The airlines these days have found ways to charge us fees for everything – at one point one airline was looking to charge us to use the lavatory!
These fees have earned the airlines billions of dollars, so don’t look for them to go away anytime soon. However, we can be smart fliers and know how to fly with minimal fees.
For instance… listen up family travelers. Most airlines – particularly US airlines, charge parents extra to reserve a seat next to children. But if you are traveling on a foreign airline with any children younger than 12, and budget is a consideration, don’t pay to reserve your seats.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, because you need to sit next to young children on planes, but what some foreign airlines don’t tell you upfront is that they automatically place you together if you are traveling with someone younger than 12 years of age. **Please note this is for many airlines – I would call in advance to confirm your airline does this. Also double check the age where they would automatically assign seats together, because that could be different too.
I asked one airline – what if all the other fliers book their seats and there are no other seats for us together – this particular airline said they move everyone around at the gate to accommodate people flying with children – even if we are a group of five and only have one child under 12. (Honestly, that doesn’t seem totally fair either – moving those have paid to sit next to a window, but that’s the airline’s policy.)
If you are the type who doesn’t trust leaving it in the hands of the airlines, make sure you do the following:
1)Enter the age of your fliers when you book your flight- especially the one under 12 so the airline will know to put you together.
2) Get to the airport early and go to the gate to make sure they know you are traveling with children. Attendants can choose your seats then… or work it out in the system.
Think about it: Most airlines don’t want kids not seated next to their parents for everyone else’s sake!
It’s actually ridiculous some US airlines still don’t automatically place families with young children together. There has been legislation lingering in Congress to change this, but it doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere.
Again, it helps to call ahead on ANY airline to research the airline’s policies. I know there have been sympathetic agents who have helped families work it all out.
Happy travels – this is going to be a busy summer season!