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United Splitting up Families (Basic Economy ticket)

United Splitting up Families (Basic Economy ticket)

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Old Aug 28, 18, 1:45 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
And Basic economy DOES slow seat assignments to be purchased at a negligible fee (I’ve never seen non E+ seats cost double digit dollars) up till the flight is open for checkin (aprox 24 hours in advance.) One can purchase basic economy, choose seat assignments, and still pay less than a standard economy fare. One just needs to plan ahead when wanting preassigned seats together
Unfortunately, most people won't bite. As an analogy, if a checked bag is on the table as a "nominal" fee, then everyone will check their bags and we all will have a civilized boarding experience , but alas, it doesn't happen in reality.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 1:49 am
  #32  
 
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What could/should be done or how do you deal with it in the future?
- Buy a fare that allows you to select your seats
- Swap with family members to keep an adult near each kid without forcing another uninvolved passenger to take the middle seat when s/he paid for an aisle or window.
- Don't browbeat the GA or FA

You've already heard that United was NOT violating the law and the GA probably shouldn't have been more accomodating. In front/behind should count for being placed nearby if your objective is to watch the child. If your intent is to keep the child from annoying other travelers, you probably should be sitting right next to him/her.

I would normally be all in for swapping seats to keep the family together but I'm not inclined to do so when I read your story because as much as I would want kids to be placed with their parents, 1) some kids are actually better behaved when separated from their parents, 2) I don't feel inclined to be cramped in the middle because someone else opted for the cheapest fare instead of the fare that lets her sit next to her kids.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 1:49 am
  #33  
 
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I read these kind of stories here from time to time and it always makes me shake my head in utter disbelief. How is this even possible? How can it not be OBVIOUS that families should sit together? I don't care what they paid or what someone else paid or who wants an aisle seat or who is platinum whatever or thinks they're entitled to what. I don't care. It's barbaric. We are talking about young children. Why do you need the law to require you to behave with basic human decency? What sort of uncivilised country allows kids to be separated from their parents like that?
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:27 am Reason: Using symbols, spaces or other methods to mask vulgarities is not allowed.; Omni content removed
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Old Aug 28, 18, 2:07 am
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by secondsoprano View Post
I read these kind of stories here from time to time and it always makes me shake my head in utter disbelief. How is this even possible? How can it not be OBVIOUS that families should sit together?
Agreed - I think the easiest way to solve this issue is if any of the travelers are under 18 (or whatever age) should be 1) forced to pay for seats together or 2) if seats aren't available to be seated together at purchase then deny the purchase - seems the easiest way to not inconvenience other passengers.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:23 am Reason: quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Aug 28, 18, 2:24 am
  #35  
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It's clear that Flyertalk is mostly savvy travelers who know the rules and expect everyone else to as well. However, many people have no idea what basic economy is, and the airlines and OTAs don't always do a good job of explaining it.

At the end of the day, the airline is going to have to find a way to let the kids sit with at least one parent, because it's too risky not to. I know there is currently no law requiring it, but there was no law against removing Dr. Dao either, and look how well that worked out for Untied. Publicity can be stronger than any law. What if a child gets molested by another passenger while the parents are in another row? What if "my autistic son had a panic attack because Mr. Diamond-Guest refused to let me sit with him" goes viral on social media?

Right now, congress has asked the government to look into the matter. This is basically telling the airlines "this issue is on our radar, fix it before we make you". If they don't, the government could force airlines to keep families together under threat of fines per incident.

To all of you who are saying "it's her fault and she can deal with the consequences", reality doesn't work that way. Most people don't care about the details about fare class and seat selection, but will not stand for kids being separated from their parents. If airlines don't sort this out, DOT will do it for them.

I feel for the man who had to move to a middle seat, and I would have hated to be in his position, but seat assignments are not guaranteed and can be changed by the airline at any time, per the CoC. It's no different from being made to move to another seat due to a FAM, equipment swap, service animal, or any number of other reasons.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 3:15 am
  #36  
 
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I think it is not an unreasonable expectation for a parent to book a ticket and have an expectation that their child will be seated next to them. On any fare. Sure, they cannot select seats but there may be a default assumption of that.

A little compassion and empathy goes a long way. I would be happy to move to support a parent sitting near their children and would actually find it preferable to looking after their children for them.

As as a frequent flyer of many airlines and countries I struggle with remembering the rules and entitlements. Despite being 1K with nearly 200k PQM this year I would easily fall into this trap too.

Indeed I did with EasyJet earlier this year.. at check-in it turned out I could not sit near my 5 and 8 year old children. I did not intentially book a ticket with such restrictions. So without wasting any further energy, I abandoned my easyJet flight and purchased BA.

