Now Boarding… For a Price

Some airlines are getting rid of early boarding options for parents of small kids

Now Boarding... For a Price

Parents with small children or kids have a new problem to deal with when flying: Boarding the plane with everyone else. In the past airlines have allowed them to board first in an effort to keep the little ones from ruining things for everyone involved, but as airlines have sought new ways to increase efficiency, that privilege is disappearing. Unless, of course, parents are willing to pay extra.

According to USA Today, United Airlines is the latest carrier that has revoked early boarding for parents with children. A spokesperson told the paper that they decided to end the policy “to simplify the boarding process and to reduce the overall number of boarding groups.” American Airlines doesn’t let families with kids board first either. A spokesperson tried to soothe things by explaining to USA Today, “The reality is that many flights and markets — think Orlando or other leisure destinations — can have many, many families on flights,” and the airline tries to do its best.

Sadly, for the budget-conscious parent with a troublesome tyke, one of the best ways around this problem is to pay extra for a specific seat. The New York Times reports that Continental, Frontier, JetBlue, United and US Airways all charge for specific seat reservations. If a parent doesn’t mind shelling out up to an extra $20, they could pick a seat that is boarded first.

The changes aren’t going to go over well with parents of small children. It’s difficult enough to fly with little ones. Take away the convenience of boarding early, and some might just opt to cancel the vacation altogether — or drive.

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