I travel frequently with my husband and my soon-to-be nine month old son, Dex. We fly from New York to the DC area almost every month to visit my parents and we’re planning a big West Coast trip this summer. So I was disturbed to hear that one of the largest airlines, United Airlines, has decided that it will end family preboarding for families in coach in it's latest round of family-unfriendly policies.
Preboarding makes traveling with my family a lot easier. It can be stressful to travel with a baby and it takes time to get them situated on the plane. Preboarding is not an amenity, but a necessary service for family customers like me. Plus, I know other fellow flyers appreciate it when they don’t get held back because parents like myself need time to get our family seated (for example, by popping in and out of the aisle a couple times in the first few moments on the plane.) I’m also concerned that other travelers who benefit from preboarding, like elderly travelers and those with disabilities, will eventually be impacted by these changes in airlines’ policies.
United’s recent move rolls back family preboarding much farther than its competitors American Airlines, US Airways, JetBlue and Virgin America. And I’m worried that if airline consumers let United get away with it, other airlines might follow suit. It seems like every day, the airlines are coming up with new policies that are bad for travelers. Recently, even members of Congress have said they will investigate anti-family policies of United.
It takes a village to raise a child, so we need to all tell United to fly high for families and keep preboarding for families like mine!
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