Air travel should be user friendly, pleasant and a dignified experience. Somehow the domestic US market has turned into a stressful and generally unpleasant world. Survivable by us battle hardened frequent flyers, but less so by everyone else.

I say all of this as I sit on ANA, a much nicer experience overall. Why can’t it be more like this?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:25 am Reason: discuss the issue;not the poster(s)
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Old Aug 28, 18, 6:45 am
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
It's clear that Flyertalk is mostly savvy travelers who know the rules and expect everyone else to as well. However, many people have no idea what basic economy is, and the airlines and OTAs don't always do a good job of explaining it.

At the end of the day, the airline is going to have to find a way to let the kids sit with at least one parent, because it's too risky not to. I know there is currently no law requiring it, but there was no law against removing Dr. Dao either, and look how well that worked out for Untied. Publicity can be stronger than any law. What if a child gets molested by another passenger while the parents are in another row? What if "my autistic son had a panic attack because Mr. Diamond-Guest refused to let me sit with him" goes viral on social media?

Right now, congress has asked the government to look into the matter. This is basically telling the airlines "this issue is on our radar, fix it before we make you". If they don't, the government could force airlines to keep families together under threat of fines per incident.

To all of you who are saying "it's her fault and she can deal with the consequences", reality doesn't work that way. Most people don't care about the details about fare class and seat selection, but will not stand for kids being separated from their parents. If airlines don't sort this out, DOT will do it for them.

I feel for the man who had to move to a middle seat, and I would have hated to be in his position, but seat assignments are not guaranteed and can be changed by the airline at any time, per the CoC. It's no different from being made to move to another seat due to a FAM, equipment swap, service animal, or any number of other reasons.
The options exist for families to sit together and pick their seats. This family chose the cheapest option instead of the best option for their family, then expected everyone else around then to accommodate them.
The issue here is not a lack of compassion or empathy.
go to the Southwest boards and post something about a family not sitting together and you will get the same type of responses

and NO, it is absolutely NOT the same as being moved for a FAM or a service animal.
This person bought a cheap ticket with several warnings associated with it, then got upset when they got what they paid for. And then LIED to get their own way.

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Old Aug 28, 18, 6:46 am
  #38  
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am i the only one here who thinks UA is in the wrong? i mean, yes we all know what a BE entails, but most people dont. when they buy a ticket on a legacy carrier they assume they can select seats; or at the minimum be able to be seated together. United is at fault here. they should automatically not allow you to buy BE seats when traveling with minors, or at least force you to pay for seat selection. otherwise they are saying it's acceptable for a 2 year old to be seated alone?? in what world does that make sense? can you imagine the lawsuit if something happened to that child during the flight? common sense needs to prevail here; UA (and all other airlines) need to ensure that a minor does not sit alone; whether it means forcing you into a higher fare or allowing free seat selection
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Old Aug 28, 18, 6:52 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by secondsoprano View Post
I read these kind of stories here from time to time and it always makes me shake my head in utter disbelief. How is this even possible? How can it not be OBVIOUS that families should sit together? I don't care what they paid or what someone else paid or who wants an aisle seat or who is platinum whatever or thinks they're entitled to what. I don't care. It's barbaric. We are talking about young children. Why do you need the law to require you to behave with basic human decency? What sort of uncivilised country allows kids to be separated from their parents like that?
They can sit together no problem, just buy the correct fare, and pick your seats. Pretty simple. BE is for :

1. People travelling alone and do not care where they sit
2. People travelling together and do not care if they are split up and don't care about seat assignments.

If I am "too busy" to make the proper reservations, I mean who doesn't have 10 minutes to make a reservation after the kids are in bed, then why should I have the right to ask the airline to make others move because I am "too busy" ? Really ? IRROPS and you bought the correct fare no problem get the family together, too busy to bother or to cheap not my problem and not the airlines either.

People that travel get jaded, they see these "stories" every week. Preboarding last month in LAX on AA, 1 lady is on crutches she had 9 people preboard with her, do you think after seeing that and many other examples of passengers taking advantage of the system that when we are asked to switch to a middle seat to accommodate someone we say just say no ?
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:27 am Reason: quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Aug 28, 18, 6:54 am
  #40  
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Originally Posted by dgparent View Post
They can sit together no problem, just buy the correct fare, and pick your seats. Pretty simple. BE is for :

1. People travelling alone and do not care where they sit
2. People travelling together and do not care if they are split up and don't care about seat assignments.

