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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, 8:30 am
  #61  
 
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Not worth it...

Last edited by fwfdan; Aug 28, 18 at 8:31 am Reason: not sure anyone cares
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:34 am
  #62  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
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):
You are correct that it's not hard to search these things, but there is no end to the stories of people who complain about not knowing about the add-on fees at Spirit and/or Frontier. Same holds true for the BE fares at United. Let's face it, there is a pretty large segment of the population that doesn't really research these topics.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:41 am
  #63  
 
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I am embarrassed to read the replies here. People seem to sincerely believe that a kid sitting with mother is a luxury and mother needs to pay extra for it...

i guess demands to pay for carseats and strollers in cargo are not far behind - clearly those parents are getting away with free allowance other pax are not getting...
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:45 am
  #64  
 
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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.
The problem with this -- and it's a core problem with the entire Basic Economy idea, which is a terrible one in the first place -- is that the optics are terrible. "United charges more for families with children" is the headline you'd see, and if you think this thread is heated, wait until you see that one. (It might also be illegal discrimination, depending upon the jurisdiction).
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:50 am
  #65  
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
I had to look up MSN. Madison seems like it would be big enough but was the first agent UA or contracted staff for MSN?
It seemed as if the first, less friendly GA was UA staff while the second, friendlier one was contracted staff. MSN is a mixed bag.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:52 am
  #66  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The problem with this -- and it's a core problem with the entire Basic Economy idea, which is a terrible one in the first place -- is that the optics are terrible. "United charges more for families with children" is the headline you'd see, and if you think this thread is heated, wait until you see that one. (It might also be illegal discrimination, depending upon the jurisdiction).
you think there worried about optics? They didn’t seem worried about it when they introduced BE. “United now charges you to select a seat”
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:53 am
  #67  
 
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Originally Posted by DiamondInTheRough View Post
Am I the only one who is wondering why OP didn't help up their sister, by switching with her? It sounds like OP had seats together. At the very least one adult could have switched with a sister's child, so that the child didn't sit alone. Or maybe offered one of their better seats to an inconvenienced passenger who had to take the middle.
Was late to this thread and started from the beginning. Took to post 27 to find what I was thinking the whole time. Weirder still he threw in the “We couldn’t help as we were 7 rows ahead”. Scratched my head as to how that somehow made it impossible to help.

Last edited by txaggiemiles; Aug 28, 18 at 9:03 am
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Old Aug 28, 18, 8:56 am
  #68  
 
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Airlines should allow people traveling with kids free seat selection. It benefits everyone. Surprised people think differently.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:00 am
  #69  
 
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Originally Posted by businessguy View Post
Airlines should allow people traveling with kids free seat selection. It benefits everyone. Surprised people think differently.
But what qualifies as a "kid"? Is every minor considered a "kid"? That opens up the door for a lot of free seat selection. And if there is a set age, parents will surely find a way to alter DOBs to get the benefit.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:01 am
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by businessguy View Post
Airlines should allow people traveling with kids free seat selection. It benefits everyone. Surprised people think differently.
Nah, people here only care about your FF status, and if you booked a cheap ticket cause you know, that's what you could probably afford, then you're out of luck and no one should care about your needs.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:01 am
  #71  
 
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Originally Posted by omaralt View Post

you think there worried about optics? They didn’t seem worried about it when they introduced BE. “United now charges you to select a seat”
Yes, I do. UA was able to hand-wave BE as an "enhancement" to give people extra "choice." It would be much more difficult to market "families can't buy BE" as anything but a fare increase -- and that's even assuming that they have age information for all passengers. (Hint: they don't, necessarily, until the deadline for transmission of the Secure Flight data).

Trust me, no matter how bad you think the optics of BE were originally, they'd have been much, much worse if they appeared to be discriminating against families.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:04 am
  #72  
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Originally Posted by ExplorerWannabe View Post
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.
For starters, I DID NOT buy her fare, so please keep that in mind. Likewise, I've advised multiple times to just buy a "real" fare from the airline directly.

Also, I did try to help out by moving our seats, but again the GA was unhelpful. I received a premier upgrade, so my wife and 2-year old were all of a sudden sitting together. I offered to give up my upgrade if it helped make more seats available in economy to play with and the answer I received was "You can turn down your upgrade, but then I'm going to put you in a random seat in economy away from both your wife/son and your sister-in-law's family." This is where it seemed common sense should have prevailed, but I dropped it and walked away. My wife obviously couldn't move because she was with our 2-year old.

