We have a trip to Seattle and Vancouver on our horizon, and while we were booking our last nights hotel and pricing out rental cars I decided to double check our flight times, as they had been changed a few times, and noticed that on our flight out to Seattle we were booked in four seats scattered throughout the plane, all middle seats.
Well. This was certainly a problem, since two of the passengers are 2 and 5. While it would definitely make for an easier flight for me and my husband if someone else was watching our kids (I kid. Kind of.) I knew this wasn’t going to work. To add to the confusion when we booked the tickets we booked 2 on one itinerary and 2 on the other. This isn’t normal for us, but we used Delta points for one and paid for one, so that was one itinerary, and then we used Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the other two, and those are booked through Chase.
So, I called Delta, and, in a case of catching more flies with sugar than vinegar, I put on my sweetest voice, explained the situation, and begged for help. After a long conversation and some confusion with the two itineraries she was able to open up some blocked seats in the back (blocked for what I have no idea) and get me next to my daughter and my husband with my son. They are 10 or so rows in front of us but that didn’t matter.
We know flying with kids is stressful, and the last thing you need is to get to the airport and discover this situation. We have a few suggestions to help you before your travel day.
Be sure you always confirm your seats before you get to the airport. Even if you booked seats together originally anything can change your seats, from an aircraft change to departure time changes.
If you have the ability to the best way to confirm seats together is to pay extra to pre-book your seats. This is just another example of airlines milking passengers for every last penny they can, but if it ensures that your kids won’t be sitting 10 rows away with strangers then it is probably worth it.
Many airlines, usually non-US domestic carriers, make an effort to keep families together. British Air, for example, only opens up seats 24 hours before your flight time if you haven’t paid to book your seats earlier. But they do everything they can to keep families traveling together, and we have never had to pay for seats on BA and have always been booked in together.
If you call the airline be nice! I have a hard time always subscribing to this, particularly when I feel customer service people are not trying to be helpful, but the reality is that the nicer you are the more likely they will be to help you out. Don’t set your expectations too high – for example, with the four of us it would have been crazy to demand 4 seats together. But getting 2 sets of 2 seats together is better than all being apart.
And, finally, if nothing else works, go to the airport early, and ask for help. Beg for help. Show them your adorable children and hope they take pity on you and work it out for you. If not ask nicely on the plane, and hopefully someone will switch. While I understand that if someone has paid for a premium seat they shouldn’t have to switch I would hope that they would be accommodating enough so that a young child wouldn’t be sitting alone.
Have you had this happen? How did you work it out?