Flying with children has never been easy. You’ve got to carry more bags, deal with more interruptions, and suffer the annoyed glares from your fellow passengers when your toddler decides to throw a full-volume fit at 35,000 feet. What’s worse than that though? When the airline splits you and your children apart and you’re forced to let them sit next to (and possibly burden) some unsuspecting stranger.
That’s right, while it may be uncommon, it does happen. Some airlines split families with small children up, making parents “hope for the best” with their young child sitting away from them. Well, thanks to United Airlines, that will soon be a part of the past.
Introducing United’s Family Seating Plan - a better way to keep families together who have children under the age of twelve. Now, if you ask me, this is great for everyone involved. It’s certainly not just a problem for parents. If you have ever suddenly found yourself as the de facto chaperone of a random four-year-old during your flight to Salt Lake City, you know what I mean.
But how does it work? Well, according to United (one of the three major carriers in the US), it all begins this month - March 2023. They’re calling a “dynamic seat map feature” and that is, in no way, ridiculous sounding. It enables passengers to book two seats together for travelers under 12 years old and an adult companion in the party for free on economy tickets, for basic economy fares. Keep in mind, this only works for economy seating. Polaris, first-class or Economy Plus tickets do not apply.
Now, you may ask, why is this such a big deal? After all, aren’t you able to choose your seats before flying anyway? That’s right, you are. That is, for an additional fee. United is doing away with that fee as well as making it easier for families who find themselves in a lurch when forced to make last-minute accommodations. United is so dedicated to keeping children with their adult companions that they are also getting rid of rebooking fees. You read that correctly. If there are not enough seats together on a plane for you and your children under 12, United will allow you to book another flight free of the fees it normally charges to do so.
Some folks are calling this a game-changer and I agree. But it’s only a REAL game changer if other airlines follow suit. That said, isn’t it nice to see an airline get rid of some fees instead of adding new ones for a change? Well done United.
So what do you think? Let me know if this will influence whether or not you take your kids with you on a United flight. Until then, I’m Erik “The Travel Guy” Hastings and I’ll see you in line at security!