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Should Airlines Guarantee Families Seats Together?

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Has this even happened to you: You’re flying with small children (no picnic, even when all goes smoothly), and when you check in you discover you’re not seated together. How is your preschooler supposed to sit 7 rows away?

The Wall Street Journal details stories of parents being separated from their kids on flights due to airlines prioritizing the seat preferences of elite travelers. Most airlines say paying extra for reserved seats (a pricey proposition when you’re talking multiple tickets) is the only way a family can be guaranteed of sitting together. Parents without seats next to their kids are left to negotiate with other passengers, adding more aggravation to an already stressful day.
Plus: No More TSA Pat-Downs for Kids

In recent years, airlines have cut back on accommodations for families. Pre-boarding is a thing of the past, and some airlines have banned kids from first class. Families are also often relegated to the back of the aircraft instead of roomier bulkhead rows, so as the minimize disturbance to other passengers.

There is one bit of good news: American Airlines is using new software that attempts to seat families with children 12 years and younger who don't have seat assignments together before they make seat assignments for other passengers.
Plus: No More Gate-Check for Certain Strollers

Have you ever found yourself without a seat next to your child? What do you find to be the hardest thing about flying with kids?

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