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Separating parents from children on same flight

rfirstbase
New Arrival

My daughter and my granddaughter (age 12) traveling on Southwest flight number 1155 on June 17 from Houston to Pittsburgh leaving Houston at 10:45 to arrive in Pittsburgh at 2:25. Why was my granddaughter separated from her Mother and required to occupy a seat far in the back of the aircraft by herself. In this day and age, I feel this is a totally insane and ridiculous policy and dangerous practice. Can anybody provide me with insight or information on this practice?

3 REPLIES 3

Re: Separating parents from children on same flight

Bowfin
New Arrival
Solution

While I do not have all of the parameters of the situation and agree that children and parents should sit together; I can offer some thoughts on how to prevent this from happening again.

  1. Southwest seating- seats are first come, first serve. When booking, there are options to get Early Bird services and/or to log in to your booking 24 hours in advance to check in. Both options provide a lower seating assignment (A boards before B and C) to get seats you want. If your daughter would have opted in for a lower seating assignment, she might have had better seat selections, thus preventing separate seating.
  2. Ask for a fair and equal swap – people are inherently good and particularly on Southwest, most are traveling for business and wouldn't mind swapping seats. In an effort to accommodate a parent/child seating arrangement, I would do it. Don't expect an “A List” business traveler to swap a row 1-4 with you in row 26, but it is possible they would.
  3. Join the rewards program – Southwest has a really good rewards system. You can get an “A List” status pretty quickly if you travel. This status pre-selects an “A” boarding placement for you allowing you to grab a better seat and then nicely “save” (no guarantees) the seat next to you.

I hope this helps.

Re: Separating parents from children on same flight

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor
Solution

@Bowfin wrote:

While I do not have all of the parameters of the situation and agree that children and parents should sit together; I can offer some thoughts on how to prevent this from happening again.

  1. Ask for a fair and equal swap – people are inherently good and particularly on Southwest, most are traveling for business and wouldn't mind swapping seats. In an effort to accommodate a parent/child seating arrangement, I would do it. Don't expect an “A List” business traveler to swap a row 1-4 with you in row 26, but it is possible they would.

I hope this helps.


I think this part of the response is the best, and I hope that they tried this - usually if you can enlist the help of the flight attendant to find someone to move so that two seats can be found together it will work out.

 

I'm sorry to say it won't work 100%, but often the FA will offer a beverage to anyone that moves and I've chipped in one for people that did this as well when I was seated near them.

 

Make sure to check in exactly at T-24 hours as well, even coming at late B's you may not find seats together, but you can find lots of single empties so people are more likely to have a place to move to that is equivalent for themselves. Boarding at C-15+ it is harder for people already seated to move around.

 

Another tip would be if they had carry-on luggage to stow it as soon as possible then all of the seats could be theirs. Carrying that luggage around while people snap up the last few seats makes it difficult, walking all of the way to the back, then working your way to the front again.

 

With a little practice they will be better able to work the system on future flights.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Separating parents from children on same flight

SWDigits
Rising Star

@rfirstbase wrote:

My daughter and my granddaughter (age 12) traveling on Southwest flight number 1155 on June 17 from Houston to Pittsburgh leaving Houston at 10:45 to arrive in Pittsburgh at 2:25. Why was my granddaughter separated from her Mother and required to occupy a seat far in the back of the aircraft by herself. In this day and age, I feel this is a totally insane and ridiculous policy and dangerous practice. Can anybody provide me with insight or information on this practice?


@rfirstbase here is a 2018 article link from USA Today that I think does a good job of explaining the current situation from a legislative perspective.  This is a quote of the most pertinent part of the article as it pertains to your post (bold emphasis added by me):

 

"Congress passed the Families Flying Together Act, which mandates that airlines keep families together on planes. Unfortunately the Department of Transportation has yet to create the required regulation and implement it."

 

I'm not an attorney, I'm not involved in legislation, and I'm not involved in federal rule making so take *my personal opinion* for what it's worth, but I don't think anything will happen any time soon.

 

The approaches mentioned by @Bowfin make sense unless you have a connecting flight that runs late and negates all of your prior planning/status/Early Bird purchase/family boarding.  If you miss your boarding spot because your first flight landed late then you're at the mercy of the folks on the plane.  Really slim odds of that happening but it happens.  Not.  Fun.  With.  Little.  Ones.  This is a scenario that I think is best addressed by assigned seating, which Southwest obviously does not have.


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