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United No Longer Allows Families With Children To Preboard

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Mother Jenny Anderson at DIA (credit: CBS)

Mother Jenny Anderson at DIA (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Getting on a plane at Denver International Airport just got a little harder for families flying United Airlines because families with children who fly coach can no longer preboard.

United joins US Airways and American Airlines that now allow families to board with single passengers.

Many parents take a car seat onboard because it’s too expensive to check. A car seat is easily 20 pounds. Then they have bags, their children’s bags, snacks, comfort items, and of course the children. Parents say that’s a lot to manage and if they don’t have that extra boarding time to settle in, they won’t be flying that airline.

“It’s nerve racking traveling with little ones. We’re praying they don’t cry. We’re just as anxious as everybody else and nobody wants to sit next to you,” mother Jenny Anderson said.

Rebecca Jackson, a mother of four, heard that United would join the handful of other airlines that stop preboarding families. She felt it was “anti-family.” So does Rachele Epperson who is taking 5-month-old Jackson on his first airplane ride.

“I’ve been stressed to the max and not sleeping,” Epperson said. “If we had been going with United and I had found out that they didn’t let us board first I would have switched airlines.”

United says they made the policy change to simplify the boarding process by reducing the number of groups who preboard. Anderson got taste of the new change traveling from Washington, D.C. to Denver.

“We had a lot of stuff; bottles, pump, all her change of clothes and we couldn’t get on first,” Anderson said. “It was a difficult experience and we were exhausted by the time we made it.”

Jackson, from North Carolina, says she’ll willingly pay more to fly the airline that will allow her family to preboard. It’s that important to her.

“Ease is definitely something I look for when I’m traveling,”

United says if families need additional assistance their gate agents will work to accommodate them.

The airlines that do allow family preboarding include JetBlue, Virgin America and Delta.

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