Paying extra for a reserved seat on an airplane is bad enough. But Consumer Reports discovered that the three largest domestic airlines – American, Delta, and United – are among those charging families big fees to sit together, and in some cases seating children as young as 1 and 2 years old far from their families and next to strangers.
If you haven’t experienced this outrageous seating scheme yourself, you may have witnessed it on board: Desperate parents begging flyers to switch seats so they can sit with their child. Or perhaps you’ve even sat next to a little one whose parents are rows away.
Airlines can easily fix this because they know the age of everyone flying – but they haven’t. Doing so would mean giving up millions of dollars in fees from parents who simply want to keep their kids safe.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, we examined summaries of 136 family seating complaints against dozens of U.S. and international airlines. What we found was shocking:
In two cases, United seated families apart from their 1-year-olds – in one case, on a two-leg international itinerary.
In seven instances, 2-year-olds were seated apart from their parents, including on American, Delta, United, and Spirit Airlines.
A family on American with a 2-year-old and another child who suffers seizures found both kids seated separately.
The Department of Transportation, which oversees airlines, has done nothing to require the airlines to change their family seating and fee policies despite Congress passing a law three years ago saying it is a serious problem and directing DOT to address it.
Help us reach 25,000 signatures by forwarding this email to friends and family, and sharing the petition on social media. The more people who join us, the better chance we have at getting airlines to do the right thing for families flying with children.