Should Airlines Automatically Seat Parents With Their Children?

Call me radical, but the answer to the question posed in the title is a definitive YES! Parents and their children should fly seated next to each other and airlines should be responsible for making it happen.

Burdening passengers and flight attendants with role of stand-in babysitter only exacerbates the usually already stressful experience of FLYING. If monitoring the travel news regularly tells us anything, it’s that airlines seems to relish maximizing shareholder profits at the expense of human decency. This is why they corral us into their Boeings and swipe our Visas for beverage service while we clash over lavatory access and reclining seats. A Consumer Reports petition wants to change at least one element of the travel experience by eliminating the babysitter role and forcing airlines to  seat families together.


American, Delta and United all charge big fees for families to sit together. And in some cases, they knowingly separate kids from their parents on board – even 2-year-olds! Airlines can easily fix this, but they haven’t. Doing so would mean giving up millions of dollars in fees from parents who simply want to keep their kids safe.

If a child is repeatedly thumping the back of your seat, bringing it to their parents’ attention should be simplified. That’s however difficult to accomplish when ma and pa are nestled up in row D and you Damian are in the back of the plane. Not to be totally callous. On the flip side, parents shouldn’t be forced to beg other passengers to swap seats so that they can travel seated next to their child. And flight crews will be the first to tell you that seating arrangements are the last problem they feel like solving during boarding.

Airlines make money charging parents a premium for preselected seats that guarantee everyone sits together. That’s an unkempt business practice. And with reports of sexual assaults happening more frequently on flights, dare we say also dangerous and unethical. Let’s help get this change pushed forward.


You can learn more about the petition by clicking here. If it reaches 75,000 signatures, it will be sent to the Department of Transportation for review.

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Eric has revolved in and out of passport controls for over 20 years. From his first archaeological field school in Belize to rural villages in Ethiopia and Buddhist temples in Laos, Eric has come smile to smile with all walks of life. A writer, photographer and entrepreneur, the LA native believes the power of connectivity and community is enriched through travel.

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