Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 2:23 pm in Family Travel.
Oh noooooo! Having boarded four separate flights with a squirmy one-year-old last month, I can only wail in dismay in response to this story:
One of the privileges of parenthood is getting to be one of the first to board airplanes. But from now on the kids and their car-seat carriers will have to wait, at least if they fly on Southwest.
The airline said Wednesday that it’s tweaking its “open seating” policy, assigning boarding numbers – but not assigned seats – to passengers. It also plans to eliminate the practice of letting families board first. Starting Oct. 2, families who don’t hold the coveted “A” boarding passes will have to wait until passengers in that group have been seated – that’s the first 60 seats.
I’ll admit, I’ve never understood the appeal of Southwest’s so-called “open seating” scheme in the first place. I can’t stand the way people crowd cattle-like into the pre-flight holding pens, staring daggers at each other as a means of holding their territory. I hate the sprint down the jetway, the fight for overhead bins, and the inevitable, exasperating wait as people to settle in the first rows, and I can only stare longingly at the unreachable empty rows in the way back.
And now, I get to endure the whole thing while toting a cranky toddler.
And perhaps more importantly: If my precious pea and I don’t get to board first, those A-list boarders who find her less than enchanting won’t have the chance to choose to sit far away from us.
On a (possibly) related note: On our trip in August, Southwest made me sign vouchers acknowledging that they are not financially responsible for damage to our car seat and/or stroller — items they check in excess of the usual baggage restrictions. At the time, this seemed an understandable cost-saving measure, but now I wonder if there’s a larger trend.