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Time to Rev up the lobbyists: Preboard abuse and decreasing value of A-List Preferred

Explorer A

I've read the frequent complaints about Southwest preboard abuse and have to admit that it frustrates me, as well.  It's less of an issue for me when apparently able-bodied passengers pre-board as I think it's important to give them the benefit of the doubt given the number of hidden impairments. 


It's the wheelchair boarders who claim a disability while preboarding, then (with great dexterity) retrieve their overhead luggage and make an unassisted beeline for the airport exit (multiple bags in-hand and a cell call underway) that makes me fume.  And for all those out there who respond that "life is too short to get uptight about things like this", it's about the way they disrespect those with real disabilities that I'd ask you to consider if you're that altruistic.


Ok, now that the commonplace pre-board frustration is baselined, I recently had an interesting circumstance when I witnessed a family of six preboard (four children and what appeared to be their parents) ... all without apparent impairments.  On the chance that someone did have a disability, isn't it still the policy that pre-boarders get one -- and only one -- companion?  Interestingly, a red-shirted Southwest employee escorted them to the pre-board area ... and as they departed ... hugged each of them.  He then left the gate area ... obviously not a member of the gate staff.  


A complaint to Southwest will inevitably result in a canned response from their CRM system about their adherence to regulations and their lack of control of preboard eligibility.  My solution is to push Southwest to direct their legislative and regulatory lobbyists -- no question they have them -- to get better rules in place.  Just as their well-publicized $2 billion investment in better Wi-Fi, power ports and bigger overhead bins is getting attention, they need to direct their balance sheet to seeking more equitable (and enforceable) pre-board regulations.


Southwest's open boarding policy has it in a real bind when it comes to the diminishing value of A-List Preferred and paid upgrades.  No baggage fees, Companion Passes, no change fees, etc. only go so far when viewed against the perks of competitors.


As a long-time A-List Preferred customer, I'm seriously questioning the value given the clear pre-boarding abuse and Southwest's hand wringing.


And as a side note, that flight with the six-member pre-board family -- there were a total of 23 preboarders.  The flight was delayed given the lack of available wheelchairs.



Re: Time to Rev up the lobbyists: Preboard abuse and decreasing value of A-List Preferred

Aviator A

Duplicate posts won’t fix anything. 

i get your upset unfortunately this issue is not something anyone here can fix 


feel free to submit your feedback to southwest directly so they can pass it on to the appropriate people for review. 

Re: Time to Rev up the lobbyists: Preboard abuse and decreasing value of A-List Preferred

Aviator C

I preboard on every flight.  It is my right.


I do not need the wheelchair but do meet the criteria.  I often have one companion but never five.  I agree that it should be better managed.


Ultimately, Southwest created this perfect storm.  When you have unassigned seats and also must comply with the Air Carrier Act, those that preboard get the best selection of seats.  That is not to be blamed on people who preboard, that is Southwest's own brew.


This subject has been complained about for YEARS and has not changed.