Saw this over the weekend .... Families have to sit together on airplanes?

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johnbaker

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Oct 2, 2014
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Headline: Could airlines soon be required to let families fly together?
http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2016/...oon-be-required-to-let-families-fly-together/

As always (and remembering that I am a parent)... the devil is in the details...
- Does this mean that if I booked a ticket months in advance and have a certain seat assignment that I can be bumped to a dreaded back of the plane middle seat by the family that books at the last minute and doesn't bother to look at seat availability before pushing buy?
- Does this mean even fewer seats open for assignment prior to check-in without paying as the airline has to "hold back" seats for last minute families?

Remember that seat assignments on an aircraft is a zero sum game (after all you can't just add a chair at the last minute) I'm willing to bet that the answer is "Yes" to both questions. I'm not sure I want that.
 
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Aug 10, 2013
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Or worse, what if 1 family member pays for an upgrade, then insists the rest of the family needs to sit with them "because it's the law". I see people that would do this far too often. I have small children, and every single time I fly, there's a woman with a kid WAY too old for preboarding that cuts in front of all of us with car seats. This is on Southwest, so they're doing it just to get better seats. And if anyone tries to say anything, they get combative immediately. Just not worth fighting with a stranger in an airport. It makes me crazy. I have said it before, but the most equitable solution is to only allow those with car seats to board early. Those are the people that need it, because it's not easy to secure a car seat on an airplane. I should add we also wait and get off the plane last. Again, it takes us far longer.
 

johnbaker

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@Rebecca Wait you mean that people might be unethical? Say it ain't so.
As I said, the concept is nice but its the details...

Better yet, will an airline be able to not sell an itinerary to a family because there are no seats together? Can you imagine the outcry if that was true?
 

kenish

Sep 1, 2015
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I have small children, and every single time I fly, there's a woman with a kid WAY too old for preboarding that cuts in front of all of us with car seats. This is on Southwest, so they're doing it just to get better seats.
A Southwest pilot posts on another forum. He said the cabin crews have an inside joke...they sometimes declare a plane Lourdes, because "disabled" passengers who pre-board are miraculously healed when they step aboard the plane and rush to the seat !
 
Mar 17, 2015
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Actually, as a single person often sought out to change my nice front of plane aisle seat for the sob story of the day please take my middle back of the plane seat instead, this may not be a horrible compromise. From the article, I did not go read the actual law, it appears that notification would be done at booking. So, if a family of 4 went to book a flight, the airline would notify the family (via check box maybe) that there were not 4 seats available/ or 2 and 2 because the seats have already been sold. The family could then still decide to book and take their chances that someone would buy the sob story or hope that some seats opened up. It would not give this family of 4 the right to have one person buy a premium seat and demand the other person who paid for the premium seat to move because it is the law.
There has to be a better way so that those of us that purchase our flights early and/or pay for those seats get to keep them without getting the guilt trip by the family that booked last minute (not always the case, I know). Most adults try to do the right thing and plan and we all understand when things fall through, plane change, flights cancelled/delayed, etc.
 
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kenish

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Current FAA regs prohibit younger kids in exit row seats (age varies from about 12-18 depending on the airline). The regs also prohibit parents to be in an exit row and their children or dependent adults to be in a different row. So these safety regs will override and be a part of any consumer-oriented laws for family seating.
 
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"Most adults try to do the right thing and plan and we all understand when things fall through, plane change, flights cancelled/delayed, etc."

And therein lies the problem. Most adults try to do the right thing. The ones that don't are the same ones that demand you move from your good seat to their crappy seat. Or it truly was last minute, and you truly couldn't book the seats together, a reasonable adult would try to swap for a worse seat (you take my aisle and I'll take your middle, etc). But there's that 1 guy that ruins it for everyone else.

I have given up my desirable, assigned seat exactly once. To a uniformed member of the military. And he didn't ask.
 

johnbaker

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Here' my thing ... I spent sometime today looking today and I couldn't find a single airline, with the exception of Southwest, that doesn't let you look at the seat map before buying the seat. So the bill, as its apparently written, would do exactly nothing to change the current state except establish the "right" of families to sit together which future regulation could expand on....
 
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Aug 28, 2015
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@johnbaker Thank you posting the link. It is certainly easy to see how the airlines could wind up passing the burden of whatever it is required to do onto passengers, completely undermining the intention of the regulation in the first place.
 
