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Minor Traveling with mental disabilities pre-boarding concerns

Explorer C

Hi, I’m a mother that is going to be traveling soon with my 12 year daughter, who has a mental disability consisting of phobia and ocd disorder. She’s having great concerns about traveling soon and it’s very necessary for the travel for a medical visit.


Will I run into any issues or problems with replying “yes” “we do need assistance to board” when asked. I would like to assist my daughter to pre-board so that she can get adjusted in a less stressful manner and situation. I dread to see her to experience any panic attacks. So I’m getting nervous myself but I have never asked for any assistance. We have always just tried to deal with it, and starts her flight experience on a really bad foot to take off starting a flight without preboarding.


I recently learned that you don’t have to have a physical disability to ask for a pre-boarding assistance due to a disability. Is this correct, and is that also apply for traveling to busier locations such as Phoenix, Arizona? She is never flown for longer than an hour and 1/2 flight and this will be a 4 and and half hour flight. Also Is it possible to make a request over the phone giving my confirmation number for our reservation ahead of time or do I need to wait till I get to the airport?


Sorry for so many questions I just really want to make this a smooth experience for her as it’s scary and uncomfortable for my daughter to be in crowds. Thanks please advice. 

Much appreciated, SWbee


Re: Minor Traveling with mental disabilities pre-boarding concerns

Aviator A

You should be able to preboard (both of you) before general boarding with no issues! From SW’s site:


“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. 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.”


So simply speak to a customer service agent. Good luck, and happy flying!

-A List, Companion Pass holder