Keeping SWFL children and parents together on flights with no fees

Saving you money while having your children next to you on the plane. Right now, there are some fees you must pay when picking a specific seat for your child on the plane. But a new movement is working on getting rid of that and it is gaining steam.

When you fly with children in a basic economy, you are rolling the travel dice. The chances for families to sit together do not look good unless you pay up for seat selection. It is something that worries Katie Weiser.

“You should be able to sit with your kid,” Weiser, a mother, said, “no matter what.”

A petition with thousands of signatures argues that.

“It was just me and the boys,” said Sangeeta Jathar, a mother. “One seat was by itself, so I had my older one sit by himself and he had like an anxiety attack.”

Consumer Report’s online petition begs airlines to let kids under the age of 13 to sit with their parents for free, no matter the class.

“If it was like all five of us were in different parts of the plane,” said Nick Jathar, a dad, “that would be a different story.”

WINK News reached out to airlines on whether families can sit together or not. They mostly told us if you are not sitting next to your kids, reach out and ask for that seat and they will usually do everything they can to keep you together.

United Airlines said it has booking software that automatically puts kids under the age of 15 with an adult on the trip, as long as they indicate age during booking. However, it can not guarantee they will be together.

Southwest Airlines said:

At Southwest, we let you sit where you like. We don’t assign seats on our flights, so individuals and families can feel free to sit in any available seat once they board the plane. Customers are simply assigned boarding groups – A, B, or C – based upon time of check in. Additionally, we offer Family Boarding to adults traveling with children six years old and younger.  These families can board after Group A, and prior to Group B, to find seats of their choosing on each flight.

American Airlines said:

Since early 2018, our team has spent a considerable amount of time developing a process that will ensure that a child under the age of 15 are seated with an adult.

For families traveling with a child under the age of 15 who don’t have a seat assignment, our system will work to seat the child with an adult in the reservation starting 48-hours after the reservation is ticketed. This ensures the child will not be assigned a seat alone.

Additionally, we block seats on flights for airport control. This enables our airport team members to move people around, as needed, at the gate. This is helpful in case families book at the last minute, rebooking due to irregular operations, etc.

We are confident that this process works well for families who choose to fly with American Airlines.

Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines have not given a response as of publication.

Delta Airlines told us they do not recommend basic economy fares for families who want to sit together.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Sangeeta Jathar said. “We pay enough already for luggage and for tickets and for a relatively big family, it’s a big expense.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
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