Reporting Leigh Ann Adam
Airlines make their money with fees. Whether it’s bag fees, upgrade fees, change fees, service fees, airlines are looking to tack onto the already steep cost of flying. Well there seems to be a new fee out there that is causing issues for families looking to travel. Just call it a ‘You Get To Sit With Your Kid’ fee.
John Parish is heading to to Disney World with his family for his 5-year-old daughters birthday. A perfect birthday, until John found out that his families return trip from Florida to Dallas on American Airlines had been changed and the three seats together had been moved with his daughter sitting on the other side of the plane. The change was due to a scheduling change and a bigger plane being scheduled for the return flight Parish had booked.
This was July, well before the trip was scheduled to take place and months after Parish had booked the flight. Parish thought that it would be a simple call to American Airlines customer service to get the family back together on the flight. When he talked with the customer care at American he was told there were three seats they could put the family in together; for a $60 upgrade to premium seating. Talking to a supervisor got Parish the same results.
“What bothers me about this situation is that they are trying to charge me for something I already had paid for because they changed flight schedules,” Parish told NBC News. “I know it’s only $60, but this is a little extreme. … It’s not fair when it is literally their fault because they are changing their schedule, but they put the onus of the cost and change on the consumer.”
American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagen said these types of things can occur when aircraft type changes.
“When aircraft changes occur, the computer tries to re-accommodate our passengers in the same seats — or close by — to those they held before the swap,” she said. “In this case, one of the seats needed to keep all three members of the family together was not automatically available.”
The suggested fix to the situation is to talk to flight attendants to work out a way to get the entire family situated together.