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Are there new pre-board requirements??

New Arrival

This problem occurred 25 November 2017, 10:20 AM, gate 49 HOU. I purchased 3 tickets on points for my parents (over 80 years old) and 60 year old sister (almost 6 weeks in advance). All of whom have artificial hips and/or knees. I requested requested disabiliites pre-board when I booked the flights but pre-boarding notification did not come up on the boarding passes when I printed them out.

My sister went to the above mentioned gate and requested medical pre-boarding; she was told that pre-boarding was only available to those customers needing a wheelchair. That the only option was Family boarding between the A and B group.

I fly SWA at least 2X a month and this is not my experience. Have the requirements changed, do the gate agents need a refresher, or is this left up to the discretion of the gate agent?

I would like to know within the next week as the answer to this question will affect Christmas travel plans for my family and I.

Regards,

Tim McGinley

14 REPLIES 14
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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

New Arrival

I hope this IS the case.  Pre-Boarding has gotten to be almost out of  control.  I routinely fly to Las Vegas from Atlanta and pre-boarding has been as many as 20 passengers.    Maybe a way to control pre-boarding would be to require them to stay seated until the plane as de-boarded and have to wait.  I 100% agree that there are pre-boarding needs but it has reallyu gotten out of control in order to circumvent the Southwests open boarding policy.

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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

New Arrival

I completely agree that the  pre-boarding is out of control.  I have taken 3 flights in a month and it is clearly being taken advantage.  In Denver a guy put his knee brace on after walking all the way to the gate through security, the train, and the long walk to the gate, but put it on to get in the preboarding lineup to walk the short distance down the ramp??  It is sad because some people truly need it - the elderly, the ill etc. I do feel the solution is they sit in the dedicated rows and have to stay seated until the rest of the plane has left .  It alone would stop the abuse and makes sense- if you require more time getting on the plane, you need more time getting off- nothing changed in your mobility status in the 1-2 hour flight.  The good news is on all of my flights there was an extra time announcement between A and B boarding groups.  

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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

Top Contributor

The requirements have not changed.

 

Preboarding is available for those with disabilities who require a specific seat or assistance boarding the plane.

 

Anyone needing extra time boarding may board between the A and B groups.

 

 

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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

New Arrival

There is no group that boards between A and B based upon special needs.   Parents travelling with children 6 and under, active duty in military and A-Listers that didn't get an A position are the only groups that fit in between The A and B group.

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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

Top Contributor

That's not accurate - when requesting preboarding status the agent should be asking a few questions relating to "does the passenger need a specific seat" and if the answers lead to "no, but some extra time would be helpful" then the person would be boarding beetween A and B instead of as a pre-board.

 

Excerpt from: https://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/boarding_the_plane_faq.html

 

 

Preboarding is available for Customers who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability and/or need assistance in boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device. Customers who are traveling with assistance and emotional support animals qualify for preboarding. If a Customer with a disability simply needs a little extra time to board, we will permit the Customer to board before Family Boarding, between the A and B groups. Those Customers who need extra time to board will receive a new boarding pass with an extra time designation. The designation serves as notification to our Operations (boarding) Agent that the Customer should be permitted to board before Family Boarding.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

New Arrival

Well that just makes no sense.  If you are familiar with queing theory putting a slow boarder in front of others increases the boarding time for everyone behind them.  It saves no time in the boarding process.  If the person does not need pre-boarding assistance then what is gained by moving him up in the queue?

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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

Top Contributor

@tpegan wrote:

Well that just makes no sense.  If you are familiar with queing theory putting a slow boarder in front of others increases the boarding time for everyone behind them.  It saves no time in the boarding process.  If the person does not need pre-boarding assistance then what is gained by moving him up in the queue?


One benefit may be to reduce time standing in the queue at the gate - so someone who couldn't stand as long would be able to sit and then jump into the A/B gap and board. The time in the jet bridge and on the plane would be about the same. But once on board the person wouldn't need to sit in front due to their condition.

 

This would help the A1-A60 crowd by having fewer preboards taking spots, so that seems to be desirable if the person doesn't literally need to be in the front of the plane due to mobility issues then position "A61" should be a partial accomodation?

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

New Arrival

In the 100's of times I've flown Southwest I've never heard this group mentioned by the gate attendant.  It's always A-Listers, Family and military in uniform that can go between A and B.  I have never heard them mention a group that would fall into a boarder that needs extra time.  I'm not saying you're wrong but it must be such an infrequent occurrence they don't feel the need to mention it.

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Re: Are there new pre-board requirements??

Top Contributor

tpegan:

 

Looks like, from the dozens of comments you've made just today, you feel strongly about seat saving and pre-boarding -- both issues that affect Southwest due to their unique boarding system. Instead of being consistently angered by something that is very unlikely to change anytime soon, perhaps you'd be better off flying a carrier with assigned seating?

 

Southwest will, IMHO, likely move to assigned seating at some distant point... perhaps then you can come back for an experience more to your liking.