Keep Families Together on Flights

Target: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood

Goal: Ensure that families who purchase tickets for a flight will sit together during the flight

Airlines are businesses, and as such, their primary goal is to make money. However, their methods of charging people have gone too far. Some airlines charge an extra fee for passengers to keep their seats together. This fee applies even when the passengers are families with small children. Toddlers as young as two years old have been forced to sit next to strangers rows apart from their parents unless this extra fee is paid or another passenger is willing to trade seats.

Children are often not allowed to fly unaccompanied on airlines, yet they are forced to be without an adult chaperone for the duration of a flight. Additionally, policies that separate the children will also leave adult passengers next to an unfamiliar child, who they may be uncomfortable sitting near. Common sense would say that families deserve to sit together, yet these airlines still demand money for the ‘privilege’. Many families are able to argue with the airline and be able to sit with their children, but this does not serve as a solution. According to travel expert Chris Elliot, ‘the airlines are playing a game of chicken with passengers’. A family that buys tickets together should be allowed to stay together without the extra hassle of paying more or arguing for this right.

It is understandable that airline schedules change up until the flight itself, and seating assignments cannot always stay the same. However, there is no excuse for separating young children from their parents, and then worsening the problem by refusing an easy solution. The Department of Transportation has the authority to make airlines in the United States keep families together, and should use this authority. A child staying with his parents is a right, not a privilege worth extra money.


Dear Mr. LaHood,

Airlines in the United States currently are able to charge families an extra fee to keep their seats together. Many airlines take advantage of this, and threaten to separate toddlers as young as two years old from their parents if this fee is not paid. Many people have reported sitting rows away from young children after spending hours arguing with airline staff.

I ask you to require airlines to keep families on the same flight together. It is not an extra cost privilege for a young child to stay near his parents, but instead a right. If families are separated due to scheduling changes, there should be no hassle or extra fees to fix this error. Airlines need to make money, but there is no need to profit off of the fear of separating a family.

[Your Name Here]

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  1. Linda Indyke says:

    Here’s a scary thought – what if the child, who is sitting in a seat several aisles away from the parents, happens to be in a seat next to a pedophile? Can you imagine? Could happen and the adult could be creepy or sweetly alluring. The liability for the airline if that pedophile assaults the child is enormous. Maybe, if they are reminded that they could be sued for billions of dollars in that situation could counteract their money-grubbing frame of mind.

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