In what appears to be another blow to traveling families, United Airlines decided to end pre-boarding for families - even those with infants and toddlers.
The reasoning is, according to this CNN article, is that United wants to streamline the boarding process by reducing the number of boarding groups.
Bad move. Back in December 2010, my wife and I took our infant son to visit our family in Idaho. We were flying United. I asked the ticket agent at the gate if we'd have a chance to pre-board. She snapped at me to wait for my boarding group to be called.
So we waited. When we finally boarded, infant son in tow, we found our seats. Because we had a 4-month old with us. It took us a while to get settled. The line behind us backed up considerably. No one complained, as I'm sure they understood (at least, I hope they did). Maybe they were distracted by a cute baby.
The unintended consequence of United's decision to eliminate pre-boarding for families with small children will be longer wait times and "traffic" jams as passengers wait for these families to get settled. And if it's around the holidays, where a lot of families are traveling, it'll take forever to get the plane boarded.
I used to love to fly United. They were a good airline. Over the last decade or so they have gone downhill. They offer little legroom and employees aren't as friendly as they used to be.
Because I live in Chicago, there's no shortage of more family-friendly airlines to choose from. United will no longer be an option.