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Why not Board BS, A+, and A before preboards?

Why not Board BS, A+, and A before preboards?

Old Aug 21, 19, 12:43 pm
  #1  
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Why not Board BS, A+, and A before preboards?

As I stand at my gate in Atlanta today, an A Lister on a BS fare, i find myself questioning why those categories in the title can't board before preboards - or alternately why WN doesn't block preboards from the bulkhead.

I'm looking at about 20 preboards (incld. Companions) about to get on my flight and I realize that even with an extremely early number I'll be lucky to get an aisle before row 6.

(And yes, if I wish I should be guaranteed the amazing unlimited room exit row seat as this is the origination of this flight - but I'm going to have to run to a dinner as soon as we land and Row 12 puts me behind 66+ people getting off incld. -most likely- all the preboards.)

Just seems like if WN won't reserve seats they could at least reserve the bulkhead for their top flyers.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 12:49 pm
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The bulkhead is the easiest seats for disabled/old preboarders to get into? Isn't the whole idea of preboarders is, they'd struggle to make it far down the aisle?
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Old Aug 21, 19, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by dmbolp View Post
The bulkhead is the easiest seats for disabled/old preboarders to get into? Isn't the whole idea of preboarders is, they'd struggle to make it far down the aisle?
Somehow all of the airlines with assigned seats manage to board pre boarders without giving them access (unless they've reserved it) to First Class/Bulkhead/First section of coach -usually reserved for elites/extra charge.so I don't see an issue with allowing frequent travellers/BS travelers first.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 1:27 pm
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You are free to wonder how intensively the protocols are applied. You are not free to ask.

"Agents are trained to ask factfinding questions to determine if the Customer meets the [specific seating requirement] qualifications. Those Customers who qualify for preboarding will receive a new boarding pass with a preboarding designation."
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Old Aug 21, 19, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by dcstudent View Post
Somehow all of the airlines with assigned seats manage to board pre boarders without giving them access (unless they've reserved it) to First Class/Bulkhead/First section of coach -usually reserved for elites/extra charge.so I don't see an issue with allowing frequent travellers/BS travelers first.
That is just it...if a preboard passenger NEEDS the bulkhead or say an aisle seat or close proximity to restroom they have the opportunity to pre book that on another airline vs on WN you are subject to luck of the draw...who is often likely to be much less savvy about the ins and outs of Southwest specificities travel strategies.

It is also to give them a few more beats before the hordes of anxious passengers pile in behind them.

You also have through passengers that are just as likely to take those seats. Status boarding does not guarantee anything other the loading order and each passenger has their own uniques individuals priorities. Where you may value the bulkhead, I personally hate it. Can't please everyone.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 9:05 pm
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Originally Posted by dcstudent View Post
As I stand at my gate in Atlanta today, an A Lister on a BS fare, i find myself questioning why those categories in the title can't board before preboards - or alternately why WN doesn't block preboards from the bulkhead.

I'm looking at about 20 preboards (incld. Companions) about to get on my flight and I realize that even with an extremely early number I'll be lucky to get an aisle before row 6.

(And yes, if I wish I should be guaranteed the amazing unlimited room exit row seat as this is the origination of this flight - but I'm going to have to run to a dinner as soon as we land and Row 12 puts me behind 66+ people getting off incld. -most likely- all the preboards.)

Just seems like if WN won't reserve seats they could at least reserve the bulkhead for their top flyers.
WN would have to get DOT approval to do that. I would imagine that as open seating is already covered by the DOT regulations that the DOT might not approve what would in essence be a takeaway from the ACA. So to answer your question in a nutshell, WN cannot do what you suggest because it would be illegal.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 9:54 pm
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This evening as I was waiting to board I watched one of the pre-boarders literally sprint across the gate area to board ahead of everyone else.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:04 pm
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Originally Posted by justhere View Post
WN would have to get DOT approval to do that. I would imagine that as open seating is already covered by the DOT regulations that the DOT might not approve what would in essence be a takeaway from the ACA. So to answer your question in a nutshell, WN cannot do what you suggest because it would be illegal.
Yes, this one is directly from the FARs (emphasis is my own):

14 CFR 382.85 (b)

What seating accommodations must carriers make to passengers in circumstances not covered by 382.81 (a) through (d)?

As a carrier, you must provide the following seating accommodations to a passenger who self-identifies as having a disability other than one in the four categories listed in 382.81 (a) through (d) of this part and as needing a seat assignment accommodation in order to readily access and use the carrier's air transportation services:

(b) On flights where advance seat assignments are not offered, you must provide seating accommodations under this section by allowing passengers to board the aircraft before other passengers, including other “preboarded” passengers, so that the individuals needing seating accommodations can select seats that best meet their needs.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:38 pm
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My wife has epilepsy. She knows from experience that she needs to sit up front and near a window or the motion as we pull back from the gate and taxi will set off episodes for her. She looks fine as she boards. It kills her to know that people are thinking the worst. Sometimes people glare at her.

Truth be told, shed be happy boarding with me (A-List) but its really early or nothing for her.

She only travels a few times a year because of this. The point of all this is to say: I get it and hear you, but try to assume the best. It wont make you any happier to go on assuming the worst. 🤷.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 7:45 am
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You could always book on an airline with an assigned seat if getting that bulkhead spot is important to you.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 8:05 am
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Simple answer to OP's question is that this is required by US law. period.

The entire debate about whether there are passengers who abuse US law and the way it is administered at WN because WN does not assign seats has been covered in at least 50 threads and really has been beaten to death.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 8:17 am
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Consistency in how WN administers the policy is just as vital. Agents are otherwise occupied in almost all cases. Checking twenty people's claims re "special seating requirements" can be cursory. The less said, the less liability.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 9:15 am
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Preboarders also get off last. Lots of time these are Wheelchair passengers and they get wheeled to the door and all the wheelchairs do get blocked near the door. So if you start boarding other passengers at the same time, there is a blockage in the aisles too. It has got nothing to do with these passengers trying to grab the best seats available. Furthermore no wheelchair passenger, nor a passenger with a child or an infant can sit in the exit row seats anyway.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by dav662 View Post
Preboarders also get off last.
Apparently you've never been on WN's (frequent) "Miracle" flights. Even the FA's openly joke about them when their pleas for wheelchair pre*boarders to remain seated are ignored.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by dcstudent View Post
Just seems like if WN won't reserve seats they could at least reserve the bulkhead for their top flyers.
That assumes of course that those top flyers actually want a bulkhead seat. Not all do. Should they also reserve the entirety of the exit row, the last couple of rows in back (for those with small bladders) and maybe even all the aisle seats too? Everyone's preferences are different.

But maybe I'm the exception. I've never seen a flight with 20 pre-boarders, not even close. Not even on flights to MCO. I thank this forum for making me aware that this problem exists.
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