Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines is the latest to take steps to make it easier for families to sit together on flights without extra fees – joining full-service United, which has announced a similar policy.
Frontier will automatically seat a child under the age of 14 with a parent or other adult companion before the check-in window opens. Frontier’s algorithms will find available seating, for free.
This includes customers who purchase basic economy tickets, which normally have fees for seating choices.
The company announced in a news release that at least one parent will automatically be seated with any child within their family who are under the age of 14 for free. The airline will automatically seat a young child with their parent before the check-in window opens.
Passengers also have the option to choose their own seats for a fee, if they prefer. Frontier offers several other family friendly features including family pooling of frequent flyer miles and Kids Fly Free promotions through its Discount Den travel club.
Last July, the US Dept. of Transportation issued a notice that said carriers “do everything in their power to ensure that children who are age 13 or younger” are next to an adult in their party at no extra cost.
“We recognize the importance of seating children next to an adult with whom they are traveling,” Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s senior vice president said in a press release.
“Since last October, we have been doubling down on our efforts and further enhancing our system for ensuring a parent is seated with any children under the age of 14 in their family group. The system is working well and we are receiving positive feedback.”
Let’s hope other airlines will follow the lead of United and Frontier. Parents should not have to pay extra to sit next to their children.
If you are flying an airline which has not yet announced a family-friendly policy, you should know the rules before you book a ticket.
Book your ticket as early as possible.
- The earlier you book your family’s travel, the more likely it is that you will be able to reserve seats that are next to each other.
- If you tried to book your tickets early, and seats are not available together, contact the airline through reservations to ask whether additional seats will become available later.
Book children on the same reservation as adults.
- Airlines generally know travelers belong to one party only if all the passengers are on the same reservation record.
- Airlines assigning or reassigning seats give priority to parents and children on the same reservation.
Contact the airline directly through reservations if your family was not able to obtain seats together or if you are unsure about the status of your seats.
- Ask the airline how it may be able to accommodate your family in advance of your flight or at the airport.
- Discuss with the airline your concerns about a child being seated alone. Even if the airline is unable to seat the whole family together, they may be able to assure you that each child is seated next to an adult family member.
- If you booked parents and children on different reservations, contact the airline as soon as possible to ask if the party can be put on the same reservation record or have their reservations cross-referenced in the booking notes.
Confirm reservations that are not booked with the airline.
- If you did not book your travel directly with an airline, obtain or confirm your seat assignments directly with the airline as soon as possible before the day of travel. This can be done either on the airline’s website or over the phone by contacting reservations.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA)
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