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Southwest Airlines Community

Pre-Board Abuse

FlyingBair
Explorer C

I can’t handle it anymore and have reached a point where I have to join in on the discussion of the widespread abuse of SWA’s pre-board policy. I flew from FLL today and had 12 pre-boarders in line. Of those 12, 2 were in wheelchairs and 1 was visibly pregnant. The 9 others we vacation goers. Having a good old time yucking it up in the pre-board line. They were visibly able bodied and quickly got onto the plane and picked out their seats in the first few rows of the plane. SWA … it’s not good enough to accept that you can’t ‘legally’ do anything about it. If that’s the case … try harder. Find a way. There’s always a solution if you work hard enough. What if the Wright brothers accepted that everybody told them that travel via aircraft wasn’t possible? Try harder! 

18 REPLIES 18

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

dfwskier
Aviator A
Solution

@FlyingBair wrote:

I can’t handle it anymore and have reached a point where I have to join in on the discussion of the widespread abuse of SWA’s pre-board policy. I flew from FLL today and had 12 pre-boarders in line. Of those 12, 2 were in wheelchairs and 1 was visibly pregnant. The 9 others we vacation goers. Having a good old time yucking it up in the pre-board line. They were visibly able bodied and quickly got onto the plane and picked out their seats in the first few rows of the plane. SWA … it’s not good enough to accept that you can’t ‘legally’ do anything about it. If that’s the case … try harder. Find a way. There’s always a solution if you work hard enough. What if the Wright brothers accepted that everybody told them that travel via aircraft wasn’t possible? Try harder! 


Well, several points here.

 

1) Not all disabled people have visible problems. Just because someone does not look disabled does not mean they are not.

 

2) SW is dealing with a federal statute which REQUIRES the airlines to believe anyone who claims a need to preboard.

 

3) There is something you can do legally. YOU can try to get your congressmen and senators to change the law. I assess your likelyhood of success as about minus 2%

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

Darial
Explorer C

I  would like to review the federal law you are referring to please.

Wheelchair access for travelers in cars, they dont have to be the driver and they dont disclose their condition, has to be applied for and approved- the application includes a doctors signature that the person does indeed need assistance or a wheelchair.

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

floridaguy
Aviator C

All that is required of the law is that you "self identify" as a person with a disability to be able to preboard.  In fact, you can do back flips and aerobics all the way to the gate and then "self identify".  You can also yuk it up and wear a sign that says "I abused the Pre Board System" and wear a flashing strobe light and the law will protect you.

 

The issue here, as stated many many times is OPEN SEATING where the preboard passengers get the best choice of seats

 

 Soon the preboards will be assigned boarding positions and the remaining six people can just walk on the plane afterwards.

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

kierants
Explorer B

This situation is getting much worse and will continue. Some people just love to game the system.

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

ArizonaBoiler
Explorer C

I sent a similar to message to SW a few months ago, actually a post on X. They sent me this DM.

 

"Thank you so much for following up. As you may know, preboarding is offered to Customers needing assistance for various reasons. We work hard to maintain the integrity of the boarding process while providing appropriate accommodations for all who fly. Since many disabilities aren't visible, we're unable to question the validity of preboarding requests. Given that you purchased are A-List Preferred and earned a prime boarding position, I can imagine how frustrating it must've been to see so many Customers boarding prior to general boarding on this particular flight. While Customers with disabilities are not restricted to a specific age group and many have disabilities that are not necessarily visible, our Employees are trained to ask a Customer who requests preboarding certain fact-finding questions to determine if the Customer qualifies to preboard. If a Passenger qualifies based on their answers, we must grant preboarding to that Passenger. Still, I regret the frustration in this situation. I can assure you, I've documented a formal complaint on your behalf. This will be made available to the appropriate Senior Leaders for their awareness. -Brytani"

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

floridaguy
Aviator C

The law requires Southwest to grant preboarding to those who make the request.  

 

The "fact finding" is basically asking if you need some extra time and if you do, you will be assigned an "extra time" designation which occurs between A and B boarding.

 

Under the law, you are not required to respond to questions.  You declare that you self identify as an individual with a disability and you either do or do not require assistance to board.  That's all there is to it.

 

Any system has abuse.  I've seen people at the wholesale club pitch a fit about a coupon that is expired and eventually get the coupon.  I see people abusing the traffic signals every day.  Yes, they abuse the preboard too.  However, as I have stated before, the core issue is open seating.  With assigned seating, there is no incentive to abuse the preboard system.

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

@floridaguy wrote:

The law requires Southwest to grant preboarding to those who make the request.  

 

The "fact finding" is basically asking if you need some extra time and if you do, you will be assigned an "extra time" designation which occurs between A and B boarding.

 

Under the law, you are not required to respond to questions.  You declare that you self identify as an individual with a disability and you either do or do not require assistance to board.  That's all there is to it.

 

Any system has abuse.  I've seen people at the wholesale club pitch a fit about a coupon that is expired and eventually get the coupon.  I see people abusing the traffic signals every day.  Yes, they abuse the preboard too.  However, as I have stated before, the core issue is open seating.  With assigned seating, there is no incentive to abuse the preboard system.


The passenger is supposed to answer the question about what accommodation they are requesting which would be the assistance/specific seat or extra time.

 

DancingDavidE_0-1697653585220.png

 

Since this is such an interesting topic for everyone, here is the info from DOT. 

 

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/Preboarding%20Notice%20Final_0.pdf

 

 

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

Pre-Board Abuse

SWFlyer007
Aviator C

If everybody boarded can plane leave gate early 

 

Here is my short-term solution.  I doubt it will please everybody, but here goes. 

 

1) Those who are visibly in a wheelchair (and I know this can be misused as well)  should board first.

 

2) Those A-15 Business Select that actually put out the huge sum of money to get that position board next.  

 

3) Any other Pre-boarders go third.  

 

4) Then the A-16 on up in order.  

 

That's just my thoughts.  And that puts me at # 4 since unless the only price left, I never buy business select. 

Re: Pre-Board Abuse

floridaguy
Aviator C

Preboard goes first and has best selection of seats.  Unless Southwest goes to assigned seating that will not change.

 

The issue is not preboarding, the issue is, as has been said hundreds of times before...

 

OPEN SEATING