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Old Jun 8, 12, 6:02 am   #61
 
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Originally Posted by ag30075 View Post
If I knew in advance that I cannot fly with my 6 year old seating with me I would have reconsidered the whole vacation plan. I was only offered the option of paying for a seat at the airport (which I did pay for) and NOT at booking time - I wanted a middle seat next to any of the 3 window seats I had assigned - they did not sell those particular seats.
I still think it's not right what Delta is doing - as someone said earlier in a post - not all people flying are nice people or people I would like/feel safe having my children seating by - as far as I know Delta does not run background checks or look for sex offenders when selling tickets or boarding planes. The same way I would not let my children eat at a food court with a stranger I would not want them spending 2+ hours with someone I don't know in a plane. I hope it does not sound unreasonable the argument.

Now I am stuck and stressed because I booked my July trip with Delta before this one.
For houserulz77 that offered some help, thanks, these are the details for the trip: Jul03 ATL-CUN DL531 return CUN-ATL Jul10 DL534 bought the tickets May 3rd. Is there anyway to avoid seat assignment changes or unpleasant surprises at the airport again? Your help is appreciated :-)
We have now windows and middle in row 24 - I like them - the plane was empty when I booked and the seats were opened (exactly as it happened with the Orlando trip).
I'm confused as to why the GA couldn't/lwouldn't accomodate your request. I would have spoken to the GA at the first opportunity and request at least 2x2 seating. That would be, to me, a reasonable request. I'm sure that ATL-MCO, at this time of year, is filled with families. If the GA isn't "able" to seat you....I would escalate...first to a Redcoat...then up the ladder to a Performance Leader (supervisor). Seat requests can be a pain this time of year...but, it's just allllll part of the job.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 7:55 am   #62
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Even then, I don't agree that families should get special treatment. Many of us have experienced loss of advanced seat assignments when there is a schedule or equipment change and we do not get special consideration in changing the resulting seats. The presence of "children" should not entitle anyone to special treatment.
+1 If there is an equip swap or if there is an irops situation and the family is rebooked, the airline should try to seat a parent and child together if they can reasonably accomodate the request, but it shouldn't be expected. I think it is unreasonably to expect someone with medallian status or is PAYING for a premium seat to swap and aisle or window for a middle seat with someone that flies once a year and is probably on a T fare, just so they can sit together.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 9:54 am   #63
 
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Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
As a PM, I would have an issue being asked to change an aisle seat to a middle seat. One of the perks of having status is access to a better seat.
Then you better hope one of the other three break first...

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Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
Delta should just block out the last few rows from being booked and only allow them to be booked by people travelling with young children. It would save them a lot of hassle from trying to sit kids and a parent together and wouldn't tick off their loyal customers since those aren't desirable seats anyway and it would make deplanning a lot faster having the small kids in the back as well.
NW used to put the rear-most seats on gate-control, believe it was the last two rows of port, and the last row of starboard, on every flight. Yet it would have to be the rear half of both, for MCO.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 10:04 am   #64
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Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
+1 If there is an equip swap or if there is an irops situation and the family is rebooked, the airline should try to seat a parent and child together if they can reasonably accomodate the request, but it shouldn't be expected. I think it is unreasonably to expect someone with medallian status or is PAYING for a premium seat to swap and aisle or window for a middle seat with someone that flies once a year and is probably on a T fare, just so they can sit together.
I agree. Why should I switch to a middle seat to accommodate someone who wasn't willing to pay for it and hasn't earned it by flying a lot? It's a favor that I don't have to grant and will not grant to people exhibiting the attitude that they're entitled because they have children with them.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 10:19 am   #65
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I agree. Why should I switch to a middle seat to accommodate someone who wasn't willing to pay for it and hasn't earned it by flying a lot? It's a favor that I don't have to grant and will not grant to people exhibiting the attitude that they're entitled because they have children with them.
This. Most family vacations are booked several weeks in advance. There are plenty of seats together open in rows 40+ at that point, but people love to book middle seats near the front then try and get people to move so they can be next to their ten-year-old. I have yet to bite when asked to give up my aisle/window in front and move to a middle seat in the row in front of the exit so a child can move up to be with their parent. If the parent wants to be with their child so much, they can either move back or, even easier than that, book seats together in row 42.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 10:29 am   #66
 
