, try the BBB, who will respond to you about your complaint and will attempt to resolve your issue with the company. I've never complained to the BBB and not gotten a reasonable resolution from the company in question. I do hope you get a response because getting booted from the same exact flight twice is definitely a situation worth complaining about. Good luck!!


ETA: this is not my personal opinion, but is advice from my mother directly. In case it wasn't clear, you should complain to Southwest/AirTran and the DOT, not one or the other. The complaint you make to the DOT will be recorded. Depending on the outcome of your complaint with Southwest/AirTran, you should escalate that to the BBB. Hope that clarifies!
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:21 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb187143 View Post
Just some additional info for the OP about complaining to the FAA/DOT. My mother has been with the DOT for 32 years, working with both the FAA and several other agencies under the DOT umbrella. Filing a complaint with the DOT is useful, however you should still file the complaint with Southwest/AirTran regarding the compensation you're owed.

When you file a complaint against an airline using the DOT form, the complaint is logged and reported against the airline in the monthly consumer satisfaction report that goes to all airlines and is released to the public. The DOT would rarely, if ever, respond to the consumer making the complaint. An airline may take action to resolve your issue after the DOT passes jt through to the FAA, because they don't want those complaint numbers to go up every month, but if you're looking for the airline to make good on their CoC requirements/denied boarding you're better off using the airline's official channel for complaints and the Better Business Bureau.

Just wanted the OP to know what to expect. If you're not getting anywhere with AirTran/Southwest, try the BBB, who will respond to you about your complaint and will attempt to resolve your issue with the company. I've never complained to the BBB and not gotten a reasonable resolution from the company in question. I do hope you get a response because getting booted from the same exact flight twice is definitely a situation worth complaining about. Good luck!!


ETA: this is not my personal opinion, but is advice from my mother directly. In case it wasn't clear, you should complain to Southwest/AirTran and the DOT, not one or the other. The complaint you make to the DOT will be recorded. Depending on the outcome of your complaint with Southwest/AirTran, you should escalate that to the BBB. Hope that clarifies!
Thank you, that is very helpful information. I have never been involuntarily bumped (though I have volunteered), so to have it happen twice for the same flight is just baffling.

I did craft an email to Southwest and I will try to call the rep from Airtran again, even though she didn't call me back like she was supposed to. If I don't receive some resolve within the next 24 hrs, I will contact the BBB and the DOT to file complaints.
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:14 AM   #129
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I would say, keep your complaint letter simple. Confine the discussion to what happened at the boarding gate, that they did not ask for volunteers and that you did not receive proper compensation at that time. I would say I telephoned later and did not receive results but not rehash the contents of those conversations.
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:34 AM   #130
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Southwest did not follow the rules by first asking for volunteers. Since Southwest didn't follow the rules is your compensation limited to what's listed?
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:12 PM   #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsilvers View Post
I don't want to put words in someone else's mouth, but the answer seems to be: Because an administrative judge specifically has looked at the issue and concluded that denied boarding compensation is only available if the denial occurs at the airport, not in advance.

The DOT (not FAA) is today responsible for the enforcement of the denied boarding compensation rule, but in the "old days" it was the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). In a 1984 enforcement case (which unfortunately doesn't appear to be freely available online), a long-forgotten airline called South Pacific Island Airways had informed passengers in advance of a flight that they no longer had confirmed seats and were being placed on standby. The CAB filed a complaint against the carrier, but an administrative judge held that SPIA had not violated the Part 250 rules:
The complaint clearly states that SPIA prior to the date of the flight, cancelled the reservations of the passengers named. It also alleges that these potential passengers were therefore placed in a standby status and were so notified. Faced with these alleged facts when the twelve passengers named in the complaint arrived at the airport on March 9, 1983, they were not holding "confirmed reserved space" and were not eligible for any compensation
There have been various changes to the rules since 1984, but nothing that would appear to affect the language that was at issue in the SPIA case. I'm therefore intrigued that the position asserted by the DOT analyst is inconsistent with the above ruling - quite possibly, it's older than her and she isn't even aware of it.
There's a big difference between this and OP's case: the passengers in this case were booted completely off the flight and given standby status. The OP had a confirmed ticket for the flight when they showed up at the airport; they therefore did have a "confirmed reserved space."

Also, I'm not sure how this proves that denial of boarding can ONLY take place at the airport - all this proves is that if you show up without a confirmed reservation, you can be denied boarding. There is no mention of the passengers petitioning that denial of boarding took place when they were originally booted off the flight, nor is it mentioned in the portion of the ruling quoted here.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:44 PM   #132
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I sent an email to Southwest yesterday, and as usual, I didn't hear back, so I decided to give a call back to Airtran to the person I spoke with Wednesday who was supposed to call me back. She is out today, the person answering offered to assist in her absense, so I decided "what the heck, I'll try yet another person". I explained the situation, told her what I expected, and she said "I've worked here for 13 years and I've never heard of anyone getting a check" . I started quoting the CFR, and she still seemed very confused. She also offered to convert my tickets to A+ rewards, so I actually went with this since I have looked into how to convert them to SW rewards and it appears simple (famous last words), and trying to get a check is turning into a sitcom(probably their plan) and I'm not hopeful I will ever see the money without legal action. They are wearing me down and since I know I am planning to go to Las Vegas in January, I can use the SW tickets for that trip.

I am still going to launch a complaint with both the DOT and the BBB for the way in which the ordeal was handled, but obviously don't expect anyone to do anything at this point since I am going to accept the A+ rewards, just want it on record that they pulled this.

Once again, thank you all for the valuable education. I'll update if anyone ever gets back to me regarding my complaint.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:37 AM   #133
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Shock of all shockers, Southwest called me yesterday and apologized for the inconvenience, and for the gate attendant not handling this properly. He agreed that I was entitled to 4x the ticket value since it was planned to land over 2 hrs past my original arrival time, and I should receive a check in the next 7-10 days

Again, thanks to you all, for I would not have had the knowledge/information to pursue this issue.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:43 AM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurkernj View Post
Shock of all shockers, Southwest called me yesterday and apologized for the inconvenience, and for the gate attendant not handling this properly. He agreed that I was entitled to 4x the ticket value since it was planned to land over 2 hrs past my original arrival time, and I should receive a check in the next 7-10 days

Again, thanks to you all, for I would not have had the knowledge/information to pursue this issue.
Whoo-double-hoo! I thought that you were stonewalled for sure!
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:11 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by lurkernj View Post
Shock of all shockers, Southwest called me yesterday and apologized for the inconvenience, and for the gate attendant not handling this properly. He agreed that I was entitled to 4x the ticket value since it was planned to land over 2 hrs past my original arrival time, and I should receive a check in the next 7-10 days

Again, thanks to you all, for I would not have had the knowledge/information to pursue this issue.
I'm happy to hear it (finally) worked out that way it should have!

I'm curious how they valued your ticket. The rules talking about the lowest cash price they collected actual money for. Do you mind sharing what that was? And how many points you redeemed to book the flight the second time?
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