Jan 5, 2015
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Here' my thing ... I spent sometime today looking today and I couldn't find a single airline, with the exception of Southwest, that doesn't let you look at the seat map before buying the seat. So the bill, as its apparently written, would do exactly nothing to change the current state except establish the "right" of families to sit together which future regulation could expand on....
I don't think that's the issue, rather the fact they usually have pay extra to sit together. Some folks (I believe CE is one of them) believe families should be able to sit together without paying any premium seating or seat assignment fees.
 
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I don't think that's the issue, rather the fact they usually have pay extra to sit together. Some folks (I believe CE is one of them) believe families should be able to sit together without paying any premium seating or seat assignment fees.
I would agree with this under certain conditions. First, age of the "child". A 17 year old can sit by themselves, a 2 year old no. So a maximum age must be determined. Second, if a family of 6 boards they make have to make do with splitting up and children going with each parent, or even a family of three the mom or dad may have to sit separately. Third, this must be done at booking. So if a parent and youngster book, they won't have to pay extra for an aisle or window seat, but if there aren't any available, they can't book anyway then demand someone move.
 

jsn55

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Since the airlines have caused this problem by charging people for seat assignments, they're going to be quite unhappy that they have to hire people to enforce the regulations. Oh, that's right, they won't have to do that ... just let the flight attendants take care of it. They already have everything else dumped on them, one more little thing can't hurt.
 
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I would agree with this under certain conditions. First, age of the "child". A 17 year old can sit by themselves, a 2 year old no. So a maximum age must be determined.
I can already see the arguments when drawing that line. Not only do kids mature differently, but some parents view teenagers the same way their view infants.
 
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I can already see the arguments when drawing that line. Not only do kids mature differently, but some parents view teenagers the same way their view infants.
The article said children 12 years of age or younger. So, this would not apply to the 13 year old. I do think that there should be a number of seats that are not "pay to sit here" seats on each flight. But the airlines have proven that we, as consumers, are willing to pay to sit in a certain location. I myself am guilty of it. I will gladly pay the $10-25 per seat choice so that I am at the front of the plane. If no one paid for this option, the option would have gone away because it would not have made money. I really think that, for the most part, families do get to sit together. Or at least 1 parent with 1-2 children. I think that most of the times when families have to sit apart it is because it was a last minute/later booking, flight cancellation/delay and or aircraft change. This is where the airlines need to pay more attention to reassigning seats. Or the family wants the premium seats/adjacent to premium seats and did not want to pay. I do not think families should receive special treatment. If the seat is a so-called premium seat due to location, then if you want it, pay for it. Just like I do.
 
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The article said children 12 years of age or younger. So, this would not apply to the 13 year old. I do think that there should be a number of seats that are not "pay to sit here" seats on each flight. But the airlines have proven that we, as consumers, are willing to pay to sit in a certain location. I myself am guilty of it. I will gladly pay the $10-25 per seat choice so that I am at the front of the plane. If no one paid for this option, the option would have gone away because it would not have made money. I really think that, for the most part, families do get to sit together. Or at least 1 parent with 1-2 children. I think that most of the times when families have to sit apart it is because it was a last minute/later booking, flight cancellation/delay and or aircraft change. This is where the airlines need to pay more attention to reassigning seats. Or the family wants the premium seats/adjacent to premium seats and did not want to pay. I do not think families should receive special treatment. If the seat is a so-called premium seat due to location, then if you want it, pay for it. Just like I do.
Agree. And I'll just add...don't expect me to pay for a seat for a family member either, by demanding I move from a seat I booked.
 

jsn55

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Agree. And I'll just add...don't expect me to pay for a seat for a family member either, by demanding I move from a seat I booked.
Now, THIS is the crux of the situation, Techno. All it will take is one nasty parent belaboring a premium-seat person and all hell will break loose. But the plane will still be on the ground, so reinforcements can be called in.
 
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Now, THIS is the crux of the situation, Techno. All it will take is one nasty parent belaboring a premium-seat person and all hell will break loose. But the plane will still be on the ground, so reinforcements can be called in.
This happens now and the airlines don't do anything. Either the parent will demand the person move and get upset when they don't, or the parent will take the seat with early boarding and get angry when the ticket holder asks them to move. In either scenario neither the parent nor the airline ever offer to reimburse the premium seat person for the extra money they paid for the seat.
 
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