Let’s face it; with the crack down on carry-on bags, the exorbitant price of airfare and the elimination of free meals, flying on commercial airlines can be a real pain. And as many parents can tell you, that torture is multiplied when you are taking flight with young children in tow.
Fortunately, there is some good news for families traveling by air this summer. Just a few days ago, Allegiant Air announced that it will not add to parents’ anxiety by splitting up families on flights. The carrier modified its check-in system so passengers under the age of 14 will now be seated next to at least one adult traveling on the same flight.
The move comes after a rash of complaints from passengers who have endured separation issues initiated by carriers charging fees for advanced seat assignments. In order to boost revenue, many airlines have been charging extra for passengers to reserve “preferred” seats, such as an aisle, a window or a seat with extra legroom in an exit row. And some, including Allegiant, have also been charging passengers flying in coach class an advanced seat assignment fee, thus the streak of sordid stories about separated parents and kids.
Fed up with horror stories from peeved parents, U.S. senator, Charles Schumer from New York urged the Transportation Department to ban commercial airlines from imposing seating fees that could interfere with families trying to sit together.
While Allegiant’s move comes on the heels of Schumer’s request, the airline maintains that its change is unrelated to the lawmaker’s request. Rather, Allegiant’s president claims that the company’s new seating rule is “just something we thought was the right thing to do.”
As a parent, who regularly flies long distances with a young child, I could care less what sparked the change in the seating policy, I’m just glad that someone with power decided to exercise common sense. After all, does it really pay to keep a screaming kid from his parent on a cross-country flight?