Saturday, April 13, 2013

Small Children NOT Guaranteed Plane Seat Next to Parent(s)

Update Summer, 2014
In my original post below, I thought this issue was unique to one airline. Turns out that's not true. We flew last month, and this is still an issue a year later. Is it becoming the norm??? And why???  It makes no sense to me. 


Seriously, I was not even going to mention this incident.  I complained once before about something on my site, and then felt guilty about it, but this one has me baffled and I could use affirmation that I'm not crazy. Your opinion that I'm wrong is okay too, I know we can't all agree on the same things, but this is one that I have full conviction on for myself and my family.

Back Story
Last summer my daughter (then 13) and I took a flight together to Florida.  I telephoned way ahead of time (weeks) to ensure we would be seated together. I was told that was not possible. I called a manager and got a 'one time courtesy' for us to sit together. I was relieved but knew I wouldn't want to fly that airline again. And I haven't since.

New Story
I booked our Spring Break vacation through an online site that I like. It was an international flight that had a connecting flight from Detroit to Chicago, and then the reverse on the way home.  The connecting flight was through the airline who doesn't automatically seat children with parents (no one tells you this, I just knew from my previous experience), but we booked so early and it was part of the package deal, so I thought it would be okay.

A couple of weeks before the flight I called the airline to make sure I would at least be seated next to my 5-yr.-old. I was told they could not ensure that, but check at the gate and we should be fine. And on the way there, we were (fine).

When it was time for the connecting flight home, I checked to make sure things were going to be okay on our return flight home and that I would be seated next to my 5-yr.-old. I was informed that the plane was full and they could NOT seat any adult in our family next to my 5-yr. old.  Excuse me?  I'm not one to raise a ruckus, really, but there's no way my five-yr.-old was sitting with a stranger on a plane. So many potential reasons for that decision instantly came to mind.  First of all, he would have been scared to sit next to a stranger on a plane (yeah, that's a BIG deal to me). Second, and what should have been most important to the airline, there are a LOT of safety issues that could have come into play.  And third, God forbid something bad would happen, a stranger would not look out for, or comfort MY child.

So, I asked if there was another flight out that night we could take. We were willing to delay our trip to sit next to our child. There was nothing later in that same day.  I was firm that there was no way I was going to sit away from my child.  I was NOT impolite. The gal started mumbling under her breath, clearly frustrated with me, and then became not at all nice.

After some really silly rearranging we did make it home, with me next to my child, and I wrote a letter, again not rude, explaining how I felt about such a practice.

I e-mailed or wrote to any and everyone I could think of that might be able to bring some light to this kind of situation so it didn't become the norm, or accepted. Today I received a reply from the airline's customer service (as a response to an e-mail forwarded to them from a DOT Specialist, Corporate Customer Care e-mail I'd sent...the original one I'd sent the airline was never answered), that they were sorry I received rude customer service (that was their focus), but that as far as the seating went, and I quote:

We regret to hear of your experience and sincerely apologize for any
inconvenience this may have caused you. We make every effort to honor
our customers seat requests, but unfortunately, due to potential
operational changes or changes to passenger lists, we are not able to
guarantee seat assignments.


Really? 

My response to the letter was short, but I'm still shaking my head in disbelief at their stance on such an important (to me) topic:

While I appreciate your taking the time out to send me a response, I do not find it acceptable that there is ANY chance a 5-yr. old would be seated away from a parent.  I do not think I am the only one who would feel that way, and I will not be flying (name of Airlines) because of it.  We fly a lot and this is the ONLY airline I have ever come across such a thing.  Any number of potential situations make it entirely unreasonable to think it is okay to seat such a small child away from a parent on a flight.

Now I want to hear what you think? Is it in any way acceptable to have a small child seated away from his/her family on an airline flight?

217 comments:

  1. Absolutely not!!! I would have been livid if my child had been sat by himself. He would have been very uncomfortable the whole flight, as would my husband and I. Then as you mentioned,there is the safety issue.

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    1. Thanks, Betty. I feel so full of disbelief that it's an acceptable policy.

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  2. That is just insane! I agree with you totally and NO it is totally unacceptable. You should have printed the name of the airline. Shame on them!

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    1. Isn't it crazy, Danni? With a teen it was a questionable practice, with a 5-yr. old it was just entirely unreasonable. He barely fits in the big seat, much less could look after himself or his safety on a flight.

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  3. All I have to say is, you're wrong! Is that okay? lol had to get that out of my system.

    Yeah that is just a load of crap. You wouldn't leave a five year child alone anywhere else, so why the heck do they think they have the right to sit them next to a stranger? God knows, could be some psycho path that starts talking and pretends they are nice, gets the info and then stalks the kid, extreme I know, but still dumb.

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    1. I thought the same thing about leaving a 5-yr. old unattended anywhere. Why would someone do that, ever? They had a woman with a tween and infant too, the second lady said, who didn't have seats together. No kidding, an infant. -_-

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  4. I am very lucky to be able to fly at least Premium Economy when I fly and I never had a problem like this. It happened to my friend on a long haul flight to New York City when she checked in and she did a very clever thing: 'Oh, my child and I can't sit together? Thanks god for that, I thought I have to sit next to a screaming child for the next eight hours.' You won't believe how quickly she got a seat together with her child. It is not just unpleasant to sit away from a child for you but also for those who have to sit next to a child and play babysitter.

    Nadine

    http://germangirlinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. LOL, a kid probably would be screaming too if he/she had to sit alone next to a stranger instead of his/her parent. :)

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  5. Oh hell no! I will not allow my child to sit besides a stranger, ever! I can't believe they do that. What a shame!

