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Sitting with kids on a flight is pretty much mandatory for most families. While it’s certainly tempting for parents to try and get some peace and quiet (SEE: Dads in first, moms in coach), generally most parents need to sit with their kids on flights (especially younger kids). We’ve seen Delta split up a man from his 7 year old daughter as one of a wide variety of stories that have been in the news over the past few months.
My experience getting airlines seats together as a family
With more and more airlines looking to get ancillary revenue any way possible, we’re seeing a lot more instances of premium and “premium” seats being held back out if inventory, with the airline hoping to be able to sell those later on to people wanting a better seat (or to be able to sit with their family and friends). This reduces the available seats and makes it harder for families looking to sit together for free.
Of course as a family of 8, this gets a little trickier for us! Some airlines are better than others. There are a few tricks to get to sit with your family on Southwest, which gets easier if you have children 4 years or under (as you get to board between the A and B groups.
We recently booked a flight on Delta and we were able to pick seats together with no problem
As you can see, with 2 adults and 6 kids, it’s a bit tricky to figure out the best arrangement (SEE: Well, how would YOU arrange 6 kids on a plane?). This worked fine except when Delta changed the airplane type for one of our flights, leading us to this jumbled mess
(SEE ALSO: Delta just SPLIT UP my family!)
We were able to get that resolved (at least partially), but had we waited to pick seats until closer to the flight we might have been more in trouble
Congress getting involved?
I feel like members of Congress like to get involved on the side of passengers against airlines because the airlines are a pretty easy whipping boy. In this case, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) recently added an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that would require airlines to allow parents to sit next to their kids for free. It also requires pregnant women to be allowed to preboard and parents to be able to accompany their children through all phases of security.
We’ll see if it makes it into the final bill. While I’m not sure this is the right way to handle this, it’s definitely true that the US airlines lag far behind European carriers.
For instance, for a canceled flight to Dublin on Aer Lingus I got a hotel room AND a check for $1306 (though I had to work for it). US carriers when flights are canceled or majorly delayed get bupkus (leading perhaps to this recent profane gate rant)
What do you think? Should airlines be required to let parents and kids sit together for free?