United Airlines cuts early boarding for families with children

(Photo: Associated Press)

United Airlines has done away with one of its "family friendly" policies, but it could end up affecting everyone's boarding process on flights nationwide in the future.

The carrier says it will no longer allow families with small children to pre-board their planes before other passengers, and it has some people crying foul over the decision. In a statement released Wednesday, airline officials said they made the change to "simplify the boarding process and to reduce overall the number of boarding groups."

Other airlines, such as American, U.S. Airways and Delta all still allow families to have some extra time to get on the plane and get settled. Southwest lets families go after its first seating group boards.

For the Giakoumatos family, who was traveling through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Florida on Wednesday en route to Florida, the extra time to board has always been something to count on.

"It's going to make it harder to get through the aisles," Maria Giakoumatos said. "It's going to make it harder to find a spot to put our bags. Ultimately, it is not a good idea."

Others believe that the process will slow down even further while families with children attempt to get to their seats.

"Parents would be clogging the aisles, trying to find their luggage and trying to find where the rest of their family is," mother Bethany Saavendra said.

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