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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, 7:39 am
  #46  
 
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Parent of three kids under the age of six, but not sure if that makes us "truly parents" or not, but we do fly a fair amount with the kids, and I would be on a negative comment side.

In the real world, I suspect United in the vast, vast majority of cases would accommodate the family here, but the family paid the lowest price they could pay, with relatively clear messaging that they could not pick seats. It is not like it was hidden from them.

The headline "United Splitting up Families" could be "Mother cares so little about her children that she sits them next to strangers to save a few dollars". Now, both of those headlines would be stupid, but the latter is actually more accurate than the former. United didn't split them up. They were never seated together.

In a better world, United wouldn't sell BE to people with kids under some specific age (that would undoubtedly piss off some people because that age would be wrong for some family's situation and kid).

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:30 am Reason: Quote of deleted content removed
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:41 am
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by HoustonConsultant View Post
Parent of three kids under the age of six, but not sure if that makes us "truly parents" or not, but we do fly a fair amount with the kids, and I would be on a negative comment side.

In the real world, I suspect United in the vast, vast majority of cases would accommodate the family here, but the family paid the lowest price they could pay, with relatively clear messaging that they could not pick seats. It is not like it was hidden from them.

The headline "United Splitting up Families" could be "Mother cares so little about her children that she sits them next to strangers to save a few dollars". Now, both of those headlines would be stupid, but the latter is actually more accurate than the former. United didn't split them up. They were never seated together.

In a better world, United wouldn't sell BE to people with kids under some specific age (that would undoubtedly piss off some people because that age would be wrong for some family's situation and kid).
bingo problem solved
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:41 am
  #48  
 
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i AM A MILLION MILER, i BOOKED A SEAT (NOT IN BASIC) FOR ME AND MY COMPANION.
UNITED SWITCHED HER SEAT.
SAID "WE DON'T KNOW WHY" BUT WE CAN DO IT.
SORRY YOU CAN NOT SIT TOGETHER
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:49 am
  #49  
 
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Could United come up with a way to better handle this? Sure, but I'd guess it's not incredibly easy. Should the OTA make it much clearer that these fares don't offer advance seat assignment and that seats together are not guaranteed? Absolutely. I'm not running UA or the OTA, but if I were, I would make it a stronger effort to better manage expectations, since customer disappointment and anger often occur when reality doesn't meet expectations.

However, in this case, some parents make an assumption that even if the airline doesn't offer them advance seat assignments, that they would be seated together. That's not an unreasonable expectation, but on the other hand, if something is very important to me, I make the time to research it. Yes, I know parents are busy – and believe it or not, plenty of people without children are also busy. I just searched "basic economy seat assignments together" on Google, and the first result was the below. The fourth result was a blog post that discusses how group or family seating is not guaranteed. I'm not saying the airlines and OTAs didn't contribute to this problem – the latter especially should have made it much clearer. But, at the end of the day, the parents bought the fare and are the ones who are ultimately responsible for their children. One minute spent searching on something that was important to them could have saved them the hassle. I'd share my feedback with the airlines and OTAs and chalk it up as a lesson learned for the future.

Basic Economy frequently asked questions United Airlines
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...onomy-faq.aspx
A: With Basic Economy, if you do not purchase advance seat assignments, we're not able to guarantee that your family will be able to sit together. If it's important ...
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:56 am
  #50  
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And just one more note . . .

UA, unlike many other airlines around the world, does not charge for advance seat assignments in economy so long as you do not buy its very cheapest, basic economy fare. So I really don't see this as a UA caused problem. The problem was caused by the consumer choosing the one fare that doesn't allow advance seat selection in order to save a few dollars.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 7:59 am
  #51  
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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.
It is perfectly clear, whether you buy via UA or OTA, that this expectation on a BE ticket is not reasonable.
Originally Posted by alexbellamy
Air travel should be user friendly, pleasant and a dignified experience.
Well, it's not. And unless you have not flown in the past 10-15 years you know it. You have to protect your own interests at every stage of the experience, from ticket purchase to touchdown, and if you are a family in transit part of "protecting your own interests" is to secure seats together proactively -- not resort to melodrama and lies to get them for free at another customer's expense.

Originally Posted by omaralt View Post
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.
You have a point.

{W}hen the airline markets multiple "products" throughout the cabin at different price points, situations like this -- caused by customers who either don't understand the difference, or try to get more than they paid for -- are inevitable, and at some point those customers are not always right. BE has been around long enough for its buyers to understand they are the airline's least-loved, lowest-priority customers. The general drift of this board notwithstanding, it is wrong to cover for customers who, in effect, booked a Kia but can't believe they didn't get a Buick and are willing to dissemble to effect the free upgrade.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 28, 18 at 11:32 am Reason: remoce quote od deleted content
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:01 am
  #52  
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In at least the US, it is a parent's duty to assure the safety and security of their minor children. This thread is all over the place on the minutiae of what font some third-party website does and does not use to disclose whatever about a given fare.

None of that changes the parent's responsibility to either know or research all of this and to make decisions accordingly.

The title of the thread is misleading in the extreme as a result.

Several observations:

1. There is no US law, rule or regulation which requires that parents/guardians be seated with their kids. Even the proposal which failed would only have required seating together if that did not require infringing on paid seating arrangements (such as E+ in the case of UA).

2. If a child is too young to be seated without a parent close by, then it is unsafe for the child and thus the parent to board (presumably it is not a good solution to leave a 2 YOA at the gate and fly off). Common sense suggests asking others to switch. But, if asking does not work, the only option is to offload the parent and child and accommodate them on a flight where suitable seating is available.

This all sounds harsh and it all ususally works out, but blaming anyone other than the parent in this situation is simply wrong.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:15 am
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
In at least the US, it is a parent's duty to assure the safety and security of their minor children. This thread is all over the place on the minutiae of what font some third-party website does and does not use to disclose whatever about a given fare.

