Got Kids? Leave them at Home for Priority Boarding

Ok. I get it, holiday travel sucks. Nothing is worse for frequent travelers then having first time travelers inundating the airport with their blank stares and random meandering all over the place. And for the new traveler, nothing is worse than navigating something totally foreign. But sometimes, the holidays, and travel, in general, just make people so stupid it boggles the mind.

I’ve had one hell of a day today. I’m on a last minute mileage run for status. For those that don’t know, mileage runs are the act of flying with the sole intent of earning status and miles. I got up at 6am, flew to Portland and returned to Seattle airport with no problem. I stopped off in the Amex lounge and had a nibble, ready to continue my day!

American Express Centurion Lounge Seattle

My next flight was supposed to depart from Seattle to Pasco but it had a mechanical delay. Frustrated, I ran to the Delta Skyclub to ask to be changed to another Portland flight. No problem! 20 minutes after I got that boarding pass, the flight was cancelled.

I then asked to be moved to the Bend, OR flight. NO problem! 20 minutes after I got that boarding pass, the flight was delayed for a mechanical issue.

Never defeated, I went back to the desk and asked for a “functioning flight anywhere in the continental USA that I can fly, turn around, and come back home within three hours.” Smiling, the agent gave me a ticket to Medford, OR.

Medford, OR, courtesy of

I’d never been to Medford, OR, but it seemed nice enough. It was a short hour flight down and I was ready to board the flight and come back home. I was seated in First Class so I stood near the front of the line to get my priority boarding.

And then…

I’ve flown for years. MANY years. And in all my flying, I’ve seen a lot of stupid things. Today, this took the cake. If you’ve flown before, you know that they have priority boarding for those needing extra time, traveling with small children, military, etc. All those are fine and good, and exist for a reason. THEY EXIST BECAUSE YOU NEED MORE TIME TO GET DOWN THE JET BRIDGE BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO HOLD EVERYONE ELSE UP. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

Today, some imbecile, no… some idiot, no… some complete troglodyte, tried to board the flight early. This was a middle aged man, maybe mid 50’s, who tried to board the flight early. Carrying nothing other than his tennis racquets in a carryon bag, he approached.

“I’m here for preboarding”

“Sir, do you need extra time to board the aircraft?”

“Well, you called for families with small children… here I am.”

“Correct, do you have small children with you today?”

“No, but I have a 6 year old, he’s home with his grandmother today,”

The look on the face of the gate agent was one of mystery and anger. She half looked confused and half looked like he wanted to drop kick the ever loving $#!% out of this complete tool.

Managing to gain her composure, after a moment of total shock, she said “I’m sorry sir, if he’s not flying with you, then you can’t board early…”

Me? I’d had enough today. I’ve been through three flight cancellations and ran around the SeaTac airport more than that dude on the BEEP BEEP BEEP cart that almost flattens you.

I vocalized… “seriously dude? Get to the back of the line…”

I broke. Something inside of me snapped. How can you have such a level of ineptitude and stupidity to think that just because you have a child that is at home with your grandmother that you get to board first.

Sit yo self down…

Come on. What is it about flying that turns normally smart, intelligent people into total bumbling idiots? Share you horror stories below.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. Oh come on. Anyone with a 6 year old, whether the kid is flying or not, deserves a break 🙂

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    • I disagree. But that’s ok 🙂

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  2. Good for you. I was on a MR myself yesterday and saw a healthy middle age couple preboard with that disabled (1st group on United).
    I was tempted to ask what their disability was but just too tired after 11 hours of flying.

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    • it’s the Forest, Forest Gump disability. The same goes for lots of handicap tagged cars. Someone should explain that these are supposed to be for physical handicaps.

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    • Do not pre-judge all healthy looking passengers who are in pre-board line. I have more issues with “family” boarding when there is one person in a wheelchair and 10-20 family members claiming to travel with them. My husband and I are young, healthy and athletic looking senior citizens. My husband has a vision problem and we try to pre-board because it takes us longer to get situated and we do not want to slow down rest of the boarding passengers and we travel in front cabin and are 1k flyers. I even asked United if we should carry a doctors excuse to prove we need more time and are not shamed by “boarding agents”. We were told it’s not necessary.

