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What is the PreBoard Qualification

tcunn799
New Arrival

What are the Qualifications for PreBoarding? I was taking a flight from Orlando today and almost 40 people preboarded. I was A18 and  was unable to get 2 sets together towards the middle of the plane... i did not pay to upgrade to Business select but others did. Imagine if you have paid $100 or more for your ticket to get to tbe front of the line only to watch all these peole parade onto the plane ahead of you (only 5 were in wheelchairs) I fly Southwest alot and have noticed the high number of preboarders compared to other airlines.

11 REPLIES 11

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

dfwskier
Top Contributor
Solution

Federal law , the Air Carrier Acess Act, specifies the qualifications, not the airline, and the airline CANNOT question the nature of the disability.

 

§382.97  

"As a carrier, you must offer preboarding to passengers with a disability who self-identify at the gate as needing additional time or assistance to board, stow accessibility equipment, or be seated."

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

SWDigits
Rising Star
Solution

This is some of the wording provided on the Southwest "Boarding the Plane" page.  Note there is a difference between "preboarding" and "need extra time to board":

 

"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."

 

Source:

https://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/boarding_the_plane_faq.html?CLK=SITESEARCH#disabi...


Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

Froggy812
New Arrival

Again as usual Southwest will let anyone preboard if they have a hangnail. At least 6 people preboarded before me that could outrun me. Maybe everyone on the flight should go and get preboarding and that should prompt Southwest to better police the polices. I still don't understand how a non service dog can preboard. At some point I will before a flight boards that everyone go to the desk got preboard.

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

Passenger1C
Rising Star

Typically all the airlines offer pre-boarding to passengers who may require more time to board. Not just SWA! 


SWA Passenger, Community Champion

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

ronnyradio
Active Member

"Typically all the airlines offer pre-boarding to passengers who may require more time to board. Not just SWA! "

 

True, so how come when I fly them (United, Hawaiian and Delta over this past year) I seldom see more than 2-3 pre-boards, Is it because:

 

A) More disabled people flock to SWA than all other airlines combined, or

 

B) My 7-8 flights I took on airlines other than SW is not a large enough sample size to draw a conclusion, or

 

C) With assigned seats, there is little incentive to boarding early as you will end up in your assigned seat where as if you just say you need to pre-board on SW you get access to any seat you want and save a bunch for your friends and family.

 

I'll go with "C"

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

yensidw
New Arrival

Seriously considering flying other airlines. 15 preboards today. And then SWA has the nerve to increase the fee for Early Bird. At least at Disney the scooters although they board first, they are unloaded last. Today it took 20 minutes to get these preboards off the plane where we who paid extra for Early Bird are forced to wait. Maybe if they knew they wouldn't be off first they wouldn't be so eager to claim preboard. Maybe next time I'll put my old walking cast on and just join the crowd.

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

VickyLaw81
New Arrival

It’s because seats are assigned. Southwest doesn’t assign seats so people use the preboard designation to circumvent the system because the people at the door will not ask what the disability is. 
I think the solution would be to have to fill out a preboard request when you print the boarding pass, and assign seats to those preboarding. 
I think once the seating choose is taken away in exchange for preboard, it may curb the mad rush at the door. 
mom a flight from Philly to Midway this past weekend there was a mad rush by the preboarders. Over 50 of them, fighting over who was there first at the gate. Meanwhile the people that paid for A group had to patiently wait. Southwest has to step it up. It may be first come first take the seat but the disability system is getting abused and you have to solve the problem because pretty soon everyone will preboard. 

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

mrsstats
Active Member

We flew from Vegas last week.  There were 20 preBoards.  To get a handicap parking sticker you need to prove you need it.  Why can’t the same be done.  What really gets me is how many go in with wheelchairs but when the get to their destination none is needed. 

Re: What is the PreBoard Qualification

parpitt1
Active Member

As a regular SWA flier I can understand the frustration of those who pay for early bird access only to be leap frogged by some folks who may be "gaming the system." I can honestly say I have overheard conversations about "getting on the plane 1st" and personally observed the healing powers of a SWA flight on more than a few pre boarders.

I take it all with a grain of sand and even laugh with my wife about the lengths some folks will go to. It's not worth getting mad about. Nothing would be gained by confrontation since, as many have noted not all afflictions are visible.

I usually enjoy seeing where my place in line will be and who's in front of me, since I take that as an indicator of A list seniority. Just last week I got A-16 on both my flights.   

A good rule of thumb is do the right thing yourself and let the rest go, life is too short.