And one more thing - it's easy to check in online before I leave home, but it's nearly impossible to check in online for your return flight while on vacation. When you're already lugging 900 pounds of kids' stuff, you don't want to throw in a laptop too, especially when you're trying to leave work behind. We were in a rustic cabin without internet or even air conditioning on Cape Cod this summer, and why on earth should I have to cut half a day from my already short vacation to go drive around in hopes of finding a public library with internet access so I can check in so I can sit WITH MY CHILDREN? That's just abusive.
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Eliminating pre-boarding for families eliminates my need to ever fly Southwest again, and Southwest is the only airline we've flown since my son was born. We have a four-year-old and a one-year-old, and between the bags of toys and snacks (since there's no food on any airline anymore) and the fact that someone has to fold up the stroller at the bottom of the gate, etc. boarding is already a nightmare that generally leaves me sweating and nearly in tears. If I now have to do this without even knowing if we'll have seats together and that maybe I'm going to have to beg a perfect stranger to get up - well, what's the point?
To those people who say, let the families board first but make them sit at the back of the plane - the back of the plane gets the worst turbulence. You've clearly never been covered with vomited milk when your 15-month-old, who can't tell you he's feeling airsick, pukes all over you and your entire row. The front of the plane is MUCH better for airsickness.
By the way, we NEVER take the bulkhead row, it's miserable with kids. The extra legroom is worthless when you do not have tray tables or cup holders, and kids' legs are short to begin with and they don't need it. I always leave that row for kids travelling alone and disabled people.
The biggest problem with preboarding is those people who clearly have no reason to be standing in the preboard line. I've stood in that line before with families with one two-year-old and - no joke - 12 adults. That's abuse and it shouldn't be allowed by the gate agents. The parents or one parent and one other traveling companion are all that should be allowed to preboard with a small child. And I've stood there with perfectly able-bodied, single adult travelers, usually with briefcases, carrying that blue plastic boarding sleeve. Who knows what they did to get it, but it certainly wasn't because they required extra time. My guess is we'll still see those people, while the families sweat and try not to bash anybody else in the head with their carseats as they lug them down the aisles.
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