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Assuming You Want to Sit By Your Kids on an Airplane

Why isn’t it airline policy to automatically seat a passenger with their underaged travel companions?

I ask because I was on a flight last week with my seven year old twins and the airline wouldn’t seat us together.

Again.

I stopped flying US Airways five years ago when my twins were two years old and they sat us in three different rows. I stopped flying them mostly because I was so angry that they had the audacity to seat my babies by total strangers and they refused to help me fix the situation (I was told that I needed to get on the plane, seat the toddlers in their rows and then as random people to switch seats with me) but I won’t fly them alone because I don’t want to get stuck babysitting someone else’s child on a two hour flight.

I make the DC to Tampa trip at least twice a year. After the 2006 airplane debacle I have been driving the 1000 miles instead of flying. It was somehow easier. This was I wasn’t charged for each bag, I could bring as much stuff as I could pack in my minivan, and I had a car when I got there.

Five years later I finally caved in. I only had four days and if you add up the 13 – 15 hour road trip flying gave us a much longer vacation. So I decided to fly.

And because I am an idiot and they have a convenient nonstop flight from DCA to Tampa I flew US Airways.

And because I only check in 24 hours in advance (because that is when the computer allows you to check in) I was seated apart from my children. Again.

Again I called ahead and was told that they would fix my seats at the airport. Again, I checked in and asked for help and I was told they would seat us together at the gate. Again, I went to the gate and was told to ask people on the airplane to switch with me.

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

The very condescending gentleman at the counter pointed out that it my fault for not calling the airline immediately upon booking my travel in November. I’m sure that would have been very helpful advice had somebody mentioned that six weeks ago.

Fortunately, the man who was seated in the row with my children was a father and a gentleman (and probably had no interest in supervising my kids for the flight) and graciously changed seats with me.

As angry as I am at the airline what I really can’t figure out is why? When I book the travel I have to disclose exactly how old my minor children are. I booked all three tickets – which were all the same price – at the same time. Why doesn’t the computer automatically seat three people (there are three seats in a row on this plane) that book their tickets all at once together?

Especially when some of the passengers are little kids.

Especially when the policy of this particular airline is to charge me $100 extra if I sent them unaccompanied on that same flight?

I just find this baffling. Let’s face it, I am the only adult on that airplane that wants to sit by my children. This shouldn’t be an issue. It should be standard policy.

Is there an airline that is more family friendly?

 

 

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