Parents Predictably Outraged At Southwest's New Boarding Policy

There’s a bit of backlash going on against Southwest Airlines’ for changing their “family first” boarding policy. Previously, families traveling with children under 4 were allowed to board before the “a” group. Now they’ve been bumped back behind “a” but before “b” and “c.”

While Southwest claims that the new policy will help things move along faster— “accidentally” attracting more business travelers who are put off by having to give up the best seats to a gaggle of toddlers just might have something to do with change.

Now one parent is mad enough to start a blog called “Stop Southwest Airlines Family PreBoard Policy Changes” that aims to… well. You know.
From the blog:

Are you outraged with Southwest and their new revised family preboard policy in which parents and children under 4 no longer can board first?

!!! Then sign our online petition here – (you can do it anonymously) !!!

Are you a parent of a toddler who has had it with air travel?
We have.

Do you know that Southwest changed their pre-board policy 10.02.2007 so that families with small children no longer pre-board but must wait until Group A has already boarded?

  • We call it A and a half boarding.

  • We also call it outrageous and extremely short sighted for Southwest.
  • Southwest says they have no plans to revert back to the old policy.

    Stop Southwest Airlines Family PreBoard Policy Changes
    (Photo:busbeytheelder)

    Comments

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    1. mupethifi says:

      it seems that going on vacation is more stressful than work lately!

    2. namenomore says:

      It was completely awesome flying Southwest a couple of weeks ago when the passive aggressive mom to the right kept telling her kids, “No honey, they have a new rule now and you have to wait to get on the airplane” in a voice loud enough for the boarding agent to here. And then repeatedly asking the same question over and over again just to “clarify the new boarding rules”. For someone without kids, this new policy is great.

    3. joebloe says:

      It’s a good policy. I will fly Southwest agian.

    4. vex says:

      How dare they make parents get in line like everyone else.

    5. I would pay thrice as much to not have any children at all on a plane. My latest flight was an absolute horrorshow. I wasn’t even safe in first class, little snot comes barreling down the aisle like a heat seeking missile for the elbow of any hand with a drink in it.

    6. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

      I have a 13 month old and I think its a good rule. There is nothing so special that we need preferred treatment to get on.
      I’m more likely not to use them in the future, but its still a good rule.

    7. JKinNYC says:

      @vx001: While your snark seems well aimed, let me just point out that the extra time provided by early boarding allows many parents to get their child settled and calmed enough so that they behave on the plane.

      @Electoral College Dropout: That is exactly why every time I get on a plane with my 2.5 year old son (3-4 times a year), I get nasty looks on the way in, and smiles and compliments on the way out. Unfortunately for me, and many other parents, there are enough irresponsible parents that don’t know how to prepare a kid for flight.

      As for Southwest’s policy, it seems like a reasonably idea to let them reward the early check-in folks, but still give parents a general head start to help them get their kids settled.

    8. horned_frog says:

      You cant please everyone I guess

    9. Hawkeye1659 says:

      This is a great, fair rule. The whole reason they let them on the plane early in the first place I assume is so parents can sit next to their kids before the plane gets full. I fly SW all the time and as long as you are A or B seating, you’re guaranteed a window or aisle seat. This means that these parents getting in before even B starts are guaranteed to sit next to their kids, likely even if they need all 3 seats in an aisle (likely then on back of plane).

      The sense of entitlement with these petitioners pisses me off. I give SW a TON of my money and business for work trips, why should they automatically get the best seats on the plane with their brats? Or, here’s a novel idea…check in online 24 hrs before your flight and just get A seating like the rest of us. I hope SW sticks with their stance. Good for them.

    10. JKinNYC says:

      @Cassifras: You are still in the easy stage. Wait 6-12 months. When they can run and scream and generally make more ruckus, you’ll have a harder time keeping your kid behaving nicely. That said, the policy is reasonable

    11. SVreader says:

      Oh, badly written petitions. How is this “outrageous”? They still board early enough to get seats with their kids, they’re just not “first.” Our world is not so population-starved that people who reproduce need the red carpet laid out for them.

    12. SVreader says:

      Oh, badly written petitions. How is this “outrageous”? The families still get to board quite early, so they won’t be separated from their kids and they have time to get them settled down. Our world isn’t so population-starved that people who reproduce deserve kid-glove treatment.

    13. Shadowman615 says:

      Sounds like some parents have entitlement issues here. Of course, I’m still in the ‘easy stage’ of parenting too. But I still wouldn’t ask for special treatment without expecting to pay for it.

    14. @JKinNYC: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

      I didn’t mean to imply that all children are like that, but it seems like many parents don’t teach their children what is expected of them in public. They seem to think it’s a better idea to be their child’s friend. As a consequence there’s a wealth of children who can’t behave themselves in public. I don’t want anyone thinking I hate children, but to be trapped 30,000 ft in the air with just one kid like that (which would only have to be like 3% of the kid population) is a nightmare.

      My most sincere appreciation goes out to parents like you who have established boundaries with their kids.

    15. JKinNYC says:

      As a side note, has an online petition alone ever done anything?

    16. SVreader says:

      @svreader: Argh. It told me there was an error and it couldn’t post.

    17. skittlbrau says:

      @Electoral College Dropout: I must have been on the same flight.

      Though the worst person I have ever had the *pleasure* of sitting next two was a fifty-something man who decided to bitch loudly that he was being inconvenienced by the flight being lateish (due to a siezed motor pump American replaced in 15 minutes) for the ENTIRE FLIGHT from OHare to Newark. Not like there weren’t 100 other people on the plane who were late too or anything. And he fidgeted the whole time like a toddler.

      Just needed to get that off my chest.

    18. crnk says:

      ohh an online petition! Wow, I’m so going to join everyone from my middle school and we’ll save the world , too!

    19. MountainRooster says:

      The nice thing about kids boarding early is that you can avoid sitting next to them.

      It would be nice if there was a crying baby section on an airplane with a noise barrier from the rest of the cabin…. or maybe kids can wear special noise insulated muzzles and anti-seat kicking leg braces.

    20. hexychick says:

      Correct me if I am wrong (and I might be) but isn’t the “A” section business class and therefore the seats that people actually pay MORE for? Shouldn’t someone who pays more for their luxury be allowed to board first anyway? I mean I’ve never flown anything other than coach because it costs too damn much but if you’re gonna pay that, you should board before the rest. The “outrage” is bullshit anyway. It’s not like they are making the parents and kids go last! It’s only second rather than very first. Anything to complain about I guess.

    21. ironchef says:

      It’s about time.

      families and kids belong in the BACK of the plane.
      They take forever to get off the plane with strollers, noisy kids, and their diaper bags. The crying babies (who are too young to fly) are the WORST. I had to sit next to this mom who refused to go into the restroom to change a diaper. Plus the kid smelled like crap for a whole hour before she did anything.

    22. Caprica Six says:

      Yeah, don’t know why it’s so *outrageous* when, geez, just plan ahead and get an A pass. Plus, I so hate parents who feel they should be entitled to board first. These same folks are probably the one who have one child with 5 plus adults accompanying them. You know the types as we have seen them all. When my son was younger, I just planned early and always got the A pass. Now he’s 16 and boards with the rest of us cattle.

    23. luckybob343 says:

      It is unfortunate that these parents are inconvenienced, because now that Southwest is the only method of air transportation they have nowhere else to go.

      Wait, you say there are other airlines with other seating policies? Then they have no reason to whine.

