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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

Currently,  Soiuthwest allow active duty, uniformed members of the U.S. armed forces to board between the “A” and “B” boarding groups. It would be great if this policy also applied to all veterans. 

 

A chanage in policy will truly show your respect and appreciation for all members of the armed forces (Not onlu AD) as well as their families.

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Re: Military Boarding Policy

Rising Star

First, thank you for your service.

 

As a fellow veteran and a Southwest customer *my personal opinion* is that the above suggestion is not something I would want to see implemented.

 

On a personal level I'm proud of my service but I don't feel like I'm owed anything from Southwest for it.

 

From the Southwest perspective it seems like it would add all sorts of confusion during boarding. For example the last thing I'd want is for gate agents to have to look at your DD-214/retired military ID/veteran designation on your driver's license/whatever and have to make a call about whether to let you jump in. Also there are millions of us in the population so I imagine there are multiples of us flying on any given Southwest flight.


Customer | Home airport DCA
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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

Lindsey, while you may think this policy honors service members, it is actually exploitive and offensive. Southwest should abolish the policy completely. 

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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

We experienced this first hand on Monday. A gate attendant in Nashville announced acitive duty. My husband walked up with his ID in hand. He was told “I didn’t call B group yet”. My husband was berry angry saying he is not allowed to travel in uniform. The gate attendant shrugged his shoulders. Then to make it worse, the next time he called active duty in uniform, he loudly said IN UNIFORM, making a point to stress it which further embarrassed my husband. What a horrible experience. Southwest is now on our “no fly” list. Stop making it about PR and actually show that you respect our active duty members. 

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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

@Khaavi wrote:

Southwest is now on our “no fly” list.


BUH-bye

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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

@LindseyD 

 

Southwest should consider retraining their employees or revising their policy. I have always flown Southwest and have always received pre boarding. Today I was told that I do not receive pre boarding, and that it’s reserved for only those in uniform. News to me! “We must preserve the integrity of our boarding process”, unless you will pay us more then you can board as early as you want. This is the final straw for Southwest in my opinion. Every other airline out there is willing take care of their military with a small gesture regardless of what clothes they’re wearing at the time. I guess they just actually care about their service members and not just how it appears. 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Rising Star

@Rcheney3001, thank you for your service!  I am a Navy veteran and the ops tempo was high when I was in (both pre- and post- 9/11) and from what I gather it's probably even higher now.  So seriously, thank you.

 

With regard to your post I'm curious what you would recommend given that Southwest has an open seating policy (the other airlines don't so it's easy for them to offer the gesture to military customers).  My home airport is DCA and obviously the concentration of active duty military in the DC area and potentially flying out of DCA, IAD, and BWI is high so any recommedations would need to assume scenarios where there are a high number of military personnel boarding. 

 

Also curious if your experience was at a different airport than you've previously flown.  I'm another customer like you but I am kind of obsessed with the Southwest business model.


Customer | Home airport DCA
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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

I am an active duty army Colonel. I was traveling out of DCA this morning on official military travel   The gate agent for gate 9 (Dca to Orlando) stated military boards after group A.  I went up to gate traveling in civilian clothes adhering to the DoD travel policy.  Upon attempting to board - the agent said you have to be in uniform to board   I said that’s not the DoD policy    He said I can’t let you board early.  

 

A manager - Robert Brooks for SW pulled me aside and said our policy doesn’t allow us to board military out of uniform.  His breath smelled of alcohol.  I said DoD policy doesn’t allow us to travel in uniform for security reasons.  He said that’s not my problem.  I asked if he had been “drinking” and he took a step back and said he had an upset stomach and took another step back.  I said you appear to be under the influence of alcohol. And he quickly walked away after I looked at his name tag.  

 

Several issues going on here.  I’ve read how many service members have gone through this ordeal.  It should not matter if you are in uniform or not.  SW your policy is out of date and clearly shows you are ok with not changing an outdated policy that.  

 

Second - it appeared Robert Brooks was drinking on the job and when I addressed it with him he fled away.  

 

We we all have choices to fly.  I will not fly southwest again and recommend other active duty members choose another carrier friendly to service members.   

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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

This reply really adds nothing to the conversation. I think we all understand the policy, we are saying the policy is flawed and should be modified. You should either let active duty military personnel board early if they have their ID card, or just get rid of the policy altogether. Most military people traveling on official business are in civilian clothes, people don't travel in uniform very often anymore. we are on official business serving our country, so if you want to recognize that, it shouldn't matter what clothes we're wearing at the time. if you hear the announcement, and you think, "oh that might be nice to board early," and then you walk up to the line and are denied, and have to go back to the end the line, it's humiliating and embarrassing, which I imagine is the exact opposite effect the policy is supposed to have.  You say your gate agents are trained, but they are inconsistent, some let people on early, some do not.  

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Re: Military Boarding Policy

New Arrival

Makes perfect sense. 
Many of the folks in A group either paid for that boarding option or earned it through frequent flyer benifits. 
sounds a little self serving already boarding ahead of two thirds of the passengers. Why not be happy with that. 
BTW, did 24 years active duty, 20 more serving the country and pay for the improved boarding.  SWA doesn't owe me anything. 
happy holidays