M and I are gearing up for a father-daughter bonding trip (while Jess takes H as we split the team). I’ve noticed that once again, as a dad, some long held principles of mine are falling apart.
I wrote awhile back about how I refused to pay for parking in Portland but how that was stupid (after which the comments proceeded to call me stupid, thanks all!).
This week I broke another principle of mine – I paid for seats on an AA flight. Yuck.
Basically, our flight was pretty full and there were no seats together available that were free. Now, I figured there was a 95% chance that they would be able to put us together at the gate/ticket counter, and an even better chance that some kind soul would be willing to switch.
However, I think the airline is within their rights to NOT seat us together (even though my daughter isn’t even three), and I was imagining a nightmare scenario where we couldn’t sit together. Super unlikely, but nonetheless it suckered me into paying $30 for seats for us.
Anyway, I’m not happy about it, but at least I don’t have to worry about it. On the way back, there aren’t even two seats together if I pay for them – AA said that they’ll put us together at the airport (I was on the phone with them adding an infant to Jess’ ticket). So hopefully that comes true.
But from now on, when I ask myself “Who would ever pay for those seats?”, I have my answer. When you don’t know who the sucker is, it’s you.
If people have surefire methods of ensuring we could have sat together without paying, I’m all ears.
Alternatively, I don’t think anyone on a flight wants to sit next to a screaming 3 year old. That could be enough incentive for your (or her) neighbors to switch seats.
You don’t have a choice – you’d be surprised how many passengers take umbrage when you ask to switch (even when traveling with a toddler). A friend of mine had a passenger refuse to switch, so she asked him to please take care of her 2-year-old for the duration of the 14 hour flight (he then changed his mind).
I find the lack of courtesy sad, and unfortunately airlines know this and are taking advantage of the situation.
The only way I know of is to fly Alaska Airlines. They are the only airline I’ve ever dealt with to feel any pity for families and make a real effort to seat them together without charging extra fees.
Thanks for the feedback, good to know. It’s a tough pill to swallow how the airlines can easily take advantage of this situation (not saying they are necessarily since I don’t have enough data personally)
It makes me laugh every time you mention people just piling on after you called your parking thing stupid. I loved (in an ironic way) how hardly anybody wanted to commiserate, they just wanted to agree that you are, in fact, stupid for not paying for cheap parking.
I used to do the same thing, but … Now I have kids! See parenthood really does make us abandon all of our principles.
My wife was forced to pay for her seat recently (no “free” seats were available when she bought the ticket) so we actually decided to upgrade the leg instead with miles + copay. Since she was already in for the cost of the seat, we figured might as well give up some miles and pay a bit more (for the copay) for a better experience on her red-eye.