Aside from the legal issues, you have no idea why people pre-board. I get to put up with horrible looks because I "must be faking" because I don't look disabled. You CANNOT always see a disability. Rest assured if I could turn back time and NOT have that car accident, I would. I don't pre-board to sit in front (the chance of me sitting before row 8 is almost zero). I also almost never take bags that need to go overhead because lifting them is more likely to hurt me than not. I CANNOT sit in the very back, where the seats don't recline. I look for a very specific seat against the wall where the wallboard is out right at the headrest, not indented into a window (I don't even care if there is a window, I just need the wall), preferably on the left side of the plane since that's my injured side. I NEED this seat on any flight over an hour, because almost assuredly my back and neck will start spazzing uncontrollably and I will be in excruciating pain without some support and something to lean on. I will go as far back as I have to in order to find one of these seats. The reason I fly southwest is solely because of the open seating. If I buy seat "15A" on X airline, the chance of the window being in the right spot is less than 5%, cannot predict it because of the large number of plane variations. I understand some people take advantage of this... I used to judge too. I don't any more, because I know what it's like being on the other side. It's NOT a walk in the park. You get judged by other passengers, and you get harassed by overly zealous employees (luckily not too many, but when you find them, they're horrible to deal with). On my last flight I was asked if I needed a specific seat or more time to board. I said both. She said, and I quote, "It can't be both you have to choose". What? You know of disabled people that DON'T need more time? Then she got mad when I assured her I need a specific seat. I assure you, the judgement alone makes it almost not worth doing. I have been a-list for years... it doesn't help if the few seats that meet my requirements for a long flight are taken. Try to be understanding and realize most of us would give ANYTHING to be normal and not require special seating or help. I know I would.
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