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I've mostly had reasonable experiences with Delta when traveling with children. In the half-dozen times or so our pre-assigned seats have gone up in smoke and we've been separated, the gate agent has taken care of it before we've boarded, whether we've been in coach or Business Elite. I do believe that young children ought to be entitled to sit next to a family member, and it's the airline's responsibility to figure it out. Which Delta seems to do, though apparently mainly for its passengers with elite status.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 10:33 am   #67
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.J. Bender View Post
This. Most family vacations are booked several weeks in advance. There are plenty of seats together open in rows 40+ at that point, but people love to book middle seats near the front then try and get people to move so they can be next to their ten-year-old. I have yet to bite when asked to give up my aisle/window in front and move to a middle seat in the row in front of the exit so a child can move up to be with their parent. If the parent wants to be with their child so much, they can either move back or, even easier than that, book seats together in row 42.
I'd have no sympathy for people who purposefully book middle seats between preferred seats to try to get someone to switch. However, I have friends with kids (one still going as infant in arms for a couple more months and the other just turned three) that have had big problems with DL schedule changes messing up their seating. For their most recent trip, a schedule change resulted in the three of them being scattered across the aircraft, and it was close enough to departure that there were not three non-preferred seats anywhere near each other. I don't think preferred seats need to be reduced, but I do think that DL needs to do something to take care of families through schedule/equipment changes. It seems there should be some way to note that a record contains children under 10 (or whatever age) so that the booking gets manually reviewed after a schedule change. DL could easily shuffle around some other non-elites (there was just a schedule change, so people were moved around anyway) to get the families together. For those who don't fly with their kids that often, the whole process is stressful enough without having to go beg a frazzled GA to find a way to seat their family together. The idea that's repeatedly been suggested of blocking more of the seats in the rear of the aircraft for gate assignment would also be a good path.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 11:07 am   #68
 
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Originally Posted by sbagdon View Post
Then you better hope one of the other three break first...
Nope, I just refuse to move to a middle seat. While I understand someone wanting to sit with their child, both parents and the child don't need seated all together and it is unreapsonable to ask a person with madallian status to move form an aisle seat (especially a p referred one that they earned the privledge of sitting in from flying Delta or whatever airline ferquently) to a middle seat, especially for a long haul flight.

There are some long hauls where I know I want to be upfront and if it's an elite heavy flight where I know my upgrade chances aren't that great, if I want to sit up front I just buy a first class seat. If someone insists on sitting with their kid and they don't have status and it's that important for them to sit together, they should pay for premium seats together.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 11:30 am   #69
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Even then, I don't agree that families should get special treatment. Many of us have experienced loss of advanced seat assignments when there is a schedule or equipment change and we do not get special consideration in changing the resulting seats. The presence of "children" should not entitle anyone to special treatment.
Then keep some rows in the back without preferred seats and block them off so people traveling with small children can actually sit with them.

It must be nice to be among the tiny, tiny percentage of people who never needs ANY sort of understanding from anyone about anything.

I hope the next time I bring two small children on a long flight in BE we are sitting next to you.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 11:35 am   #70
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtkeller View Post
I'd have no sympathy for people who purposefully book middle seats between preferred seats to try to get someone to switch. However, I have friends with kids (one still going as infant in arms for a couple more months and the other just turned three) that have had big problems with DL schedule changes messing up their seating. For their most recent trip, a schedule change resulted in the three of them being scattered across the aircraft, and it was close enough to departure that there were not three non-preferred seats anywhere near each other. I don't think preferred seats need to be reduced, but I do think that DL needs to do something to take care of families through schedule/equipment changes. It seems there should be some way to note that a record contains children under 10 (or whatever age) so that the booking gets manually reviewed after a schedule change. DL could easily shuffle around some other non-elites (there was just a schedule change, so people were moved around anyway) to get the families together. For those who don't fly with their kids that often, the whole process is stressful enough without having to go beg a frazzled GA to find a way to seat their family together. The idea that's repeatedly been suggested of blocking more of the seats in the rear of the aircraft for gate assignment would also be a good path.
Don't you have to plug in a DOB for each pax at time of booking now? Seems like that info is already in there and just needs to be made available to the right people (GAs).

Still like this idea of blocking the rear rows to allow GAs flexibility in accommodating families and the like, both for standard ops and IRROPs. I understand that a parent would want to sit next to their young child. I don't have kids, but if I were travelling with my niece or nephew would certainly not want them to be separated from me, mainly because I want to be available to keep them in check if they start acting up. But, also agree that other pax who have correctly obtained their seat through status, purchase, or better advance planning shouldn't be the ones inconvenienced by the very foreseeable needs of others. Other than IRROPS, I don't often find myself getting to the gate and suddenly realizing that I have a kid in tow, and am then flustered by the fact that we don't have seats together. And when that does happen in IRROPS, I'll take two seats in the lav if it means they're together - I know I'm asking for a favor, so I expect to have whoever I'm moving to get the pair of seats to also end up with something that benefits them, too, be it a non-middle, something closer to the front, etc. The seats together are far more important than where they are in the plane.

If sitting by your kids is that important, you ought to be willing to give up that row near the front of the plane. If sitting near the front is more important, you ought to be willing to give up the ability to sit next to your kid, or whatever fee it takes to buy the preferred seat. Prioritizing your wants and needs is as much a part of flying as it is any other part of your life.