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    1. It really is a shame, Anne. I don't like it.

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  6. I would appreciate if you send me on an email the name of that airline because I'm not flying with them! I've been delaying my trip back home ( more or less 9 hours fly all together) because of my "wiggly worm, I'm afraid of all things new and strangers" 4yo, there is no way I'm sitting away from him for that length of time or Less!!!! I'm with you girlfriend! WE are already paying an arm and a leg for a sit a half a cup of soda, extra for 1 piece of luggage and they can't even make one very logical exception? ..boy now I'm mad!!! Thanks for the post Hun!

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    1. I think it should just be a given, but after calling and telling them, I think it really, really should have been a given. It's not an odd request, and shouldn't even have to be a request, to my way of thinking.

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  7. I agree with you Rosie, that is why we fly Southwest when we can. I realize, Southwest doesn't go everywhere though and sometimes you have to choose another airline. On Southwest, if you get there early, you get in line A, B,or C and they also have early seating for parents with small children.... or they used to. Anyway if you are in line A, you get to go first so you pretty much have the whole plane to choose from. Oh.... I think you have to pre register to be in A, B or C seating. You can't pick your seat, but you can insure you get on before other passengers.

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    1. That would be great if you were early (sometimes you're coming in from a connecting flight that's running late and you can't be). We were on a connecting flight and barely made it to the gate the first time (but there was no problem sitting together). On the flight on the way back (another connecting flight) was where we had the trouble, and we were there all kinds of early.

      I have flown Southwest from DTW to PBI and liked it because it was a straight flight (no detour to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale).

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  8. Wow...I never thought an airline would do this. Insane! I would certainly make a HUGE deal if I wasn't able to be seated next to my daughter. That's just ridiculous, for all the reasons you mentioned. The airline was definitely not taking safety into consideration.

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    1. It seems from their response that they're not going to take it into consideration in the future either. Unreal, but true.

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  9. I'm so sorry, Rosey. I think it is ridiculous...your son should have absolutely been able to sit next to you or a family member...no questions asked. You would think it would be a rule and priority of theirs!

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    1. Right, it should be a given. And every time I see your avatar I get happy thinking about that new little one you've got over at your place. :) Thanks for the visit.

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  10. Hi there-how frustrating and ridiculous of this airline, I cannot even begin to think how they obviously think their policy is 'acceptable'. You've done right by ensuring you don't travel with them again xx

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    1. Thanks, Sharon. I'm a little blown away that it's considered okay, that's for sure.

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  11. I absolutely agree with you. I am so afraid of flying and flew with my family last winter. As part of the process for purchasing the tickets, I was able to select my seats. This was through Jet Blue and seating was never an issue for my family. Not sure if this is the way Jet Blue always operates or not....We had no problem with Jet Blue and would pay the extra for the service and the ability to select our seats like we did. I would have been BS if I couldn't sit next to my family.....you are certainly not alone in this opinion. We pay so much for these GD airline tickets, sitting next to family members, no matter what age should be a no brainer. (Glad you were able to sit near your son.)

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    1. I wouldn't have flown if I couldn't be next to him but can you imagine the mess that would have been too? Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

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  12. Airlines are really falling apart, huh. It seems like if the product is something everyone has to have, and you're a bit stuck with it, the quality really goes down, because they know their customers are stuck with them. That's the only thing you can do...go with the competition, and hopefully change their behavior as a business, or they die as a business, and rightfully so.

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    1. Oh I agree with you 100% that is ludicrous! Of course you should sit by your daughter. sandie

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    2. Courtney, I think they should make that policy clear from the get-go. How many parents book flights and assume they'll be seated w/their small children? This was part of a pkg. deal so I felt strapped, I would not have chosen that airline myself because I knew from the flight w/my daughter it was a possibility.

      Sandie, agreed. And she was a teen at the time. Certainly it should have been a given I was with my Kindergartner on this trip. Still shaking my head over it.

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  13. WOW! That's crazy! Wonder what the case would be with a toddler or infant for that matter. Both have to be placed in a seat now. Would they allow an infant to sit w/a total stranger as well? Smh...no only are the airlines falling apart, but we as a society are as well.

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    1. Sonya, I keep asking myself if it's just me getting older or not, but I do see a steady decline in terms of customer service, in so many places and/or situations. It's gotten to the point that when someone does a good job you are surprised and just want to thank them.

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  14. that is HORRIBLE. i would have totally LOST MY COOL...
    I mean, what age do they worry about? looks like none at all...

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    1. It' s not their policy to worry about kids, Noelle. Ouch, that was rude, I know...but true.

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  15. Hi Rosey,
    You are completely right! That airline is lucky. My husband would have had a few choice {French} words for them and the mumbling under the breath? Completely unacceptable! Talk about Homeland Security. Something as simple (though it seems) as sitting next to your own child on a flight seems like Security 101. That is such a sad testament to basic business principles of some companies. Good for you in standing your ground and sitting next to your son, even though it's a given that you were going to anyways.

    Sincerely,
    Karina

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    1. Thank you, Karina, and thanks for the visit. I'm so glad I'm not in the minority at just being baffled that it's even thought of us an acceptable practice.

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  16. It's just plain ridiculous that an airline would separate a young child from their parents on a flight. You can't tell me it is all that difficult for the airline to see that they are sitting together. Good for you to write letters and stand up for what is right! Too many don't and that is why things are getting out of hand, IMO. And not just with this issue.

