I'm a frequent flyer with most all the major carriers. The abuse of preboarding and companion pets is an issue with all. I, as do many of my collegues, fly almost every week. It is a weekly discussion among my team of how many people now are "gaming" the system, to the extent it is almost laughable. We've all seen the passenger "rolled to the gate in a wheelchair" with four family members as "companion boarders" in tow, only to see the individual get out of the wheelchair, walk to the bathroom, go five gates down to Starbucks, or go shop in the local shops. Then, when boarding is announced, dash back to their chair to be wheeled down the jet way. I saw one lady in Atlanta Hartsfield look like Usain Bolt with the speed at which she dashed to her chair as her daughter yelled "hurry Momma. They're about to board...." The notion of "letting it go" is a okay. But tell me, how does that SOLVE a problem? Simple. It doesn't. The very ones being hurt the most by this are the ones with legitimate medical/disability issues that need the preboarding process. Same is true with the "support animal" policy and people abusing the handicap parking placards. No one in their right mind has an issue with a person with a legimate medical/disability need using the preboard process/support animal policy. I think at some point SW will have to at least entertain the notion of assigned seats. It won't stop the issue, but it might slow it somewhat. My thought is that some of the abusers are doing its not so much to gain better seating but to be able to "carry on" most of their worldly possessions. Maybe if 1) Preboarders (and companion boarders) were required to check carry ons (with any applicable charges-which would still be free with SW). 2) Then allowed person item (outside medically necessary item(s) ie: canes, crutches, etc) that MUST fit underneath the seat in front of them. Just a thought.
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