This just in from Southwest Airlines...
Beginning October 2, 2007, an adult traveling with a child four years old or younger will board between the "A" and "B" boarding groups, unless you have an "A" boarding pass. Those Customers holding an "A" boarding pass should board with the "A" boarding group.
Did you catch what they didn't say? After October 2nd, families can no longer pre-board.
I was a bit disappointed by this announcement because parents truly appreciate ANY measures that make traveling easier. We took our first flight with our daughter (on Southwest Airlines, coincidentally) when she was six months old. We were uber-grateful for the pre-boarding amenity because it allowed us to select a seat at the front of the plane for easy exiting (plus, those seats have more legroom).
For our next flight, we'll probably look beyond Southwest and consider other airlines that cater to families. Here's the direction that I'd like to see airlines go:
* FREE airplane-themed coloring books/pages and crayons to every child (age 12 and younger)
* FREE snack kit with healthy options like carrot sticks and ranch, sliced apples, cheese and crackers, goldfish, a 100% juicebox, etc. to every child (age 12 and younger)
* Lightweight blankets provided to nursing moms for the duration of the flight
What do you think about Southwest's decision? And - what family-friendly amenities would you like to see airlines offer?
The fact that families are no longer allowed to board early, but must wait until the A group has boarded is an outrage.
As a 20 year SW fanatic, I'm dumbfounded by the dumbness of the policy change.
I'm a parent. I don't like to travel with children, but when I do I want to have the stress level minimal. I also like to save money.
With the new policy, the stress levels that are already high traveling with a baby are now ratcheted up a notch or two.
As a result, several parents have formed a website to change this part of the policy and started an online petition.