Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Traveling with young/disabled kids

Posted by on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:06 AM
  • 11 Replies
  • 260 Total Views
1 mom liked this

 I recently read the story "Dear Daddy in seat 16C" and it quickly brought back memories of a trying experience last year when we traveled with our 4 kids (3 of which are disabled.)

We have always flown Southwest without issue. 2 of my children receive pre-boarding passes due to their disabilities but because Southwest prides themselves in a family flying, we have always all been able to board together. Last year however on our return trip we were confronted with an agent who told my husband and I that WE could board with two of our daughters (the two with pre-boarding passes) but our other two children would have to go to the end of the line and wait to board with other passengers. ONE of the two is my oldest daughter who has Asperger's and one was my 7 year old son. NEITHER would do well watching Mommy/Daddy board while they had to wait and board with strangers. My oldest would have had a total melt down and putting her and the 7 year old together is a disaster in the making. I could not leave EITHER unattended. After much arguing...security involved because we basically refused their request, the FINALLY allowed us to board. We vowed to never fly Southwest again. We wrote to Southwest airlines in hopes of getting some clarification but we never receive ANYTHING in return from them. Not even..."This is our policy so suck it up!"

My question is this...If you had 4 children...2 of which required pre-boarding, and 2 who did not, but were not safe in staying behind to board...what would you have done? OH...and even if we ALL chose to board together at this point we would have had to go to the end of the line meaning we could not sit together and this would have been a TOTAL disaster for keeping our kids feeling safe. 

They are all really GOOD kids and seldom create a disturbance, but they DO have disabilities and need someone directing them to be appropriate. 

by on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:06 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
tvschiulaz
by Vicky on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:38 AM

Vickey, as long as my child is a minor, she (or he) are boarding with ME. If one, two or all of the children are disabled or not, they are boarding with ME.  I would have done exactly what you did!  To even think of allowing a 7 year old to stay in the back on the line, really?  Just think about THAT!

What a bunch of buffoons; thanks for the head's up though. I will not fly Southwest anywhere if they are going to teach their staff to do this.

secondcup5
by Carol - Proud Canuck on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:41 AM

I would have the very same as you, I would cancel before I would ever allow a 7 year old to board after me, I am also very surprise that they did not contact you with some kind of an apology, bad bad business.

Maida265
by on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:47 AM

 We have always checked in advance to be sure and have it well documented that our oldest has Asperger's and the other two are severely disabled. Had anyone cared to check...they would have clearly seen without us having to announce that our children are DEPENDENT on us for their safety and emotional regulation. They have never been unruly or out of control on a plane however it's because we have prepared them thoroughly and are sitting with us so we can immediately react to a situation.

I too was not pleased that Southwest wouldn't even acknowledge our complaint. We had thought about taking this to the media...THAT was how upset we were, but in doing so we would have to publicly air the needs of our children (to make the point clear) which is not anyone's business.

Quoting secondcup5:

I would have the very same as you, I would cancel before I would ever allow a 7 year old to board after me, I am also very surprise that they did not contact you with some kind of an apology, bad bad business.

 

secondcup5
by Carol - Proud Canuck on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:57 AM

You always have the best interest of your children in mind, your awesomess is endless and I am so very proud to know you.

Quoting Maida265:

 We have always checked in advance to be sure and have it well documented that our oldest has Asperger's and the other two are severely disabled. Had anyone cared to check...they would have clearly seen without us having to announce that our children are DEPENDENT on us for their safety and emotional regulation. They have never been unruly or out of control on a plane however it's because we have prepared them thoroughly and are sitting with us so we can immediately react to a situation.

I too was not pleased that Southwest wouldn't even acknowledge our complaint. We had thought about taking this to the media...THAT was how upset we were, but in doing so we would have to publicly air the needs of our children (to make the point clear) which is not anyone's business.

Quoting secondcup5:

I would have the very same as you, I would cancel before I would ever allow a 7 year old to board after me, I am also very surprise that they did not contact you with some kind of an apology, bad bad business.

 


ChellBell2013
by on Jan. 16, 2014 at 7:04 AM
All my children would be boarding with me if they were under 18.... Bad juju on south west for hatrasing you about this especilly if you ecplained to them why you all wanted to bored together and how your kids meed help grr
dana63
by Momma of 40ish on Jan. 16, 2014 at 7:06 AM

 If my child was a minor they will board with me and if it wasnt allowed then I would have done what you did and yes I would take my business elsewhere with explanation why.

BL2010
by BL on Jan. 16, 2014 at 8:04 AM

I think children should always board with their parents regardless! I always fly Southwest and just did last week and there were plenty of families with children that all preboarded and a few of the children were not youngsters.

If I were you, I'd contact Southwest again, or even post on their FB page. That will get you a response!

wenuck
by Wendy - Moonshine on Jan. 16, 2014 at 8:25 AM

My kids would always board with me!! And I would find a way to do so!

STVUstudent
by Sister on Jan. 16, 2014 at 8:43 AM

What I would have done- I or my spouse would have pre-boarded while the other adult waited with the other children.

I have not flown Southwest in a number of years... so I am not sure how they do it now, but it used to be first check in, first board, and they would allow "pre-boarding" for families with children or anyone claiming a disability giving them cause to board early... I'll tell you what, checking in early and then waiting behind people who straggle in at the last minute and then claim "early boarding privilege" for cattle call seating is infuriating.  My spouse and I were in the first boarding group.  We got on AFTER a guy in boarding group "C" who needed early boarding because he had an elastic ankle bandage ($6.00 at walmart).  He proceeded to take a seat in the exit row and then bitch at us because we sat there also... when his friends got on board, they were mightily surprised to find that they could not sit next to their friend who was attempting to save them seats... the flight attendant got involved, and I posed the question... "If you are seated in an exit row, you are supposed to be able bodied and fit enough to assist other passengers.  If this guy is so frail and lame he needs pre-boarding, how can he say he is fit to sit in an exit row???"  I would see families with TEENAGERS taking advantage of the "families with young children" boarding early... I guess they had to do something.  Too many will try to find a way to game the system. 

BUT... I do not think they should have left children to board alone while their parents got onboard with the other children.  I do agree that is silly.

ALolies
by Red Room Rebel on Jan. 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM
1 mom liked this

I would never left my children behind to board alone. Would it have been an option for one of you to board with the two pre-boarding and one of you to stay behind with the other two? I do think you did the right thing to not leave them behind to board on their own. And I would keep contact SW until you get a response. 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)