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Old 04-05-2013, 11:22 AM   #31
lost*in*cyberspace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchlovestink View Post
I was discussing this preboarding issue with a SW pilot last night. DD's good friend's father is a SW pilot. He said the abuse is so bad they are discussing discontinuing it. He said he recently had a flight where there were 15 wheelchairs (not including the other preboards) waiting to board, but then when they landed... Miraculously... NOT ONE person was waiting for a wheelchair upon deplaning!!!! They all walked off!!!! That is ridiculous!!! FIFTEEN!!!! That is incredible abuse. So there is discussion about discontinuing preboards except for people who own their own medical equipment because they still need the time to stow those wheelchairs/ecvs in the cargohold. But the others will have to start buying EBCI as their option. Just sharing what he is being told...
You might be interested in this article from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/ny...anted=all&_r=0
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:59 AM   #32
DLgal
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OP, don't worry.

We have flown several times with SW with our two Autistic kids. They are now 7 and 8 years old. We have never done preboarding and we have never had any problems getting seats together.

Our last flight, we were numbers B21,22,23,24 and we STILL found seats together. I sat with the two kids, DH sat in the aisle seat across from us.

You will not have any problems if you are sure to check in at the 24 hour mark, but even if you forget and are in the B group, you will be okay. We did get nervous with that B group numbers we got, and DH asked if he could board with the family boarding group with our boys, and they let him, but I stayed behind and boarded when I was supposed to, and even then, there were STILL plenty of seats together.

You can just wait to see what group you get. If you are in A group, you won't have to worry. If you are in B or C group, then ask for the blue medical boarding pass at the gate when you get there. You don't need any sort of documentation at all, just state that your daughter has Autism and other health issues and you need to sit with both of them during the flight. They are not going to give you any trouble.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:32 PM   #33
bookwormde
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Just a few technical notes

Pre boarding regulations are covered under FAA regulation not ADA, although they follow the same standards

Pre boarding is not considered a benefit above and beyond standard so no they can not ask for "proof"

HIPPA only applies to medical professionals and companies who manage medical informations

Gate agents typically receive more training in disability compliance than pilots
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:55 PM   #34
disney-dreams
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Originally Posted by stitchlovestink View Post
But they don't HAVE to allow you to preboard... as long as you are seated beside your child that's it. That is equal to what others on that flight received. It is a BONUS that you got on early enough to pick a PRIME seat that makes HER most comfortable such as you stated in previous post. So what would you if you arrived to the gate late? Expect others to shuffle & rearrange to meet your daughter's needs? I'm not saying it's unreasonable to need to sit beside her, but beyond that and you have left the 'equal' experience from the other flyers on that plane who have paid for their passage just like you and are no less important than your daughter. There have been times that parents can't even sit beside their preschool or very young school aged children because people don't want to move. SW has open seating.

I was discussing this preboarding issue with a SW pilot last night. DD's good friend's father is a SW pilot. He said the abuse is so bad they are discussing discontinuing it. He said he recently had a flight where there were 15 wheelchairs (not including the other preboards) waiting to board, but then when they landed... Miraculously... NOT ONE person was waiting for a wheelchair upon deplaning!!!! They all walked off!!!! That is ridiculous!!! FIFTEEN!!!! That is incredible abuse. So there is discussion about discontinuing preboards except for people who own their own medical equipment because they still need the time to stow those wheelchairs/ecvs in the cargohold. But the others will have to start buying EBCI as their option. Just sharing what he is being told...

Never said they HAVE to let ANYONE PREBOARD, I said that is the way they (airlines/SW) currently accomodate people that are disabled and that the airline has a choice on how they provide that accommodation. I also stated that it is probably easier for the airlines to allow for pre-boarding so that a parent can sit next to their disabled child instead of asking people to move around because there is no specific assigned seating (which is basically what this discussion was about in the first place).

I don't expect a BONUS or a PRIME seat just for me and my child; I didn't even know that SW had PRIME seats. I almost always fly Delta now, buy my seats, board early due to my Delta Skymiles card (not due to disabilities and after first class boarding) and I sit where my seats are that I purchased. I don't request special accommodations for my daughters nor do I recieve any; I don't feel entitled to anything! I don't feel I deserve special treatment and I know everyone else pays for their tickets just like I do, I didn't ever think or state otherwise. I choose to fly Delta so I know I have a seat beside my daughter everytime so that I don't have to worry about a seating arrangement issue.

