Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Another Complaint About Traveling

So. I travel a fair amount. I don't mind it, and have found my rhythm. I know SFO pretty well, know what items I can and can't bring on. I know that yes, you still have to remove your shoes, and that your laptop needs it's own bin when you go through security. I know that when I do have to check a bag, if I very nicely ask them to give me a priority sticker for being a premier member, they'll do it and I do tend to get my bags just a little quicker. I've learned to spot the people that don't travel often, and to NOT wait in line behind them.

Now, I do typically travel one airline...just for the miles and status. It was never really my choice, but SFO is one of United's hubs, so there are typically a decent amount of flight options. And I had flown with them many years ago and started collecting points and miles. I have friends who travel frequently and prefer some of the discount carriers such as Southwest or JetBlue. My friend Siobhan just flew Southwest to Portland and mentioned that the flight attendants were bragging that they didn't have checked bag fees. Yea, must be nice.

Well. Today as I was waiting to board, the attendant announced that they were doing pre-boarding. That was anyone that needed extra assistance. I saw a guy hobble up in crutches. Then a family with 3 little kids, probably all under 4, approached the gate. They had the stroller, diaper bags, luggage, just a lot of stuff and their arms were full.

The attendent turned them down. Pushed 'em away and proceeded with an announcement that families didn't count as "needing extra assistance".

I was a little surprised. I'm not saying traveling with kids means that you necessarily "need assistance". But I don't doubt that the family probably appreciated the extra time to settle in. And on top of that, this was the only family to approach the gate, and the plane wasn't even full.

A overheard a few people make some comments...saying that it wasn't such a big deal...why not let them on...and how other airlines would have let them pre-board.

I was disappointed by United's service. Not that they're known to be customer service oriented, or great with their service, but this was disappointing to witness.

I don't have kids. I'm even the first to say I'd prefer a plane trip without kids on it! BUT. This is reality. People have kids. People need to travel with them. It's not always pleasant. I hope to have kids some day. And if I'm traveling with them, I'd like and appreciate the courtesy of a few extra minutes if I needed it. Guess we know who I'll be flying then.

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