United family boarding policy change is welcome news for passengers
United Airlines changes its family boarding policy to allow families with children under the age of two to board flights before other passengers. Travelers are applauding United Airlines for following other companies like Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, and Southwest.
United modified its family boarding policy to allow families with young children to board early.
In a press release issued by United Airlines, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, it was revealed that effective February 15 families with children age two and younger can board planes before other passengers. Travelers with small children will now be able to settle in their seats and fix their luggage in overhead bin space before others.
The move is being applauded because the world’s largest airline is one of the rare companies not to have this policy in place. For multiple reasons, in 2012, United changed its boarding policies eliminating the rule that made it possible for some families to skip in front of everybody else.
Like most other airlines, United kept its family boarding policy in place for passengers traveling first class and elite class. Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United’s senior vice president of customers, says the change in policy is part of a larger effort to make their clients happy and take out the frustration in the process. Pineau-Boddison stated:
“It takes a little bit of the stress out of the travel situation. Some things are just the right thing to do.”
According to experts, the policy change is also beneficial for the airline company:
“It also helps the airline get a plane out on time. Having all the strollers gate-checked at once frees baggage handlers who later have to deal with storing carry-on bags under the plane because there is no overhead bin space left.”
The current U.S. airline family boarding policies are:
Alaska: Families with children under two can board at the beginning of the process, before first class and elite customers.
American: Families with children board before first class and elite members upon request only. The age is at the discretion of the gate agent.
Delta: Families with car seats or strollers can board before first class and elite members.
Frontier: Families with children age three and younger board after the airline’s elite members and those who have paid for extra legroom but before the rest of the plane.
Hawaiian: Families with children under the age of two can board before first class and elite members.
JetBlue: Families with children under the age of two board after elite members and passengers in premium seats but before the rest of the plane.
Southwest: An adult traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding.
Spirit: Families board after passengers who paid extra to board early and those who purchased space for a carry-on bag in the overhead bin.
United: Starting Feb. 15, families with children age two and under can board before first class and elite members.
Virgin America: Families with young children can board after first class passengers, those in the extra legroom seats, passengers who paid for early boarding, those with elite status and those with a Virgin America credit card. They do get to board before other coach passengers.
According to experienced travelers, it takes patience and lots of toys, books, and puzzles to distract children, who are flying for the first time.
What are your thoughts on United family boarding policy changes?