      I love Southwest, and the last three trips I’ve taken have been with them. Their staff is the friendliest by far.

    24. shimane says:

      Thanks all for your comments.

      As the originator of the site with a link to the petition, I can say that parents are not looking for special treatment.

      What were are looking for is a reduction in stress. Other airlines provide it, and we will be taking our business elsewhere.

      Cranky kids = cranky parents AND cranky passengers.

      This is what occurs with the new policy.

      BEFORE – parents could get on board quickly and create a “cheerio section” where we could stay together.

      NOW – parents and kids are EVERYWHERE.

      What does that mean to you? It means that there is a higher chance of sitting next to that crying baby than before.

      And yes, I once was a “baby hater” who wondered why parents couldn’t get the child to stop crying.

      No longer.

      Regards,

      Shaun Dakin
      [www.StopSouthwestPreboard.com]

    25. Youthier says:

      @hexychick: A isn’t more (yet). It’s just the people who plan ahead enough (or care enough) to get their passes online.

      @MountainRooster: True enough. I do like when I can see where all the kids are located so I can be on the opposite end.

    26. Rivercat says:

      @Hexychick – No, on Southwest your boarding group is determined by how quickly you get your boarding pass, i.e. the first 45(?) people to check in are group A, the next batch are group B, etc.

      If they point of letting parents with kids board early is to let them get the bulkhead seats (which most airlines used to do because they offer more room and the kid isn’t kicking a seat in front of them the whole flight), then block off the bulkheads and let them board with everyone else. Personally, I liked having the kids corralled over in the pre-board area so they weren’t bothering the folks in line, and it seemed to take some stress off of their parents as well.

      Is Southwest still letting the people in wheelchairs pre-board?

    27. AndyDuncan says:

      Heaven forbid the breeders might have to check-in on line to get the A boarding like everyone else. I like kids, I like people with kids, I’ve even moved seats on planes to let families sit together, but the sense of “I have a kid so I deserve preferential treatment” bullshit is simply that, bullshit. It’s not like they’re banning families from the plane. Mind your own spawn, or fly an airline that lets you choose your frigging seats.

    28. sncreducer says:

      @hexychick: You are, in fact, wrong. Southwest doesn’t have a business class. “A” seating is simply the people who checked in and got their boarding passes first.

    29. foghat81 says:

      As a responsible parent, this blows. My child doesn’t make a racket or bother the other passengers. We make sure to keep our 20 month old son occupied and entertained.

      If some old lady gets to hobble down the jetway first, I find it ludicrous that we can’t get in and settled give our “extra needs” as well.

      Even when we flew in Group A without our child I NEVER ONCE thought the families getting on first caused me much of a headache or delay. So I’m 2-3 rows back. Worst things have happened.

    30. foghat81 says:

      *worse* things have happened. sorry bout that

    31. JKinNYC says:

      @Electoral College Dropout: I’ve got it “easy” because my son flies often (wife is from france) and has done it since he was 6 weeks, so he is used to it. Parents need to acclimate their child to flight and planes. That’s why some measure of early boarding is nice.

      Most other airlines will board elite/platinum boarders before kids, and thats reasonable too. Just give us some kind of head start to get the seatbelt on them, the books out, and the sedatives flowing (HA!) and for the most part, it’ll be ok.

      @ironchef: Just because some parents are awful, I have to be punished? Should fat people and loud talkers get their own section? Or the people who have never flown before and don’t know how to sit the hell down and get out of the way? Or the elderly in diapers?

    32. I do not understand the sense of entitlement that parents have. Children aren’t magical, they’re just smaller humans. Breeding isn’t some sort of higher calling, it’s a simple biological imperative.

      Get over yourselves parents! Don’t make the rest of us miserable simply because you’re inconvenienced with a child.

    33. @foghat81:
      “If some old lady gets to hobble down the jetway first, I find it ludicrous that we can’t get in and settled give our “extra needs” as well.”

      You’ve got to be joking. Please tell me you’re joking.

    34. forever_knight says:

      the backlash is overrated.

    35. sleze69 says:

      I wish US Air would to this as well. Now if only Southwest would stop harassing trashily dressed women…

    36. Illusio26 says:

      @AndyDuncan: I agree 100%. If parents want assigned seats, go fly united or american. I don’t understand why they should get any special treatment. Check in early, or wait in line like everyone else.

    37. Buran says:

      Oh boo hoo. Free ride is over, cue the whining. I welcome this change — I’m sick of having to wait for everyone who abuses the preboard rules to get on before those of us who are prepared and ready and registered promptly the day before the flight.

      If you don’t like it, you can fly, oh, any other airline that offers assigned seats.

    38. nidolke says:

      Call the whaaaaambulance.

    39. DrGirlfriend says:

      Now that I know that the kind of parents who are self-absorbed and me-me-me will be boycotting SW Airlines, I will be happy to start flying with SW more often. Thanks for the heads-up!

    40. AndyDuncan says:

      @darkjedi26: And the silly thing is that they’re still being given special treatment, and by all accounts that treatment is just as effective at solving the main issue (sitting together) as their previous system. They’re just bitching that they don’t get as special of treatment. ridiculous.

    41. Hanke says:

      Wow, all you anti-parents people…go to your mom’s house, and tell her what she should have done the night you were concieved.

      While I have not yet done an airplane flight with my three-year-old, we have been on a number of train rides, on both NJ Transit and the New York Subway. My son sits in a seat quietly, and enjoys the ride. He may stand on the seat to turn and look out the window. But he never bothers anyone else, same as when we take him out to a restaurant.

    42. Caswell says:

      I’ve said it before in posts about this SouthWest policy – I’m happy to see it go because I’ve seen it horribly abused, time and time again.

      I fly into and out of Orlando primarily, and obviously planes full of families w/ children are commonplace. What’s also commonplace on these SouthWest flights are four-foot tall children under four years of age.

      The abuse of the policy is likely a large factor in getting it scrapped. I’ve choose what airline I fly for business, and after standing near the front of the A group only to board half full planes full of families abusing this benefit one too many times I don’t even bother to look at SouthWest fares.

    43. foghat81 says:

      The assigned seats part of it doesn’t bother me. It’s the getting in and settled w/ a baby. That’s significantly more time-consuming and difficult than for non-children travelers.

      And in regards to my comment about old people, I was half joking. I’ve seen MANY who don’t really need the extra time to get on the plane. They just do it b/c they’re old and, here’s that word, feel entitled. Crack down on those shifty grannies while you’re at it Southwest.

    44. gatopeligroso says:

      sdakin@usa.net Why not contact the “President” of this organization and give him a piece of your mind.

    45. Buran says:

      @radleyas: I doubt it. Some people can’t comprehend the fact that people with kids are a huge inconvenience to a large majority of people, and should also not jam up the front of the plane. I’ve yet to see an airline that assigns seats that has figured out that loading the back of the plane first would be easier — they always load the front first! And then everyone has to shove their way past occupied seats.

    46. jdmba says:

      I am still not clear why their personal choice to have children somewhat gives them preferential treatment. I am also not clear why they can’t just get to the airport in a timely fashion (or log in) and secure an “A” themselves.

      Don’t get me wrong – I would not fly SouthWest to begin with. The whole “on your mark, get set, RUN RUN RUN” mentality for boarding just adds insult to injury in an already stressful flying environment. But it was certainly not fair or appropriate to have people board before those who made a concerted effort to secure an “A”, just because they manage to bring a bunch of kids (who will no doubt ruin the flight for anyone unlucky enough to find themselves within 5 rows) with them.

