Those of you who read this blog regularly know I?m a real fan of pre-boarding, not only for wheelers, but for anyone who needs assistance, walks a little slow or for whatever other reason fears being trampled by the general boarding hoards. For those of you new to this term, pre-boarding means that you board the aircraft before the rest of the passengers.
Pre-boarding allows you time to get down the jetway and settled into your seat. For wheelers it?s essential to pre-board if you want first crack at that coveted on-board wheelchair storage space.
But as the summer travel season begins, I feel I should also update you on a slight change in some pre-boarding procedures. In days or yore, the gate agent usually made a pre-boarding announcement. That still happens on some airlines, however it?s not the case on all airlines.
Take American Airlines for example. At most airports, they no longer make general pre-boarding announcements. Instead they call the pre-boarders by name. To be honest, I like the system as it kind of simplifies things. In any case, it?s essential that you let the gate agent know you need to pre-board, even if you think it?s obvious. That way your name will be on the pre-boarding list, and you won?t be overlooked if there isn?t a general pre-boarding announcement.
And even if you fly on an airline that makes pre-boarding announcements, it never hurts to make yourself very visible right before boarding. Sometimes gate agents have a lot of things going on, and it?s not unusual for them to forget pre-boarders. You know what they say ? out of sight, out of mind. Make sure you are neither.