Flying with Family

Flying with Young Kids

Parents should never have to sit apart from their children during a flight. Unfortunately, with most airlines charging additional fees to reserve seats, it’s become increasingly difficult for families to travel together without spending more -- sometimes a lot more. 

There are examples of airlines separating parents’ seats from their child’s, either when a flight is overbooked, the airline switches planes, or simply because a priority member has claimed that seat. Airlines should change their policies to guarantee young families always fly together. In the meantime, there are six steps parents can take to find seats next to their children, without the extra fees.

  1. Look for Child Fare Discounts: Some airlines offer family-specific deals that may not be obviously listed. These deals change, so you should always call the airline and request their offers.

  1. Book on the Same Reservation: Airlines tend to seat travelers on the same reservation together, so you should book your family’s seats at the same time. If you do book through third party sites or on multiple reservations, call the airline and request that they place your family on the same reservation record.

  1. Call and Request Seat Assignments: Airlines will often assign a family seats together, if you call call the reservation number and request them.

  1. Check in at the 24 Hour Mark: Complete the online check-in process 24 hours before your flight. Certain airlines allow you to choose your seats for free, while others will assign seats together, since more spots are available at this time.

  1. Advocate for Yourself: Hoping that the kind stranger next to you will switch seats isn’t always a reality. If for some reason you are not seated with your child, make sure to speak with the gate attendant, or call the airline to make your case.

  1. Report Unresolved Problems: If the airline fails to resolve your seating assignment concerns, you should submit a complaint to the airline. Under Department of Transportation regulations, if you do not receive a response within 60 days, you should file a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration.

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