nsx at flyertalk.com,
Thanks for your reply. You may be "sure a flight attendant will be happy to carry your car seat/stroller" but many a flight attendant has seen me struggling to get this car seat back and I have NEVER been offered any help from any flight attendant.
It also appears that you did not read my post very carefully. The gate attendants would go through the pre-boarding line BEFORE the plane was ready to be boarded [as the plane was de-boarding] and get all the strollers and gate checked items tagged so there was no waiting. Everyone just got on. As it worked for us last Friday, there was a delay as she tagged each item that would have ALREADY been tagged in the previous system.
I can see that your new system will be less of a problem for parents with young children who can walk and don't have as much paraphernalia or if there are two parents. But for a parent traveling alone with an infant or two kids, this really will make traveling difficult. I'd like to see you or one of the consultants who helped make this decision try it. On my flight home, we got stuck waiting in the airport for 4 hours getting on and off planes. When we finally got on the plane it was way past bedtime and I was eternally grateful that the new procedure hadn't begun, because I was pretty much at my wits end and utterly exhausted. I think I'll be sticking with the other airlines.
In addition, I think it is interesting that there is no mention that there will be premium seats now in all the announcements about this new system. That goes against the previous approach of this airline that everyone is equal - the whole point of open seating. It really is a shame. I think you will be losing a lot of customers.
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I am extremely disappointed in this new procedure. I often travel alone with my two children, an infant and a 3 year old. It is difficult enough traveling with them with pre-boarding.
I traveled down to North Carolina on Friday and was given a taste of the new procedure prematurely. After a harrowing experiencing getting to the airport and through security [a whole other story], I was told I had to get at the end of "A". Instead of speeding up the boarding process, the new boarding procedure slowed it down. In the past, the gate attendant goes through the pre-boarding line and tags all the gate checked items so all the families just load on quickly dumping the stroller without pressure of people behind them. Now, she had to hold up the line to tag all the gate check items as we loaded. And people had to wait again as I got my baby out of the stroller and folded it up just before we got on the plane. [I also had a car seat to gate check.]
In addition, I often travel with a car seat/stroller that does not go down your aisle. The furthest I can usually make it is one or two seats down the aisle [struggling], carrying my baby, the stroller, and a bag filled with food for me, them and activities. I don't see how I can possibly travel Southwest if I have to go more than two rows back.
I have noticed over the past few years of traveling with Southwest that the edgy, fun and good spirits seemed to be diminishing from the airline as it got bigger. I guess this new procedure is just another byproduct of growth. Sorry to see it.
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