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    1. I don't think anyone was listening. I feel sorry for the parents who will fly after me and don't have a clue what they're in for when they try to check in.

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  17. Airlines used to be so customer-driven, and now they are completely opposite. It's sad. Really sad. I don't think it's acceptable that children be separated from parents. I think that if you book your flight early enough to choose seating, you should be able to. Why should a family, who takes the time to make reservations way in advance, NOT be seated together? Craziness. I hope this airline's customer service reads your words and listens. Good for you, though, and I hope that more people will stand up and say something in an effort to make change.
    ~Kim
    www.2justByou.com

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    1. We could live not being seated together (hubby and I) but when kids are involved it becomes more than convenience/preference. It looks like, from the comments, that it's not entirely uncommon, which baffles me even further. I hope it's not something that's going to become the norm.

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  18. Wow this is absolutely horrible, makes me really angry.

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  19. I think it's completely outrageous that a child under the age of 15/16 or so would ever be seated away from their parent on a flight! I would think that it would be their policy to seat children and parents together, think of all the safety issues that could come into play! Ridiculous!

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  20. Of course that is totally insane to think that a 5 year old should sit with a stranger. Though, my youngest is now 10 years old, I definitely couldn't see her sitting alone when we would fly during the kids' younger years. P.S. My husband and I would fly on buddy passes when I was pregnant and you should see how courteous everyone is to shifting seats around so they wouldn't have to sit near a pregnant woman. (Hope I don't have any problem when flying this summer with the kids.)

    Sharon
    http://makeitorfixit.com

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    1. I hope your flight is without hitches too. :)

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  21. I had that once. I was travelling with two children 2 and 4, and they wanted to give me two seats together and one - separately. On an 8-hour international flight! There was no way I'd settle for that (especially since I had prebooked my seats, which clearly didn't make any difference). They got it sorted in the end.

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    1. I'm glad it was sorted in the end. My flight was fairly short, just a connecting flight in from an international flight, and that was bad enough (unacceptable). I can't imagine that happening on an 8-hr. :/

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  22. I fly stand-by ALOT (my hubby works for the airline) and I don't even bother at the gate. The flight attendants fix everything once you are on the plane, and if they are busy, I just talk directly to the passengers. I have only had 1 person refuse to move seats EVER (and we've flown with our kids probably 25 times or more). The passengers really are the most reasonable and efficient way to sort it all out. The way you were treated is absolutely appalling though.

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    1. I would have started asking passengers if it hadn't worked out, but I don't know why it has to even get to that point. It should be a given that your child is next to you on a flight full of strangers. Thanks for stopping by, Renee.

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  23. Let me guess, Delta? Why are you so nice to these jerks? I say shout the name out, tweet often, and get them to bow. When DELTA AIRLINES messed with me, I made A LOT of noise on the internet and would not stop until I got monetary compensation. I didn't feel guilty either because they were awful to me. My post "Toilet Bowl Operation" went viral as this one should too. But not with a (name of airline) in the post. They wronged you and you should be compensated. Unfortunately, D%$* DELTA, has a monopoly in Memphis and when flight is necessary, we're stuck with them; however, we drive most places to avoid DELTA AIRLINES' crappy service.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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    1. It wasn't Delta, but it sounds like you got really burnt, Joyce. I'm sorry to hear it. It's even worse if there's a problem and you're treated like the one who's done something wrong. That's how I felt when I told the lady at the counter that my 5-yr.-old could not be seated with strangers instead of a parent.

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  24. I totally agree with you. This is crazy. I have never heard of this happening on an airline. I would never fly with them again! Thanks for spreading the word.

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    1. Thankfully there are other carriers out there who do seat parents and children together. I'd gladly pay extra for a ticket on an airline that uses common cores than one who believes this is an acceptable practice.

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  25. What?! I got so irritated just reading about your situation! I agree that it's TOTALLY unreasonable for a child to sit alone. They could have asked if anyone would like to move to accommodate you. :( And the letter back is just ridiculous.

    toddlindsey.com

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    1. Thanks, Lindsey. I thought the letter confirmed the airline finds it acceptable for a 5-yr. old to sit alone on a plane...which to me is absolutely ridiculous.

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  26. That is absolutely unacceptable! I would have been terrified! We were going to face the same thing on our flight back from St. Thomas, but luckily a nice fellow agreed to switch seats with us. Every one of your comments I agree with 100%!

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    1. Ugh, so many people are saying they were faced with the same situation or something similar. Why is it becoming common when it should absolutely NOT be???? I don't get it at all!

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  27. I would have been furious. Take away from the equation shady horrid types, who would want to sit next to someone else's child, I'd be furious back when I was young if the parents were enjoying a quiet flight while I was having to put up with their kid. It makes no sense to anyone involved. As a parent I would not have been so polite either. Glad it was sorted!

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  28. Crazy isn't it??? I was told on a flight that a lady had a dog and the she had priority on where she sat vs. my son having priority...http://itsabouttakingthejourney.blogspot.de/2012/04/im-sorry-frau-barrie-but-she-has-dog.html

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    1. I saw it, just now, and that's so odd! The matter should have been resolved BEFORE you got on a plane though...with parent and children sitting together from the get-go. At least that's what I think.

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  29. Wow. What is wrong with these people? Not only is there no way I would let my 5 year sit next to a stranger, I don't want to sit next to a strange 5 year old either!

