Southwest: Thank You for Nearly Dying

Consumerist: “Richard Brown nearly died on Sunday, January 21st, thanks to reckless indifference by a Southwest Airlines ticket agent. A dying hep-C patient, Richard, secured an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. After getting turned down, he was referred to the University of San Francisco. When he went to board in Scottsdale for California, the ticket agent refused to let Richard fly unless he bought another ticket, due to his weight. The weight gain is due to water retention because of his failing liver. Richard lives on California Disability Pay and had no funds to pay for the extra ticket. The flight was not sold out. The ticket agent didn’t care when shown Richard’s medical papers, saying, ‘each airport has their own rules and these are ours, no extra seat, no boarding.'”


  1. There are a lot of things about this story that don’t “ring true.”

    First, it sounds as if the man was traveling alone and under his own power, so “nearly died on Sunday” if almost certainly an over dramatization of the situation.

    Second, Southwest has a whole department that is dedicated to Civic and Charitable Contributions, and one their duties is to process and facilitate requests for free travel for “medical needs.” Does this sound like the airline being characterized in the above copy and paste “blog entry.”

    From reading other versions of this event on the web, it appears that the above quote attributed to the ticket agent might be a fabrication.

    I would suggest that we don’t really know “the facts,” or at least both sides of the story, yet, and the near hysteria some voice is definitely premature and possibly completey unwarranted.

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