Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Highlighted

BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

New Arrival

11/13/18:  RECENTLY ON FLIGHT #1516 BOARDING WAS DELAYED FOR OVER 30 MINUTES DUE TO WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS.  THEN, ALTHOUGH THESE PASSENGERS WERE ASKED TO WAIT, IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE WHEELCHAIRS HAD ARRIVED, AND THEY PROCEEDED TO IMPEDE DISEMBARKATION FOR EVERYONE.  I WAS IN ROW #10 AND IT STILL TOOK 30 MINUTES TO GET OFF THE PLANE AND TO A RESTROOM.  WHY CAN'T THEY BE SEATED IN THE BACK OF THE PLANE?  SURELY SOME OF THESE PASSENGERS ARE NOT HANDICAPPED AND ARE ABUSING THE PRIVILEDGE.  THIS MAY BE MY LAST FLIGHT ON SWA AS IT IS EXHAUSTING.

9 REPLIES 9
Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Top Contributor

@LPANDABEAR wrote:

11/13/18:  RECENTLY ON FLIGHT #1516 BOARDING WAS DELAYED FOR OVER 30 MINUTES DUE TO WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS.  THEN, ALTHOUGH THESE PASSENGERS WERE ASKED TO WAIT, IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE WHEELCHAIRS HAD ARRIVED, AND THEY PROCEEDED TO IMPEDE DISEMBARKATION FOR EVERYONE.  I WAS IN ROW #10 AND IT STILL TOOK 30 MINUTES TO GET OFF THE PLANE AND TO A RESTROOM.  WHY CAN'T THEY BE SEATED IN THE BACK OF THE PLANE?  SURELY SOME OF THESE PASSENGERS ARE NOT HANDICAPPED AND ARE ABUSING THE PRIVILEDGE.  THIS MAY BE MY LAST FLIGHT ON SWA AS IT IS EXHAUSTING.


Sorry to hear that you are disappointed.

 

Since the wheelchair passengers have some mobility impairment, and since wheelchairs don't fit

in  a plane aisle, it's not practical to expect these mobility limited passengrs to walk all the way to the back of the plane. I think that's the answer to your question about seating them at the back of the plane.

Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

New Arrival

I fly often and this is becoming a problem for me. I flew from BWI to DTW and back 2 weeks ago and had to wait for 7 customers in wheelchairs to deplane one way and 5 customers the other direction.  Since they are given priority seating at the front of the aircraft I have a problem with this.  My mother is disabled and I am sensitive to the topic but feel that this is a huge safety problem which may cause the death of all passengers behind them because no matter what the airline says, all people using wheelchairs try to get off first since they are seated in the front.  If their wheelchairs are not waiting there, many stand up and wait in the aisle.  I also see many using wheelchairs that do not need them.  I have COPD and do not use a wheelchair although with your requirements, I could get the royal treatment with a lot of dirty looks.  Does Southwest require a doctor's note for this asistance much like you do for diabetics having needles?  I think that you should.  

 

Being single with no children and 49 years old I believe that I have a solution.  Since you also give preference to families with children which I also detest just as much, put the children and accompanying adults in the front of the plane.  Put the wheelchair customers in the back.  Put me in the middle of them.   

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Top Contributor

@Gary22 wrote:

... Since they are given priority seating at the front of the aircraft I have a problem with this.  My mother is disabled and I am sensitive to the topic but feel that this is a huge safety problem which may cause the death of all passengers behind them because no matter what the airline says...


If you really feel this way, then I'd suggest getting closer to the mid-plane or rear exits if you can.

 

I can see your point about an inconvenience to yourself, but the safety angle seems like a stretch.

 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Active Member

@LPANDABEAR wrote:

11/13/18:  RECENTLY ON FLIGHT #1516 BOARDING WAS DELAYED FOR OVER 30 MINUTES DUE TO WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS.  THEN, ALTHOUGH THESE PASSENGERS WERE ASKED TO WAIT, IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE WHEELCHAIRS HAD ARRIVED, AND THEY PROCEEDED TO IMPEDE DISEMBARKATION FOR EVERYONE.  I WAS IN ROW #10 AND IT STILL TOOK 30 MINUTES TO GET OFF THE PLANE AND TO A RESTROOM.  WHY CAN'T THEY BE SEATED IN THE BACK OF THE PLANE?  SURELY SOME OF THESE PASSENGERS ARE NOT HANDICAPPED AND ARE ABUSING THE PRIVILEDGE.  THIS MAY BE MY LAST FLIGHT ON SWA AS IT IS EXHAUSTING.


Yes, there are several people who figured out that all they have to do is fake a need to preboard.  That way they can save money not paying for the priority boarding.

 

As for those genuinely disabled, there is no way, legally, SWA can stop them from sitting in the front row or getting off the plane slowly.

 

Until another way is found to screen the preboard that can be done legally, there really is not anything SWA can do.

Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

New Arrival

To get a handicap parking sticker you need proof from a doctor of a disability.  I don't understand while the same requirements cant be used for the airlines.

Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Top Contributor

@mrsstats wrote:

To get a handicap parking sticker you need proof from a doctor of a disability.  I don't understand while the same requirements cant be used for the airlines.


Those COULD be the requirments -- if federal law is changed.

 

I suggest that you contact your senators and congressman and see what they say.

Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Top Contributor

@mrsstats wrote:

To get a handicap parking sticker you need proof from a doctor of a disability.  I don't understand while the same requirements cant be used for the airlines.


I did have a little chuckle to myself that this was the example, which from what I've observed has upset me even more about the abuse of the system than Southwest pre-boarding ever has.

 

The root of the issue is Southwest as a transportation company is not entitled to your health information. 

 

Whatever agency issues the parking plaquards is apparently authorized to request and review doctor's notes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Top Contributor

@DancingDavidE wrote:

@mrsstats wrote:

To get a handicap parking sticker you need proof from a doctor of a disability.  I don't understand while the same requirements cant be used for the airlines.


I did have a little chuckle to myself that this was the example, which from what I've observed has upset me even more about the abuse of the system than Southwest pre-boarding ever has.

 

The root of the issue is Southwest as a transportation company is not entitled to your health information. 

 

Whatever agency issues the parking plaquards is apparently authorized to request and review doctor's notes.

 

I don't believe that is true. In Illinois at least, the doctor fills out a form certifying that their patient has a disability that qualifies for a handicapped parking space. There is no disclosure of the specific handicap, per HIPPA guidelines.

Highlighted

Re: BOARDING AND DISEMBARKING OF WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS

Active Member

@mrsstats wrote:

To get a handicap parking sticker you need proof from a doctor of a disability.  I don't understand while the same requirements cant be used for the airlines.


  The Air Carrier Access Act

 

https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/passengers-disabilities