What to do so that your family is not seated in different rows on the plane
As the holiday travel season approaches, more and more families are preparing to fly. But those who are trying to save money will have to deal with one disturbing aspect of travel: basic economy tickets often do not allow you to choose your place on your own. Edition Travel+Leisure versed in how to make sure that the family is not divided on the flight.
To help families navigate their rights and avoid extra fees or a hectic flight, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has recently issued guidelines for families on airplanes.
Each airline has its own family seating policy. Some, e.g. American Airlines, have a computer system that recognizes families traveling together.
“If space is limited, [the airline] will try to allocate seats so that children under 15 are next to at least 1 adult on the same booking record (which could lead to separation of adults in the group)” DOT says.
But it’s important to understand the individual rules of your airline before flying.
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The most important thing is to communicate with the airline. Most of them will try to help families sit together, because it is easier for flight attendants and fellow travelers when an adult is looking after a child.
Travelers can make it easier to reallocate seats by booking flights for their family on the same booking, with each family member seated nearby. If you are booking through a third-party site, be sure to contact the airline directly - and as early as possible - to confirm your booking.
If your family still has not been assigned a seat next to each other on the day of your flight, come early to the airport and explain your situation to the boarding agents. They may not be able to accommodate the whole family together, but they are likely to try to seat each child next to an adult.
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Some airlines such as Deltawill reserve and block “a limited number of seats prior to departure and will use the seats, if any, to accommodate families and for other needs.”
And if there is any problem during your flight, you can report them later in the DOT.
In order not to be at the opposite end of the cabin from your loved ones, avoid low-cost airlines such as Spirit or Frontier, or just pay to book your seats together.
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