      I applaud SouthWest for the removal of undeserved preferential treatment.

    47. Caswell says:

      @Caswell:

      “I’ve choose”… I’ve got the ability to choose…

      Gotta love it when the mind gets ahead of the fingers.

    48. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      Wow before I became a parent I never knew there was such hatred for children. I mean I know a lot of lesbians and gays who detest “breeders” but damn people. My child is 1 and he does not act up in public. We take him outside or calm him down. Yes I see bad parents but seriously does me getting on the plane 5 min ahead of you really kill anyone? I hate taking up other peoples time but it just takes longer to get a child on the plane than an adult.

    49. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: And before anyone takes out the flamer. I do check in online early and I usually show up at least 3 hours early. Cause getting thru security with a child takes extra time.

    50. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: We don;’t hate your children. We hate you, entitlement monsters.

    51. It’s not a matter of hating children. It’s a matter of really disliking the parents of these children. A child doesn’t make you disabled, so why should be treated differently/specially?

      I have no problem with the elderly and disabled getting on a plane before me. They have infirmities and require special help. A child is not a disease or disability.

    52. JKinNYC says:

      @Buran: American loads the back first.

    53. Me. says:

      I’m not going to pass judgement until I have my own kids. If I speak now, I know I’ll be damned to have the loudest, most ADDHD kids in the universe. I suppose I’m more alarmed to see little yappy dogs on planes these days….

    54. joemono says:

      You know, I don’t fly that much, so maybe I just don’t notice – but you guys act like kids on a plane are the worst thing you’ve ever experienced. You’re bigger babies than the actual children you’re complaining about.

    55. Seacub says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: we don’t detest “breeders” by any means. we detest ill-behaved children and the parents that allow it to go on and/or get all self-righteous about it when someone dares to speak up about it.

    56. foghat81 says:

      I am capable of always getting an “A” boarding pass. HOWEVER, if you travel with a lap baby, they need to make changes at the gate you’re relegated to a Group C most of the time.

      If SW didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with this as I’d still be in A. That’ll learn those evil business travelers!

      note: the whole issue isn’t really such a problem for me since we travel 3-4 times a yr tops. I just got sucked into trying to defend us “evil parents” who are screwing up all of your lives

    57. JKinNYC says:

      @radleyas: A child is not a disease or disability. However, traveling with a 3 year old is more of a pain than traveling alone. Plus, when you give parents more time to settle in, their children are more likely to behave, making it less likely to piss YOU off. Now, parents don’t really need super duper special treatment, and boarding them between group A and B is exceptionally reasonable.

      Just understand that giving parents a little extra time will make YOUR flight more enjoyable.

    58. JKinNYC says:

      Next time you all fly, count the number of kids that are on the plane, and then at the end, count the number that were obnoxious. Most kids are ok. It is the few awful ones that spoil the rep of the rest. Perhaps we should be able to revoke jerky parents right to fly. Of course, then there’s the fat people argument again.

    59. @JKinNYC:

      Dunno about the fat people thing. I’ve never had a fat dude cry, scream, kick the back of my seat and then shit his pants. Then again, it would make for a great anecdote.

    60. powerjhb says:

      I have two kids and I see this as reasonable. People really take advantage of the pre-boarding and it amuses me to see a family of ten with one toddler have to preboard. If you can get a kid settled in a restaurant, you can get them settled in an airplane.

      Was it more convenient for parents. Hell yeah!
      Is it a necessity. No. This was a business decision that does not screw the customer. Vacation travelers usually spend less than business travelers so it makes sense for Southwest to try and get more business travelers.

    61. manevitch says:

      It used to be that children sitting in an approved car seat had to be seated at a window seat. I have no doubt that policy hasn’t changed, because a car seat in an aisle seat can pose a real hazard in case of evacuation.

      That said, the reason they allowed parents to preboard was to (a) not take up everyone else’s time futzing with the car seat; and in the case of Southwest, (b) to ensure that car seats end up at the window where they belong.

      Now it’s a crapshoot with a plane already 1/3-loaded with people.

    62. EmmK says:

      We flew SW this weekend – me, husband, 4-year-old, 11-month-old – from Seattle to Salt Lake City. And honestly, the new policy wasn’t awful. The gate agents made several announcements on how it would work, and no one seemed to have a problem. Since we weren’t trying to make connections, we took the kids all the way to the back of the plane and settled in quickly. Each of our kids started traveling by plane when they were under 3 months old, so they know the drill.

      Personally, I’d rather sit near a crying baby than a whining adult. The baby can’t help it, but the adult should certainly know better.

    63. dsolimini says:

      The new policy prevents the “this child has five adults with them” problem I’ve seen time and again on Southwest. The gate attendants have fight a large family all trying to get into the plane before everyone else because of 1 kid.

      SW’s boarding policy is mostly built on social pressure-enforced fairness. People get in line, social pressure prevents cutting, and it encourages people to be on time. Get there early and get a better seat. The small-children first policy created a loophole through which people could cheat without social pressure repercussions. The new policy prevents egregious cheating while still retaining the original goal of ensuring kids can sit with their parents.

    64. skittlbrau says:

      @JKinNYC: I know some kids are angels whose parents have taught them appropriate behavior and can sit still for 5 minutes at a time.

      I have also had to have a flight attendant intervene because a 5 year old was kicking my seat and the mom flipped out when i politely asked her to stop her child. See, his self actualization and self expression (or some other bs) is far more important than my seat not being kicked.

      The flight attendant sided with me. Thanks United!

    65. JKinNYC says:

      @radleyas: You’ve never had the privilege of one snore and fall asleep on you after already having their stomach flow onto your lap? Lucky you. You must not fly that much.

      Someday I’ll tell the story about the 5’0 350lb woman who shit herself in the middle seat between me and my wife (Because she wouldn’t trade out). I’ll take a screaming toddler over that any day

    66. INconsumer says:

      southwest does have a small section in the front of their planes that have bigger nicer seats. instead of 3 seats in a row, their are only 2. of course it costs extra though, and as i walked passed it, it didn’t impress me enough to pay any more for it. a small curtain to obscure the view of the people behind you and more room is all you get.

    67. JKinNYC says:

      @baa: You know my kid (the former).

      On the latter, I’m on your side. I actually told a woman on a 12-hour flight to Israel that she was the reason people hate kids on planes. She started to answer but then shut up. (My 2 year old was fast asleep on his mom at the time).

    68. INconsumer says:

      i’ve only flown to and from las vegas(and probably never fly anywhere else unless its further west than that, i prefer to drive.) luckily not very many people bring their kids there so, i’ve never had a screaming child on my flights.

    69. @JKinNYC:

      I used to fly weekly for about 2 years. I’ve never had any problems with overweight people. Never,

      Yes, I’ve had someone fall asleep on my shoulder. I simply woke them and asked them to stay in their own seat.

      As for a screaming toddler, I had one of those about ever other flight. Generally, there is no recourse. You can complain to a flight attendant, but very little gets done.

    70. skittlbrau says:

      @JKinNYC: Now that sounds like a good story. Do tell.

    71. Shadowman615 says:

      They aren’t even taking away the pre-boarding completely, just moving the parents with children back 1 step (to “A and a half”)

    72. Veeber says:

      It looks like there are a number of comments on the guys site who are disagreeing with him already. eh, I’ve got a newborn and we’ll just check in at the 24 hour window and be fine.

