Thought the days of airline fees were over? Think again. Now a new charge is being paid for premium seats on flights. Welcome to the family airline fee!
While this fee is not actually a family airline fee, premium window and aisle seats come with an extra charge. This means that families wanting to sit together on a plane will now have to pay more for a row of seats.
Traveling with kids is difficult. Now it becomes more expensive.
Not only are summer airfare prices on the rise, so is the cost of just sitting together on the airplane.
Introducing the family airline fee
Window and aisle seat charges have been added by American, Delta, Frontier, and United as these seats are now available as an upgrade rather than as part of your flight.
What’s the idea behind this fee? Well obviously the airlines want to make more money. However, they also want to reward frequent fliers and business travelers the option of having more seats available to them when they fly.
For these travelers, many of these seats are available at no extra cost. Taking a family vacation to Disney World? Fork over the money so you can sit together.
Obviously, this new airline fee extends beyond families. Friends, couples, and relatives would also be charged this fee if they want a premium window or aisle seat together as they will now pay more for these seats – each way.
However, the people that may suffer the most are parents and children. Hence, this is the new family airline fee. You can add this fee to not being allowed to board early with kids.
What if you don’t want to pay this family airline fee when you book?
Airlines will do their best to accommodate families that want to sit together on the airline. However, there are no guarantees. While rare, the possibility exists that you may not be able to sit with your child or that your family be split up.
Hopefully, the kindness of other passengers will come to your aid and be willing to switch seats to accommodate your request. Just don’t expect the airlines to be this helpful in all cases.
One senator wants to make sure airlines allow a parent and child to sit together on the airplane. New York Senator Charles Schumer has stated that children and parents need to sit together on a plane and that airline fees shouldn’t prevent this.
Even the senator sees this as a family airline fee.
If you don’t like this family airline fee, read my open letter to US airlines where I share all of my airline complaints.
How can you avoid this new family airline fee
- Book your flight in advance and choose seats that have rows together or beside each other rather than seats together
- Contact your local senator or congressman and speak out against this fee
- Call the airline after booking your flight to let them know of your situation
- Politely inform the gate attendant or flight attendant of your situation and see if you can switch seats
Just another airline fee
How important is it for parents and their children to sit together? Should they be charged a family airline fee for this? Maybe it’s time for the airline passenger bill of rights to include protection for families as well.
Aside from baggage fees, we are already being charged fees for peak day travel, extra legroom, pillows and blankets, and more. For most domestic flights, airline meals come at a price (and it isn’t free).
You can save money on your next vacation. However, be prepared to pay more in airline fees. An airline ticket is no longer the total cost for a flight.
Bottom line - the new family airline fee is an attempt to make families pay more for sitting together on an airplane by reserving seats for frequent fliers and those who want to pay more for premium seats.
This is wrong.
We need to consider what an airline fee is. Airline fees should charge for a service that goes beyond what is standard or required.
Not every seat on an airline is a choice that we can make. However, this new family airline fee will make you pay if you can.
So say goodbye to your family at the gate – even if you are getting on the same flight.
What do you think of the new family airline fee?
Check out the new airline fees you could see in 2012 and beyond.
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