The article mentions American but has this been going on with other carriers?
I'm heartened to note that tbe authorities in the US are taking this seriously, from the passengers' viewpoint.
In the UK, when BA introduced a fee for pre-booking seats there was little reaction.
I lurv the idea of a "Families Seated Together Act 2012.". Good luck with that!
To be fair it's not actually a "pay to have your 5 yr sit next to you" but "pay to have a better quality seat as we cocked up the reassignments when we changed planes".
O'Leary has already thought of this and is going to introduce a "pay NOT to have a 5yr old sit next to you" fee.
I think the headline to this thread is a gross misrepresentation of what happened, and to cut to the chase, American are *not* specifically charging a fee to allow families to sit together. Indeed, unlike BA, American will let you choose your seats for free.
This is an unfortunate situation and could certainly have been handled better by the CSR as its sort of a one-off and by sticking rigidly to the rules by trying to charge $60 they have no doubt engendered 1000x that in negative publicity from this and similar misleading headlines.
BA do let families with infants under 2 pick their seats for free at the time of booking, together with all of their party, unfortunately that doesn't include me !
Having said that I would prefer to travel with adults - more restful (most of the time!!)
What a load of crap. What is a flight from Dallas to Orlando anyway? 3-4 hours? You mean to tell me that this guy felt the need to make a federal case out of this because they couldn't stand to be separated for a few hours? He fully admitted he planned on swapping with his daughter since he and his wife were still seated together.
What a bunch of spoiled brats we've become. Throw a tantrum or call the media until you get your way....WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!
Much to do about nothing. It's a 3 hour flight! Mom and daughter sit together and Dad gets some quiet time to read a book.
To me, this issue is hard, complex and does- to some extent- pit several groups' interests against others.
I personally think that carriers should be able to charge more (or a fee) for selected seats-- such as aisles, bulkheads, emergency exit rows-- in recognition that these seats do in fact have a higher consumer demand due either to location, design or other aspects.... so 'unlocking' and monetizing them, to me, seems very, very logical and appropriate thing to do..
Much like concert tickets or tickets to a sporting event like basketball.. In most cases, the much more expensive seats are closer to the stage or closer to the court/center court and, as such, are priced at a premium to the reflect the added perceived value in being seated close to the stage or center court.
However, in the end, the most expensive seats and the cheapest seats will still get access to the SAME overall experience.. that is the same length of music played, the same 48m of game-play (NBA= 4qtrs @ 12m ea), and in many cases, will be the same physical seat shape, size, design or form.
Just like non-premium seats on the aircraft-- you'll get there in the same time frame as the others, have access to the same cabin amenities as others, etc.
I also think that it's totally right and correct for carriers to hold back, block or reserve better (however that's measured) seats for their best customers.. That to me is a simple act of prioritizing among the various passenger groups.
The ugly truth is that flying is NOT an egalitarian act.. Not everyone on the plane is of the same economic value to the carrier.. Not everyone on the plane is creating the same amount of revenue or paid the same fare.. So, under that premise, I see nothing wrong with measures that place the higher value seats or services to the higher valued passengers..
Yes, all passengers regardless of value or price paid deserve basics.. safe, secure transport.. very true. but in terms of seating-- where etc.. given that there are some seats that have a higher 'value' placed on them, I see nothing wrong with policies to either monetize them or to make them available to their higher paying passengers.
As someone who works on he aircraft i appreciate the position parents of children are in when not seated together for whatever reason.... however... I am cautious to start creating 'carve out' exceptions for one group as that opens the door to the question of "If you do it/did it for ABC passengers, why not me as DEF passenger?" and that sets up a situation whereby one must start making subjective assessments about someones "need" to be exempted or not.
Right now, the only major group I can think of that that is an exception is those that travel (speaking for US carriers and within the US) under and within the scope of the Air Carrier Access Act which refers to those with a Federally recognized disability.
I get it that when carrier start removing seats and holding them back for their premium passenger, or for re-sale at a premium that the result is a smaller "pool" of seats available for the general public.. and to this end, it does tend to pit one group against another group in terms of seating priorities..
That said, I do not think this process is done with the purposeful idea that an intended result is the increased odds that a part of 2 or more (family or not) will be seated apart... but is rooted in the idea that it rewards higher fare/status passengers in a manner that has a very, very low cost to the carriers and/or creates another monetized revenue stream by unlocking the value placed on these so-called premium seats.
I don't care where I'm seated - I want to fly with Gopbi!!!
When it comes to Adults on long overseas flights, I can see the issue, but on 3 or less hours, some people are just whiners.
When traveling together, My wife & I pick Aisle seats. If they're seperated? So what. She reads, and I watch a Movie.
When small children are involved, I's a different situation, but that usually works out.Edited: 8:38 am, September 19, 2012
If it was a mater of a child having to sit alone, most airlines will accommodate this. But it wasn't. To make things worse, they were being accommodated after missing a flight. These days, if someone complains about an airline, the media eats it up. The complainers know that. What if there are 5 family members together? None should have to pay for seat assignments but everyone else in the plane should? This guy says peopleshould refuse to pay the fee and insist on the whole family being seated together when they get to the gate. Great, delay the flight, force others (some of whom may hve paid to get an advance seating assignment) to change their seats. Maybe he'll also fight at the ticket couner over checked bag fees. And on the plane for paying for food. He should buy first class seats next time. His family isn't worth it? Shame on NBC for giving him so much publicity.Edited: 8:46 am, September 19, 2012