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    1. The rest of my family was scattered about and sitting w/strangers, but by that point we were just glad I got to sit w/the little one. :)

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  30. That is entirely ridiculous that a child that age isn't seated next to an adult from their party. I 100% agree with you!
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

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  31. Wow! I'm sorry, but I agree, ridiculous. I have a 5 year old with Autism...and they are out of their ever loving minds if they think I wouldn't cause a fuss and demand my kid be sat next to me...5 years old is still a baby...older kids 13 or so, perhaps I could understand...though I still wouldnt be thrilled, but 5!? Crazy!!

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    1. That's how I feel too...13...perhaps, but still not thrilled. 5? Why is that even considered okay?

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  32. I've never heard of such a thing. I know Southwest doesn't assign seats, but if you check in early and get in one of the first boarding groups, there is never a problem. I've heard the flight attendants ask ppl to move for late comers before, though, and usually passengers are accommodating.

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    1. I saw someone else post that too. We weren't flying Southwest.

      The only challenge w/arriving early though, is if you have a connecting flight you sometimes JUST get there in time to board...especially if there's been a delay on your initial flight.

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  33. 4 yrs ago my son & I flew to Hawaii together. He was a lap infant then, so this didn't affect me. However, there was a mother on the plane with 3 children and the children were all scattered around the plane away from the mother. 1 of her children freaked out! And we had to make a stopover in Los Angeles to let them off b/c he was so upset.

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    1. I can't blame the child. Crazy that everyone had to get stop/be delayed/inconvenienced, etc. and the trip was ruined for that family because the airline wouldn't seat a mom with her kids. And this was 4 years ago! So... it's been going on awhile. Why isn't something being done, or why aren't some airlines using common courtesy for families w/children? I know I said it above, but I'm just not getting it.

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  34. Wow lots of comments here! I would be devastated it my 3-year old had to seat alone. I can't believe they would even consider that. So sorry.

    Hop over from Thirsty Thoughts and thanks for your comment on my blog.
    http://www.mommieagain.com

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    1. The thought of it is very unsettling, I know. Thank you for your visit/thoughts.

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  35. I would have gone loco! This is totally unacceptable and I would never EVER fly with them again!

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    1. The worst part is it doesn't seem unique to one airline.

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  36. omg i wishi sisnt read this im going on my own with my little one next week and im even more scared now!!
    very nice blog, great style. Im following you now :) Hope you can also visit us here: http://dzieciozmaganiamatki.blogspot.co.uk/
    (its in polish but you can click translate to read in english...well some of it as google doesnt recognise my polish buhaha)
    Have a nice day & keep in touch.

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    1. Good to know and at least call ahead to see if your seats are together (or know to arrive early if you're able and they can't assign them). Happy travels!

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  37. I sure wish you would name the airline so I can avoid it. This is not acceptable. Airlines should know parents want their young children seated next to them no explaining required (you’d think)! I am glad you were finally able to get the airlines to seat you and your young child together. Great informative post.

    ~Emily
    The French Hutch

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    1. It seems to be going on w/more than just the one airline I've experienced it with...if I'm reading the comments correctly, and that's way more alarming than one alone deeming it an acceptable practice. I'd def. call ahead regardless of the airline, just to be sure!

      I'm glad we were able to sit together finally too. Thank you for your visit!

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  38. I agree completely with you and would have done the same thing ...and I really appreciate this post as it's made me aware that this is something to question when we fly. I had no idea and would be outraged if this issue came into play at the last minute. Thank you for sharing and good for you to take the time to follow up and lodge your concerns with the airline. They will never know how outrageous their policy is if people don't tell them. :) I hope you had a great trip despite this incident.

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    1. I hope everyone else it's happened to voices their concern too, if they haven't already. I think it potentially makes it difficult for parents, children, passengers, employees, and those working on the plane when children are designated to be, or worse, are seated away from a parent.

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  39. That is Awful! I would make a stink too! I'm not having my 5 year old or 2 year old sit with a stranger for their first ride on a plane! They should make it a RULE that kids under 10 (bare minimum!) HAVE to sit beside their child. I mean can you imagine a total stranger having to deal with a crying 5 yr old the whole way? Its not gonna make them any happier!

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    1. Why it's even a consideration (to sit parents and children apart from one another) is simply beyond my understanding.

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  40. I've never flown anywhere with my kids but this never would have occurred to me..I mean, I never would have thought they WOULDN'T let me sit next to my kids! Even my 14 year old wouldn't want to sit next to some random stranger, much less my 10 or 4 year old. That is ridiculous!

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    1. I don't think it's something we should have to even think about or consider. I think it should just be a given that we get to sit w/our children.

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  41. This is incredibel! Makes me want to spit!!!

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    1. I hope it is not something that becomes the norm, that's for sure, Barbara.

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  42. This is outrageous and ridiculous!
    There are no words to express my disgust! You acted really polite, I would've freaked out, big time and made a huge drama right at the gate. These people obviously have no children (or a heart, I might add) if they can even imagine a child could be left unaccompanied by a family member, these days when even breathing is dangerous, not to mention what big impact would this have on their trust in us as parents. They would definitely feel abandoned.
    Unbelievable!!!

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    1. I felt that, exactly...that it would violate a trust my child had in me to protect him. I'm glad you put that into words. That was one of many emotions I felt at the time, and when the dismissive response came back.

      Thank you for your comment!

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  43. I have been in the situation and it sucks. However, I have almost always ended up getting on the plane and asking the nearby passengers to move. They don't want to sit next my child either. You should out the airline company, so that the rest of us don't support them. They will be forced to change their policy.

