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Pre-boarding

corgi100
New Arrival

I understand SWA has wonderful customer services, but departing Chicago yesterday to Florida (a miracle flight) the pre-board number was unreal.  There were 10 wheelchairs (and some had person(s) accompanying them, 17 persons with canes (also with some person(s) accompanying them.  So there were at least 40 pre-boards.  When exiting the plane in Florida, the majority hopped up and exited asap.  I even saw one person walking to her rental car in the garage without her cane.  I had A-23, but was now A-63....I strongly suggest that SWA re-evaluate its pre-boarding procedure. 

95 REPLIES 95

Re: Pre-boarding

LindseyD
Retired Community Manager

Hi @corgi100,

 

We follow federal regulations in offering preboarding to Customers with disabilities in order to comply with the Air Carrier Access Act: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/disabled.htm. Certainly and regrettably, some Customers have taken advantage of preboarding when they did not need it. Still, we cannot ask a Customer what their disability is or for "proof" of a disability. Additionally, we are unable to tell preboarding Passengers where they can/cannot sit on the aircraft (with exception of the emergency exit row). When a Customer requests to preboard, our Employees will ask 1) do you need assistance boarding the aircraft? and/or 2) do you have a specific seating need to accommodate your disability? If the answer to either question is yes, we must allow the Customer to preboard and we are only able to use these parameters to ascertain the legitimacy of a Customer's preboarding request.

 

Re: Pre-boarding

EK49
New Arrival

It's just a shame that some people have to try to  beat the system and take advantage of the convenience offered to passengers that really need it. Last time I flew out of Newark a goup of at least 6 adults, all younger than I am, preboarded even thoujgh not one of them had a cane a crutch or even a limp. 

I am sure ther has to be a way to prevent these type of people from getting away with this.

I am on the A-list because of my loyalty to SWA, adn if I am flying with my wife who is not we pay the Early Bird fee.

Re: Pre-boarding

Amanda218
New Arrival

I pre-board and I have no physical disability. My disability is a mental one. I suffer from claustrophobia and at 5’1” when I am in a situation where everybody around me has to stand up as soon as the plane lands and I can’t see the way out I start to have severe anxiety and an overwhelming desire to start elbowing people to get off the plane. Suppressing my desire to flee generally causes a severe anxiety attack where it’s hard for me to draw breath. I once had to be taken off of a plane by emergency medical personnel.  To a lesser degree I will hyperventilate and burst into tears. It’s embarrassing for me and alarming to people around me.

 

I can take Xanax, but not if I wanna be able to get off the plane and function due to the dosage needed to quell my anxiety. I always pay the extra fee for earlybird check-in but I still ask at the gate for a pre-boarding pass so I can get a seat in the first few rows. Where I can always see the exit. 

 

The last time I asked for the pre-boarding pass I was harassed by the gate agent as to the nature of my disability, why I needed it and if I had a letter from my doctor. I didn’t have a letter from my doctor, I had never been asked for one over the last three years that I’ve preboarded.  I came on here to see what the letter needed to say and what the requirements were, only to find out there weren’t any.

 

I hate that I can’t control myself.  I feel like a total a-hole appearing able bodied and standing with people in wheelchairs waiting to pre-board. I see all the not so nice looks.   In my mind I know nothing is going to happen and I’ll get off the plane and everything will be fine but it doesn’t do anything to control my anxiety. Regardless of your boarding position everyone’s going to get on the plane. Please remember you can’t always see a disability. 

Re: Pre-boarding

Jad99888
New Arrival

Lindsey Your response is correct. But, Over the last 5 years, there has been an increase in pre-boarding abuse.  Phoenix, Las Vegas, Florida are terrible. 

Please keep this issue alive internally, true maybe half of the pre-boarders abuse the system. Yet those of us who pay for Business Select see this as unfair. I hear this issue often. There is a resentment growing. 

My personal favorite, getting onboard in a wheelchair and walking off the plane. 

Thanks Jeff

 

 

 

 

Re: Pre-boarding

Thai
New Arrival

You system is broken for pre boarding. I understand the issue.  If I had no morals I could by the cheapest flight and say I need pre boarding.  As a long time customer it makes me sick. I was on a flight today OAK to BWI flight 6805.  Paid 600+ for my business class. I saw 8 young couples get on first. One lady in wheel chair and she was the last one she got up and walk to the front so she could avoid the parents waiting to board after A.  If everyone would talk you would have a mess.  You need to change the policy that is legal and fare to be he honest people 

Re: Pre-boarding

ampickup
New Arrival

Agree 100%.  Everyone except the abusers are paying the price for mismanagement of the pre board system.

Re: Pre-boarding

Bond007
Active Member

Also Lindsey - those of us who fly a lot are seeing the growing problem of preboarding - why doesn’t SW do it’s own survey of every flight / or flights in markets that are heavily abused such as Las Vegas - to count those who go on the plane as preboards ?  The numbers are sometimes surprisingly high.

 

if you continue to believe you must allow anyone on any flight to preboards regardless of your policies that require the rest of us to take our place in line and watch them all get on , you could at least some allowing seats to be saved by preboarders. It’s completely out of control and those that are willing to abuse this preboard program are also more than happy to save a row .. or two. 

Re: Pre-boarding

Bond007
Active Member

Also Lindsey - those of us who fly a lot are seeing the growing problem of preboarding - why doesn’t SW do it’s own survey of every flight / or flights in markets that are heavily abused such as Las Vegas - to count those who go on the plane as preboards ?  The numbers are sometimes surprisingly high.

 

if you continue to believe you must allow anyone on any flight to preboards regardless of your policies that require the rest of us to take our place in line and watch them all get on , you could at least stop allowing seats to be saved by preboarders. It’s completely out of control and those that are willing to abuse this preboard program are also more than happy to save a row .. or two. 

Re: Pre-boarding

kitsu
New Arrival

@LindseyD wrote:

Hi @corgi100,

 

We follow federal regulations in offering preboarding to Customers with disabilities in order to comply with the Air Carrier Access Act: http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/disabled.htm. Certainly and regrettably, some Customers have taken advantage of preboarding when they did not need it. Still, we cannot ask a Customer what their disability is or for "proof" of a disability. Additionally, we are unable to tell preboarding Passengers where they can/cannot sit on the aircraft (with exception of the emergency exit row). When a Customer requests to preboard, our Employees will ask 1) do you need assistance boarding the aircraft? and/or 2) do you have a specific seating need to accommodate your disability? If the answer to either question is yes, we must allow the Customer to preboard and we are only able to use these parameters to ascertain the legitimacy of a Customer's preboarding request.

 


I understand that you cannot question the nature of someone's disability, but you could establish some rules.  For instance, if a person declares that they need extra time in boarding, then it follows that the same person will need extra time in de-planing.  So, the rule should stand that the people who preboard, must wait until everyone else is off the plane before getting off themselves.  The preboard process should include wrist-banding or other identifiers for safety..and to keep the fake preboarders from moving to prime emergency row seats during through flights.  And, if you get on with a wheel chair, you should have to get off with a wheel chair.

 

Right now, it is a safety hazard that all the preboarders sit in the front of the plane, jump up when the plane lands, and shuffle off the plane, and clog up the jet way while getting in wheel chairs.  Your other passengers also have tight connections, and you are inconvenicing the bulk of your customers for just a few.