Southwest Airlines Discontinues Their Pre-Boarding Policy for Food Allergies in September – Backpedals in November

In direct violation of the Air Carrier Access Act, as of September 2022, Southwest Airlines no longer offers pre-boarding for peanut allergies.

When Southwest Airlines made the decision to stop in-flight service of peanut products, my family became loyal customers – Religiously recommending the caring and accommodating staff at Southwest to anyone and everyone. Now we are deeply disappointed and disheartened by Southwest’s decision to blatantly disregard and disrespect the life saving needs of the food allergy community.

In a recent tweet, Southwest Airlines stated, “While we offered customers with a peanut allergy the option to pre board in the past, since we no longer serve peanuts onboard, the customers are welcome to board during Extra Time Boarding after the A group and before the B group.”

Yet, Southwest Airline’s own policy states that, “Pre-boarding is available for customers who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability.” This should include food allergies.

In May 2019, the United States Department of Transportation ruled that airlines, “Must offer pre-boarding to passengers with a disability who self-identify at the gate as needing additional time or assistance to board.” Further, the United States Department of Transportation clarified that severe food allergies are considered a disability under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

Regardless of the in-flight selection being offered on the airline, the Department of Transportation is clear – Denying pre boarding for passengers with severe food allergies (Not just peanut allergies!) is in direct violation of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

One step forward, and two steps back. Southwest Airlines – Your decision is not only insensitive, but illegitimate. Do better.

Update: November 2022

After only two months and plenty of backlash from our community, Southwest Airlines has backpedaled on their decision to discontinue pre-boarding acclimations for food allergies. As of November 2022, Southwest Airlines is acting is accordance with the Air Carrier Access Act yet again.

Although our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act should never have been questioned, I’m still chalking this up as a win. As our community grows, so does our influence. Speak up! Your voice matters.

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