30 MAY 2012: Another long-standing airline practice that offered some appeal and convenience to the beleaguered parents of tiny travellers has bitten the dust. The pre-boarding of minors is about to go the way complimentary food and free checked bags.
According to Time magazine, "Those boisterous queues of parents and children, shlepping car seats and double strollers ahead of the rest of coach-class fliers, are officially a thing of the past at United Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines."
United changed its policy from family pre-boarding in April to "simplify the boarding process and to reduce the overall number of boarding groups," United spokesman Charles Hobart told USA Today.
While other airlines still offer this courtesy to tot-toting adults, the day can’t be far away when they follow the leaders.
Actually pre-boarding for children has always struck me as unwise. While the purpose is ultimately to get the kids settled in, often they are already bored, unsettled, or fidgety while the rest of us non-progeny packing adults find our seats.
Naturally the advocacy groups are weighing in, suggesting that families are already the most stressed air travellers.
"What makes the behavior of the airlines even more exasperating for families is the failure to provide an "all-in" (fares, taxes and fees) upfront," said Art Sackler, executive director of Open Allies for Airfare Transparency.
Now, why this particular policy is more irritating to families, and what it has to do with pre-boarding I don’t know. But there you have it.