CK Boarding Before Wheelchair Preboards?

Old Nov 30, 17, 11:56 am
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CK Boarding Before Wheelchair Preboards?

Last week, I was waiting to preboard with a couple other wheelchair passengers (I am a bilateral amputee and use a wheelchair - not a Jetway Jesus pax) when an AA rep in a suit (not the gate agents working the flight) came to the podium and announced that all CKs should come to the front to board. One couple showed up and a CK was already there with one of the preboards (she was walking, but was old). The agent took the couple and told the CK with the preboard pax to wait with the other preboards.

A few minutes later, they started the wheelchair preboards and we all had to wait by the galley while Mrs. CK in 1D struggled putting her enormous carry on into the overhead (Mr. CK was already seated and didn't seem interested in helping).

I travel AA a lot and have never seen CKs board before wheelchairs, and I find it even more odd that they would tell a CK with a preboard to wait with the other preboards while another CK boarded. I asked the agent since when CKs board before wheelchairs and she dismissed my question and looked the other way.

Anyone ever encounter this before?
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Old Nov 30, 17, 12:11 pm
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Speculating here but it could have been a flyer who had purchased the American Airlines Five Star Service / FSS and the agent was actually an AA premium agent pre-boarding them. IIRC you can request to board ahead or after the crowd.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 12:47 pm
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Good for the AA agent in not discussing one passenger's situation with another. It is completely irrelevant and hardly a perk denied.

I trust that this did not affect OP's travel in any respect.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 12:50 pm
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Isn't there an instance when certain connecting passengers get absolute priority to board first? I've seen it happen a few times but otherwise OP no, disabled passengers have always boarded first.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 1:10 pm
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Originally Posted by enpremiere View Post
Speculating here but it could have been a flyer who had purchased the American Airlines Five Star Service / FSS and the agent was actually an AA premium agent pre-boarding them. IIRC you can request to board ahead or after the crowd.
Seems like a logical answer.

I don't think I've ever seen a case where CK were invited board prior to pre-boards. Usually pre-boards, then CK, then group 1.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 1:22 pm
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The Wiki post by JDiver at the top of https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...ar-2017-a.html lumps FSS, CK, and passengers requiring assistance. If a premium service rep has a pre-board request, it would stand to reason that they would want to get their charges on board as soon as the crew permits so that they can move on. CK status doesn't necessarily include the escort that you get with FSS.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Isn't there an instance when certain connecting passengers get absolute priority to board first? I've seen it happen a few times but otherwise OP no, disabled passengers have always boarded first.
The only times I've seen that were when the same aircraft and same flight number was used through a hub. Say LAX-PHX-DEN. They usually would allow pax the opportunity to get out and stretch, and they re-board first before anyone else. Been a while since I've seen it though.

I had recent flights AUS-LAX-LAS where the same aircraft flew on both legs, but there were different flight numbers. I did ask the FA, and got the answer I expected, that I did need to exit then re-enter the aircraft. I wanted to get out and stretch anyway, but was curious what she'd say.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 3:41 pm
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Hey guys, I'm a CK, and I can say it's about 15/85 in my experience. The 15% coming typically with INTL, mostly TATL/TPAC flights. It was most common before they actually started calling us by group, rather than just paging me to the desk and then boarding us prior. I know that there are ADA and DOT regulations around this. I also tend to agree that for the most part, boarding one or two of us does not interrupt the pre-board process, simply because we're typically on, bags stowed, in a seat and dis-engaged from the boarding process pretty quickly.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 4:42 pm
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Like others have said, I wonder if this was a FSS customer.

I've used FSS coming through LAX on a short-ish connection from SYD, and my wife and I got to board ahead of everyone - long before the plane was ready to accept other passengers. It was quite the experience from start to finish and I recommend you try it out at LAX even once for fun.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by nickbodkins View Post
Hey guys, I'm a CK, and I can say it's about 15/85 in my experience. The 15% coming typically with INTL, mostly TATL/TPAC flights. It was most common before they actually started calling us by group, rather than just paging me to the desk and then boarding us prior. I know that there are ADA and DOT regulations around this. I also tend to agree that for the most part, boarding one or two of us does not interrupt the pre-board process, simply because we're typically on, bags stowed, in a seat and dis-engaged from the boarding process pretty quickly.
The ADA does not apply to commercial aviation and the ACA simply requires appropriate accommodation. Pre-boarding is provided for the convenience of the carrier, the individual requiring special assistance and the other passengers. It is an easy way of assuring that special assistance passengers are able to board without undue hassle and have the extra time it may take to be safely seated.

A carrier could theoretically board each special assistance passenger in his regular boarding order and simply hold the boarding process up so that the passenger safely boards. Not particularly efficient, but perfectly legal.
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Old Nov 30, 17, 6:05 pm
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CK Boarding

I can only recall being boarded prior to passengers needing special assistance 1 time. That was prior to CK as it's own group. Ever since, I do not recall boarding prior to that group. Now many times they call CK and those passengers are still boarding, and then Group 1 so it's one big line on the jet bridge. If I am called and there are still special assistance folks I always offer to help hold/wheel/lift ect. Kindness is a thing of the past!
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Old Dec 1, 17, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The ADA does not apply to commercial aviation and the ACA simply requires appropriate accommodation. Pre-boarding is provided for the convenience of the carrier, the individual requiring special assistance and the other passengers. It is an easy way of assuring that special assistance passengers are able to board without undue hassle and have the extra time it may take to be safely seated.

A carrier could theoretically board each special assistance passenger in his regular boarding order and simply hold the boarding process up so that the passenger safely boards. Not particularly efficient, but perfectly legal.
I wasn't sure about WHICH one of the acronyms it was that could potentially apply, but on our EP Facebook group, there is a guy who is always talking about filing DOT complaints ANYTIME anyone boards before him. He's a paraplegic EP, and I've seen the DOT topic come up dozens of times over the last few years. Good to know.
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Old Dec 1, 17, 8:43 am
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Interesting thread...but a real CK perk would be being called in from the lounge to board LAST, with a reserved overhead spot held for you...we can dream, right?
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Old Dec 1, 17, 8:45 am
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I’ve seen and experienced Five Star Service passengers boarded prior to pre-boarding passengers commonly, Concierge Key rarely.
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Old Dec 1, 17, 11:34 am
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IMO the gate agent didn't have to answer your question - why that passenger got to board before everyone else should be between himself and the gate agent (or AA).
But this does seem a little weird.
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