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    1. I agree that asking the passengers would be the next route to take...but you know they're likely to feel put out or inconvenienced, and I don't know why it would even come to that to tell you the truth. Some things should just be a given.

      I'm glad you've had happy endings so far with this issue.

      It seems from the comments, that this is a practice that is happening in more than one airline, so the problem is bigger than just the one I flew, I think (which leaves me further agitated, and very sadly surprised to hear it).

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to voice in!

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  44. OMG ... I have never even heard of this! That is ridiculous that an airline would even consider putting a child in a seat without a parent or guardian next to them.
    This has got to be a lawsuit in the making!

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    www.raising-reagan.com

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    1. I think it's more like an accepted practice, and the DOT specialist response I got made it seem like no big deal at all. I'm glad, Lanaya, to know I'm not the only one who thinks it's ridiculous and unnerving.

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  45. Oh my gosh! My blood pressure is rising just thinking about this! Of all the insane practices. I'm thinking I would have been much more rude than you were! I would have asked her if she had children and if she thought it was acceptable for her child to sit next to a potential child predator! That's just not good business sense. I definitely would never fly from them again and would let everyone I knew know about their policy.

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    1. My blood pressure is rising seeing that's not uncommon. Eesh! We fly quite a bit, but we've never had this happen w/any other airline, so I had no idea it was not unique to them. Kudos to the airlines who DON'T try to do this to parents and their children!

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  46. After reading this, I know that I would not have been as nice about this as you were. I also would have disclosed the name of the airlines right in the title of this post. I don't fly much and sure do not want to fly on this airline where my children and I could be separated.

    Thanks for making me aware of this practice so I can ask about this when I am making any airline plans.

    Bobbie Anne

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    1. I hope everyone does call before making reservations. I'll be checking all airlines beforehand now too (since I thought it was only the one, but see now that is clearly not the case).

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  47. Hi!!

    I totally feel your pain with this one! We had an international flight last year (14 hours) in which they would not seat my husband and myself and our two children together (ages 9 months and 2 years old). Absolutely ludicrous! I mean - what happens when I need to change one of the children, I was so upset!!! Luckily a lovely gentleman on the flight switched with us so we could be together.. But what if he hadn't? It is totally ridiculous and I'm sorry you suffered with it also! It is awfully stressful!


    Aanie x

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    1. I'm glad a passenger switched with you. I'm sorry you had to even have the stress over it, that should never be the case. :(

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  48. Holy heck. That's just insane. I ASSUMED children are always seated next to their parents. Who's supposed to make sure they are comfortable? It not only seems unsafe (I see a lawsuit looming in the future), but it also seems counterproductive for the airline! You hear childless passengers complaining all the time about children on airlines... if they aren't sitting next to their parents, that seems like it would make things worse, especially for children 8 and under.

    So glad I have NO plans to take a plane anytime soon! Thank you for sharing your experience! You were certainly more gentle on them than I would have been ;)!

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    1. It should be assumed parents get to sit with children, ALL children, but especially smaller ones.

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  49. That is absolutely ridiculous. I can't believe this is allowed! How frustrating!

    Thank you for linking up to Raising Imperfection!
    Make sure to check back on Friday to see if you were featured.
    Leslie

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    1. It was frustrating, Leslie. Even more than frustrating. Thanks for stopping by.

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  50. I agree with you 100%. Absolutely unacceptable! There's no way that I would have stood for that either. They would have been dragging me out of that airport kicking and screaming. It would not have been pretty.

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    1. Being made to feel like I was in the wrong was the topping on the cake, I have to say. I cannot be the first person who ever found the practice unacceptable.

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  51. First of all, what? Second of all WHAT?!? That is crazy. I cannot imagine having my son sit separate from one of us on an airplane. And I cannot imagine someone else's child sitting next to me who's parent wasn't around. I obviously would switch seats with whoever the parent was. I can't imagine that wouldn't be allowed. I wonder why they just don't work it out. If someone said to me would you mind switching seat so that we could seat a parent with their child I would have no problem with that. Wow.

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    1. If I was flying alone, I would too, but why should it have to come down to the chance someone will switch anyway? I want the guarantee that I'm sitting next to my small child, and I don't think that's a lot to ask.

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  52. I can not believe that they would not set a child next to their parent. There is no way I would be using that airline every again. Talk about crazy!

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    1. I wish it was only the one airline, that would make it easy. It appears, however, from the comments, that it's not uncommon. Crazy, I know.

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  53. That is crazy! I can't believe that they would just expect you to let your child sit next to some stranger. That is insane!!! My kids are all older now. I didn't know something like this even happens.

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    1. Astounding, I know. Why is it even deemed acceptable? I have no idea why it rationally was ever considered a good decision.

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  54. I never heard of such a thing--and as far as I am concerned-I couldn't agree with you more!! You reserve actual seats on a plane--not a first come first serve--you are given your seat numbers way before the flight--if it was not possible to seat your 5 year old with you-they should have told you then!! Wonder what homeland security would think about all this!!

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    1. That's the thing, I called way ahead of time, and then closer to the flight time, and both times was told to handle it at the gate. On the way there we were fine, on the way back we were not. They wouldn't let me get a seat number, period. You know, sitting next to my spouse is nice, but it's not a big deal if I can't. Sitting next to my child is a given. He's 5.

      Thank you for your visit.

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  55. I never knew that such a policy existed for ANY airline. It is totally unacceptable and you are right to hold your ground. Seriously, a 5 year old not sitting next to a family member? That is very very bad service and there's no reason they can't do something about it!

