Shocked Over Seat Separation

September 11, 2010

in Seat Stories

You blame the parents and kids but sometimes the airlines bring it down on everyone. Our family of four was heading to Disney, including a seven year old boy in an full arm cast and a three year old daughter. The airlines gave us 4 different seats all over the plane, despite our attempts to get them together. Everyone is boarding and we are frantic; the airline crew did nothing. One crew member even said that they were sure that the passengers sitting near our children would be happy to help them eat and get to the restroom. Luckily there were a few passengers with hearts and one of us got to sit with the children.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Mom September 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Been there, done that. Only with a 10 month old and 3 year old and CONFIRMED SEATS! Got to the airport & they had us scattered all over the plane, no matter what our confirmations said. Terminology may be wrong here – it was 15 years ago so I don't remember exactly what the terms were, just that our travel agent (knowing that we were travelling with children) had confirmed that our seats were together several times but when we got to the airport, they weren't… My husband had even called the airline directly to confirm this – having heard horror stories from friends and family. The flight attendants were really rude about it and tried to convince us to just sit down & shut up. Thank God a couple of passengers were merciful & allowed me and the kids to sit together (altho my husband was stuck somewhere way in the back of the plane).

Same flight attendants also refused to allow us to use the kids' approved car seats even tho we'd purchased separate seats for each of us AND confirmed that the car seats could be used beforehand. Tried telling them this & one of them yanked the car seats out of my hands, jerked them away (almost hitting me!) and continued giving me he** for bringing them on board and not checking them… There were 4 legs to this trip & the Lexington to Detroit leg was the only one where we had this problem – in fact, the attendants on the other legs gave us kudos for purchasing separate seats for the kids and using their car seats for safety…

That was the LAST time we travelled by plane as a family. To heck with airlines, our RV is a lot more comfortable! It may take us longer to get there but we don't have to put up with all the crap!


Clare September 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

How stupid do these airline employees have to get? Do they henestly think the average parent would be okay with their child being seated away from them? Or expect the people seated next to a young child to assume care for a child they don't even know? It's not only not their responsibility, but some people either don't like children or have no experience in looking after a child.

Oh, and I'm sure a three-year old would throw a bloody fit if they had to spend an entire flight away from mommy or daddy and have to sit next to people they don't even know. If you think young children can be noisy on a flight, just try seating a young child away from their parents.


James September 13, 2010 at 6:22 am

British Airways, until recently, would not allow a man to sit next to a child:

While that never happened to me, being treated as a potential child molester solely because I have a Y chromosome would certainly be a flight from hell. (Unless the seat change was to first class.)


rerere September 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I'm borderlined on how to feel about this. If you flew an airline with no assigned seats like Southwest, you knew the risk, and you took it. However, if you flew on an airline WITH assigned seating like American or Delta, they had no right to do this.


mommydearest March 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm

We flew Delta at Christmas three months ago, and we were separated despite confirmed seats. If you by an airline ticket with an assigned seat, my feeling is that you've signed a contract with the company and vice versa. They expect you to live up to the bargain by showing up on time and acting accordingly, you violate the rules and they take away your right to be on a plane. It should also be the other way. The airline breaks its promise to you – assigned seating with you child — and they should pay up and get you seats together because that's what they SOLD YOU.


Laura September 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm

That's unbelievable. The Disney route is probably assigned as punishment to the most unliked/lazy flight attendants so perhaps your answer lies there.

Well, if a flight attendant asked me to look after a stranger's kid(s) on a plane, I would probably throw a small fit and demand that I switch seats with the parent so they could sit next to their kid(s) and relieve me of my unpaid, nonconsensual duties.


Jaci September 12, 2010 at 5:30 am

Ever heard of selecting your seats online PRIOR to boarding, OP? I do it every time I fly, and have ALWAYS gotten the seat that I selected.

You fail to plan, you deserve whatever you get, pal. No one owes you anything. You need to be proactive whenever you do anything.


Clare September 12, 2010 at 6:24 am

You might want to read what poster "Mom" said. She stated that they had confirmed seats, yet when they arrived, they had them seated separately, this with two small children, one of them a baby.

Confirming your seats is no guarantee you'll get them when you arrive.


James September 13, 2010 at 6:23 am

I recently had my seat changed. Booked it nine months in advance: 2B. Moved to 4A for an air marshal.


Julie September 12, 2010 at 7:42 am

Sometimes the aircraft is changed and the seats get screwed up. Could be that the orginial plane had, say, 150 seats and now the new one has 175 and the seat assignments are kicked out. Happened to me all the time when I was working at a NW out station. Business pax would check in the night before on a 50 seat plane and they (NW) would swap it out overnight with a 44 seater. Now guess what? Their seat doesn't exist anymore and we're oversold by 6. Oh joy, another wonderful day at the airport!


D-Money September 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Oh yeah, right! I'm SURE the other passengers would love to take care of someone else's spawn.


Frequent traveler March 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Just a small point here, You obviously havent paid attention to the airlines Rules and policies for your airline. You know; all the literature they GIVE you when you make a reservation. A "Confirmed seat" is NOT the same as an "Assigned seat". A confirmed seat only Confirms that you have a seat on the flight; it does NOT guarantee a particular seat. And yes, you should have checked on assigned seating before going to the airport. I ALWAYS get my requested seat this way.
PLAN AHEAD and know the rules.


travelgirl February 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I was flying southwest Orlando to Buffalo with my 6 year old son. They had us sitting in two separate places with lots of holes wherein someone could move to another seat allowing us to sit together. Initially the FA wouldn't help us but I firmly and politely pointed out that it was possible to seat us together if he/she approached other passengers about moving even one seat over. It was apparent that people were just trying to leave gaps between them, which I completely understand, but I was unwilling to let my 6 year old sit unaccompanied and make him the responsibility of others. Eventually some kind person understood my situation and moved over one seat. The airlines need to realize that people with kids need to sit together for everyone else's sake.


Ryan February 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Next time pay for the seat assignment. If you are too cheap and don't want to pay for the seat, then deal with the consequences. You were given the option of purchasing an assigned seat and you declined.. Why would it be the airline's fault because you wanted to save $10-$25?


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