Here’s my opinion (via interview on CBS news last night) about that brouhaha brewing about United’s new policy not allowing families with kids to board early. Do you agree or disagree? Is the new policy fair to families? Or to frequent travelers?
My take: Airlines have lost control of the boarding process. There are so many people with “special” boarding privileges that the entire plane can fill up before general boarding (Zone 1) ever begins.
For example, United now offers special early boarding to those who have paid for its new Explorer credit card. They also offer early boarding to their best customers, such as Global Services or 1K members, or Star Alliance partners with status. Then there are those who’ve actually paid significantly more than everyone else on the plane for business or first class seats. United also offers early boarding to military in uniform and passengers using wheelchairs or crutches.
Until now, it’s allowed families with children to board early, too. Well, during summer travel season, families traveling with children can comprise half the passengers on the plane. (Flown to Orlando lately? You’ll see…)
So by the time “general boarding” starts, the plane is almost full– and nearly all the precious overhead bin space it taken. It’s crazy…and it irritates United’s best customers… those who have paid more for their tickets, or shown their loyalty as elite leve members of Mileage Plus.
So while it might appear that United’s policy change is an “anti-family” move, I think it brings some sanity back to the boarding process. And I also think that frequent travelers should be on the lookout for moms and dads boarding with them who need a little extra help when getting on the plane, and offer a hand getting settled.
What do you think? Please leave your comments below.