Can Families with Small Kids Cut the Boarding Line?

BY Paul Solman  August 21, 2012 at 9:59 AM EDT

United Airlines planes
United Airlines planes parked at the terminal at San Francisco International Airport. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Paul Solman frequently answers questions from the NewsHour audience on business and economic news on his Making Sen$e page. Here is Tuesday’s query:

Name: Celeste

Question: Is there still a family line at the airports, for those traveling with small children?

Making Sense

Paul Solman: It may seem odd that this question is posed to me; odder still that I would presume to answer it. And yet I do.

Turns out I faced this very question just weeks ago when I flew with my wife, daughter and her three small children. No, the person on the loudspeaker did not invite “families with small children” to board early. Most airlines seem to have jettisoned that formal announcement back in April, and the official policy as well.

But all you have to do is ask, it seems. We had a three-and-a-half year-old, a two-and-a-half year-old and a five-month-old in tow. The boarding agents were only too happy to whisk us in ASAP. The only difference was that it came at our initiative, not theirs. But honestly, who’s going to give you a hard time if you make the request?

As usual, look for a second post early this afternoon. But please don’t blame us if events or technology make that impossible. Meanwhile, let it be known that this entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions