Parental pre-boarding, long a staple in the airline industry, is going the way of free checked bags and free food -- adding yet another burden to already stressed family fliers.
"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," writes Time Magazine.
Most other airlines at this time, anyway, still allow families to board planes before childless passengers. The long-traditional practice allows parents extra time to settle into their seats with sometimes fussy toddlers.
But travel observers predict it"s just a matter of time till other airlines follow the leaders.
United made its policy switch away 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.
Families are already the most stressed air travelers, says an advocacy group.
"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.
By David Wilkening
Tuesday, May 29, 2012