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Re: Preboarding...way out of control

dcatlin
New Arrival

I know, I typically do not pass any judgements growing up with a one legged Father that has Spinabifida.  I learned from him, exactly what I am saying "if I am physically capable, why do I need to use the handicap pass or pre-board a flight".  Youre right, price isnt really even a factor so I should have left it out.  The problem is, these women were just fine and people like them will eventually ruin it for the people who really need it...the system IS being abused.

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

Kit
New Arrival

I was wondering the same thing on a recent flight.  Saw a woman 6'+ tall and skinny as a rail, get on with a preboard pass.  She looked normal to me.  I ended up sitting in the first row with her and figured she needed the extra first row leg space.  I mentioned that I had metal in my back and she then showed me copies of an X-ray she keeps on her.  She had 3 fused vertebre just below her skull, a pin in her shoulder, a hip replacement and rods the entire length of her spine.  Since my rods are only about 12" I joked that she had me beat.  She said her surgeries were from playing college basketball and the latest surgery was last year.  Moral... don't judge a book by it's cover ;-)

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

dcatlin
New Arrival

Good examples. Being tall is not a preboard qualifier.   Second, it sounds like she walked up to the gate since “she looked fine to you”. If she can walk up to the gate why exactly does she need to preboard?  Those are terrible surgeries she had but weren't too recent. If she has recurring pain from the surgeries preboarding really isn’t making a difference so why use it?  I just think physical inability or immobilization are they only real reasons to preboard.  As I have said before I grew up with a one legged Father with Spinabifida (two invisible disabilities) and he could use the preboard option but he does not NEED to. 

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

@dcatlin wrote:

I just think physical inability or immobilization are they only real reasons to preboard. 


Very incorrect thinking.

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

dcatlin
New Arrival

Apparently SWA agrees with me, unfortunately their gate agents are too nice and likely bullied/guilted by many customers for pre-board services.

 

Below is copied/pasted from SWA FAQ about pre-boarding and it politely says their must be a physical issue, immobilization or a device needing to be stowed.


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.

 

So when two old ladies can walk the pace of a 43 year old, fit marathoner they DON'T need extra time to board so according to the SWA rule, they shouldnt pre-board.  Thank you SWA corporate and legal team for thinking logically, please pass it down the pipe to your agents AND your bloggers that give advice even though they are "not an employee of Southwest and not authorized to speak on behalf of the Company. The thoughts and opinions shared on the Southwest Airlines Community are their own."

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Re: Preboarding...way out of control

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

@dcatlin,

 

Your conclusion based on the facts you provided doesn't make any sense. The policy is actually the opposite of what you are trying to say it is. 

 

I'll try to explain one part at a time.

 

First, you provided the policy that defines who can preboard:

"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 deviceand then you said based on that, anyone walking fast should not preboard.

 

The preboarding policy allows preboarding for disability and says nothing about needing additional time, thus preboarding is available to both fast and slow people who need seating to accommodate their disability. Yes, that includes disabilities that can not be seen and allow someone to walk fast. The key point is preboarding is to accommodate a passenger with a specific seating requirement and has nothing to do with extra time for boarding. 

 

The next section defines who should wait until after the A group to board and is the section you highlighted:

"If a Customer with a disability simply needs a little extra time to board, we will permit the Customer to board before Family Boarding

 

So, if all you need is time, but have no other issues requiring specific seating, then you board with family boarding. This actually covers those slow walkers that you said should be preboarding.

 

In conclusion, neither walking speed, nor visible disability is a factor in the preboarding policy. Yes, it's good the Southwest legal folks put together a clear policy, and I'm glad we could review it one section at a time.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

 

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

dcatlin
New Arrival

@TheMiddleSeat

 

We will never come to an agreement on this subject and it would be nice if you would at least admit there are people who are abusing it and that is why there are multiple chains on this subject.  2 women that can keep up with a fit marathoner walking a quarter mile thru an airport have no special need or disability that seat 1A suits them better than seat 20A.  Really, I cant think of much for disabilties that their experience/comfort is any different in seat 1A v. 20A.  Somebody with physical limitations I certainly understand the difference.  It really bothers me more than it should, but as a rule follower I cant stand it when somebody does not.

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

dfwskier
Rising Star

"2 women that can keep up with a fit marathoner walking a quarter mile thru an airport have no special need or disability that seat 1A suits them better than seat 20A.  Really, I cant think of much for disabilties that their experience/comfort is any different in seat 1A v. 20A. "

 

What about a woman  with bladder issues that require almost instantaeous bathroom access who needs to be seated as near as possible to the retroom

  - for example.?

 

 

Or someone who is nausea prone and might need quick bathrom access? If in row 20 the person might be able to use the barf bag. I'm sure that evey person within 25 feet of her would be thrilled with the aroma. 

 

I'm sure there are other examples, but I've already made the point...

 

Just because you can't see the disability does not mean that there is not one.

 

Just becasue they can walk fast does not mean that they don't have other limiting issues.

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

dcatlin
New Arrival

@dfwskier

 

Those incidents are the couple that I had thought of, but they are more as a courtesy to other guests and make little difference to the person in question and their boarding position.  There are bathrooms in the rear of the plane also and they are statistically used less than the front.  If they REALLY need an aisle seat because of their invisible disability they should probably pay for Early Bird and they will have no issue.  Im trying not to sound evil but I really dont get it...especially growing up with a Father that suffers sudden bladder issues as an effect of his Spinabifida.  He didn't/doesnt use it so maybe thats where I get it from.  This is my last reply, happy travels all!

Re: Preboarding...way out of control

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

@dcatlin wrote:

@dfwskier

 

There are bathrooms in the rear of the plane also and they are statistically used less than the front.  If they REALLY need an aisle seat because of their invisible disability they should probably pay for Early Bird and they will have no issue.


I don't think anyone at Southwest would agree that forcing people with disabilities to pay more would be a smart move. And the image of someone keeping statistics on which bathroom gets used is pretty hilarious.

 

I found this site to be particularly informative and would encourage all to read more about disabilities that may not be visible. 

https://invisibledisabilities.org/what-is-an-invisible-disability/

 

--TheMiddleSeat