If I am "too busy" to make the proper reservations, I mean who doesn't have 10 minutes to make a reservation after the kids are in bed, then why should I have the right to ask the airline to make others move because I am "too busy" ? Really ? IRROPS and you bought the correct fare no problem get the family together, too busy to bother or to cheap not my problem and not the airlines either.
no, i disagree. in something as important as seating families with young children (i'm not talking about 10+ year olds here) then the decision should not be left to the individual. the airline needs to force the issue. either force you to pay for for full economy or allow free seat selection. BA famously charges for seat selection, even in business class. however i'm flying in business with BA next month and lo and behold they allow free seat selection when traveling with an infant.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:08 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by omaralt View Post
no, i disagree. in something as important as seating families with young children (i'm not talking about 10+ year olds here) then the decision should not be left to the individual. the airline needs to force the issue. either force you to pay for for full economy or allow free seat selection. BA famously charges for seat selection, even in business class. however i'm flying in business with BA next month and lo and behold they allow free seat selection when traveling with an infant.
Isn't this a slippery slope kind of if the airline 'forces' the issue? Where would this stop then? What about when traveling with an individual that needs boarding assistance? Should the airline force you to sit next to that person as well in case they need assistance on the flight? I doubt they'll want to allow free seat selection as it takes away incremental revenue and the rules are clearly stated in BE.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:09 am
  #42  
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Originally Posted by laxmillenial View Post
Isn't this a slippery slope kind of if the airline 'forces' the issue? Where would this stop then? What about when traveling with an individual that needs boarding assistance? Should the airline force you to sit next to that person as well in case they need assistance on the flight? I doubt they'll want to allow free seat selection as it takes away incremental revenue and the rules are clearly stated in BE.
i agree the line needs to be drawn somewhere. however having a 2 year old sit alone is not acceptable. there are some things that can be annoying to the traveler and some things that are basic common sense.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:16 am
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by alexbellamy View Post
I think it is not an unreasonable expectation for a parent to book a ticket and have an expectation that their child will be seated next to them. On any fare. Sure, they cannot select seats but there may be a default assumption of that.

A little compassion and empathy goes a long way. I would be happy to move to support a parent sitting near their children and would actually find it preferable to looking after their children for them.

As as a frequent flyer of many airlines and countries I struggle with remembering the rules and entitlements. Despite being 1K with nearly 200k PQM this year I would easily fall into this trap too.

Indeed I did with EasyJet earlier this year.. at check-in it turned out I could not sit near my 5 and 8 year old children. I did not intentially book a ticket with such restrictions. So without wasting any further energy, I abandoned my easyJet flight and purchased BA.

Air travel should be user friendly, pleasant and a dignified experience. Somehow the domestic US market has turned into a stressful and generally unpleasant world. Survivable by us battle hardened frequent flyers, but less so by everyone else.

I say all of this as I sit on ANA, a much nicer experience overall. Why can’t it be more like this?

I kinda get it, mom purchases tickets on expedia because that's what she uses for travel and finds it easier, doesn't even realize it's basic economy and assumes common sense would be that they're seated together. I have a 3month old and a 3 year old, and I would not let him sit somewhere else with a stranger. I would've expected the G/A to actually think reasonably rather than say it's not possible. The OP says they flights were not full or near full, couple of seat changes should've been enough. I feel for the guy that stiffed with a middle seat, but these things happen.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:29 am Reason: discuss the issue;not the poster(s)
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:29 am
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Redwood839 View Post
The OP says they flights were not full or near full, couple of seat changes should've been enough. I feel for the guy that stiffed with a middle seat, but these things happen
The fact that someone had to switch into a middle means the cabin was full.

And I still don't get why OP, the brother-in-law, didn't offer to take the middle to help out the family.

I don't have a ton of sympathy for people who don't read terms and conditions before they purchase, and just assume that they will get special treatment because they have kids. If you're traveling as a family, do a little research before you buy!
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:38 am
  #45  
 
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This story doesn't hold water since Expedia makes it clear seat assignments aren't offered with Basic Economy, and there is no commitment anywhere from Expedia to guarantee a family will be seated together. (A family sitting a few rows apart isn't ideal, but it's also not the end of the world. Perhaps the OP's family should broaden their horizons a bit and have some more faith in humanity to be good seat-mates to their younger children who have to sit in a middle seat by themselves, and also trust the F/As to do a good job of keeping the flight safe and secure.)

I recently purchased more-expensive tickets when travelling with 2 young children so the 3 of us could sit together. I would be displeased if I were asked to sit somewhere else so that someone who bought Basic Economy tickets and didn't bother to secure seat assignments could be seated together.

On a recent IAD-PIT flight, I did hear a good solution: the flight attendant announced that there were open seats in Economy Plus and she was ready and willing to swipe passenger credit cards if they'd like to set up here. Perhaps United should have offered that option to this family, and then given the passenger forced into a middle seat a refund or other compensation. Alternatively, United could have re-accommodated them on a flight at a later date that has more open seats.
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