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    1. Agreed on all accounts. Thank you for your visit.

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  56. OMG, I wold have fit if that happened to me!

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    1. It seems like no one thinks it's acceptable, I wonder why some airlines do.

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  57. Unbelieveable! ~ I agree with you ~ What are the airlines thinking? ~ Crazy world ~

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    1. Unbelievable is a perfect word for the way I felt. On one of our flights a 3-yr. old in front of us was constantly being reprimanded for leaning wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy over his seat behind him, and he even fell into our row once. I can't imagine if he'd have been on his own... no way he'd have stayed in his seat at all. I know I've already said it, but parents and children sitting together should just be a given, not something you have to vie to get.

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  58. That is unacceptable. Although I would be a person to help out a child next to me, not everyone is, and you don't know that about a complete stranger!! You had every right to complain and should consider writing or calling the office of the president of the company. Nothing may come of it, but at least they'd be aware of the problem.

    I have found that all airlines are only out to make money. They are not interested in helping out their customers at all. I called two weeks ago to change my flight; I wanted to spend an extra day or two with my brother, who recently came back from Afghanistan. The man did not care at all that I haven't seen my brother in over six months and hung up on me. I was flabbergasted; I know that they cannot accommodate every request, but the agent could have been more apologetic about it.

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    1. I hope you got to spend some extra time with your brother, Joy. I've tried to change a flight once too, but understood when I couldn't. Some things are not possible, but I think a good attitude when you're in customer service, should not be one of those things.

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  59. I would be pissed. I recently flew to Hawaii and the seats were chosen ahead of time, on one of the flights I did have to chose separate seats for me and my 6 year old daughter, but passengers on the plane were kind and switched seats around so we could sit together.

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    1. I love that so many passengers have been accommodating, but I don't understand why they're even put in that position (or worse yet, the parents are put in that position).

      Delete
  60. I remember years ago having this problem with American. They scattered out family all over the plane. It seemed that every family was scattered throughout the plane. There is no excuse for it. I rarely fly with them anymore. You were kind to keep the name of the problem airline out of the post - I don't think I would have been.

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    1. I've been separated from my husband various times, and that's fine, we're adults...but it's always funny when I'm next to a single stranger and he is too...we're always wondering why we couldn't just have been together.

      It's a whole different ball game when they're telling you that you have to sit away from your child because there are real safety issues, not to mention the stress of not being next to your child in a strange place, and vice versa.

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  61. I have heard about that happening with children sitting away from their mom or dad. It really upsets me. I do my best to not fly places if I can help it. Prices keep going up and they keep getting more and more crazy with the way they handle things.

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    1. I've dealt w/a lot of inconveniences, lacking customer service, delayed flights etc. (most flights I have to say go very smoothly though, and without incident). All are tolerable to me when they occur until it comes to the kids.

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  62. That is ridiculous! I would have made a huge stink over it. However, I think the person sitting next to your son would have had no issue switching you seats. I know I wouldn't want to be stuck next to someone's 5 year old without their parent there. My 9 year old is terrified of flights and cries upon takeoff. I can imagine there are plenty of 5 year olds that do the same. Not sitting them next to their parent is unacceptable, and I definitely would not be using that airline in the future!

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    1. I wasn't getting on the plane if it wasn't guaranteed I could sit next to my son. I wasn't rude, but I know they took it that way. Once they did get us seats together, the woman would not even accept my thank you (I tried twice). I had to tell the man who took my ticket while boarding to tell her, and she ignored him too, and I promise you, Theresa I was not rude in any way shape, or form. I thought that was silly, but whatever, it wasn't my main concern.

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  63. What a nightmare!! sorry ou had to endure--ugh!

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    1. How the policy ever passed acceptance to have children away from their parents, I will never know. There's not even any good sense for it, and I can't think of one way it would benefit the airline either?

      Delete
  64. I have never heard of seating a child from it's parents and I agree with Theresa, one would think the person sitting by the child would have requested to change places with you. This must have presented a very anxious time for both you and your son.
    Manzanita
    wanna buy a duck

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    1. I didn't board without a seat next to him. I didn't realize it was so common and people asked passengers to move once they were on board so they could sit with their small child (which seems to be the thing if I'm reading the comments correctly), but I think that's ridiculous too.

      Delete
  65. Wow. I am completely stunned. I have never heard of such a thing. I would be outraged. There is no reason that I can conceive of where this would be acceptable to me. I had a flight once with my husband and we were assigned totally separate seats and THAT sucked. I can't imagine this being done to a child. I'm glad that you were able to get to sit with your five year old in the long run.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. The relief was huge. I didn't want to skip the flight and chance losing our luggage and so on and so forth. I was glad it worked out too. I'm surprised there are so many people it HASN'T worked out for...I hope everyone it happens to voices their concern. I'm not sure small numbers would make a bit of difference. The response I got was instantly dismissive.

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  66. First time I heard about it and I think that airline is crazy. Actually, airlines makes the children comfortable when flying. So maybe the airline will have second thought after you complained. Thanks for visiting my blog site
    You have a popular blog:)

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Joy. I do remember your latest post, and it was very heartwarming/nice!

      Delete
  67. That's disgusting! I wouldn't let my baby sit alone either, & she's a lot older than your son. What happens if the child needs help getting to the bathroom? Heck no! Please email me the airline so that I NEVER use them. That's pitiful.

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    1. The bathroom is one of many, many issues, you're right.

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  68. Absolutely not acceptable. Your tickets where purchased in advance there is no reason this should even been an issue.

