Before I began reviewing airlines, I had never really thought about whether or not you should get priority boarding for your infant. I used to just go with what the airline gave me. For example, when I flew on United Airlines, I was given a priority boarding pass because my infant was under two years old.
But in retrospect, I don’t think the priority boarding was worth it. It only took a few minutes longer to board the plane, and that’s not much of a problem if you’re already holding an infant. My wife and I could have boarded at any time and saved ourselves some money by not paying for priority boarding (or whatever it’s called).
So here are my top ten reasons why you shouldn’t get priority boarding for your infant:
1) Your baby is too young to know what’s going on.
2) You don’t want to draw attention to yourself by asking the gate agent if there’s a policy against infants on flights.
3) You don’t want to be seen as someone who might be taking advantage of this policy.
4) You feel uncomfortable asking for special treatment when everyone else has to stand in line.
5) You feel that it’s unfair for other passengers if one person gets preferential treatment over them.
As an American Airlines executive, I have seen our airline go through many changes over the years. One of the most common questions we get from customers is whether they should get priority boarding for their infant.
I have worked with some of my colleagues to put together a list of top 10 things you can do to increase your chances of getting on an airplane with your infant, or at least not being denied boarding.
1. Carry a car seat or bassinet in the cabin
2. Purchase a seat for your infant
3. Provide proof of age for your infant
4. Use a separate ticket for your infant
5. Pay attention to weight limits and size restrictions on car seats and strollers
6. Arrive early at the airport, as airlines may not be able to accommodate late arrivals for infants
7. Ask about exceptions for medical reasons such as ear infections or other medical conditions that might prevent your child from flying without medication or treatment
8. Call ahead if you are traveling with more than one adult and two children under age two; two adults flying with two children under age two will not be allowed to board unless they purchase additional tickets or show proof that they are married/domestic partners (proof includes marriage certificate
When it comes to flying, we’re all equal. Right?
Well, not according to the airlines, which have been known to give certain passengers a free pass or two.
Here are ten of the most outrageous cases of airline preferential treatment.
10. In-flight babies get priority boarding
Some airlines will allow parents to board planes before other passengers if they are traveling with small children. Since infants do not require their own seat, many airlines do not consider them passengers and thus do not count toward their boarding priority. This means that even families in the last boarding groups can still board early if they have an infant with them.
9. The rich can buy better seats
The more you spend on your ticket, the better seat you’re likely to get. Airlines offer special “classes” for business and first-class customers, which usually means more leg room and better food than the rest of us get stuck with. As a result, those who pay more end up sitting closer to the front of the plane than those who pay less.
8. You might get bumped if you’re in coach
If a plane is overbooked or there is some other problem with seating, airlines sometimes need to bump passengers from their flights in order to accommodate other passengers or
Airlines are taking a hard line on whether or not some children under 2 years of age can board early. It is always difficult to make a case for this, but there are some good reasons.
1. The baby may need to breastfeed or get a diaper change during the boarding process and it is hard to do this in the cramped seats in an airplane.
2. The child may be too young to be able to climb over you and other passengers safely, so the parent needs to carry him/her onto the plane before other passengers.
3. The baby may cry during boarding and it is very disruptive for others if this happens when everyone is trying to get settled in their seats.
4. The baby may have ear pain from changes in air pressure caused by loud noises coming from outside sources such as jet engines, etc., which could cause discomfort during takeoff or landing times (some babies have been known to scream uncontrollably during these times). It would seem prudent then that those families with infants under two years old should be allowed priority boarding so they can get their children settled in before the rest of us board.”
10. Passenger who brought a large duffel bag
9. Passenger who brought a small duffel bag
8. Passenger with a carry-on bag
7. Passenger who thinks they deserve priority boarding because they were born first
6. Passenger with small children
5. Passenger with small children and a stroller
4. Passenger with small children, a stroller, and an infant carrier
3. Passenger with small children and an infant carrier
2. Passenger who is worried about overhead bin space so they board early to find room for their luggage (if you need the overhead bin that badly, check it at the gate, but then you have to wait for it at your destination so I guess it doesn’t really matter)
Airlines have long relied on the loyalty of business travelers to keep their planes flying, but they may need to rethink that model. On a recent flight from Newark to Austin, I was surrounded by an unusually large number of leisure travelers who were paying little or nothing for their seats.
The woman in front of me had paid just $136 for a round-trip ticket to Texas; her husband told me she got it by signing up for a “free” credit card and then canceling it after the bonus miles posted. The woman next to me was returning from a free trip to Hawaii that was sponsored by her credit card company. And the man behind me was using points from his airline credit card to fly home from a weekend getaway in Boston.
What makes this trend so worrying for airlines is that it is part of a broader shift in how people spend their money. In the past, people tended to put most of their discretionary funds toward big-ticket items like homes and cars (or at least, nicer homes and cars). But today, many young adults are delaying important life events like marriage and homeownership, which means they have more cash on hand. So they’re spending it on smaller things like vacations and electronics–and less on traditional middle-class purchases
You must have seen the ads on TV: a man who is desperate for attention and a woman who just wants to get away from it all. But who are these people?
They are not married, and they never have been. They are not even in love. They are just two people who have made a lot of money by working hard, but who have no idea how to spend it. And so they buy things as an alternative to spending time with each other.
They are not the only ones. There are millions like them, and they buy things that drive the economy forward. But what kind of an economy is this? It sounds like a bad joke: an economy based on people buying things they don’t need to impress people they don’t know or like.
But there is nothing funny about it, because these people get into trouble doing this, and then they come crying to us for help, which we give them, and then they go away again, and before long they’re back, doing the same thing all over again.