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    • To Boraxo: My wife is a middle-aged woman who doesn’t look unhealthy. Looking at her, one wouldn’t guess that she is disabled, has a stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and experiences horrible side effects from her chemo treatment, which affect her ability to breath and to move. She is still determined to live the rest of her life as fully as possible and she often travels to visit family. There are good days and bad days, and, when she feels particularly unwell, she uses her right to pre-board – and I hate when she gets dirty looks (or, sometimes, even inappropriate comments) from clueless busybodies.
      Please don’t be one of these, trust airport employees to do their job – they wouldn’t pre-board a person not entitled to it.

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    • To Boraxo:
      My wife is a middle-aged woman who doesn’t look unhealthy. Looking at her one wouldn’t guess that she is disabled, has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and experiences horrible side effects from her chemo treatment, which affect her ability to breath and to move. She is still determined to live the rest of her life to the full, and she often travels to visit family. There are good days and bad days, and when she feels particularly unwell she uses her right to pre-board,-and I hate when she gets dirty looks (or, sometimes, even inappropriate comments) from clueless busybodies.
      Please don’t be one of these, trust airport employees to do their jobs- they wouldn’t pre-board a person not entitled to it.

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    • Glad you didnt. You’d be a right ol asshole. As if all disabilities are physical….

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    • My 14 year old daughter looks pretty healthy too, but she has anaphylactic food allergies. We try to preboard because her seat and tray need to be wiped down in case a previous passenger slopped something she is allergic to all over the tray table or seat. She hates having any unnecessary attention drawn to her, but we do this because it takes me a couple of minutes to wipe everything down with her standing in the aisle and holds up everyone else during the boarding process. Sorry!

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  3. You’re giving a lot of credit here that the poor excuse for a human being is smart.

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  4. Doing a MR is hard to understand but ok. Doing it during holidays is very stupid.

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    • I’d like to understand what the logic behind such a statement is. Obviously, you don’t understand what a mileage run is or how incredibly lucrative they can be if you know what you’re doing, which you don’t. Also, very curious to hear why you think it is very stupid to do it during the holidays, considering most business heavy routes go extremely cheap since planes are emptier than normal. But please do enlighten us…

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      • I think “Nope” is the guy you told to “Get to the back of the line…” 🙂 Why else would he post such a stupid comment lol…

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        • I’m not sure he’s THE same person, but they do sound very similar don’t they?

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      • I’m not sure I’d call that lucrative. Factor in the value of my time, plus the time freed up by just paying for it, plus acknowledge the fact that one should rarely value first/business class at its listed fare price (particularly for domestic, unless flying on someone else’s dime), plus the health consideration of spending 27 hours of 48 in a seated position, and it seems like a terrible ROI.

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        • Unless you can earn enough money in a weekend to purchase goods that sell at upwards of $10,000 for a first class transatlantic flight, then it is a great ROI. My guess is your personal situation might be different, or you might not be taking advantage of mileage runs the right way.

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  5. Sit yo self down! Jon u crazy! I love it. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤗

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  6. U make a blog to insult people ? You think Is very important what you writing ? Bad education, dear .Let the people live, we all Will end in the same place.

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    • I don’t write it to insult people, but unfortunately in today’s world, people get insulted all the time. I was also insulted that he tried to be that stupid and convince someone that he should board early because he has a child. Congratulations. Back of the line. And while we’re all going to end up in the same place, that has nothing to do with people being silly. So, NAMASTE right here posting articles 🙂 Thanks for reading, I do appreciate your opinion however!

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  7. I stood behind a lady in line at burger king, once she got her food she walked back to the gate and sat in her wheelchair. Oh lord

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  8. A couple of points, don’t judge the “healthy looking” couple…or the lady in the wheelchair spouse has rods/pins & hardware in his back, to look at him, he ‘looks” fine but is in awful pain most of the time, there are also folks with knee/foot/leg/hip pain that can walk short distances, but walking an airport is nearly impossible. On our last trip in from Europe, the Atlanta airport 5k walk from the gate where we landed to get to where you actually leave the airport seemed to me like a few miles hike with luggage, we had to stop to rest several times. I commented to my husband that if we’d brought my mother we’d have had to have gotten her a wheelchair because she could never have walked that entire distance without assistance and she’s fairly mobile just not THAT mobile.