None of that changes the parent's responsibility to either know or research all of this and to make decisions accordingly.

The title of the thread is misleading in the extreme as a result.

Several observations:

1. There is no US law, rule or regulation which requires that parents/guardians be seated with their kids. Even the proposal which failed would only have required seating together if that did not require infringing on paid seating arrangements (such as E+ in the case of UA).

2. If a child is too young to be seated without a parent close by, then it is unsafe for the child and thus the parent to board (presumably it is not a good solution to leave a 2 YOA at the gate and fly off). Common sense suggests asking others to switch. But, if asking does not work, the only option is to offload the parent and child and accommodate them on a flight where suitable seating is available.

This all sounds harsh and it all ususally works out, but blaming anyone other than the parent in this situation is simply wrong.
Don't underestimate the expectations of people that don't travel often. My cousin thinks the airlines should "know" that her family needs to be seated together, period. So far, at least on FB, she has bashed every airline in the US. She doesn't understand how things work, and given what she posts, she never will. I've offered advice, and in doing so she thinks I'm a prick as well.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:18 am
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by HoustonConsultant View Post
In a better world, United wouldn't sell BE to people with kids under some specific age (that would undoubtedly piss off some people because that age would be wrong for some family's situation and kid).
Can you imagine the DOB fudging that some parents would put through to save $30?
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:19 am
  #55  
 
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I am not opposed to the idea that Basic Economy should not be allowed for families with small children.

But once the traveler realized that she could not pick seats at time of purchase she could have done something about the issue— cancelled the ticket and bought a higher fare for example — or looked at the UA website which states Group Seating including families is not available in Basic Economy
The UA Basic Economy says that one MAY be able to pay for a seat assignment on some BE tickets but it is not guaranteed.

Do I like what air travel has become in the US? No not at all.
I would never book on Spirit or Allegiant, but those are fairly profitable airlines and that business model is spreading like black mold.

But what perplexes me is that people will research what movie to see, what restaurant to eat at, best baby food, and such but do nothing when it comes to selecting appropriate travel.





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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:21 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by Redwood839 View Post
I wonder how many of those that commented negatively are truly parents.
I don't think it matters whether someone is "truly" a parent (whatever that means) to opine on this issue. Even more than the DYKWIA stores, I see this with parents on flights constantly. As if somehow having a child is the trump card to all other issues. Whether someone has personally experienced what you're going through does not excuse basic civility. Indeed as demonstrated upthread, it looks like the OP may have been able to give up his seats. Or what about nicely asking folks to trade with you? Or not making up a law that entitles you to get what you want. I give up or change my seat all the time for lesser reasons, but only if asked nicely. I suspect that someone in basic economy may have done the same.

Could UA, Expedia or whoever do this better? Probably. However there are so many people claiming that their personal circumstances entitle them not to have the rules apply to them that they have to at some point assume that folks will use rational thought in their daily lives.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:22 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by arttravel View Post
I am not opposed to the idea that Basic Economy should not be allowed for families with small children.

But once the traveler realized that she could not pick seats at time of purchase she could have done something about the issue— cancelled the ticket and bought a higher fare for example — or looked at the UA website which states Group Seating including families is not available in Basic Economy
The UA Basic Economy says that one MAY be able to pay for a seat assignment on some BE tickets but it is not guaranteed.

Do I like what air travel has become in the US? No not at all.
I would never book on Spirit or Allegiant, but those are fairly profitable airlines and that business model is spreading like black mold.

But what perplexes me is that people will research what movie to see, what restaurant to eat at, best baby food, and such but do nothing when it comes to selecting appropriate travel.





yet you can still reserve a seat (for a fee obviously) with them!
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:22 am
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by COSPILOT View Post
Don't underestimate the expectations of people that don't travel often. My cousin thinks the airlines should "know" that her family needs to be seated together, period. So far, at least on FB, she has bashed every airline in the US. She doesn't understand how things work, and given what she posts, she never will. I've offered advice, and in doing so she thinks I'm a prick as well.
I follow a lot of cruise boards, and the advice there to families generally is "don't worry if you can't get assigned seats together in advance, the airlines have to seat you together, just ask at the gate and they'll make someone switch with you." It doesn't matter how many times others show this is incorrect, someone invariably argues to the death that this is true (like the OP citing a law that doesn't exist).
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:25 am
  #59  
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Originally Posted by arttravel View Post
Do I like what air travel has become in the US? No not at all.
I would never book on Spirit or Allegiant, but those are fairly profitable airlines and that business model is spreading like black mold.
I've had two friends fly Spirit in the past year or so. Both had total disaster experiences, including one "I slept on the floor at LAS." Of course they railed on and on about how terrible the airline was. I just kept my mouth shut. Because seriously, how hard is it figure out in advance that not only does Spirit totally suck, but it's not such a great deal when you calculate the all-in pricing. Do you not have an internet connection and ability to type "spirit airline reviews" in Google? Same concept holds with Googling "united basic economy family seating." Here's what you get (#1 result):

Q: If I'm traveling with my family, can we sit together if I purchase Basic Economy tickets?
A:
With Basic Economy, if you do not purchase advance seat assignments, we’re not able to guarantee that your family will be able to sit together. If it’s important for your family to sit together, please consider purchasing advance seat assignments, if available, or selecting another fare.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:25 am
  #60  
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Originally Posted by venomtrilogy View Post
Can you imagine the DOB fudging that some parents would put through to save $30?
Not only that, but the number of threads on FT with posts from people who are generally-speaking honest, giving advice that it's fine to commit fraud to save the $30 because it's for a kid or it's only UA and UA was mean to them about an overweight bag 32 years ago.
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