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Wheelchairs

Newbie2SW
New Arrival

February  was my very first time using Southwest.

I bought the Early Bird and I am happy with that but when we got to our gate there were about 14 wheelchair people and their families.

I heard one ladies family member say "Mom" you have to be in a wheelchair so you can be with your husband even though you don't need one".    I heard another say, I got this special boarding pass to get on first from baggage even though there is nothing wrong with me just because.

Then the announcer announced if you want to purchase an upgrade- come to the desk.

Why would anyone want to upgrade?  All the wheel chairs and their spouses/caretakers get first pick and then the rest follow who have already bought their positions.

I love Southwest and all they do but they need to change how they board people with disabilities and fake diasabilities.  Only the real needy need to have preference first.

5 REPLIES 5
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Re: Wheelchairs

bianca6195
New Arrival

I understand flying can come with its challengs, but I do beleive Southwest does try their hardest to make it as painless as possible. Wheelchairs do take precedence when boarding, despite those who have upgraded their seats. An airline can't ask someone to prove their disability, so it mainly falls among the integrity of those using the system.

 

I understand it can be frustrating, but despite who gets on first we are all going to land at our destination at the same time. 

 

Happy travels!

Re: Wheelchairs

Jmounts
New Arrival

Whenever I fly with Delta, American, United you very rarely see people in Wheelchairs.  But getting on the plane today in Tampa there was at least 30 people who got on the plane first.  I just don’t understand why there is so many on SW?  

Re: Wheelchairs

rtbarron
Active Member

@Jmounts wrote:

Whenever I fly with Delta, American, United you very rarely see people in Wheelchairs.  But getting on the plane today in Tampa there was at least 30 people who got on the plane first.  I just don’t understand why there is so many on SW?  


The answer to your question likely has more to do with Tampa than Southwest. I've worked at the airport for two of the airlines you mentioned and can say from experience that certain Florida flights (Tampa, Ft. Myers, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach especially) are notorious for having more wheelchairs than normal, as are Las Vegas and Springfield, MO fllghts. During the winter, it's not uncommon to see Florida flights with 50-60 wheelchair passengers! On a related note, Salt Lake City and Orlando flights are known for having far more gate-checked strollers than normal.

It's just the nature of the travelers that fly to those destinations. Lots of older people who need wheelchairs travel to and from Florida

Re: Wheelchairs

Blake5
New Arrival

Anyone can pre board instead of paying for the early bird. I fly over 100 flights a year and see more and more people doing it. Today I spoke with a couple in their 20’s and they was laughing about it. It’s ridiculous but they found a way to beat the system. I would say over half pre boarders are very healthy.

Re: Wheelchairs

spacecoastbill
Active Member

Its a result of the no assigned seating and the extra cost for a chance at an earlier boarding.

 

Just say you need to preboard, and you are there.  The airline cannot refuse you to preboard or dictate where you sit (exit row excepted).