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  9. What, no photo so the internet can identify the guy?

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  10. I do boneheaded things sometimes… wonder if that qualifies me…

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  11. I am no doubt the exception, but for efficiency, I would board needy and “c” group first in back of plane, then B in middle and A up front. Gets the slow pokes out of the way. Interested in your thoughts.

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  12. i have a slightly different perspective. i’ve flown for years. many years. and in all my flying, I’ve seen a lot of stupid things. i’m pretty sure this is not one of them.

    it’s difficult to tell from this report what the gate agent actually said to invite travelers to pre-board, but the “troglodyte,” er, traveler above seems to have said he was there in response to her invitation for families with small children to pre-board. not to pick nits, but she may not have said families TRAVELING with small children, which is the time honored traditional phrase… (if she did say that, all bets are off).

    why not channel some of this anger toward the hapless gate agent who may have been somewhat less than precise? why didn’t she understand that infrequent travelers may need every part of the boarding procedure stated deliberately?

    in any event, this guy was indeed a man with a family and has a small child. and if he’s truly a troglodyte, he probably does not get out much. this could be his first flight this year. he may simply be confused, like those global entry embers who try to pre-board on united when they call for “global services” travelers. he could also be stressed out, frustrated or listening with only half an ear… for a variety of reasons. for all we know, he was rushing home to visit his sick child that granny just picked up from the hospital. why nt give him the benefit of the doubt? why brand him an imbecile?

    i would try to walk a mile in another man’s shoes before i label him an imbecile or an idiot or even inept. those are pretty strong accusations for a guy who just tried to board an airplane that he may have thought he was being asked to board. if you really can’t think of any reason why he may have been confused or why he legitimately thought he had met pre-boarding criteria, then by all means channel your anger and your frustration towards him.

    but just as those above have stated regarding “invisible” disabilities, you really have no way of knowing what was going on.

    you know, i’ve flown over 250,000 miles this year. and on at least three occasions, i had a bottle of water in my briefcase when i passed through TSA pre. i’m sure everybody behind me in line wasn’t too thrilled with the few seconds delay and i’m sure they were wondering how such an inexperienced traveler made it into TSA pre. but it really didn’t mean i was an idiot or an imbecile. it may have simply meant that i was stressed out, in a hurry or preoccupied. or that i simply forgot.

    so, in a world with incredibly arcane and seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations, this guy may have just been confused. maybe he heard “small children” and he said, “hey, that sounds like me… i have a small child.” there’s no way of knowing what was in his mind because nobody apparently asked him. instead he was treated with derision and disdain by the gate agent and at least one fellow passenger.

    why do we, as frequent travelers, think that everybody should know what we know?

    or dress as we do?

    (as a very frequent flyer, i have pre-boarding privileges on a number of airlines. i also dress comfortably in freshly laundered jeans and a casual shirt. i can’t count the number of times people dressed in a suit have pushed me out of the way to pre-board assuming i couldn’t possibly have their status.)

    why do we think that everybody who gets in front of us in line is a self entitled bastard who is trying to game the system?

    without a doubt, sometimes they are.

    but most times they are not.

    >i broke. something inside of me snapped.<<

    no kidding!

    this whole report is really about your (understandable) frustration related to repeated MX delays and cancellations you experienced. that's the truly interesting part of this story. not that a man tried to board an airplane before you and had an offbeat and most unusual rationale to do so.

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    • The fact that you think the gate agent should read through a long list of exact verbage is absurd. This is beyond common knowledge. Just because you have a child on board doesn’t mean you draw the golden ticket. “Congrats, you have kids – you win! Board early!” The entire process is for people who need extra time for boarding. Come on dude, seriously? I feel like I’m being punked by you right now…

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