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What makes an airline good for families isn’t exactly the same as the elements that make the experience ideal for business travelers. Of course, everyone cares about on-time arrivals, but there are a number of seemingly little things that can significantly impact a family’s traveling experience, especially while the kids are young.
There is no one perfect airline for families, but United Airlines is one of the best when it comes to making the boarding process as painless as possible. Consistently, United proactively boards families with children aged 2 and under before most other passengers as part of its formal boarding procedures and now the airline is taking things one step further.
Beginning April 1, United and United Express flights will officially permit compact folding strollers to be brought on board at no additional charge (though the website already reflects that now). The strollers will need to fit the carry-on baggage size restrictions (when collapsed), but will not count against the maximum allotted carry-on baggage allowance.
United claims to be the first US airline to permit strollers on board without them counting against your included carry-on luggage allowance, and I find that to be accurate. Hawaiian Airlines permits strollers on board if the stroller meets carry-on size requirements, but they do not expressly allow the carry-on stroller in addition to the standard number of carry-on items when brought on board. Many US airlines do not consistently allow strollers in the cabin at all, even if they collapse to fit under the seat in front of you. Until recently, United was also one of those airlines, at least per policy.
Anything that makes family travel easier is great news. United’s new policy, along with the advent of collapsible strollers such as the gb Pockit Stroller, means that families don’t have to hang around clogging the jet bridge upon landing as they wait for their stroller. Instead, families flying United with a small, collapsible stroller can now simply land and be on their way. (Here are our favorite strollers for travel.)
United also mentioned to TPG that its Houston hub is being outfitted this summer with three Mamava pods to provide an additional space for mothers who are nursing or pumping in Terminals B, C and E. United also has four of these pods at Newark and says it is looking into adding more in other locations.
Here are additional articles to assist you with planning your family’s next flight:
- Making Travel With Car Seats and Strollers Easier
- Car Seat That Converts to a Stroller
- Best Strollers for Travel
- Flying With a Baby Checklist
- Child’s First Flight Survival Guide
- Best Airline Seats, Suites and Lactation Rooms for Nursing
- Best US Airline Seats for Flying With a Baby
Featured image by Orbon Alija / Getty Images
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