    73. humphrmi says:

      I agree with the many others, A & 1/2 seating would work fine for me (3 kids: 10, 5, and 3). I don’t see the problem. You need to get them settled early and seated together but you don’t need a free ride.

      I disagree with those who project their hatred of children upon others in public places.

    74. pinkbunnyslippers says:

      @Buran: I can’t believe I’m about to agree with you. I guess there’s a first for everything!

      I love the majority of parents who are like “oh, MY child doesn’t act up in public.” Oh really? Are you positive? Are you SURE? Because last time I checked, most parents are so out of it they wouldn’t be able to tell if their kid was abducted by an alien.

      If you have children, and you need the “extra time” to “settle down” your little tyke, then how about you quit your complaining and try another airline that assigns you a seat. Just because you’ve reproduced doesn’t entitle you to extra anything, especially if it comes at the sacrifice of an entire plane-load of other people.

    75. jtlight says:

      “Waaaaaaaaaah!” Wait, was that a crying baby, or a whining parent?

    76. JKinNYC says:

      @radleyas: You are very very lucky then. Perhaps it was the route you were flying :).

      As for a crying toddler on every flight, consider what portion of the children are crying, one bad seed anywhere on the plane, and it hits your list. Even if there are 12 other well behaved children. You have to be (un)lucky enough to wind up right next to a biggun to have to feel that.

      Very little gets done with a screaming toddler because in many cases there’s nothing you CAN do. Ask your parents if you were ever inconsolable. Especially littler kids who may be suffering because of the pressure changes and are too small to understand. Don’t be so sure the parents aren’t trying to do something.

    77. LTS! says:

      Southwest can enact whatever policies they wish, no one forces you to use them. I found that the one time we flew with my son at 6 mos. it was convenient that we could get into a seat and get all the extra gear that accompanies a baby situated without putting my ass in everyone’s face as I move things around into the already compacted spaces available. But hey, I suppose now I have an excuse when someone complains. I’ll simply turn around and mention that had I boarded before them I would have been seated and that my ass would not have been in their face while I try to get everything situated before the next horde runs on board.

      Every flight I’ve been on has annoying children and just as annoying adults. I’ve flown where the guy in front of me who probably came in at just under 500lbs kept shifting the seat and even without reclining the seat it was bending so far back as to hit my knees. So, there’s your obligatory fat person reference.

      I will say that if you are not going to make accommodations to people with special needs then don’t make them for anyone. Yea, I mean handicapped people as well. I’ve seen enough people fake a “handicap” to get preferential treatment so I suppose that qualifies just as much as those people with the 4 foot 4 year olds.

      Look, as a business traveler you have your choice of airlines to fly. If Southwest’s policy was so encumbering to you then why did you keep on flying Southwest? Why didn’t you switch to someone who better accepted your.. oh wait.. not YOUR money, your company’s money.

    78. @JKinNYC:

      Not every flight. As I said, about every other flight. Not all of them are kicking my seat, but several seem to feel the need to scream/shout.

      As for my own behavior as a kid, I’d be happy to share. Yeah, I was a pain in the ass. However, my parents did not fly with me. I did not go on a plane until I was 8 years old. In other situations, such as restaurants and stores, if I began to cry, my parents left the store/restaurant.

      Believe me, I have heard many tales of my parents leaving restaurants hungry because I was crying. But my parents did what they did out of respect for others. They didn’t expect others to deal with me or co-parent me.

    79. BugMeNot2 says:

      As the parent of an 8 year old who flew SW a lot when the kid was young I heartily support the old policy of kids first. It helped immensely to have a couple of extra minutes to get onto the plane and get settled and be able to sit together. The SW cattle call is stressful in the best of situations. I love SW but I hate the seating.

    80. indiie says:

      If the child is under, say, a year old, I can see letting them get on first. Its hard to keep a grip on a squirming infant, navigate down narrow aisles and into narrower seats trying to haul a diaper bag too. It would be nice to have a “kids only” section, if not “child-free” flights…. only thing to do is tune out with earplugs or an ipod…

    81. BugMeNot2 says:

      I’ve seen a lot of women traveling alone with a couple of kids. I always offer to help. Recently, I helped a young woman who was traveling along b/c her husband was in Iraq. She was taking the kids to see grandparents for the holidays. She said that normally they would drive but she didn’t want to try that alone with the kids.

      Southwest should change the policy back to how it was. If people are so mean that they think they have to get on the plane ahead of a couple of kids, then they should just walk.

    82. LisaLives says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: “I Mean I know a lot of lesbians and gays who detest “breeders.”

      You do? I’m gay and I’ve never met any. In fact most of my gay friends *have* children. I always assumed that the “gays hate breeders,” myth was a really vile made-up stereotype promoted by the folks who don’t care for us, like, “Hide your kids! Gays hate them and oh yeah, they recruit!”

      Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I don’t have kids, but I’ve never been bothered by flying with them. In my experience adults are far more obnoxious. From the overweight people who insist on putting up the arm rest so they can spill into my seat, to the businessman who crammed his carry-on under the seat in front of him and proceeded to stretch his legs out under the seat in front of me, adults are far more annoying.

      I think there should be pre-boarding offered to anyone who needs it for legitimate reasons, like the elderly or disabled or people with infants. But it sounds like the cheaters (a pack of five adults rushing to get on first with a token child) ruined it for everyone else.

    83. elf6c says:

      Ah parents with entitlement issues. Here is a hint- its a kid, not cancer. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your groinfruit. A child isn’t a handicap and you do not deserve special treatment. I suggest you fly USAIR (let the punishment fit the crime).

      For every whiny self-absorbed breeder they lose, they will gain 3-4 business travelers or regular flyers.

      Yeesh.

    84. dwmills says:

      It’s simple really. These parents need to lighten up for one and print out their boarding passes at home as early as possible. Then just get to the airport early. They are then, more than likely in the A group and never have to worry about stuff like this. It’s insane, and they are acting like spoiled children. I have been a loyal Southwest customer and will remain one.

    85. BugMeNot2 says:

      Kids don’t bother me as much as the jerk in front of me who as soon as we’re in the air slams his seat back as far as it will go.

    86. hollerhither says:

      I fly quite often (unfortunately) and I’ve never seen a happy community of parents and kids all sitting in one spot together after pre-boarding. Can anyone other than the “petitioner” back this up? Maybe because I don’t fly to Orlando…

      That said, I don’t care if they got to pre-board because at least when boarding after I could spot potential “problems” (not all, just the fussier ones) and select a seat far enough away from them.

      Is it ever possible to move beyond: “So don’t fly.” “Fat people suck.” “Old people suck.” “Indulgent parents suck.” “It’s my right to have kids.” “I don’t care how my kids act.” “Quit whining.” Is that all there is?

    87. Rogue says:

      @radleyas: I beg to differ. Children are a disease. A disease that the majority of us have to deal with at one point or another whether it be a new strain that we unleash upon humanity or a previous form of the disease we inherit from someone else. ;)

      On the subject though, I can’t say that I fully agree with this new policy. Yes, I understand why. But let’s face the facts here. You can’t say that a parent with two four year old twins and a one-month old baby doesn’t take a little longer to get seated and settled in than say, a single adult. They do and in my opinion, they should be allowed to board first along with those who have disabilities.

      I’m sorry for those of you who feel inconvenienced by having to wait in line a little longer or have to listen to a baby cry for a little while. I got news for you. You, yes you, did the exact same thing. Hell, you were probably worse. It’s a necessary evil. So instead of complaining, be patient. Deal with it like an adult.

