Pre-boarding for families with young children is coming back


Travel can be stressful for parents juggling diaper bags, strollers and car seats while keeping an eye on young children. To help relieve some of that stress, beginning on Feb. 15 we will invite families with children aged 2 and younger to pre-board right after customers with disabilities and military service members in uniform.

By pre-boarding families, we give them an opportunity to get their bags stowed and get their children settled before other customers board. As one of our San Francisco-based flight attendants responded in a survey, “all they need is to get their child sorted and seated. It relieves most of the anxiety of travel.”

We have invited families to pre-board in the past, but we changed that policy several years ago. However, last fall we committed to examine all aspects of our customers’ travel experience and make changes to improve it. In response to feedback from both customers and employees who told us that the boarding process would be smoother if we could accommodate families with infants, we decided to reintroduce this pre-boarding group.

This change will also give our customer service representatives time to tag strollers and car seats that need to be gate-checked and allows our ramp service employees to start storing these items before other gate-checked bags pile up. Overall, we expect this process will add up to a better boarding and inflight experience for everyone.

“Almost everyone can relate to either being or to standing in the jet bridge behind the anxious customer who is carrying a diaper bag and a personal item while trying to hold a baby and fold a stroller,” said Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United’s Customers SVP. “We care about families with young children, and offering them pre-boarding is simply the right thing to do.”