Families traveling with small children must now wait to board in coach like everyone else when flying United Airlines.
In April, the world's second-largest airline quietly ended early boarding for families with small children, USA Today reports. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and US Airways had previously ended pre-boarding for families.
Representatives for United told media outlets the change was intended to make the boarding process more efficient.
"We figured it would be better to simplify that process and reduce the number of boarding groups," United spokesman Charles Hobart told CNN.
The airline does allow passengers with children traveling in first class or business class to board early.
First, business and elite level travelers are allowed to board first.
Critics say the change will slow down the boarding process because passengers will get stuck in line behind parents struggling to stow extra luggage into overhead bins and get their children settled into their seats.
Supporters say overhead bin space is at a premium and families hog the space, forcing kid-less passengers to gate check their luggage. Supporters also contend that on flights such as those going to Orlando - where Disney World is - that a large group will board early with just one child and the entire plane can become nearly full with early boarding by families.
Parents flying United can pay for priority boarding, which begins at $9 per passenger.
Airlines that continue to offer early boarding for families with small children include Delta Air Lines.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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