Can I just respectfully ask, "What the HECK are you thinking?!" You might as well just say "Families, please don't fly with us."
I'm a frequent Southwest traveler, and often fly with my toddler son (without my husband). He is very well behaved on planes, I am often told, but we definitely need a little extra time getting on. It isn't as much an issue walking down the aisle in the plane, but walking from the terminal TO the plane. Like many parents of very young children, I have my child in a big bulky stroller, which we are allowed to check at the plane. Once we get there, I have to unload him, take his diaper bag out, and keep my eye on him (since he can walk) while I'm trying to fold up the stroller for an attendant to take. So while having me board with folks in the A group will still mean I won't be separated from my son on the plane, it does mean that I'll being trying to unload his stroller and fold it up while others are standing right behind me. (And ten bucks says that many of them will cut in front of me if I try to politely do this on the side of the hallway).
It's tough enough flying with very young kids these days. You just made it much tougher, and I'm not convinced you made it any quicker. I can't imagine that if a family boards in the C boarding group and can't get seats together, that a flight attendant won't be asking volunteers to swap seats so the family can sit together. That takes time. And if I see a young family get separated, you'll have lost my business for good. That's just wrong!
And might I add that some travelers don't want to sit anywhere near a child. Last weekend I had the rare opportunity to travel by myself, leaving the munchkin at home. I took my book and headed for the peace and quiet toward the back of the plane. Now, if families aren't on the plane first, many of them will be sitting in the back next to people who would prefer to not sit with them...
At any rate, I hope that if you find this great little experiment doesn't work, that you'll swallow your pride and allow families to preboard again.
I CAN'T say I'll never fly Southwest again -- I just bought my tickets for Christmas a few weeks ago. But I will certainly remember, as your flight attendants say, "We know you have a choice." And in the future, I'll be less likely to choose Southwest.
Thanks for your consideration.
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