Finally, I didn't browbeat the GA. I very nicely asked/inquired as to if there was a requirement that families sit together. If you read the original post you'll see that I admitted I was confused as to what, if anything, this law (or lack thereof, it seem) says. I'm now clear that there really is no requirement.

To those who have expressed some sympathy, much appreciated. I told my sister-in-law that she put herself in this situation, so I in no way think what happened was fair to the other traveler. But, I do think it could be clearer. Several folks have mentioned that you all are the experts and unfortunately most infrequent travelers don't read the fine print (not an excuse, just reality). There should be some sort of override or refusal to finalize the sale until seats are selected/ourchased based on DOB. Seems like an easy way to avoid these issues in the future.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:11 am
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Redwood839 View Post
The only comment I agree with here. This board is filled with individuals who only come in to bash or try to put someone down. The statement "sense of entitlement" is probably the number one used here. I wonder how many of those that commented negatively are truly parents.

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. Just like many of you glorious FF get downgraded classes or don't get your upgrades but someone with a lesser tier gets through
Thank you for this clear-headed response. It was a 739 out of MSN on a Sunday, so it was not full. Based on my last check of the seat map at the gate there were a couple open seats in F, at least 8 seats in economy plus and probably half a dozen or so seats in Y. Previous to having status I've been moved to an economy plus seat by the GA to accommodate others so it certainly seems like there was a workable solution.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:27 am
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by Aknoff View Post
Finally, I didn't browbeat the GA. I very nicely asked/inquired as to if there was a requirement that families sit together. If you read the original post you'll see that I admitted I was confused as to what, if anything, this law (or lack thereof, it seem) says. I'm now clear that there really is no requirement.
That's not what you said, actually. To quote: "I gently reminded the gate agent that unrelated to United's fare policies there's actually a federal law that prohibits minors being split apart from their parents on planes." To me, that reads as a passive-aggressive form of browbeating (especially when the law doesn't actually exist). That may not have been your intent, but I hope you can understand why people are taking it that way.

Originally Posted by Aknoff View Post
Several folks have mentioned that you all are the experts and unfortunately most infrequent travelers don't read the fine print (not an excuse, just reality).
Except it is an excuse. You're asking UA -- and, ultimately, another passenger -- to make accommodations due to your sister-in-law's failure either to read the fine print or to listen to your advice about what to book. The fine print is there for a reason. Nobody's suggesting that an infrequent traveler should have to memorize the intricacies of the MileagePlus program; heck, in this case, it's not even a matter of failure to read the Contract of Carriage -- the finest of the fine print. The screenshots from Expedia are clear. They're not as "in your face" as you'd get when shopping on the United website, but it's not like the restriction was in 6-point type in a footnote denoted by an asterisk.

Originally Posted by Aknoff View Post
There should be some sort of override or refusal to finalize the sale until seats are selected/ourchased based on DOB. Seems like an easy way to avoid these issues in the future.
Apart from the optics issue I mentioned -- do you really think your sister-in-law would have liked being told, "sorry, we won't offer you the $139 fare because you're traveling with a child, so pay $164 instead?" -- airlines don't necessarily have this information at the time of booking. And the last thing we want is for airlines to be able to go back and cancel reservations sometime after purchase due to a missing DOB.

Originally Posted by Aknoff View Post
Thank you for this clear-headed response. It was a 739 out of MSN on a Sunday, so it was not full. Based on my last check of the seat map at the gate there were a couple open seats in F, at least 8 seats in economy plus and probably half a dozen or so seats in Y. Previous to having status I've been moved to an economy plus seat by the GA to accommodate others so it certainly seems like there was a workable solution.
Then why did the flight attendant have to put someone in a middle seat?
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Old Aug 28, 18, 9:35 am
  #75  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
You're asking UA -- and, ultimately, another passenger -- to make accommodations due to your sister-in-law's failure either to read the fine print or to listen to your advice about what to book.
I wouldn't even call this "fine print," as that implies the disclosure is buried and requires unusual care and attention to discern. In fact, "no advance seat assignments" is pretty clearly disclosed, even on an Expedia booking.
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