Traveling with a baby can be stressful. I recently did on a fun press trip and I was shocked that American Airlines offered no pre-boarding – a simple system that would make it easier for parents to get settled in and ease the transition with their kids onto an airplane. Apparently, United Airlines does offer pre-boarding BUT for a charge.
Kaja Meade, a New York City resident and mother of a nine-month-old son, Declan (Dex), started a campaign on Change.org after hearing about how this Chicago-based airline instituted a controversial change to boarding procedures that ended the free preboarding service for parents traveling in coach last month. In her petition, Kaja notes that she flies frequently from NYC to the Washington, DC area to visit her parents, and that she and her husband are planning a big trip with Dex to the West Coast this summer.
‘Like many other parents, I rely on preboarding as part of my travel plan. It’s not an amenity, it’s a necessary service — and I know other passengers appreciate families with young children being able to get settled in first. This is another airline policy that’s bad for travelers, and I’m concerned that others may follow United’s lead,’ said Kaja.
CNN reports that United Airlines’ decision to eliminate preboarding for families in coach goes further than other airlines that have recently made changes to their preboarding policies. United Airlines spokesperson Charles Hobart said of the policy change, “We figured it would be better to simplify that process and reduce the number of boarding groups.’ Thousands of parents, and even travelers without children, have joined Kaja’s campaign and left comments on the petition describing how this change will affect their travel.
‘Kaja’s petition has clearly hit a nerve with other parents who view preboarding as a necessary part of traveling — as well as with other travelers who agree that it makes boarding a smoother process,’ said Tim Newman, senior campaigner at Change.org. ‘Increasingly, customers like Kaja are taking to social media and using online petitions to push major companies to address their concerns. As campaigns like Kaja’s build steam, companies are left with little choice but to respond quickly in order to avoid a public relations nightmare.’
So far, more than 30,000 people have joined this campaign. What do you think? Should airlines offer pre-boarding? Should you have to pay for it?
To learn more about the petition, visit: http://www.change.org/united
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