No Pre-Board For Families With Small Children On US Airways?!

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We are just back from a great trip with the family, a little pre-Thanksgiving getaway and flew US Airways with Toddler WeeklyFlyer (2.5 yrs) and new addition, Baby WeeklyFlyer (3.5 months.) We usually don’t fly US Airways but, on this occasion the miles ratios worked out and so off we were on our first flight with not just one but, 2 small children!


No Pre-Board For Families

As we approached boarding, we were surprised to be told that we could not pre-board with our little ones; that pre-board was limited to only to wheelchairs, i.e. presumably people with mobility issues needing extra time to get down the ramp. Not sure when it happened but having 2 small children no longer qualifies for needing extra time.

This seems like a very poor policy if you ask me. Even Mrs. WeeklyFlyer and I in all our experienced travels, are very much slowed down by the children being in tow. I tried to find this policy on US Air’s or American Airlines website but, couldn’t specifically where this policy was spelled out.

Overall, we had a fantastic trip but, we were definitely taken aback with this lack of consideration for families. With holiday travels right around the corner, you may want to call your airline before flying with small children to understand their specific policies around pre-boarding families. This way, at least you will know what to expect! Happy travels!

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Been policy for at least 8 months, if not more. I don’t wholly agree with it, but likely the pre-boarding policy prior was being abused.

  2. Just out of curiosity, when you are able to pre-board, do you then wait for everyone else to get off the plane before you do? I have no problem letting families pre-board since it does take longer, but I hate when I sometimes then see those same families jump right up, block the aisle, & take forever to get off the plane when it lands. Same goes for the wheelchair passengers who are magically healed upon arrival.

  3. Hi Everybodyhates – Yes, when in coach we’ve definitely waited for the majority of pax to deplane, besides, when you are waiting on a gate checked stroller, your not going anywhere without it anyway.

  4. I believe American Airlines allows at least first class–if not elite fliers–to board before the pre-boarding groups. As an EXP, I appreciate that in order to have space for my carry-on near my seat. I can see arguments both ways about this policy because not only do you have those who take advantage and board with those groups (like the ‘miracle flights’ to Florida) but you also want kids and elderly to be out of your way. Alaska has a compromise where they clearly define the age of the children who can board first.

  5. It sucks that a few people abusing the system have meant that people like yourselves who genuinely need the pre-board time & are considerate toward everyone else no longer get it.

    Very good point about the strollers. It makes me wonder if airlines should remind families of that as they board & suggest that they wait so they don’t block the jet bridge.

  6. Well, I guess that’s the end of my side business of renting out toddlers so folks can preboard.

  7. The Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) requires airlines to preboard anyone who self-identifies as having a disability (including mobility issues). People with small children do not qualify. The US Airways policy is, arguably, not a lack of consideration for families, but equal treatment of all non-disabled passengers.

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