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#1 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're travelling Delta with our 4yo and her carseat. I've been on the phone for the last hour and they are absolutely unwilling to help reassign seats so that either dh or I is sitting with our dd. Seriously-- what the heck?! We only have a 39 minute layover to make our connecting flight, which has us seated all over the plane, and they're telling me that we have to wait until we check in at the gate, as we board the plane, to get the seats fixed (even though by the time we get to the plane it will already be full, folks in their seats to disturb at the last minute, etc.) It seems like they're going to end up re-assigning someone anyway, why can't they fix this now and make it easier on everyone so the flight doesn't get held up due to last-second seat juggling? Has anyone successfully navigated this issue and been able to get it resolved BEFORE the flight is already about to depart? It really makes travelling SO much more stressful to have to deal with this cr*p at the last second. Any advice? Please??
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#2 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I have nothing but sympathy.

I have this article that suggests this is a common problem:

http://childwild.com/2010/02/15/us-a...lies-and-kids/

They really will not take off with you in seats far from your four year-old, but it will be a pain in the tush in boarding. Ask the gate agent, then ask the flight attendants, and know that there are probably other families in similar situations who will also be trying to make trades - if you can approach people with kids in the boarding area, you might be able to make your life easier.
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#3 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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Honestly, it will actually be easier to sort out at the airport. I know from experience. Just relax and try not to worry about it.

You can ask when you check in for the first flight, and if it's not sorted then, they *will* fix it by the time you get on the second flight. They just don't really have a good sense of butts in seats until people start doing online check-in and real life check-in at the airport for that flight. If it's a layover for you, that hasn't happened yet.

It's totally stupid, I know, but the gate agents and flight attendants are good about this while all the check in, etc. people I've talked to seem completely clueless.

Keep in mind that flight attendants often have to switch people last minute anyway for mobility reasons, someone's seatback is busted, people booked seats aisle and window hoping to have an empty between them but now the flight is full, etc.

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#4 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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Just ask when you check in with your luggage. Typically, there are a few reserved seats that they release the day of. These are typically bulkhead seats and emergency row seats (which you won't be able to sit in). An average Jane like me might get to the airport and request one of these seats on check in, releasing a previously held seat elsewhere in the plane. Or I might decide to use my business class upgrade, then releasing my coach seat.

Otherwise, if they are totally booked go ahead and board the plane and let the gate agents and flight attendants know. We've had to do this before. Seriously, people are understanding and they will move.

You will be fine, trust me!

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#5 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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That happened to me and my dd when we flew to and back from DC, but the had our reassignment ready at the gate desk when we got there. They did a lot of reassigning seats at last minute and it really wasn't a big deal at all. On the way there we were upgraded to business class, but that was kind of a pain because we are short and had to unbuckle our seat belts to reach our entertainment bag.
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#6 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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We have had the best luck with getting to the airport a little early and they rearrange seat assignments when we check in. We had a flight to Alaska where all 5 of us were all over the plane and the kids were 2,4,and 6. We got there a little early and got business class together. It was heavenly for my 6'2" dh
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#7 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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Like others said, ask when you check in and, assuming it isn't resolved there, ask again at the gate and again when you board, if necessary.

In my experience, you will be accomodated. The airlines certainly will want to avoid a 4 yo sitting alone and in all likelyhood, a stranger will willingly switch with you because really, who wants to sit next to a 4 yo they aren't responsible for?

One time, our family settled into the wrong row. Carseat strapped in, all our stuff stowed. When I realized our mistake, I told the flight attendent and she was like "don't worry about it, you aren't moving" and then she directed the people in the row to our "real" row.

Oh yeah, get to the airport early. The sooner you get in front of an agent, the better.

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#8 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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I flew a full plane and got the last 2 standby tickets. It was a plane full of returning soldiers and one very nice man vacated his seat so I could have my 2 year old next to me. I held my one year old.

It was awful and scary.
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#9 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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They didn't let you choose your seats?

ETA: Sorry, dd didn't let me finish. I mean, when the past few times I've flown recently I had the option to choose a seat assignment online. Different airlines, but they all gave the option to go in and pick any open seats.
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#10 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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google don't fly delta and you will hear horror stories. We made the mistake of booking with them once and never again. Good luck I hope you find a resolution we didn't. We ended up actually threatening to sue them for breach of contract in writing before anyone would listen to us. NEVER AGAIN!!!!
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#11 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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Honestly, it will actually be easier to sort out at the airport. I know from experience. Just relax and try not to worry about it.
ITA...I know it seems frustrating now, but it's way easier at the airport. They don't know now who will cancel or no-show...they also don't know now who else might need accommodations. This is a common dilemma and they will make sure one of you is seated with your child.
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#12 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Other passengers will likely be willing to switch seats if necessary. Especially if they think there is a chance of a small child sitting away from parents (and thus possibly crying or otherwise). The flight attendants are used to this, and the assigned seats don't tend to matter in the end - they just want to fit everyone, happily, on the plane.

We have only had an issue with seating when we boarded the plane super late (and it was a full flight, and we are a family of six).

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#13 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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ANother don't worry about it. This has happened to me SO many times (I fly alone with kiddos an average of four times a year.)

Usually what happens is that they switch aircraft at some point after you book and randomly re-assign people. TOtally lame, I know. But I've never had trouble getting seats together again at the gate. I always make some lame joke about, "As much as I'd love to sit by myself, I don't think anyone else wants to sit next to my three-year-old..."