As one more data point, there was one instance where I was traveling with my wife on short notice and we couldn't find two seats together. While we were prepared to sit separately, I put her in a middle near the back and bought a preferred window in the second row of Y. Got to the gate early and asked GA if she would ask the person in the window next to my wife if they'd like my window, further up, all the while making it clear that we'd keep our assigned seats if it didn't work out. GA called up the other pax, we made the switch. They got a better seat by a combination of luck and being accomodating, and I felt like I still got a "preferred" seat that I paid for by being able to sit next to the wife. I feel certain that this approach would work if you replace "wife" with "child" - it's all about being a decent human being and recognizing that if you're asking for the favor, you should be prepared to offer something else in return.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 11:36 am   #71
 
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Originally Posted by mtkeller View Post
DL could easily shuffle around some other non-elites (there was just a schedule change, so people were moved around anyway) to get the families together.
I don't think anyone should be moved intentionally. I think we all agree that it is preferable to not split families, especially when such a split would cause small children to be seated next to non-family. However, if you are a parent and you want to make sure you family is seated together, you can:

1) Select seats at time of booking, and pick seats in the back of the plane. Since most leisure travel is booked several months in advance, there are almost always multiple sets of seats available. A search of the first 5 flights to pop up on Delta.com for ATL-MCO the first Friday in August shows between 8 and 20 open rows of three. Every 757 has a Row 40, so pick this row and you are unlikely to be moved.
2) Purchase EC at time of booking.
3) If seats are not available at booking, or if there is an equip. swap, keep checking.
4) At T-24, check in on-line and purchase premium seats if need be.
5) Arrive at the airport early, get to the gate when the GA opens the flight and ask for re-seating. There are always seats held back for just such situations.
6) As a last resort, board the aircraft and ask an FA to assist.

Following these steps will get a family together (or at least in pairs) 99% of the time. What should not be ok is:

1) Taking what the computer spits out at booking.
2) Checking the seating map only if there is a schedule change email.
3) Complaining when a CSR can't change seats by phone.
4) Banking on the kindness of others to make your seating work out just perfectly.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 12:03 pm   #72
 
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Originally Posted by HongKonger View Post
Then keep some rows in the back without preferred seats and block them off so people traveling with small children can actually sit with them.

It must be nice to be among the tiny, tiny percentage of people who never needs ANY sort of understanding from anyone about anything.

I hope the next time I bring two small children on a long flight in BE we are sitting next to you.
And most people agree here DL should keep the last rows of coach blocked for families. Some families though want to sit up front and don't want to pay for premium seats even though they are flying once a year on a U or T fare.

I think it is reasonable to want to sit with a small child. I also think I am being reasonable as a PM flyer refusing to move from an aisle seat up front to a middle seat further back so a family of three can sit together that were too cheap to pay for premium seats who probably fly once a year and are on a T or E fare.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 12:31 pm   #73
 
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Originally Posted by jamesteroh View Post
And most people agree here DL should keep the last rows of coach blocked for families. Some families though want to sit up front and don't want to pay for premium seats even though they are flying once a year on a U or T fare.

I think it is reasonable to want to sit with a small child. I also think I am being reasonable as a PM flyer refusing to move from an aisle seat up front to a middle seat further back so a family of three can sit together that were too cheap to pay for premium seats who probably fly once a year and are on a T or E fare.
No quibble here.

Part of the problem is the endless equipment swaps and other reasons why seat assignments are lost. DL's IT handles them poorly to say the least. Exit rows don't translate to exit rows, aisles to aisles, it doesn't keep people on the same PNR together, etc. If they improved that system it would eliminate a lot of problems.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 1:24 pm   #74
 
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Originally Posted by HongKonger View Post
No quibble here.

Part of the problem is the endless equipment swaps and other reasons why seat assignments are lost. DL's IT handles them poorly to say the least. Exit rows don't translate to exit rows, aisles to aisles, it doesn't keep people on the same PNR together, etc. If they improved that system it would eliminate a lot of problems.
It makes sense that Deltas IT dept handles these situations so poorly, seeing how awful they are with everythign else. I'm not sure who has the worst IT Hilton or Delta. They are both awful.

Seeing you have to answer those four questions when you sit in an exit row it seems like it would be easier on Delta to just reseat those people already in an exit row if there is an equipment swap.

Same with families (or for that matter any group of people) sitting together on the same PNR with an equipment swap or schedule change. But again we are talking about Delta's IT dept.
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Old Jun 8, 12, 2:52 pm   #75
 
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Well, I had the pleasure of sitting by the lavatory with my kids once - when I asked a GA for help - so not my solution anymore. And it's not fun at all - smells bad, noisy and bumpy. Me and my kids have traveled with Airtran and Frontier and their formula seems to work better than this gambling with Delta - they ask upfront to pay for the seats if the passenger wants specific seats - and yes I have paid to be in a window towards the front of the plane with my son next to me in both Airtran and Frontier.
With Delta - is there any way to know - at time of booking - that you can fly in a window seat and a middle (together) towards the front of the plane? if there is a way I would love to know even if it involves money - and no I will not fly more often (hate to fly but love vacations) to get status.
Some clarity upfront is desirable - traveling with kids is stressful - airports, airlines and airplanes are simply not kid friendly (I should say they are very unfriendly/hostile places to everyone these days, unfortunately). Knowing at booking were you will seat is important to me - and as I read in the post to most travelers.
PS I love this forum - tons of great tips and advice!
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