Why should families have to pay more to sit together on a flight? I don’t think they should, and I think it’s common sense for airlines to put children together with their parents.
After all if you’re off on holiday without children, the last thing you want is to be seated next to a six-year-old who’s upset at being separated from their parents. There are also safety issues – how can a parent sat in a different row help their child in an emergency?
The official regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, agrees. It has guidelines for airlines, stating that they should ideally put young children and infants in the same row as the accompanying adult. But airlines and big tour operators have decided it’s a good idea to charge parents for the privilege.
For two adults and two children, charges for picking their seats can add up to £84 on top of a long-haul holiday if the family flew with Thomson, or £80 if they were with Cosmos or Thomas Cook.
And even if you pay the charges, it seems you’re not guaranteed to sit next to your child. Thomson says a family who pays the charge might be ‘in front, behind or across the aisle’ from each other.
Charged more to sit together on family flights
One Which? member who decided not to pay the charge when travelling with children aged ten, eight and three, found that all of them were initially given separate seats spread around the plane, which was then delayed while cabin crew moved people around in order to put the family closer together.
Not surprisingly, our member paid the extra charges for the return flight, before contacting us to highlight what she believes is ‘purely a money making exercise’.
Another Which? member, who booked a holiday from the family section of Thomson’s website, was called by the company sometime after the booking asking whether he wanted to pay for the family to be seated together.
I think these charges are wrong. They unnecessarily bump up the price of holidays at a time when many families are struggling to pay for holiday breaks at all – a report from the Family Action charity this week found that many couldn’t even afford days out in the UK.
Why should airlines and tour operators charge so much for a service they should offer as standard? You have to say how old your children are when you book a holiday, so why can’t the travel companies pick out the families with children under a set age, and automatically put them on a priority list to be seated together?
Should families be charged extra to sit together on a flight?
No - airlines should try and seat families together free of charge (96%, 203 Votes)
Yes - families should pay extra to select their seats (5%, 11 Votes)
Total Voters: 214