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Old 03-21-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
My2CrazyGirls
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Will they let us pre-board with Aspergers/Autism child?

I am bringing documentation. Will they definitely let us pre-board with our daughter (age 7 ASD) and other 6 year old (has other health issues)? We are flying Southwest. I keep hearing horror stories of 5 year old kids not being able to sit with their parent because people don't want to give up their seats. I am very nervous about this happening. Pre-boarding would help because our daughter does not like to be on line with tons of people all around her. And then I would have a minute to wipe down all surfaces with clorox wipes for our other daughter.

What should I say to make the SW person understand?
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:04 PM   #2
LisaBi
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My son has Down Syndrome, and we always pre board with Southwest. I've never even had to say way. I just go up to the gate agent and say "I'd like to see if I can pre board with him." I don't get to say anymore before they hand me the blue sleeve. If they did let me continue, I would be saying it is because crowds freak him out and I need to get him settled before he is overwhelmed trying to pick a seat among the crowds and starts throwing a cit and blocking the aisle. I do still always check in 24 hours ahead to get the best possible boarding position just in case.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:20 PM   #3
My2CrazyGirls
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaBi View Post
My son has Down Syndrome, and we always pre board with Southwest. I've never even had to say way. I just go up to the gate agent and say "I'd like to see if I can pre board with him." I don't get to say anymore before they hand me the blue sleeve. I ek him out and I need to get him settled before he is overwhelmed trying to pick a seat among the crowds and starts throwing a cit and blocking the aisle. I do still always check in 24 hours ahead to get the best possible boarding position just in case.
Thanks for the reply. I think with Down Syndrome it is usually more obvious (correct me if I am wrong but all of the Down Syndrome people I know look like they have Down Syndrome) that there is a disability. With autism, often the kids look completely typical. So if I ask if I can pre-board with my kids they are going to look at them and ask why. So I was thinking of saying "my daughter has autism and my other daughter has other health issues and I was wondering if we will be able to pre-board. If they don't say yes right away I plan to tell the person that my daughter does not like to be squished between a bunch of people and my other daughter has anxiety and if we get separated she will freak out.

Is that good or do I need to tell them more?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
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We always preboard with our child who also looks typical and there had never been a problem. We have never been asked for any documentation and have always been accommodated nicely. Enjoy your flight!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primrosea View Post
We always preboard with our child who also looks typical and there had never been a problem. We have never been asked for any documentation and have always been accommodated nicely. Enjoy your flight!
Do you say they have autism or do you tell them why you need to pre-board? Thanks
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:19 AM   #6
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We find it easier to have my husband board as soon as possible and then I take my son at the very end. The seat is ready and we walk in among the last few people.
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:22 AM   #7
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We used to preboard with our AS son (experiance flier now so I just make sure to check in right at 24hrs).

typically with SW they will have a customer service desk in the councourse where you can declare your childrens disabilites and get the blue preboard card. I let the gate agent know also, and it is important to listen carefully for the disability preboard anouncement.

We also find it best to sit near the back so we do not have people pushing by on boarding and can wait a few minutes when disembarking till the plane is mostly empty.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:53 AM   #8
primrosea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My2CrazyGirls View Post
Do you say they have autism or do you tell them why you need to pre-board? Thanks
We go to the agents and just tell them a little about our situation (doesn't like crowds/being touched without warning...) and have had no trouble at all. You are given a colored card to present as preboard and go on with the rest of the preboard families. We prefer to sit in the back of the plane so there has never been an issue finding seats.

Have a fun trip!
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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If you are really worried about it, you can also purchase the early bird check in for your flight. It should at least allow you to be in group A.

You still may be able to preboard but it takes the 'what if' out of the situation. I've been on flights where ti seemed like half the plane was preboarding and that crowded situation may or may not work for you.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:36 AM   #10
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I would explain why you need to pre-board. Saying Autism doesn't really tell the person anything as different individuals are completely different and it may lead to somebody knowing better solutions for your particular issue. (Such as the PP who mentioned having somebody pre board and then taking the child in last, which may be better in many cases.) The need for preboarding is based on symptoms not condition labels.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:55 PM   #11
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when you make your reservations online there is a place to note any special needs, right on your reservation.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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I doubt you will have any problem with SOuthwest. If you tell the ticket agent when you are checking your baggage, they will probably be able to give a stamp to get through security in the disabled line and then just walk up to the gate agent at your gate and ask for a preboard card. I have never seen them give anyone a problem.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:17 PM   #13
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This is all great info guys! I can't wait to fly this July with my DH and boys, it's been years. My boys are now 11 and 9, and are both autistic. The youngest one is much more afflicted, and it it quite obvious. We have direct flights from El Paso to LAX on Southwest. I did type the information about the disabilities when I bought the tickets. I also purchased the Early Bird Special check in. At first I thought it would be best to sit in the very front, where the boys would have more leg room, could stand if they wanted, and not bother the people in front of them. My DH thinks it's better for us to sit by the bathrooms in the very back. I think I am starting to agree. Anymore flying tips would be welcome for me.

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Old 03-22-2013, 10:47 PM   #14
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We fly southwest all the time and just say, " my son has special needs and needs to pre board" (we tell this to the agent at the gate). Then at TSA line we ask the line attendant at MCO (at home its not an issue).
Every time I feel the stares and sometimes have a snooty ticket agent...sigh. This time I'm making my DS a shirt that says "not all disabilities are visible" with the autism ribbon on it! Have a good trip!
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:57 AM   #15
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I'm sorry, what is MCO?

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