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Pre board with Autism Spectrum Toddler

Explorer C

We will be flying shortly with our toddler who is on the autism spectrum. Until he turned two, we always purchased to be on the business select so we can board quickly (he takes a long time to settle and can have quite a few sensory overload meltdowns) and be one of the first to get out so other people don’t need to be tortured anymore. 

Now that we have to pay for his airfare, the cost of purchasing business select for everyone is… really really expensive. 

What are the likelihood that I can get a pre board for him so one of his parent can go first with him and get him to settle down by the time plane is ready to take off? (And still be one of the first to get out).


We have completed many trips with different scenarios (last one to board the plane, go with family boarding, etc) and this combo works best. Not only that, other passengers near us don’t have to suffer for so long. We apologize profusely during the flight but we still get judgmental looks. 


Re: Pre board with Autism Spectrum Toddler

Frequent Flyer A

When you check your bags or check at the gate, identify the child as someone with a disability and one passenger may accompany that child.  There is no cost.


You cannot have a host of travel companions preboard, only one additional person.


If you have paid for upgrades in the past for this reason, request refunds from Southwest and explain that you were attempting to preboard.


You do not have to disclose the disability nor discuss it in any way.  Simply "self identify" and you will be permitted to preboard.