      This is not to say that parents should not control their children. By all means, strap the little devils into their seats, gag them, duct tape their mouths shut, and go on about your day. Call it ‘tough love’ if you must. At the end of the day though, a mother and her children take longer to board and settle in than adults do. This new policy won’t make the plane move faster. You won’t get to your destination any quicker. All it does is make it so some people can sit down in a seat that people have probably farted in thousands of times. Enjoy. =)

    88. Nice to see he understands other’s point of view, but is apparently unwilling to allow them to express it. Comments are closed.

      A moment of reason in this discussion, having a problem with a “parents first” policy does not make you anti-breeder, anti-parent, or anti-kid. It just means that you don’t have a problem with parents boarding second instead of first.

      Also as one of “the gays” I can say that gay distaste for straights is no more prevalent than straight distaste for gays, probably less so.

    89. @hollerhither:

      Is it ever possible to move beyond: “So don’t fly.” “Fat people suck.” “Old people suck.” “Indulgent parents suck.” “It’s my right to have kids.” “I don’t care how my kids act.” “Quit whining.” Is that all there is?

      Well, there are always teenagers. No one likes them :)

    90. JKinNYC says:

      @Electoral College Dropout: I’d also add, that among the anti-breeders I’ve met, far more of them are straight.

    91. JKinNYC says:

      @radleyas: Pimply freaks.

    92. phrygian says:

      As a kid, my dad taught me the following about traveling by plane: pack light, get there early, board quickly. I follow that advice to this day when I’m flying. If parents would do the same thing, there would be no need for them to complain about not getting to board first — They’d be in the A group and settled before the B group even got called.

    93. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @speedwell: Well if I am such a entitlement monster than why is it that I am disabeled because of multiple knee surgeries, yet I refuse to get a handicaped placard or sign? I leave it for the people who really can’t get around. Or the dumbasses who park there when they are not disabeled at all.

      I am not claiming its a right to get on early. I am saying give it a break if someone needs a few extra minutes whats worse. You sitting in the boarding area or having to stand in the aisle behind that person while they get thier kids and or disabeled butt in the seat?

    94. fuzzycuffs says:

      Why is it that these parents think they are ENTITLED to board first? Of course you are not! The sheer fact that you are getting a pretty favorable boarding position without doing anything but breeding is charity enough already.

      It isn’t hard to go to Southwest.com 24 hours before boarding and check in online. Guess what, you’ll get an A boarding pass then.

      STOP WHINING

    95. bilge says:

      Rambunctious, crying, poorly-behaved kids I can handle. The adult sitting next to me who won’t STFU is the person who drives me insane.

    96. hollerhither says:

      @radleyas:
      I also forgot “sluts with short skirts shouldn’t fly” and “I can wear what I want” and “smelly people suck.” Actually, I do support good hygiene, so…

    97. grrrarrrg says:

      i rather liked it when the kids would board first as lets me avoid them when it’s finally my turn to get on the plane.

      i only ask that they get off the plane last, as they are usually the ones who hold up the exit process with all of the extra baggage that they bring aboard.

      however it’s those schmuck families that abuse the system that piss me off. come on. 12 people traveling together… and only 1 toddler??? come on now.

    98. That online petition was f—ing delicious!

      Seriously though, this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. If you can still get in Group A by filling out a form online is there really a problem here?

    99. MaliBoo Radley says:

      @hollerhither:

      I’m hugely pro good hygiene. I’ve been on the subway enough to have lived with other peoples pit stink. Foul!!

    100. Adam291 says:

      I don’t like this policy. I like it when parents and their damn kids pick their seats first, so when I get on I can choose to sit as far as possible from them.

      The only other option would be for parents and kids to sit in designated areas at the front or back, so people like me who don’t like whining kids and crying babies can be far away.

    101. savvy9999 says:

      This whole thread of SWA-lovers is like listening to the sad lowing of swine in a truck, fat hogs and piglets included, all biting and crapping on each other on their way together to the chop house.

      You (business traveler) and your family (The Griswolds) are worth more than that. Don’t fly SWA for any reason, pony up the extra couple bucks for a decent seat and attention from a better airline.

    102. luxmatic says:

      Backlash-backlash:

      Childless Adults Predictably Outraged Because Parents Are Predictably Outraged At Southwest’s New Boarding Policy

    103. Hawkeye1659 says:

      @Nemesis Enforcer:

      You and others have mentioned how parents being able to pre-board gives them a “few extra minutes” to get settled. How does this policy prevent that? IT DOESN’T. They board A, board parents & kids, wait for them to get settled, board B, board C, leave. Whether they wait to get settled as first on board or second on board makes no difference. There’s still a “settling delay”.

      And to the person who submitted this talking about Cheerio clubs or whatever…I never see some happy group of parents sitting together in thr front of the plane. They’re still all over, but just in the better seats. Deal with being second or fly another airline. The latter would make my travels much better anyways so please take your business anywhere else.

    104. Hawkeye1659 says:

      @savvy9999:

      Ahahaha, “better attention from another airline” you must be joking. SW has the best rewards program, friendliest employees, great prices, doesn’t rob you for making day-of reservations, 800 number where a person just ANSWERS the phone, change reservations without charge, etc. There’s a reason so many people defend SW, because it’s deserved.

      Get off your high horse, you feel better and more important because you pay the “extra couple bucks”. I’ll take quality friendly, reliable, on time service at fair prices and a company that rewards a few round trips with free flights anywhere and drink tickets.

    105. armour says:

      All I have to say is suck it up cupcake!

      Maybe because I live in a Metropolitan city and take the subway and other public transportation on a regular basis with my two boys just by my self I don’t see what the big deal is?

      Both of them since my youngest was born have travel with me alone or with my wife and me and I don’t find it a hassle or problem boarding with the rest of the people. If you find it stressful it’s because you make it stressful and are not prepared. We have traveled by boat train, bus, Car, pretty much any mode of transportation you can think of. The only place that I tend to find difficult is the longer lines for security check points as the line is constantly moving and there is not a lot you can do to keep them occupied in that situation.

      I also plan when I travel because I know what times of they day the get more irritable and cranky Traveling late day is good as they tend to sleep a lot or early morning when they usually get up and are well rested. Mid day when there is a chance of missing or delaying a meal and they are hungry or start to get tired is a recipe for disaster and I avoid those time for my sake my children and the courtesy of others.

      They are 4 and 7 both Autistic and can be a handful but I plan ahead I have had little complaints in all our travels. I see to many parents not plan ahead getting stressed out and blaming others for their poor preparation and planning and putting everyone around them in misery.

      For those that say children should not travel or have their own horror stories don’t blame the children for their parents actions kids are just being kids and will keep doing what they were brought up to do. But on the same note people with children do have the need to travel as well. I’ve been annoyed more times by adults when traveling then kids but why is it the one with children stand out and get noticed the most?

    106. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @Hawkeye1659: Never said the policy was good/bad I was responding to all the comments about how inconvieneced people are with kids flying. I still stand by my statement, its going to take longer for a parent/child to get seated so you can either have them pre board a few min. early or wait in the aisle while they get situated. I would prefer to allow them to pre board but hey thats just me. I hate that uncomfortable feeling you get just standing in the aisle touching everyone by accident and getting stared at by those already seated.

    107. sethom says:

      fly 1st class and board first anyway…that said, glad I don’t fly southwest.

