No pre-boarding for families

Filed under: Babies, Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Holidays

An airplane interiorOnce upon a time, families traveling with small children got to board first, to give them time to get their little ones settled in, put away their luggage, toys, and snacks, and do whatever else they needed to do, without blocking the rest of the passengers from getting on the plane. Instead of standing in the aisle getting angry at the parents, the other passengers could sit comfortably in the terminal, getting annoyed with the airline.

Not so anymore, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Southwest, American, Delta, and United have all dropped the practice, although you can still ask to board early on American and Delta; it's up to the gate attendants. The reason isn't corporate hatred of families; studies have shown that boarding everyone together -- including the little ones -- saves ten to twelve minutes, on average.

"If you're bringing on people who need assistance -- younger kids -- all at once, you potentially create a bottleneck on the front end, as opposed to randomly dispersing them based on where people are sitting in the aircraft," says Anthony Black, a spokesman for Delta. "The best process is to board the aircraft normally." I imagine, too, that parents move a little quicker when they feel the stares of other passengers beating down on them and saving time is clearly more important than saving a parent's sanity.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.