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  69. That is absolutely ridiculous. I can not understand how any policy could support something so unsafe.

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    1. No clue, Liz. I'm reeling that it's not uncommon on multiple airlines, or so it seems from the comments. How could it be deemed acceptable even once, much less on a regular basis? It's a rhetorical question, but I am shaking my head.

      Delete
  70. Wow, I think they need to rethink this policy. Great post! I didn't know they did this sort of thing.

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    1. I wish they would (and all other airlines doing it to) eliminate the policy. Thanks for visiting, Patricia.

      Delete
  71. yea, i know about this, and i agree with you, it's just plain stupid!

    thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting.

    HongKongChic

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    1. Thanks for your visit back, Mandy. :)

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  72. That is so stupid! I don't get it, if we leave a child under 12 alone in a vehicle to run in and grab milk, we are a bad parent, if we run to the store while our child is sleeping, we are a bad parent, and yet kids can walk alone to the store, school, or anywhere else, take a transit bus alone, and sit next to a stranger at the age of 5 and that is ok? Seriously, something is wrong today!

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    1. You'll get no arguments from me on this one, Chelsea. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Delete
  73. I worked for the airlines for eight years and that is a bunch of trash for them to say that. While it's true the call in 800 numbers can't guarantee anything if you go to the gate directly they will call up other passengers and ask if they will switch seats so you can sit with your family. I used to move people around all the time. Flight attendants are good about doing the same thing. Best advice I can give is to have your kid throw a fit so no one would want to sit next to them :)

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    Replies
    1. That's what someone else said too, Julie. I don't know why they'd think it's okay to seat a child away from a parent, especially a smaller one...it just makes no sense at all to me.

      Happy Birthday, by the way!!!

      Delete
  74. I was really kind of shocked reading this. We don't fly often, but have several times with our children and it never crossed my mind that we wouldn't be seated together. It's crazy and doesn't make any sense. I would think other passengers would switch seats, but that doesn't make it right on the airline's part.

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    1. Agreed. It's nice of the passengers to switch, but why should that be something that even had to be done?

      Shocked is a good word...because it really is shocking that a parent would be expected to condone that, and that a company would put them (and the children) in such a situation.

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      Delete
  75. You're not crazy! I CANNOT fathom that this is their policy. We've never flown with the kids before so I probably wouldn't have crossed my mind that my young children wouldn't be seated next to me. I'm really interested in the name of this airline so I can be sure to avoid them in the future...

    Thanks so much for this heads up and so sorry you had to deal with it!!

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    1. I've reported the incident to customer service twice, once the regular route, and once by going up their ladder (that latter which was referred back to someone else). Both replies from the airline dismissed me and my complaint with a canned response that was very similar in nature. I guess they really do think it's an acceptable policy. Pity one voice cannot make a difference. I feel bad for the parents who pay for a ticket, not knowing the policy. Make sure to call ahead of time on any airline, just to be safe BEFORE you pay. We called after we paid to secure seating and it didn't do a bit of good.

      Delete
  76. I would definitely want to be seated with my son. He's 8 years old and there is no way I would want him to sit next to a stranger on an airline. What person would want to sit next to a child they do not know on a flight anyways? I cannot believe they would not be more considerate. I wish I knew what airline you were speaking of so I can be sure not to use it.

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    1. I reported them to BBB, not that it'll help, they (the airline) instantly dismissed that too w/a swift reply. I replied back it was not sufficient (an option you have) but I can see clearly that it's not going to be a policy they care to change. I'm shocked at the blatant dismal to safety.

      Delete
  77. Hi there Rosey - I recently experienced this situation on Southwest Airlines. I will shout that name out LOUD because they still have not apologized for what happened. And just to fuel the fire, they were just fined $150,000 for slow service to customer complaints in May of 2013. I am a blog writer as well. I wrote this blog after what happened on Friday, 6/28 to our family. I am still in shock over what happened. Please read.

    http://halfmomtwicedad.blogspot.com/

    Don't be afraid to share out. Maybe if I touch someone, it might change a flight for the next child...

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    1. It was not Southwest for me, but it seems to be common with more than one airline. I don't get it. And not one person I wrote to cared (especially not someone within the airline) and I wrote to many.

      Delete
  78. Just happened to us on United from LAX to Maui with our 4 year old. What shocks me most is how downright selfish all the other passengers were who would not move their seats so at least one parent could sit next to our son. Disgusting behavior by the flight crew and passengers. I was crying, my 4-year old was crying, and I was looking directly at passengers as if to say, PLEASE help us!!! Nope, nothing. Jerks. One kind man finally moved, but made it so my 4 year old was on the aisle on one side, and my husband on the other aisle seat. They were both exhausted and dehydrated when we landed. It basically ruined the first 24 hours of our vacation because I was so upset.

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    1. That's the same airline it happened to me on, CD. I'm sorry to hear they're still doing the same thing. I don't know what in the world could make a positive difference, it's sad that it's considered an acceptable practice. My son was 5 when it happened, I understand exactly how you felt. And the airline tried to make ME feel bad, that I didn't want my 5-yr. old sitting alone!!! All correspondence to try and get someone to listen, once I returned home, were dismissed instantly. They really do not care about it. I just don't understand it. To my way of thinking, a small child like that alone on an airplane is a safety issue, if nothing else!! From the other responses though, it seems Untied is not the only one doing it. That's even more sad/frustrating/outrageous.