    108. ElizabethD says:

      Jeez, never mind blue state vs. red state. Judging by the comments here, this whole freakin’ country is divided into “I’m childless and I shouldn’t have to give an inch to you or your child”, and “Would you guys please give us harried parents a break?” camps, with splinter groups who are blatantly anti-kid and/or anti-parenting (“breeders” is a popular epithet) vs. veteran parents who demand “You must share in the sacrifices entailed in my child-rearing.”

      Can’t we all just get along? No, I didn’t think so. Waaaaaaah!

      (Self-centered whiners on all sides, IOW.)

    109. Steel_Pelican says:

      Want to board first and have a Cheerio party with the other parents? Check in first. The same rules as everybody else.

      I’m sure every person in line has a very good reason why they should get to board first andget an extra 5 minutes to get situated on the plane, why does “BABY!!!!1!!!11″ negate everyone else’s reason?

    110. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: I don’t know, entitlement monster. I had a kidney removed due to massive infection and I have trouble getting around, yet I refuse to claim a handicapped sticker as well, and for the same reasons you state. It strikes me you are a trifle inconsistent, trying to convince us you deserve special treatment just because you chose to have children.

      Earth to moocher: I’m likely to be the chick behind you who’s helping you put the stroller in the overhead bin and reading to the older kids to keep them occupied while you go change the baby’s diaper. But at the first hint of you feeling that I’m your fricking servant and you can damn well do it your own semi-handicapped self.

    111. Buran says:

      @shimane: Why didn’t you post your whine BEFORE the policy was changed? You waited too long.

      Next time, WEAR EARPLUGS. Or change airlines.

    112. BrockBrockman says:

      Parents with kids still get preferential treatment on Southwest – it’s just not as preferential as before. There are still a ton of seats available after the A group gets onboard, and enough for parents to huddle together with their kids.

      My motto, “Being at the front of the B line is the same as being at the end of the A line” still holds true here.

    113. Chicago7 says:

      If the kids are under 2, they should be strapped down in a baby carrier. If they are between 2 and 10, they should be forced to wear a seat belt at all times.

      /If they are over 10, give them a couple of shots of whiskey and we can all make fun of them. :D

    114. archeomason says:

      Actually, I’ve been told that it’s the law that anyone for any reason can pre-board if they ask. It’s implied that that means some kind of mobility impairment or handicap, but the airlines are not allowed to ask for a reason for the pre-board request. So John or Jane Doe on their way to the Boston Marathon from their big CEO meeting can walk up and say, “I need to pre-board,” and they are ushered up to the front (although, if they’re John or Jane Doe, that might suggest they’re corpses, which would be a handicap and mobility impairment…). I don’t know if this policy is affected by Southwest’s new stance on family boarding.

    115. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @speedwell: Think what you will, I really couldn’t give a rip. I am meerly saying that you will wait one way or the other. you can do it in the boarding area or in the aisle. And I am not asking for anything special, I mean f’ it I can just take up the aisle for a few minutes if thats preferable. I am actually trying to point out that it is less annoying for me to take a few min to get everything set before the general public board than to stand around blocking everyone during regular boarding.

      I won’t bring a stroller in the cabin its too big and blocks up the limited storage avail. If you help others with thier kids thats awesome I do it too. It’s not easy to be a responsible parent.

    116. Trai_Dep says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: “I mean I know a lot of lesbians and gays who detest “breeders” but damn people.”

      Excuse me? Speaking for The Gays, we luuuuv breeders. They sometimes even make nice eye candy. And, well, Mom was a breeder (usually). But we feel that they should be treated exactly the same as everyone else – US for instance. Taxes. Insurance. Children. Social Security. A say in how our beloved’s medical treatment goes. And yes, boarding passes. It’s America! Is the concept that foreign to you?

      Geezus. “Detest”?! Who are you?!

    117. FF_Mac says:

      Wow…it’s amazing how many kid-haters there are here. I would think that those of you who can’t stand kids on the flight would want them to sit down first so you can avoid them when you get on.

      I hope there’s only single seats left when my two kids (3 and 2 y/o) get on the plane with me. They can sit with you…I’ll be in the back having a beer.

      That being said, the 50-ish guy who sat in front of my 11 month old on SW from Tampa to St. Louis could have sat anywhere else, but he CHOSE to sit in front of her. She was in a car seat (we’ll NEVER do that again). When he reclined his chair, it put his seat back within range of her feet. She found great delight in kicking it after she woke up. He bitched a fit to me, then the flight attendant. She gave him the same two options I did: put your seat up or move to another seat. She said, “It’s not like the baby wasn’t there when you got on the plane.”

      So…maybe there was a benefit to knowing where the land mines are when you walk in.

    118. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @trai_dep: He’s a poor, beleagured, half-crippled ex-soldier who thinks we should all rush to his rescue because he CHOSE to serve in the military and CHOSE to have children.

      If we were sitting together in a room in person, I would extend every courtesy to him that I would to anyone else, BUT NOT MORE.

      And for the record I like to fly standby, so I usually board dead last. I don’t really care about Southwest’s stupid policies. I care about not being the victim of other people’s neediness.

    119. peggynature says:

      @radleyas: So, by your logic, pregnancy is not a disease, and therefore confers no expectation of special consideration on the pregnant woman. Okay, thanks for clearing that up for everyone.

    120. erratapage says:

      The worst experience I’ve ever had on a plane was sitting next to a teenager who couldn’t sit still. His elbow was constantly in my ribs. I switched seats with my husband who didn’t notice the problem. Go figure.

      Sometimes, a kid will kick the back of my seat. That’s annoying. Sometimes, I’ll be next to a screaming infant. That’s annoying.

      None of these issues have anything to do with Southwest’s policy. As a public carrier, Southwest simply decided to stop discriminating against individuals based on age and family status.

      Southwest doesn’t fly here, so I’m unlikely to use their services, but I appreciate it when an airline attempts to try something new that doesn’t involve taking a service away from me. I’m pretty sure that the quality of the family’s flight is more or less unaffected by the change in policy (despite the fact that the families are offended). And it’s also likely that the quality of my flight will also not be affected.

      If their arrival/departure statistics are affected by the policy, they’ll change it back eventually. In the meantime… who cares?

    121. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @trai_dep: I was pointing out that the only time I have ever heard the term breeder was from my gay/lesbian friends. I think its a pretty disrespectful term, I didnt realise it was common usage among the child dislikers around here. I apologize.
      @speedwell: Actually you are wrong I am neither poor nor beleagured. Yes I am half-crippled actually 57% per the VA. Yes I chose to serve and I am proud of that fact. Did I ever use it to garner pity or specail treatment….nope.

      I was commenting on you saying I have entitlement issues. I was submiting evidence I do not. You would not know that otherwise. I don’t ask for any special treatment because of it. So while you may not like my views I would point out I am not making personal attacks against you.

    122. MaliBoo Radley says:

      @peggynature:

      That’s a leap. And it’s your leap.

      There is a big difference between a woman carrying a fetus and a person with a child. A waddling woman with swollen ankles and constant back pain is quite a bit different than a person with an infant/toddler. Besides, couldn’t we be talking about a man traveling with his child?

    123. jdmba says:

      Does you bringing your child to McDonald’s entitle you to simply walk up to the counter, bypassing the line? No. We are in a society here people (to quote George Costanza) … play according to the rules.

      But what I really don’t get is … people with children cannot log into the internet 23.9999 hours before their flight? If their children are so misbehaved that they can’t point and click, then they certainly should not be exposing innocent travelers to be trapped on a plane with them.

