Dear "b p heiss" who has made me feel like a terrible parent... I know that wasn't your meaning. But I get do a seat for my daughter nearly every time she flew as a lap child and I never relinquish my car seat until the gate. And sometimes I insist that they let me on the plane with it and only then do I give it up if the flight is absolutely full. I have flown with her on I think 36 legs and I have only not had a seat three times. Each of those times I had a second seat belt that attached her to my seat belt. They sell them at Babies R Us. They aren't great, bit they are better than nothing. I couldn't afford to travel if I had to pay full fare for my daughter and she has a wonderful relationship with her grandparents and aunts and cousins because I have been able to take her with me. Southwest made is very easy for me to bring her and the car seat. The general seating policy made it easy to make Southwest part of my family's bonding.
I hear you, however, about the potential for accident. it was too late for me to buy her a seat on this coming flight but I will in the future. She is almost two anyway. But your warning is a good one. most of us haven't ever seen a child get hurt, much less killed. Your experience is rattling and thank you for sharing.
It still doesn't change the fact that with or without a seat for my daughter I have to wrangle all the gear much further down the plane than before.
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Chad, I have flown four times now with your new "we-hate-families" policy and will be flying again on Friday. You aren't paying any attention to anything any of us mothers are saying. By letting us on early and ahead of the crowd WE GET OUT OF THE WAY. By letting 60+ people on ahead of us, we are IN THE WAY. I have seen it and I was in it. With Southwest's new We-Hate-Families policy I can't slide into a seat in the first few rows. I have to head to the back of the plane, requiring assistance I never needed before. I need the flight attendant's assistance, I need other passengers to move, I need to beg pardon to dozens of people who get bumped and jostled by me. I am now in the way. Before I was not a nuisance, but since SOUTHWEST NOW HATES FAMILIES, I am have to apologize my entire way through the boarding process.
Think about brand experience. Think about all that "luv" that IS GONE.
But why do I bother talking here? You aren't listening.
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Oh, and Chad made a comment about the car seat having to be in the window by FAA rules, not Southwest's. EVEN MORE REASON that families will now hold up boarding. I can assure you that by making me walk even further down the plane looking for a window and middle seat it is not speeding up the boarding process. And I will need to hold up the ENTIRE B GROUP AGAIN while the flight attendant carries my car seat behind me since I can't carry everything further than a few rows. And what happens when my sister travels with her two kids age 3 (still in a car seat) and just barely seven. These are TICKETED passengers. And if she is not a preferred A1-10 passenger she might have to put her seven year old off by herself possibly rows away, just so your corporate travelers can get on ahead of us families?
We have to have window seats with the little ones. We are not just wanting them to placate "I want a window, Mommy." Or has Southwest forgotten FAA rules?
This is the lamest, meanest policy I have heard of. Splitting up families. Making little little girls sit by themselves aisles away from their mothers (can you imagine the CHAOS in the even of an emergency landing when you have forced families to split up? The lawsuit potential alone should make you shudder). Making single parents work A LOT harder. Making families feel they have to apologize because they have kids in tow...
Again, shame on Southwest.
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Okay, great about getting an A boarding pass. Thanks for the info. This is good news for my flight to Seattle on Friday. But it doesn't change the fact that I can't wait in line with my not-yet-two-year-old at 9-something in the morning when she is wanting to PLAY. You say you want to make flying enjoyable for everyone, but by not letting families get out of the way ahead of time you are forcing families to get in the way... of everyone. I now need to wait in the A line with my kid, constantly leaving my bags (against FAA rules) to chase after her in order to get a seat near the front so I don't need to inconvenience everyone and their brother during actual boarding. And of course, by making my kid stay put for the half hour or so while we wait in line means that she is really antsy and so that is a bummer for whomever has to sit next to us for the two hours to Seattle. Lose-lose for everyone, except for that able-bodied 30-yr old business traveler with his bluetooth and video ipod who is stoked he can get on the plane ahead of that devious and pesky mother... what is she thinking wanting preferential treatment?
I just don't see how allowing a half dozen of so (or fewer) people with kids and extra gear to board ahead of everyone else isn't the most prudent option. You have elderly who move slow get on first. Why not me with my toddler and my diaper bag and car seat and stroller? Don't you want me out of the way?
