I booked a flight as soon as I found out we had to fly cross country for a wedding. I like booking flights in advance but I only got a 2 weeks notice so I did what any normal parent would do: found a direct flight and booked it during the hours that my children wouldn’t lose their minds.
Most parents dread flying with kids. No one wants to be the parent with the crazy kids during a flight and get nasty looks from passengers. Although I’ve never had a bad experience with mine I’m always worried that something might upset them and that I’ll end up with the crazy kid during the flight or the one that won’t stop crying. I worry about the other passengers and do my best so everyone, us and them, can have a pleasant flight. I think this is how most parents traveling with kids feel – we just all want to have a pleasant flight.
After making the purchase I realized that the flight back home didn’t have a row of seats available so we could sit together. I’m flying with my exclusively breastfed baby, a toddler and my husband. It’s a 6 hour flight. The only available seating were middle seats scattered all over the plane. I can picture my 3 year old sitting in between 2 strangers for 6 hours – probably screaming, asking for me and crying with a little kicking on the side. Not to mention whoever is next to me probably won’t be thrilled to see me nursing half the flight. On top of that, we’ll have to get out of our seats several times for diaper changes, leg stretching and potty breaks. For the sake of everyone on the plane and our sanity we cannot sit apart. I need my husband to help with the baby and the toddler. We’re a team and during a 6 hour flight with 2 small kids you need a team, a plan, lots of snacks and lots of toys but mainly those kids need their parents…or at least a parent.
When I realized this seating arrangement I reached out to the airline’s customer service department and they wouldn’t help me. To be honest, I was in a complete shock.
I am not asking for special treatment but just for common sense. I don’t want my kids to be a burden to other passengers nor to be upset during a flight but how can I do that if we’re all separated? How can I take turns with my husband entertaining our kids so they don’t annoy anyone if we can’t sit together?
I remember having this same seating issue with another airline a couple of years ago and they opened up family seating for us so we wouldn’t have to be separated and so I wouldn’t have to nurse my baby next to a stranger. I didn’t even know there was such thing as family seating – seats that they reserved for cases like this. I think this is a great idea and one that benefits everyone during a flight. So is this so hard to do on all airlines? Or maybe have a sitting arrangement like Southwest – where you get a boarding number and everyone picks their seats on the flight. This way, families with small kids could sit together and people that don’t want to be near kids can sit further away.
I know on the day of this flight I can ask the stewardesses to help us or ask the passengers to move and someone might do it but wouldn’t it be nice if all airlines considered families and prioritize family seating? After all most flights aren’t booked by entire families flying together.
Maybe I’m just naive or you might think I feel like I need special treatment because I have small kids but families should sit together for the sake and peace of everyone during a flight. Instead of airlines turning their back on families they should embrace them. After all, those little kids flying today might be their customers tomorrow.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that families should be able to sit together during a flight?
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