Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Pilot_m3
New Arrival

I am an active duty army Colonel. I was traveling out of DCA this morning on official military travel   The gate agent for gate 9 (Dca to Orlando) stated military boards after group A.  I went up to gate traveling in civilian clothes adhering to the DoD travel policy.  Upon attempting to board - the agent said you have to be in uniform to board   I said that’s not the DoD policy    He said I can’t let you board early.  

 

A manager - Robert Brooks for SW pulled me aside and said our policy doesn’t allow us to board military out of uniform.  His breath smelled of alcohol.  I said DoD policy doesn’t allow us to travel in uniform for security reasons.  He said that’s not my problem.  I asked if he had been “drinking” and he took a step back and said he had an upset stomach and took another step back.  I said you appear to be under the influence of alcohol. And he quickly walked away after I looked at his name tag.  

 

Several issues going on here.  I’ve read how many service members have gone through this ordeal.  It should not matter if you are in uniform or not.  SW your policy is out of date and clearly shows you are ok with not changing an outdated policy that.  

 

Second - it appeared Robert Brooks was drinking on the job and when I addressed it with him he fled away.  

 

We we all have choices to fly.  I will not fly southwest again and recommend other active duty members choose another carrier friendly to service members.   

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Smaso3949
New Arrival

I completely agree. Not only that, while boarding my flight I was unsure of boarding policy so I asked a Southwest employee. She didn't even stop and look at me, but rudely brushed past me and called over her shoulder "Only in uniform!" I was astounded. And FYI, Southwest, sometimes it's actually dangerous for military to fly in uniform because depending on where we are going it makes us a target. Which is why I wasn't flying in my dress uniform because frankly I don't want possibly hostile attention drawn to me in a completely foreign country. It's not even that I didn't get to board sooner. It's how I was treated and the fact that this policy is completely ridiculous.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Krusheski
New Arrival

I have been in the army 16+ yrs for opsec issues we are not allowed to fly in uniform and normally showing i.d in civilians is good enough. But never have I had a staff member denie me or be rude about it until today, I will make sure all my soldiers and other military frnds don't use southwest agin. The way I was treated and the inappropriate words used were uncalled for and in professional!

Re: Military Boarding Policy

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@Krusheski wrote:

I have been in the army 16+ yrs for opsec issues we are not allowed to fly in uniform and normally showing i.d in civilians is good enough. But never have I had a staff member denie me or be rude about it until today, I will make sure all my soldiers and other military frnds don't use southwest agin. The way I was treated and the inappropriate words used were uncalled for and in professional!


I'm really sorry to hear that about your treatment. Please know that many fellow passengers are thankful for your service, and I expect most Southwest employees are also apparently with a few exceptions, one of whom you must have met that day.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
Highlighted

Re: Military Boarding Policy

dwelling
New Arrival

I have flown SWA as a military member and for personal travel  for over 20 years. My branch generally disallows traveling in uniform anywhere. Today at the Jacksonville (JAX) airport, traveling on orders, I was denied military boarding for the very first time because I was in civilian attire with ID and orders in-hand. If you are going to allow those traveling on orders to board between groups A & B then do so so that you do not discriminate against branches that do not allow uniform wear for travel.

 

Southwest will no longer be my airline of choice.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

MilitaryDenied
New Arrival

This very thing happened to me today (20180607).  Phoenix to Ontario flight 2111.

First time I've received this from a SWA gate agent - "Sorry for the policy confusion, but Southwest policy only allows early boarding for service members on military holidays and for those in uniform."  FYI SWA, 99.9% of service members don't travel in uniform.

Southwest just lost another frequent flyer for good.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

rtbarron
Active Member

@MilitaryDenied wrote:

This very thing happened to me today (20180607).  Phoenix to Ontario flight 2111.

First time I've received this from a SWA gate agent - "Sorry for the policy confusion, but Southwest policy only allows early boarding for service members on military holidays and for those in uniform."  FYI SWA, 99.9% of service members don't travel in uniform.

Southwest just lost another frequent flyer for good.


First of all, thank you for your service to the United States.

Were you traveling on military business today or on personal business?

I'm sorry to hear that you've given up on Southwest over this incident. In my experience, irritating incidents happen at every airline but, in the end, Southwest always rises above the rest. I hope you will be back.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Choohooo
New Arrival

@rtbarron wrote:

@MilitaryDenied wrote:

This very thing happened to me today (20180607).  Phoenix to Ontario flight 2111.

First time I've received this from a SWA gate agent - "Sorry for the policy confusion, but Southwest policy only allows early boarding for service members on military holidays and for those in uniform."  FYI SWA, 99.9% of service members don't travel in uniform.

Southwest just lost another frequent flyer for good.


First of all, thank you for your service to the United States.

Were you traveling on military business today or on personal business?

I'm sorry to hear that you've given up on Southwest over this incident. In my experience, irritating incidents happen at every airline but, in the end, Southwest always rises above the rest. I hope you will be back.



Once again, Phoenix stopped me at the gate. I fly 1-2 times a month and it’s only an issue in Phoenix.

 

I was even prepared with orders in hand and showed him the top line — “Prohibition of wear of army uniforms  using commercial travel.” He laughed and said, “I don’t doubt you’re getting deployed but if you want to board early you have to be in uniform.”

 

I just left my family of four crying children and a wife at security so I can sleep alone in the dirt for 6 months.

 

This is a sham policy. Like I said in a previous post, Southwest doesn’t really care about the armed services. They just like sounding supportive over the intercom for publicity reasons. Hoooooaaa southwest!!

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Acabral33
New Arrival

I have been flying YEARS with southwest. NOT. IN. UNIFORM. Ever. Today I was told by  the boarding agent she was “doing me a favor” by letting me on and not being in uniform after showing her my ID. I had boarded another flight previously that day in Tampa and WAS allowed to board between groups A and B. If you’re going to give me an attitude and roll you eyes... not to mention YELL down the walkway to me about your favor continued by several “your welcome”’s, then by all means, keep your policy to yourself. Disgusting that you’re yelling “you’re welcome” to military personnel. Just disgusting. I think it’s time we stop using southwest. Period.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

rtbarron
Active Member

Thank you for your service to the United States and sorry for the problem that you had today. Whether or not you are in uniform, you are entitled to a basic level of respect as a Customer and you did not get that today. That particular Operations Agent was rude and unprofessional and is not indicative of all Southwest People. I suggest you contact Southwest Airlines Customer Relations at 855-234-4654 or email them by clicking on the contact us link at the bottom of the southwest homepage. I hear Twitter also works.