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pre boarding rules

New Arrival

Southwest's rules about preboarding state ... "If a Customer with a disability simply needs a little extra time to board, we will permit the Customer to board before Family Boarding, between the “A” and “B” groups. Those Customers who need extra time to board will receive a new boarding pass with an extra time designation. The designation serves as notification to our Operations (boarding) Agent that the Customer should be permitted to board before Family Boarding."

 

Why is preboarding in reality always the first to get on the plane, before the A group?

https://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/boarding_the_plane_faq.html

9 REPLIES 9
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Re: pre boarding rules

Top Contributor
Solution

Pre-boarding is for disabled passengers who need a specific seat or assistance boarding the plane. Those needing extra time are asked to board between the A and B groups. The policy is very clear if you read it all.

 

 

Do passengers with disabilities get to preboard?

Preboarding is available for Customers who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability and/or need assistance in boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device. Customers who are traveling with assistance and emotional support animals qualify for preboarding. If a Customer with a disability simply needs a little extra time to board, we will permit the Customer to board before Family Boarding, between the “A” and “B” groups. Those Customers who need extra time to board will receive a new boarding pass with an extra time designation. The designation serves as notification to our Operations (boarding) Agent that the Customer should be permitted to board before Family Boarding.

We will allow one travel companion to act as an “attendant” and preboard with a Customer with a disability. In most cases, the Customer requires assistance from only one other person, and any additional family members or friends are asked to board with their assigned group.

Customers should request preboarding from our Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter or departure gate. Our Agents are trained to ask factfinding questions to determine if the Customer meets the qualifications described above. Those Customers who qualify for preboarding will receive a new boarding pass with a preboarding designation. The designation serves as notification to our Operations (Boarding) Agent that the Customer should be permitted to preboard.

It's important to keep in mind that Customers who preboard may not occupy an exit seat.

Note: Customers who are preboarding because of a need for a specific seat onboard the aircraft should speak with the Operations (Boarding) Agent prior to the start of preboarding to alert the Agent to the seating need.

 

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Re: pre boarding rules

New Arrival

Thanks for posting this. This rule is very clear but is not being followed by gate agents.  On my past several flights the passengers needing "extra time" have been allowed to board before A List and A Boarding group passengers. They should board with families which is between Group A & B. If SW followed their guideline, there would be far fewer passengers upset that they are paying extra for tickets but not gaining any benefit.  To be clear, I understand not all disabilities are obvious to the public but the vastly increasing number of people needing extra time to board has become progressively larger every time I fly.

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Re: pre boarding rules

New Arrival

There is little to no enforcement of preboard qualification rules and criteria by SWA at the time of checkin or by the gate agents boarding the flights.  As an Alist Preferred status passenger for years and consistent business select paying passenger I routinely position myself in the preboard area to observe and listen to the gate agents boarding the pre-boards and it is a complete joke that ANY kind of enforcement takes place.   The problem begins at checkin for these fraudsters and again little to no questioning or screening of the criteria and qualifying factors is undertaken by SWA. 

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Re: pre boarding rules

Active Member

The dog scam is alive and well, that's for sure. 

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Re: pre boarding rules

New Arrival

I agree, I have flown with Southwest consistently over the past 22 years.  I have seen the number of preboards triple in that time.  It’s not just the number of people, but their entourage as well. 

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Re: pre boarding rules

New Arrival

 Tough situation. I am in complete agreement with the pre-board notes as voiced above. Only two solutions come to mind. One. You enforce the rules and let people who need “extra time”to board, board between the A and B groups as per Southwest rules. Two. Allow the “able” preboarders to sit only in rows 10 and beyond. The A-list preferred clients biggest perk is to board first and grab a seat in the first few rows. It’s our “first class”. By modifying the pre-board process I think you’d make a lot of A-list preferred passengers extremely happy. Thanks for listening.

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Re: pre boarding rules

Top Contributor

As has been mentioned before, federal law prohibits Southwest from dictating which specific rows or seats pre-borders must or must not occupy (with the exception of the exit row, per FAA rules).

Re: pre boarding rules

New Arrival

Preboarding is available for Customers who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability and/or need assistance in boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device. Customers who are traveling with assistance and emotional support animals qualify for preboarding!

 

I have been a Southwest rapid member for many years and feel you are the #1 airline in the industry.

The statement above, about preboarding, I totally agree with.  Here is my #1 complaint (along with almost every passenger who has earned A status), the agents need to follow the guidelines that Southwest has established.

We see the diable people and the people who are unable to go down the runway preboard (totally understand).  Then we see a person is overweight, family that wants to seat together or anyone else preboard.

 

This is becomes a joke with your passengers guessing how many people you're going to allowed to preboard.

 

The preboarding subject seems to come up a lot on this forum.  Can you please let us know if you can have your agents adhere to the guidelines Southwest has established?

 

Your people are the best in the industry.  Thanks!

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Re: pre boarding rules

New Arrival

My wife has MS, and every time I have to take her on a flight, she requires pre-boarding! I always put in the reservation she requires it with wheelchair assistance. I never have any hassles because as long as I put it in the reservation, and even show her issues with walking, never a problem! Also, the Gate Agent sees the reservation sheet to compare who’s who when he/she checks the boarding passes!