Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Be Prepared To Pay Extra To Sit With Your Family On a Plane

Posted by on May. 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM
  • 67 Replies


Want to fly next to your child? Prepare to pay

Summer travel will become more costly this year now that airlines are charging more for aisle and window seats, in some cases $25 each way. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

By Elaine Porterfield , contributor

It's not just enough to buy your airplane ticket anymore: Increasingly, along with checking baggage, airlines want you to pay extra to ensure a seat next to your travel companions, including your spouse or child.

That's sure to lead to unhappiness during the coming busy summer travel season, with passengers already toting their own suitcases and carrying their own food to avoid paying additional fees. In many cases, it may cost as much as $25 - each way - to ensure you and your companion sit together. And last month, United Airlines ended its policy of allowing families traveling with small children to board early,

It's tough news for many summer travelers. Airlines have successfully raised airfares three times this year. Business travelers are already facing fares that will likely rise this year an average of four percent in North America, according to the Egencia's 2012 Global Corporate Travel Forecast. Egencia is an Expedia, Inc. company.

Regarding the seat reservation fees, it works like this: Airlines are reserving a growing number of window and aisle seats for passengers willing to pay extra for them, the Associated Press reports. While airlines say it's a move to boost revenue, the policy is making it harder for friends and family members who don't pay this fee to sit next to each other. At the peak of the summer travel season, it might be nearly impossible, the AP reports.

New airline charges could be costly for families hoping to sit together on flights. WMAQ's Christian Farr reports.

Since last summer, American, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines have increased the percentage of coach seats requiring some kind of extra fee. Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines charge extra for any advanced seat assignment, according to the AP.

"I think it's going to fall flat on its face," predicted travel psychologist Michael Brein, PhD, of Bainbridge Island, Wash. "It's pushing the envelope a little far for travelers. People have had it up to here with fees, and this one sounds not so well thought out to me."

George Hobica, founder and president of the Internet travel site Airfarewatchdog, said he thinks the fees are reasonable. "When you think about it, when you go to a theater, a Broadway play, you always pay extra for better seats. They're doing the same thing."
Airlines are having a tough time, Hobica points out:  "Two of our remaining airlines lost money last quarter, and the industry as a whole had a 1.5 percent profit margin. I'm all about low airfares - it's been my stock in trade for almost 20 years. But the traveling public has had it good at expense of the airlines... People need to be honest and should buck up and say if they want these low fares, then the people who want special service should pay (extra) for it."

One airline bucking the trend is the Seattle-based Alaska.

"We do not charge for priority seating, or seating together at Alaska Airlines," said spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey. "We do hold some seats out for last-minute booking by our elite member frequent fliers and passengers with disabilities, but in general you should be able to find seats together for your family."

Now and again, that can be a challenge, Lindsey said.

"In some instances, however, with full flights, families may not be seated together," she said. "In this instance, we do all that we can to accommodate families requesting seating together, including asking if there are other travelers that would be willing to change their seats for the family. If all four cannot be seated together we try to at least get one parent with each child. Oftentimes, once families are onboard, other travelers offer to move to accommodate the family, and our flight attendants help facilitate this."

Would you pay extra to guarantee a seat next to your traveling companion?

by on May. 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by on May. 23, 2012 at 6:06 PM
8 moms liked this
I drove from New York to Montana in 3 days. I refuse to be held hostage by the airline industry. I'll vacation on my terms. That's just bullshit.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Platinum Member on May. 23, 2012 at 6:08 PM

It will be years before we go anywhere on a plane. I don't really care about the extra charge. If you can afford $400 for a plane ticket (the national average) the the extra $25 shouldn't be a big deal.

by Member on May. 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM
4 moms liked this

I prefer taking road trips. 

by Platinum Member on May. 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM
2 moms liked this

I will be looking into flying with international airlines more. I can't avoid it when I am in the US but for international flights, I will stick with international airlines, they are much better anyways. I hate flying inside the US, it is torture. I'm sure USSR had better airlines.

by Silver Member on May. 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM
We do a lot more driving too, or we only have one person go (my dh's grandmother passed recently so only he went ~ flying with our boys who are 1 and 3 is too hard)
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by TC on May. 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM
I read this the other night. I'm sure we won't be flying with the kids anytime soon.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on May. 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM
2 moms liked this
You beat me to it! I was thinking the exact same thing.

Quoting JoshRachelsMAMA:

I drove from New York to Montana in 3 days. I refuse to be held hostage by the airline industry. I'll vacation on my terms. That's just bullshit.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on May. 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

 I absolutely loathe flying.  I can really only afford to go back home every other year.  Two years ago we had an issue with an airline who put my entire family throughout the plane.  It's not an overall big deal, but it is when one member of the family was 3 and really couldn't be without a parent.  Thankfully, I found a nice adult who was willing to trade.  The airlines are becoming more and more unbearable. I guess they will continue to get away with these things until people stop flying altogether.

by Member on May. 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

I used to love flying, now I hate it. I have to fly to California this fall for a wedding, its over 2300 miles and just DD2 and myself. I'll be furious if they try to make my 10 year old daughter sit away from me, its completely insane. As it is we are flying SouthWest because they dont have baggage fees.

by on May. 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM
1 mom liked this
Does this included small children? We travel frequently and I cannot imagine anyone wanting a 3yr old to sit by himself... That seems more stressful for the flight attendants.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)