      And yes – we all know that YOUR child is different. Its funny, everyone’s child is different. But here’s a hint – if someone complains about your child to you it is probably due to something real. People do not want to have unnecessary confrontations. Whatever your kid did, it was enough to get them to say something. I’ll bet, however, that your FIRST reaction to is to leap to the child’s defense rather than to step back and see what’s really happening. No one gets rich complaining to you about your kid’s behavior … its not a scam. But a parent’s natural proclivity to assume that their kid isn’t kicking the seat, their kid isn’t screaming, their kid isn’t running up and down the aisles getting chocolate on everyone, is simply counterproductive, and it certainly breeds (no pun intended) a heck of a lot of ill will on both sides.

      The bottom line is, if you need more time to get your child on board, then get up earlier or log onto the web site. Don’t just go through life expecting people to stand aside because you decided to bring your kid with you. If I get up early, and get an “A” boarding pass, you can darned well believe that I would ticked it you waltz up 2 minutes before the boarding starts, and get in front of me anyway.

    124. scarletvirtue says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: I’m joining with the others that have said that they are gay, and do not hate children.

      I am gay, and I love kids – but I don’t want to have any of my own. Sure, there are instances where kids can be loud and annoying – but that’s partially kids being kids and partially bad parenting.

      And I’d never call a straight person a “breeder”, unless they’re breedering animals. ;-)

    125. scarletvirtue says:

      @scarletvirtue: “breedering animals”? How about “breeding” animals?

      Damn trigger-happy fingers…

    126. AndyDuncan says:

      @Hanke: Yeah, so if we think it’s ok that Southwest gives preferential treatment to parents by letting them board ahead of everyone except group “A”, regardless of their actual group, and that Parent’s shouldn’t complain about their reduced benefits, we’re somehow “Anti-Parent”?

      Just because someone doesn’t think you should be given everything you want doesn’t make them anti-you. This isn’t about forcing parents to the back of the plane, it’s about giving them extra privileges, and then telling them not to look the gift horse in the f-ing mouth.

      “Anti-parent” would be to ban you and your hellspawn from the plane altogether, not giving you a free pass to cut in line. Because that’s what’s happening, you’re still getting to cut in line, you just don’t get to cut all the way to the front. And I’m ok with giving you that special treatment. You can have cutsies. Just STFU about it being “anti-parent”.

    127. anyanka323 says:

      I like this revised policy. The couple times I flew Southwest during college, I saw the policy abused fairly frequently. I also am tired of the entitled attitude parents have just because they have children. It’s your choice to have kids. Just accept that there may be an extended period of time where they are perfectly behaved in public. It’s part of being a parent.

      As for kids flying, I’m not in favor of that unless it’s for longer trips. It’s not the behavior aspect – it’s the sudden changes in altitude and being in a confined space that I would be concerned about if I were a parent. There’s nothing wrong with a good road trip with the kids in the car. I didn’t have my first plane trip until I was 16 and it was to Europe. Wait until they’re a bit older at least 8 until they are on a plane.

    128. sunchief32 says:

      You childless travelers should want us to get on first with our kids so you now where not to sit. Now, I will take my 2 year old and sit right next to the person I deem to not like my kid the most. Did I mention she’s 2? Enjoy the flight!

    129. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @scarletvirtue: Never said gay peeps dislike kids. I was using a term I have been called before by a lesbian friend. As above I apologized, It was meant more that there are a lot of ppl on this board who really dislike kids.

    130. Randal Milholland says:

      @Shimane

      “BEFORE – parents could get on board quickly and create a “cheerio section” where we could stay together.”

      No. I fly a minimum of eight times a year – usually cloaser to twelve, and have been doing so since 2003. I have yet to be on a plane with this magical Cheerio section. The family’s always spread out and I’ve usually had screaming in stereo.

      And not all of us are “child haters,” as you so delicately put it. I spent years doing theatre for children. But six hours surrounded by screaming tots who are having tempter tantrums and parents who usually could care less makes it hard to feel saddened by this change of policy.

    131. FMulder says:

      @Hanke

      As someone who also rides both NJ Transit and the New York Subway, on behalf of all riders – PLEASE keep your son from STANDING ON THE SEAT because the rest of us have to SIT in those seats that your child has just placed the dirty soles of his shoes on. If we aren’t choosing to sit on the ground, we don’t want to have to sit on the dirt your child has just tracked from the ground to that seat.

      Or do you put some paper or something (that you take off the train with you) under his feet?

      Even at 3yrs old, my mother wouldn’t let me and taught me to not put my feet on the seats out of respect for others who would be sitting there.

      Most people don’t hate children, they just hate when parent’s feel that having children means they don’t have to be considerate of other people in public spaces — and when they allow their children to act that out.

    132. FMulder says:

      That aside, I do have to note that it isn’t always possible for parents to wait until their children are ‘older’ to take them on the plane. Some have relatives in distant parts of the US, in other countries, and otherwise have a right to take their children with them when they travel.

      It isn’t the existence of children, it is how they behave and how their parents let them behave. It is just a carry-over to parents who feel entitled to let their misbehave and disturb others on ground, in stores, in restaurants, etc. It is just on an airplane when you are trapped with them in an airplane.

    133. dcaslin says:

      Thank God! I fly Southwest for work all the time and was getting really tired of the 8 person families with a barely young enough child. The absolutely worst I’d seen was soccer team (or two) that were all pre-boards. Literally 40 seats were taken by the pre-board line.

      Wasn’t there a good old time when people with small annoying children just left them with their grandparents or stayed home until the kids were old enough to travel reasonably?

    134. ironchef says:

      don’t get me started about how parents feel entitled to dump their unfinished projects on their single co-worker friends at work.

      !!!!!!!!!!!!

    135. cryrevolution says:

      Heh online petition. That’s funny. There seems to be two solutions to this either a) fly somewhere else or b) get there earlier. Is it really that big of deal that you have to make an online petition!? I mean, c’mon! Thats ridiculous. You still get early boarding, get over it.

    136. Chicago7 says:

      Look, let’s face it. The A-Type personalities that spend the time to get into the “A” group will be better organized, get into their seats and out of the way of everybody else faster, and in particular, will not hold up everybody else because their kids are adorable and need to be “seen” by everyone, particularly the other parents of small children. Parents with children should board LAST. They can stand around in the waiting area, congratulating each other on how they managed (unlike 10 Billion other people) to miraculously have children.

    137. cryrevolution says:

      Oh & I particularly like that the guy compares families in the back of the plane to Rosa Parks “back of the bus”. Yeah, kind of doesn’t compare. The reason people are suggesting the back or any other assigned family seating is because it takes longer for families with their kids, diaper bags, whatever, to exit the plane. So, naturally, in order to not inconvenience the other passengers, you have them exit last i.e. the back. Rosa Parks & the civil rights movement has absolutely NOTHING to do with this. And they’re still giving you extra boarding privileges. I don’t see the problem.

    138. cccdude says:

      HOW DARE THEY! How dare Southwest allow the people with the foresight to check in 24 hours ahead of time in order to get an “A” pass to board before me and my little kitchy-kims. We showed up at the airport 60 minutes before departure and got our “C” boarding pass as usual and now they expect us to board AFTER someone else? I’LL NEVER FLY THEM AGAIN!!!

    139. cryrevolution says:

      Oh & in case you guys were wondering where he said this, it was in the comments section of the last post on his site. Absurd.

    140. Caswell says:

      @sunchief32:

      I hate to keep the comments section of this train wreck going, but parenting attitudes like this one are the reason I quickly move beyond requesting the parent discipline their child and start to do the job for them.

