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Re: Military Boarding Policy

anelparra
New Arrival

Southwest hands down has been the WORST airlines when you compare it to the treatment of service members. Not only do they not let you use the priority lane for check in they also required me to be in uniform to boar AFTER group three or four other groups before B. Their customer service is horrible and will make sure not to fly Southwest again when on orders and much less for personal travel. 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

lawyee
New Arrival

As of May 2017, Army Regulation 670-1, para 3-7(c) states "Personnel on official travel and traveling by commercial travel means may wear the service uniform, the ACU, or appropriate civilian attire, UNLESS restricted by the commander." In other words, at times there are reasons the commander doesn't want the Soldier to draw attention to himself/herself by wearing a uniform in a pubic place. Yet some (not most) Southwest gate agents refuse to permit early boarding (after A group) for those in civilian attire. These gate agents will not even accept valid military ID as proof of dutiful service. While that may be the gate agent's right I feel compelled to clarify this point and ask they not make the Soldier feel as if their service is only meaningful when in uniform. (This was observed during boarding of Flt 1953 from St Louis to Chicago on March 21.)

 

Also while I only cite to Army regulations (available online) I would not be surprised if similar policies exist for fellow services Navy, Air Force, Marines and USCG.

 

Finally, no special treatment is being requested. I am not aware of any SW published policy. All that is being asked is SENSITIVITY when denying early boarding, especially to the younger enlisted Soldiers following Orders and not in uniform.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

LindseyD
Retired Community Manager

@Ebruin02 and @lawyee,

 

Thank you for posting in the Southwest Community, we're always happy to have folks join the conversation.

 

At Southwest Airlines, we have an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for all members of the armed forces as well as their families. Currently, (as you've noted) we allow active duty, uniformed members of the U.S. armed forces to board between the “A” and “B” boarding groups. Our Operations Agents should are trained to guide military personnel who are not traveling in uniform to board according to their assigned boarding positions.

 

Our goal is to preserve the goodwill of all Customers anticipating a smooth boarding and inflight experience, and I hope you can understand that we must protect the integrity of our boarding procedures. Still, we empower our Employees to make exceptions to our policy when appropriate.

 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Choohooo
New Arrival

@LindseyD

 

 I think this policy is absolutely absurd. I am subject to disciplinary action if I fly in uniform with the Army. The only time I am allowed to fly in uniform is on a military charter. In such a case, I’d also be carrying a firearm.

 

What it sounds like is Southwest has adopted a policy that sounds great over the intercom but in reality is in contrast to rules for a large portion of the armed forces. The policy is basically a marketing scheme pretending to be military friendly. Unfortunate really.

 

i just flew out of Phoenix for a trainin exercise and the gate agent literally said,,

 

“I’m sorry sir but just because you are in the military doesn’t make you better than everyone else waiting in line.” 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Mayoju
New Arrival

Today at gate C19 the gate attendant just finished "families with children and active duty military are welcome to board", I go up with my id and he says "oh sorry you have to be in uniform".

I flew to Phoenix from Sea TAC and they allowed me to enter when they asked I could.

The only thing I could conclude is that they're terrorist simpathyzers. The guy clearly didn't like military.

 

southwest has a spineless CEO.

PS this was on Veterans Day

Re: Military Boarding Policy

chgoflyer
Top Contributor
Solution

@Mayoju wrote:

Today at gate C19 the gate attendant just finished "families with children and active duty military are welcome to board", I go up with my id and he says "oh sorry you have to be in uniform".

I flew to Phoenix from Sea TAC and they allowed me to enter when they asked I could.

The only thing I could conclude is that they're terrorist simpathyzers. The guy clearly didn't like military.

 

southwest has a spineless CEO.

PS this was on Veterans Day


 

Thank you for your service.

 

I think the more logical conclusion would be that the agent was simply enforcing Southwest policy.

 

Most active duty and retired military people I know don't expect anything special, but are grateful when it's received.

 

If you disagree with Southwest's policy, like those disappointed with the uniform limitation, I'd suggest you contact Southwest directly to express your opinion. (This is primarily a customer-to-customer forum.) You can find contact info below, under "Contact Us."

 

 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

cstroda
New Arrival

So let me get this straight, you will allow Parents with children board before the "B" group but an active military person, with a valid military ID, who is willing to fight for your freedom has to board in their group just because they are not in uniform?  Does this sound right??  I am surprised Southwest is so hung up on uniforms being cacky shorts are allowed to be worn by the flight attendents on flights!! 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Missing_Aria
New Arrival

Sooo much this!  

I was in the Air Force and when I first joined we actually weren't allowed to fly in uniform AT ALL except for when it was specifically on our orders to do so.  That only happened once when I was flying from Tech School to my clinicals location in my blues and again when I went TDY to Ft Dix before my deployment. 

Now about halfway through my time they actually changed the rule to allow us to fly in uniform but I only did it once when I happened to be flying on Memorial Day and my dad (a veteran himself) was picking me up from the airport.  I never did so again afterwards though because I got more than a little paranoid about this guy who kept following me around at my layover and creeping me out by staring at me.

The problem is, and you can see it in the previous employee's post if you read between the scripted lines, that airlines want to be SEEN being generous to service members.  That's why most of them only take uniformed military for early boarding.  Once while active duty I even heard that rarest of messages "all active duty military can now board" with no uniform qualifier and when I got to the gate the lady told me I couldn't board if I wasn't in uniform.  This wasn't Southwest but it WAS when the Air Force didn't allow us to fly in uniform unless expressly stated on our orders.  I had my military ID on me too so it wasn't that they didn't believe me, they simply cared far more that the people could SEE that they were letting a military person board first rather than just some random chick in civies. 

And as Lindsey so nicely pointed out, their "goal is to preserve the goodwill of all customers".  They know that if the other customers see me in my civies board in the military boarding time then they're going to get crap for it.  Rather than stand up and say "sir/ma'am, that young lady IS in the military" they'd rather shame me and turn me away at the gate while everyone else waiting just assumes I'm some civilian trying to game the system.  Translation, they'd rather the service member look/feel like garbage than them.

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Klewis2213
New Arrival

The very same thing just happened to my daughter. I will never fly SW again, nor will my daughter, and I will be sure to share her experience with all my friends and family who travel and she will be sure to share this with her command. 

Re: Military Boarding Policy

Klewis2213
New Arrival

I travel often and will never fly Southwest again. My daughter, who is active duty military, just attempted to board her flight from BWI to PWM when the agent announced military boarding and was denied twice because she is not traveling in uniform (even though she showed her military ID). Not only was she denied but the agent was extremely rude to her. She travels often, and never in uniform, and has never had this issue even on previous SW flights. Horrible customer service and treatment of active duty personnel.