You know me, always harping about enjoy
the journey
.  But realistically, the act
of getting there – especially in this age of passengers and airlines behaving badly, increased baggage fees, and the recent addition of a couple of
family-hating policies – can not only be less than enjoyable, but down right
stressful. I recently went on a trip, and with the travel world being all abuzz
about families not being allowed to board first or not guaranteed seats together, I was a
little anxious and a lot curious about how this travel experience would turn

Since I was not flying with the little
ladies, there was clearly no need for me to be concerned about not being seated
with my children. But if not seating families together is truly the way United does things, I also wasn’t trying to see this ridiculous policy in action and have
some distressed child sitting next to me with his parent several rows away.
As the time to board drew near, the United
ground agent made this announcement:

We are now boarding those with
special needs, and we here at United consider children your blessing, not a
special need, so we ask that you board according to your boarding number.

While United did stick to their guns and
not allow families to board first
, the families were, however, seated together

I’m not sure if these families paid what is being called the “family airline fee” or if United, feeling the heat is now trying to
backpedal on this issue, or if this was an isolated instance of the airline doing
the right thing
. Whatever the reason, I am glad that I wasn’t witness to
families being torn asunder at the gate.
While United has become the poster child
for the family airline fee, they are not the only offenders.  Several others, including Delta and Frontier,
also charge for aisle and window seats
, which are fees that you are basically
forced to pay if you want your family to be seated together
I don’t want to paint all of the
airlines with the same brush, because there are still some out there who are
not out to get family travelers. On one of the legs of this same trip, I flew
on a United flight operated by Lufthansa, and though they are Star Alliance partners with
United, they do things differently.
Families were graciously allowed to
board the aircraft first. And you know what? No one seemed to be bothered by
this, or felt that they were dealt with unfairly or complained that families got some
undeserved priviledge. 
After the families boarded, everyone else got on the plane.
The plane departed on time. The world continued to spin on its axis. It was all
good. That is, if consider that really boisterous family of four sitting behind me on an over-night flight all good. But I digress…
Have you witnessed or been subject to
these airline policies aimed at families? How would or did you respond in
the situation?  
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