      Haven’t figure out who gets more scared – the kid or the spineless parent.

    141. littlejohnny says:

      Am I the only one that thinks it would make a lot more sense for kids to board last??? Maybe not for southwest b/c of the no assigned seats thing, but when you have reserved seats I always thought that the kids should be last b/c then the parents can get them all situated and they aren’t sitting on the plane for 20 mins while boarding. I always think it’s stupid when they have their kid all set and I have to make them get up so I can get to the window seat. The best is when they do the pre-boarding and the parent gets selected for the random extra security patdown!

    142. doormat says:

      The real reason is so that Southwest can start selling low numbered A passes when they move to their new boarding scheme next month.

      If southwest can sell an average of 10 A passes (A1-A10) per flight for $20 each, at 3300 flights per day 365 days/yr, thats an additional $240M/yr. Thats about 5 additional 737s per year they can purchase.

    143. shimane says:

      As I noted on the site, unfortunately the vitriol from some people have forced us to A) moderate comments and B) delete those that are uncivil, rude, snide and, well, they are gone.

      The petition site will also be moderated. So, you can spam all you want, they will be deleted.

      If these comments are indicative of the people that fly SW, then I’ll be going elsewhere.

      Best regards,

      Shaun Dakin (yes, I do not hide behind screen names to flame others)

    144. Her Grace says:

      @JKinNYC: I think that might be because straight people are expected, by society, to have kids. Us queers are not (or at least, not to the same degree–this IS changing, depending on your social circle). Straight people who are childfree by choice have to make a bigger point of it beause it goes against expectations more than gay people being childfree. Thus we get the loud, bitchtastic childfree “all children are monsters and should be exterminated” crowd.

    145. TechnoDestructo says:

      “Parents Predictably Outraged.” That’s it, right there. Christ, is there anything that doesn’t push the “angry parent” button with some people?

    146. Trai_Dep says:

      …After reading all 145 messages, I begin to have a small hint of what my mom must have felt when she had me.

    147. ab3i says:

      last i checked other airlines don’t do early boarding for parents either, and with southwest moving to the assigned seating model, it makes sense for them to get rid of this policy too (i suppose). on the other hand, as someone who flies every week, i have elite status on AA and UAL anyway, so well i dunno it doesn’t matter to me personally if the airlines did decide to let parents and children board before, my seat is assigned and I’ll probably be getting that upgrade anyway.

      on a different note, this topic always reminds me of the family guy episode when stewie is flying to LA and the man sitting ahead of him comment on babies on flights, and stewie says something to the effect of ” I was going to watch the movie, but for the next 5 hours you are my #@#@%” and starts crying and kicking the seat =).

    148. ab3i says:

      @Nemesis_Enforcer: dude, you certainly attract a lot of flak :).

      shouldn’t the moderators be ‘moderating’ this flame war here? I only point it out coz i missed out on all the fun :(, stupid meetings!(@#_!*_#.

    149. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

      @ab3i:

      Nothing stirs up the comment threads quite like posts about kids on airplanes. I’m keeping an eye on things — I gotta sleep sometime, ya know.

      So far, I’ve been seeing the same arguments and it looks like people are doing all right. At least I haven’t seen comments on this thread suggesting that we throw babies out of the aircraft at 30,000 feet (nobody get any ideas).

    150. dieman says:

      It’s not anti-parents, its anti-entitlement.

    151. synergy says:

      I say let one guardian or two parents board with ONE infant. And they MUST go to the back. ALL the way to the back. Then everyone else can board on quickly and they can take their sweet time getting their precious sweet child strapped in without obstructing the aisle. They won’t obstruct at the end of the flight as well. Again, they can take as long as they need to exit the plane.

      Yes, there will still be jerks who block up the aisle, but they won’t have any excuse besides being slow jerks.

    152. synergy says:

      @Caswell: Yay! I did just that yesterday. A child who’d been running pell mell around my doctor’s office decided she wanted to yank off some pins I had on my bag. I gently removed her hands from my pins (with which she could’ve stabbed herself) and told her, “noooo. noooooo. nooooo. Don’t touch that.” (The child looked at me with utter incomprehension in her eyes. I was probably the first person to ever tell her the word “no.”) That earned me a cold chill from the adults in the room. The parent? She just came by and scooped her up. No “don’t grab things that aren’t your’s.” No “I’m sorry she was bending your things.” No “thank you for keeping my child from stabbing herself in the hand.” Nope. She just walked away. Two minutes later she was back to running around and around the doctor’s office. ARGH.

    153. Elvisisdead says:

      Listen. Kids/no kids doesn’t matter. Old, fat, gay, whatever. There is a social contract that everyone signs onto when you leave your own house. This is simply a difference in perception of what the terms of that social contract is. Personally, I believe that I am not in breach of the social contract when my impact on the people around me is as minimal as possible. Many people are “me firsters” that don’t care about you, and only themselves first. Those people have a very special punishment. It’s just being them.

      I’ve got a toddler, and we’ve never boarded early. In fact, we take great pride in the fact that we have our shit together at a higher level than everyone in the airport except the most seasoned business traveler (which we both were before kids). We’ve flown internationally with her several times, and she’s had around an hour of inconsolable meltdown in around 60 hours of in-air time. We get more compliments about her than anything else. There was actually a man that sat behind us that asked us to meet his wife at baggage so that she could meet our daughter – she’s that charming.

      People pre-judge us on sight. Don’t think we don’t see it. The thing is, I don’t care. We’ve got a good kid and I know that we do everything that we can to keep her under control. Judge away. I don’t give a damn. However, if you’re vocal about it, especially spiteful or venomous, expect us to take longer or otherwise inconvenience you. I want you to really earn all that hate or spite that you’ve invested in. For us, it’s entertainment.

      At the very least when we travel, I want you to say, “I sat behind this cute kid, and she was great”. Because she will stand up in my lap and look at you and grin and wave. She’ll peek at you through the crack in the seat and grin. She thinks it’s all kinds of fun to hold her tiny little finger out to you and wait for you to touch it with yours. She doesn’t know you. She doesn’t know that you hate her. She’s too little to know that there are jerks in the world except our dog.

      If you hate kids and “breeders”, I would encourage you to be vocal about it. Tell those people. If you’re going to believe it, then preach it. Don’t be a closeted anti-whatever. Get out from under the smug cloud and confront these folks. Good luck with that.

    154. Elvisisdead says:

      Back of the plane. Seriously? Would that work on a bus or on a subway? A certain class of people have to sit in a certain part of transportation? Seems to me that we got past that sometime in the 60s.

    155. j-yo says:

      I don’t think parents traveling with kids should get extra entitlements. What they should get is extra COURTESIES. Last time I checked, a courtesy is something someone might provide you if they can, but it’s not a guarantee. I travel with my kids. We make a point of reviewing all the airline policies prior to leaving, we get to the airport early and we get in line like everyone else. We organize our carry-ons so they can be easily and quickly stowed and my kids sit where we tell them to sit. We all behave during the flight. If airline staff does something nice for us, that’s awesome, but we certainly don’t expect it.

      It does drive me crazy when I see kids whose parents won’t set limits for them. I don’t hold it against the kids, but it does make me want to go up to their parents and smack them. Just a crazy fantasy, of course!

    156. Elvisisdead says:

      ^^ Absolutely. Very well put, and good to know that there are more of us out there. It’s good to see a family with their act together.