To NSX -
Thanks for your suggestion on how to be able to check in on-line even when traveling with a lap child. A few months ago, I made a reservation on-line and forgot to call SW to have them add "plus infant" to my reservation. I checked in on-line, got an A pass and then went to the airport. At the airport, when I asked to add my son to my reservation, they cancelled my first "check in" and started me all over. Adding my lapchild changed my reservation/status completely. SW started the process all over again and I received a C pass.
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There are a couple of reasons why I imagine Southwest wants parents traveling with infants to board after at least 60 other people have boarded the plane:
-- Southwest is giving preferene to the road warrior/business traveler who always checks in on-line 24 hours before departure (the current Southwest policy does not allow parents traveling with a lap child to check in on-line ahead of time).
-- Southwest wants parents to buy a ticket for their lapchild (more revenue for Southwest). I think this would allow us to check in on-line ahead of time and possibly get us an A ticket.
-- Southwest received complaints from people who stood in the A line for a long time only to be pre-empted by parents traveling with children.
Like SMF Jeff, I'd really like to know why Southwest made the Pre-board change. Yes, I will try out the new policy before I complain; I already bought a ticket for late October. But I will not feel bad if I hold up other passengers while trying to get my toddler, my purse and a tote bag safely stowed before getting out of the aisle and allow other people to pass.
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There are 2 parts to this change in SW policy: giving people back their "time" to roam the airport by assiging smaller categories of boarding groups AND making parents wait until 60 other people have boarded before they can get on the plane. I agree with the former and strongly disagree with the latter.
My son is 20 months old. Since he was born, I have taken 7 roundtips on SW (plus 1 on AA), so I feel pretty comfortable commenting on why this change in policy is not a good idea. When traveling with a lap child (which we are allowed to do until the child turns 2) parents may not check-in on-line. We must check in in person at the airport. As a result, there is no way a parent may obtain an A boarding pass (unless the plane is pretty empty). I don't understand why 60 passengers now get priority over parents who are traveling with infants. It really does take an extra few minutes to get the child, an infant carrier or car seat if necessary, and a bag or two situated. If other passengers are standing in the aisle behind me while I'm doing this, everyone will get very frustrated quickly and the child is more likely to act out in response to this stress. It will also take more time to board the plane, something that SW tries hard to avoid.
SW recently touted itself as a "Family Airline" during the Kayla Ebbert incident. I am very surprised they would be so stupid to make such an anti-family change this week.
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