My 7-year-old was 5 years old for about 18 months… but just when we had to fly from Chicago to Hawaii and back.
Hey, my kid’s a peanut, but I know, bad is bad.
Like you haven’t ever tried to milk the airlines’ rule that allowed you to board first with children under the age of 5.
In some cases it’s a necessity to fudge your kid’s age, especially when you are flying with a brood of rugrats that range from six months to six years. What are you supposed to do then? Leave the six-year-old in the boarding area while you schlep the rest of your offspring down the jetway, buckle them into their seats, and then go back for your oldest?
Well, now you don’t have to worry about lying to the airlines… or, at least not to United Airlines.
The commercial carrier just announced that it is doing away with its early boarding privilege for families traveling with young children.
According to United, clans with children that aren’t flying first or business class will be stuck boarding with the masses. The airline’s new policy goes into effect just in time for the busy summer travel season when millions of vacationing families typically take to the skies with their kids.
An airline spokesperson told USA Today that the impetus for the policy change boiled down “to simplifying the boarding process and reducing the overall number of boarding groups.” However, travel experts maintain that the change came down to cash. The timing of the move comes as United is charging new fees for passengers to board early and sit in certain seats. So, basically, if you still want to board early with your kids when flying on United Airlines, you’ll have to pay to do so.
If you refuse to pay for the privilege, you could switch carriers. JetBlue, Virgin America and Delta still allow families with young children to board before coach passengers–for free.
“We work to make the travel experience as comfortable and easy as possible for our customers and know that families traveling with small children may have their hands full and need extra time to get settled in on their flights,” a JetBlue spokeswoman told USA Today.
Other airlines, such as US Airways, don’t allow families with children to board before premiere customers; however, it does allow clans with kids under the age of two to get on the plane earlier than general boarding passengers.
What’s your take on airlines getting rid of the early-boarding privilege for families?