I have to admit, I love Southwest, but I too have seen abuses of the pre-boarding. We flew from Las Vegas back to Cleveland on a flight that was held due to a ground stop during the day. It was the only flight out to Cleveland, so they delayed boarding. We had spent the additional $40/person to upgrade our boarding position (after already purchasing early bird). The number of pre-boards and their "escorts" or whatever you want to call them was appalling. At least, they didn't allow them to sit in the exit row! However on a recent trip back from Aruba, I had a guy standing next to me complaining that they didn't allow him and his wife to accompany his father in a wheelchair down with his mother. He said they always do in Providence and he sits in the exit row. I gently explained that that is the correct thing to do and how it is supposed to be handled and that I appreciate that they did this since I paid the additional $40/person for upgraded boarding and wouldn't be happy if he took the exit row when I paid for it. It's bad enough that pre-boards are allowed to sit in the bulkhead seats. Kudos to the agent in Aruba who did not allow the swarm of people to pre-board with their friends and family.
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