Except, right... Southwest now hates families, so I suppose that even with your cheerful blogging (which I do appreciate, despite my bitter tone), you don't care if I am out of the way, just so your money passengers can board first. Kiss the money, screw the kids. Isn't that the way politicians deal with budgets and education money in favor of returning campaign finance favors for corporations?
Look, I do understand capitalism. I am a business owner myself. But sociopathic capitalism, that is money before any empathy of any kind is apperntly the corporate way. It was lovely that for so long Southwest managed to have/show a human element with your humor and "luv" and elderly- and family-friendly policies. A group passengers still got their aisle and window seats. It was simply that two or four or six people got on ahead of them. I mean really, was it such a big deal?
What's next? Making my 87-yr-old aunt wait in line and walk the jetway herself?
Shame on Southwest. There is no more luv for families.
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Chad, clearly you haven't been given all the info. I am NOT ALLOWED to get a boarding pass online if my child is a lap child. When we fly long flights I buy her a seat. A short flight I take my chances and hope for a seat. She is still under two and so that is my prerogative. When she is a lap child the online system will not allow me to get a boarding pass since I have to show proof of her age at the gate. Therefore my boarding pass is never an A, and often not even a B, and this is NOT because I am too lazy to get my boarding pass ahead of time or as you say, not responsible. Please. On my last flight I actually called ahead and lied to say that my daughter wasn't flying with me so I could get a boarding pass, then checked her in at the airport. That was the only way I could get an A pass. And, incidentally, this was the suggestion of a gate worker on my outbound flight.
And if you had read my posting carefully, or ever been in line with toddlers, you would know that the last thing you want to be next to is a squirming kid in line. Do you really want me annoying passengers that much as to have my child in close confines while waiting in line? So even if I get an A pass, I still have to wait until the end of the As to board so I am not annoying people in line, or dashing off for a last minute diaper change (since not all Southwest planes have changing tables in the bathrooms yet).
I respect that you are trying to be cheerful about this, but I assure you, no family is happy about this. If they are telling you that they are simply telling you what you want to hear, or you are not phrasing the question well.
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I fly Southwest at least once a month for business and I take my small child with me. I have flown for nearly two years with the opportunity to pre-board and get myself and my daughter and her car seat on board ahead of and out of the way of everyone else. And I have done so now twice since the new "We-hate-families" policy was instated.
Chad (above) says 95% "luv" the new policy? Not a chance. You all aren't hearing from enough families. Why? The families are too damn busy to write to you.
By not allowing families on first, we hold everything up. By letting us on first we can get down the jetway and get our kids situated and out of the aisles. Not to mention the fact that if someone wants to sit far away from me and my child they used to have that choice. No longer. I may just sit down next to that person now because I have very little choice where to sit since I A) Have to sit next to my child and B) have to have my child in a window seat.
I have to walk a gauntlet now with a kid and a diaper bag and a laptop bag in tow, on a recent flight I bumped fifteen aisle-seaters as I went. And since I had to go so much further down the plane for two seats together I can't manage it all with my car seat and so the flight attendant had to assist me, holding up the B group. Lame. Now instead of getting on the plane with little fuss, I have to apologize to 20 people, and then ask someone to get up from his aisle seat -- car seats can only go against a window by Southwest law. Plus, I need the assistance of the flight attendant, which I never needed before when I could simply dash on the plane.
Southwest says, "You are still invited to get an A boarding pass and wait in line." I am thinking, however, that my fellow passengers would prefer that I let my daughter run off some energy before she gets strapped into a seat for 2+ hours. Thank heavens that the gate attendant at my last flight out of Tucson looked at my A pass and let me slip into the line with my daughter acknowledging that the new policy was unfair to single parents flying with a small child.
I could go on, but I assure you, the only people who are LUVing this aren't families, or people who have ever flown with families, or people who dislike kids in general. Southwest used to be family friendly. Now they simply hate families. I thought that this was a country where women and children and elderly came first. So much for true values (and I don't mean that political lip service nonsense). Shame on Southwest. Seriously, where is the luv? Alaska Air, here I come.
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