      Delete
  79. We are flying with our 3 young girls (1 1/2, 4, and 6) for girls' first time ever on a plane in just 2 days. When I booked this trip FIVE MONTHS AGO, I was able to pick everyone's seat. I got online to check in, and guess what. Only two of us are together on a giant plane (the kind with two rows). I called to get it changed and the lady was very nice but said that she was not able to change the seats over the phone; we'd have to ask at the airport. She also mentioned that the remaining seats in our group of 7 were nowhere near each other. I let her know we are flying with a 1-year old, 4-year old, and 6-year old, and that this will be their first ever time flying. I am a nervous wreck about this. We are flying US Airways.

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    1. Months later and this topic still leaves me dumbfounded. It's amazing that this type of situation is even allowed to happen once, much less that it is common (which is seems it has become).

      I hope your flight turned out okay and that you were able to sit together!! 1, 4, and 6... a no-brainer they should be with their family and not strangers.

      Delete
  80. That was a form letter, if I ever read a form letter. They definitely, not caring about your problem. I never had any sitting arrangement problems on flights before, I must have luck.

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    1. Knock on wood it stays that way for you. :)

      Delete
  81. That is positively ridiculous. They are setting themselves up for a lawsuit!! I better never come across this!

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    1. It makes you feel pretty helpless. I don't like it at all.

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  82. There is no excuse to separate a small child from their parent/adult/guardian on a flight. How hard is it to rearrange seating? I know that other adults would appreciate having a small child sitting next to them without a responsible adult. That's absolutely unacceptable.

    My daughter is brain damaged and you better believe I would throw the biggest shitfit ever if they tried to separate us on a plane

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    1. It's been going on for over a year that I know of, possibly even longer. I just don't understand why it's considered okay.

      Delete
  83. I don't blame you one bit! I would be so upset if I couldn't be seated with my children. No stinking way! You better believe I would of made a huge complaint. Not right at all.

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    1. I complained to whomever would listen last time. No one that could make a positive difference seemed to care one iota about it. I'm so baffled as to why it seems to be becoming the norm.

      Delete
  84. I completely agree and understand why you were upset, they should allow kids to be seated next to their parents. Though if they weren't they'll still be safe because their in the plane with you.

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    1. UNLESS, there's a safety issue. Then is the stranger going to think of my child first? Or strong turbulence that scares some of the kids. Or if my child is scared of the stranger. Or if my child gets sick. What if he has to use the bathroom? I could go on with 'what if's.' I just don't think it's okay in any sense of the word. I do appreciate you posting your thoughts though! Thank you for the visit.

      Delete
  85. Of course that's not ok! I would like to know the name of the airlines, so as to avoid flying with them as well. I have four kids and I don't want to ever run that risk. Absolutely ridiculous!

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    1. It's not just one airline. I won't fly the two I know it's common on though, and I won't fly the one someone e-mailed me about to tell me it happened to them on a flight to Hawaii on. Like you said, just the risk alone of it happening is worth looking elsewhere.

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  86. I will never fly anyway but this is absolutely crazy. I can't even imagine!

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    1. I wish it was not true. I agree, it's crazy.

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  87. This is absolutely CRAZY! It isn't ok. What if the child was even younger? When are the airlines going to realize they are only in business because we are using them.

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    Replies
    1. So many people fly without kids, that maybe our voice doesn't matter.

      Delete
  88. That is insane! There would be NOWAY I would ever allow my kids not to sit next to either my husband or myself, something does not sound right.

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    Replies
    1. It's not even just one airline. And from the comments here, it seems to be becoming somewhat common. :(

      Delete
  89. That's pretty insane, we never had problems with this. I don't know how they could get away with rules like that.

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    1. I hope you never come across it! It's ridiculous to me.

      Delete
  90. That is crazy. I am shocked they can get away with separating a parent from their child.

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    1. I'm still shocked too, and I've seen it more than once.

      Delete
  91. I'm so sorry to hear about your bad experience. I would've been pissed myself if that also happened to me. It's strange that they would let children sit away from their parents.

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  92. Looking art the number of comments here - looks like this airline needs a reality check. The security and legal liabilities this airline is risking are absurd and stupid. They seriously need to reevaluate THEIR laziness.

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  93. This is why I don't fly period! There is no way I would have gotten on a plane either without being seated with my child. I didn't even know there was a possibility of this!

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  94. That would really be difficult to be apart from your 5 year old as it could be traumatic for a child specially on a long flight. Some airlines sells preferred seating arrangement and some passengers come early to the check in lines to get the best seats.

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  95. WOW from someone that has flew frequently with a child, this is nuts. What is wrong with airlines these days? I mean really now... REALLY! That's ridiculous. I would never get on a plane without my child glued to my side.

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  96. This is crazy and unacceptable good thing this rule is not enforced here in Manila otherwise there will be a lot of parents who would be upset.

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  97. There would be no way I would fly without my kids next to me. Love your letter. Thanks for sharing.

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  98. I don't understand this at all! I would flip out. I wouldn't want to fly without my son seated next to me and he's 16!

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  99. Yeah, it is lame, they want to charge for everything! We flew to Hawaii (5 hours) with our 8 year old on the other side of the plane because they would not accommodate us.

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  100. oh no! that's pathetic.. and just when I thought we as a couple not getting adjacent seats is unfair.. I come across this.. !!! totally not done.. you should have mentioned the airlines name.. so sorry for your experience..

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  101. Sounds dodgy as anything. I really am starting to hate airlines.

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  102. There's no circumstance at all that can make that right. I think parties need to be split up before they split up a parent and child. That's absolutely not right.

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