However, since the specific airline in question is SW, I asked my neighbor this afternoon, who is currently a pilot for SW (and an aircraft refueling tanker pilot for our US Airforce) why they preboard and he said it is a "best practice policy" based upon specifics provided "Air Carrier Access Act" and rules set forth by the US Department of Transportation regarding individuals with disabilities. He also said that attendants are often assigned to help disabled individuals along with the pre-boarding accommodation and that the DOT has on file a copy of every "major" airlines policies on accommodating disabilites as required by law. He directed me to this website for the specifics:

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publi...gerInformation
Here is a specific quote from the above listed website: "In order to provide some personal assistance and extra time, the air carrier may offer a passenger with a disability, or any passenger that may be in need of assistance, the opportunity to pre-board the aircraft. The passenger has the option to accept or decline the offer".

He also said there's lots of information about accommodating disabilites and the regulations regarding it on the FAA website too if I wanted to find out more. Always good to check for regulation requirements instead of making assumptions about what is being demanded and what is required.

I know there is abuse in the system, but there is abuse in every "system", so just realize that until the airline decides to do it differently, things will continue as they are. I have never asked to pre-board any plane, but when I informed SW attendents that my child had epilepsy, they recommended it and insisted that my whole family would board with me and my daughter, but that is not anything I requested. However, I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone's disability if they were sitting next to me and started to have a seizure and I didn't know what to do, would you?

Accommodating disabilities makes it a more enjoyable flight for everyone not an upgrade for a few. It's too bad that this is midunderstood.

By the way, I can't believe that any airline separates preschool children from their parents on flights... really... that is truly a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:10 AM   #35
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Yes, some people abuse the system, but I also understand why they do not make people "prove" they need wheelchairs. I know that I would not take kindly to needing to "prove" I need my wheelchair every time I turn around. And it is not exactly difficult to get a doctor's note - especially since I can print one on my computer now.

Perhaps airports should start charging for wheelchair rental, same as other places. Unless it states in law somewhere that airports MUST provide wheelchairs (and wheelchair pushers!) free of charge, that may be a way to cut down on the number of people using wheelchairs for the purposes of "bypassing lines."

Trust me, I hate people who abuse the system as much, or more, as the next person, but sometimes I think there is no good answer to this...
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:17 PM   #36
bocaj1431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchlovestink View Post
But they don't HAVE to allow you to preboard... as long as you are seated beside your child that's it. That is equal to what others on that flight received. It is a BONUS that you got on early enough to pick a PRIME seat that makes HER most comfortable such as you stated in previous post. So what would you if you arrived to the gate late? Expect others to shuffle & rearrange to meet your daughter's needs? I'm not saying it's unreasonable to need to sit beside her, but beyond that and you have left the 'equal' experience from the other flyers on that plane who have paid for their passage just like you and are no less important than your daughter. There have been times that parents can't even sit beside their preschool or very young school aged children because people don't want to move. SW has open seating.
It is sad that people take advantage of this option so that it may now possibly be discontinued.

I have a 12yr old son with Autism. We flew SW for our first ever trip last year. We purchased the option which allows you to be seated in the A group. When we were going to board I explained to the SW employee at the gait about my sons anxieties and extreme behaviors that could become problematic if he was afraid. My concern was, if there was turbulence he would become so fearful and the behaviors he would display as a result might become problematic. I asked, if the FA could talk to him upon boarding and check in with my son, if there was turbulence. Hearing that everything would be ok from a flight attendant would calm him because he would see the FA as an expert and only trust what they said. The attendant gave us a blue pass and allowed us to board with pre boarding. The FA kindly checked in with my son periodically and we so appreciated that.

I would like to offer some information that might change your point of view. It is not about pitting those with special needs against those who do not have special needs. I do not think the poster you quoted meant to suggest that those without special needs who also pay for their passage are less important as you infer.

Having a child with Autism, which is a neurological disorder comes with an array of symptoms and behaviors that are not always easy to manage. Just trying to get through the airport is exhausting and difficult. I assume that allowing pre boarding for those with special needs affords them the ability to lessen the difficulties they have which arise due to there special needs. For example, boarding first when there is less congestion in the aisles. Being around too many moving people in a confined space such as the aisle would send my son over the edge. He would be on the floor hitting himself and the amount of time it would take to calm him and get him out of the aisle I am sure would not be appreciated by the staff and passengers. Another example is finding the right location on the plane, which will make the individuals difficulties, due to their "disability", less challenging. For us it would be where ever a Flight attendant would have better access to my son, if there was a breakdown and we needed there support. For some it might be about being closer to the bathroom etc.

Please understand it is not about someone else's child being less important, it is about offering solutions to someone with special needs which can make their flying even possible or less problematic.

But I do agree if the pre boarding is not a necessity to helping with the special needs an individual has, it should not be taken advantage of.

Hope this helps.
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