I'm not sure if someone else has brought this up, if they have then let me second it, if they haven't then let me offer an alternate POV: I'm a disabled veteran with a cane and I'm flying Southwest for the first time in my whole life BECAUSE of their preboarding policy, and I'm willing to bet a lot of others are too. Now my cane is folding, and honestly I might fold up my cane and put it in my purse beffore I board because I don't want to inconvience people once on board. That said I still need to hold onto seats (something that's hard to do when dozens of others are getting seated) or keep a hand on the wall as I walk onto the plane, I might even need to stop because my knee locked up as it so often does and I don't want someone to run into me because I came to a sudden stop if/when that happens. Now chances are I'm probably won't fold up my cane because threads like this are a constant reminder that society expects my 32 year old self to LOOK disabled. Society glares at me when I pass them on the sidewalk with my cane on my good days and society watches me on the days when I'm barely hobbling along and wonders if I'm faking on my bad ones. When I mention that I'm former military everyone just goes "OHHHH You got injured" Well... No actually I just have a bad hip (and because of that a bad leg) and the military isn't exactly kind to any weakness in our bodies. The military (no matter what happened to you) basically fast forwards your body's wearing down far faster than your average civilian job, and mine was probably originally meant to start having issues at 40-something. I LOVE that Southwest isn't forcing me to pay even more than I already do for being disabled. I've already paid years of my life, my health, my marriage, and who I was as a person just to end up a disabled wreck who couldn't even function in society for the first teo years that I was out. Do some people abuse the system? Of course they do, someone ALWAYS abuses every system out there. But Southwest has chosen not to punish the rest of us as a result and I applaud them for that. You are not Southwest, and you are not judge jury and executioner of anyone who may or may not have a disability. Maybe you luck out and the person you call out as a fake is actually a fake and is embarassed enough to never try to scam the system again. But in my experience that never happens. If you actually do catch a scammer they'll likely just continue to keep up the act and you'll end up tossed out of the airport by secuity for harrassing the 'disabled' person cause scammers will use the system to their advantage here. If you catch someone with a legitimate disability then you're making their already difficult life that much worse. In my case I'd probably have a panic attack and shut down if you actually confronted me in public cause I also have severe anxiety and moderate PTSD. You basically need to ask yourself it that risk is worth it for you. Are you okay with adding additional suffering to someone who might already suffer more than you can possibly imagine on a daily basis? The thing to remember is that the preboarding is as much for your benefit as it is for those who are disabled. It keeps us out of your way with our gimpy selves while you all rush for your prefered seats. In fact most disabled people I know who fly Southwest actually don't even go for the better seats, they just go for anywhere that allows them to sit with their companion who may need to assist them. And if we do board alongside you we possibly can do things like lifting up luggage or walk without aid and we'll get them done to keep from holding you up, but often we're internally screaming in pain during or after doing those things. It's said over and over again but you can't possibly know everything a person is dealing with in their life. I'd rather let a few scammers slide than chance hurting those who are already hurting and don't deserve it.
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