United reverses policy on family boarding
You have to respect a company that admits past mistakes. That’s why I’m loving United Airlines today.
The carrier announced that on Feb. 15, it will resume policies that allow families traveling with young children to board flights early. The move reinstates a policy that the airline had embraced for decades but curtailed back in April 2012.
(It also undoubtedly has inspired invisible choirs to sing “Hallelujah” from Handel’s Messiah, and has sparked families to exclaim, “It’s about fucking time!”)
According to a report in The Chicago Tribune, United was the last “holdout” among major airlines on the subject of early boarding for families. The article lists how other airlines handle the issue and I recommend clicking through (here’s the link again) to read the list. To summarize the info box, some airlines let families skip in front of everybody while others let the first class and elite passengers onto the plane first, then give families a head start on the rest of the passengers.
My favorite part of the announcement was when, Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United’s senior vice president of customers, told the Trib that the move comes as part of a larger effort by the Chicago-based airline to be more attentive to passengers’ needs.
“It takes a little bit of the stress out of the travel situation,” she said. “Some things are just the right thing to do.”
What Pineau-Boddison didn’t say but implied: “We were wrong.” No matter who’s speaking, it takes courage to admit that sort of thing. Well done, United. Well done.