Child Pre-boarding Guidelines for Airlines
“We’ll now pre-board anyone needing extra help and parents traveling with small children.”
Before my son came along, these words didn’t really mean much to me - I knew and assumed there were other passengers who should hop on the plane and get to their seats before the rest of us crowded the plane and boarded. Pretty simple.
Fast forward to becoming a parent traveling with our infant son for the first time and waiting for the pre-boarding announcement and… crickets. The American Airlines plane boarded first class, elite flyers and then proceeded to go group-by-group with the rest of the plane. The ‘Group 5’ on our boarding pass meant we would be waiting a while and head to our seat, infant in tow, with the rest of the crowd. Turns out it’s inconsistent
According to its website, American Airlines says that “Families with children under 2 years old can ask to board early at the gate.”
JetBlue, on the other hand (which, by the way, shows traveling parents some love on their website) does, indeed pre-board, which helped quite a bit on our recent trip to Mexico with a 15-month old in tow.
As it turns out, each airline has a different policy for boarding with kids, I’ve added the latest info we have below (as of March 2019 per the airline site and our experience) - but let us know if you have an update or experienced something different than what I’ve outlined below:
US Domestic Airlines