Airline seats tend to be allocated in advance during check-in and should you wish to guarantee you will be sitting with your children you may have to pay extra.
Or ask a fellow passenger if they would be willing to move so you can sit together. There’s been a lot said online about passengers refusing to relinquish their seat on a flight Opinions are divided on the graciousness of a refusal, especially when the passenger has paid for that particular seat.
Shouldn’t the responsibility rest on the shoulders of the airline? Back in February US President took a stand on what he called “junk fees” calling for them to be done away with.
In the US four airlines have, as a result of the presidential call, put in place a policy that means families with young children can sit together without having to rely on the goodwill of fellow passengers.
These are Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines and latterly, JetBlue. A spokesman for the latter said that this measure is part of an “ongoing commitment to enhance the travel experience and promote a comfortable and stress-free journey.”
Yet it was the US US Department of Transport’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection who “urged airlines to do everything in their power to ensure that children who are age 13 or younger are seated next to an accompanying adult with no additional charge”. There was even a hint of “additional action” if airlines didn’t respond.
So assuming all family members are booked on the same reservation, it seems obvious that kids should sit next to a parent or care-giver at no extra charge.
Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer said
“We know traveling with young children can add challenges, and we want to do everything we can to put parents and families at ease by providing a smooth trip each time they choose JetBlue.”
“This enhanced family seating policy reflects our commitment to continue to meet the needs of our customers and provide exceptional service.”
In the UK, there is a more forward-thinking policy, generally. Indeed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) went as far as to say:
“the seating of children close by their parents or guardians should be the aim of airline seat allocation procedures for family groups and large parties of children.”
“Young children and infants who are accompanied by adults should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults. This is because the speed of an emergency evacuation may be affected by adults trying to reach their children.”
The reality is that even with the best intentions a family may be separated anyway due to availability.
On the bright side, British Airways, Air France, KLM, American Airlines, Delta, and Emirates do ensure that children under 12 years of age will be seated with at least 1 parent without the need to pay for the privilege.
Easyjet makes no such guarantee but they do have a 30-day check-in period so get in there quickly to reserve your seats for a higher chance of being seated with your child.