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Parents Challenge Airlines that Charge Them to Sit with Children

by Susan Finch

Oct 2, 2020

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You arrive at the airport for a long flight and approach the counter to collect your tickets for your family. You’re sure there must be a mistake. The airline scattered your small children throughout the airplane while you’re in a completely different location.

 

Whether your child has special needs, is still in diapers or needs assistance eating, airlines are not automatically placing families together. In 2015, Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act to ensure young children sit with families at no extra cost.

 

However, three years later, the Department of Transportation still isn’t enforcing the policies. They claim the rules aren’t necessary when there are less than 1 percent of travelers complaining. Parents are protesting the move and Consumer Reports launched an online petition in February demanding children 13 or under sit with their families while flying without an extra fee. More than 45,000 people signed the online petition.

 

The petition advised that separating young children poses a safety and security hazard both for the child, as well as the entire airline. After all, a parent is going to rush to their child’s seat during an emergency evacuation or other crisis. Other parents are concerned about inappropriate conduct between strangers and their child.

 

Airlines typically ask parents to trade seats with a stranger and deal with it themselves. However, more passengers are paying to pick their seats and don’t want to move away from their own travel companions. Sitting next to an unaccompanied minor also burdens strangers forced to deal with an issue.

 

In the meantime, parents are advised to avoid surprises by asking the airlines to sit together and any fees required before arriving at the airport.

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