United Airlines bumps families with children

Boarding police change before summer travel season

DETROIT - United Airlines is making a policy change that will affect families flying with small children. Unless, they are flying first or business class, those families will no longer be able to board the plane early. Instead, they will board with their regular ticketed boarding groups, according to USA Today.

Change to "simplify the boarding process" 

A United spokesman is quoted in the newspaper as saying the change is made "to simplify the boarding process and to reduce the overall number of boarding groups."

Most airlines, including JetBlue Airways, Virgin America and Delta Air Lines, let families with small children board before most coach passengers, according to the paper.

More Rules, More Fees

The move comes as many airlines look to squeeze more revenue out of each airline cabin. They've started to charge fees for people to sit in aisle and window seats. That policy also makes is difficult for families and friends looking to sit together, unless they're willing to pay extra for those seats.

Related: Tips for stress-free travel with kids


US Airways told USA Today that in the last year it dropped family pre-boarding for families with children but still lets them on earlier in the general boarding process. American Airlines also said it has families board with everyone else, although gate agents look out for families who may need some extra help.

Let the Debate Begin

While the change could make summer vacations a little more stressful for families with little ones, there are sure to be other passengers who appreciate the change. Some adult passengers probably get impatient waiting to board, especially as passengers are bring more carry-on luggage, fighting over overhead space, as they try to avoid fees for checked baggage.


Related: Find creative ways to combat summer boredom

It looks more and more like flying is becoming hard work, instead of a relaxing way to get to your destination. Tell us what you think.

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