And if you're within a day or two of flight time, it's useless to call. At that point the seat assignments are "locked" and the phone agents can't help. But seriously, it'll work out, don't worry.
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#14 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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This happened to us when DS was 1 1/2. The airline (United, if I remember correctly) couldn't/wouldn't fix it until we were already on the plane. At that point, the flight attendants wanted us to handle it ourselves by asking our neighbors if anyone would switch. I started with the two people neighboring my son's seat. Both flatly refused. I was in shock - seriously? you want to sit next to an unattended 1 1/2 year old child for an 8+ hour flight?!?

I went back to a different flight attendant and explained the situation, and she was able to get someone to move for me. I guess my advice is to be persistent with the flight attendants if you aren't getting the help you need once you're on the flight.
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#15 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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This happened to us and it worked out with the reassignments at checkin. Its stressful and that sucks but it will get resolved at the airport. SOrry you have to deal with it. Delta is my least favorite airline.

Mamma to dd1 3/8/07, one 9.5.08, and dd2 9/9/09
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#16 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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I ran into this last time I flew with two kids by myself, the 3 seats were all over the place, one 3 different airplanes, coming and going on the trip. Really the easiest way is to deal with it when you board. Ask at the gate, once they were able to fix it there, but usually they do when you board. Total PIA, I agree.

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#17 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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Yep, this just happened to me over the Christmas holidays. We were flying Alaska Airlines. I even arrived two hours early at the gate, hoping to figure it out, but instead they boarded us last after they rearranged people who were already seated. They DID get it done, however, so I didn't care about boarding last. And most people are pretty understanding when they see you traveling with little ones.

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#18 of 35 Old 03-24-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post
This happened to us when DS was 1 1/2. The airline (United, if I remember correctly) couldn't/wouldn't fix it until we were already on the plane. At that point, the flight attendants wanted us to handle it ourselves by asking our neighbors if anyone would switch. I started with the two people neighboring my son's seat. Both flatly refused. I was in shock - seriously? you want to sit next to an unattended 1 1/2 year old child for an 8+ hour flight?!?

I went back to a different flight attendant and explained the situation, and she was able to get someone to move for me. I guess my advice is to be persistent with the flight attendants if you aren't getting the help you need once you're on the flight.
I forgot about this but when DD1 was small I had the same thing happen, someone refused to change seats. The plane was packed so I didn't much choice in the matter. So I plopped her in the seat, buckled her in, told the unfriendly person sitting to DD1 (in a very nice tone) that she was prone to motion sickness and I hoped they had extra clothes with them because they might need them. I turned around, DD1 started screamed, two seconds later I got a "Miss! You can have this seat now!".

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#19 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 12:45 AM
 
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I travel a ton and DONT WORRY! They WILL fix it if you are traveling with a child, and you have plenty of time at the gate to do that in. Usually they just page the person sitting next to your child and ask the person if they wouldnt mind swapping seats.

It is not a big deal at all to change seats at the gate, we've had to do it almost every flight when we travel as a family! Its more of a pain to try to do it over the phone than just do it when you get there. I've never had an issue. (and I have been on over 200 flights in my life, several with ds, and of course a ton when I was little!)
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#20 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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We're travelling Delta with our 4yo and her carseat. I've been on the phone for the last hour and they are absolutely unwilling to help reassign seats so that either dh or I is sitting with our dd. Seriously-- what the heck?! We only have a 39 minute layover to make our connecting flight, which has us seated all over the plane, and they're telling me that we have to wait until we check in at the gate, as we board the plane, to get the seats fixed (even though by the time we get to the plane it will already be full, folks in their seats to disturb at the last minute, etc.) It seems like they're going to end up re-assigning someone anyway, why can't they fix this now and make it easier on everyone so the flight doesn't get held up due to last-second seat juggling? Has anyone successfully navigated this issue and been able to get it resolved BEFORE the flight is already about to depart? It really makes travelling SO much more stressful to have to deal with this cr*p at the last second. Any advice? Please??
I had the same thing happen with AA... we were told to board, period. We sent the 3yo to his own (middle) seat and of course he wigged out- while the Flight Attendant did nothing. Of course, someone switched...

The same trip on another leg on AA, someone stole our seats saying 'well they put us apart from our 7yo so we just sat in yours' (splitting up our family in doing so).

Airlines really don't care, that's all I can say- and I work in the travel industry (tho not airlines)
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#21 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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Another thing -
if for some reason they dont sort out the issue at the gate, make sure you stand around right by the gate and get on the plane first (they will let you with a kid with you, just say you need time to install the carseat), and go intall the carseat and hang out in that row, when people get on the plane THEN ask them to swap seats (BEFORE they get settled and AFTER they see you already have your stuff all in place!)

Also, people are way more likley to switch with you if they are getting 'upgraded' either from a middle seat to an asle, or from any seat to a seat closer to the front of the plane (I had to sit in the back row once, giving up my seat up front, but I got to sit with ds and the guy who got my seat was very happy not to sit next to the restroom!)
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#22 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 02:19 AM
 
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I think part of it is their hope of selling those "premium" seats to people at check-in.

I've had that happen and it was fine. Sure, it's a pain to have one more thing to deal with at the airport, but really, you will get one of you by your child and it will all work out.

HTH

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#23 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 06:37 AM
 
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I'm astounded at how common a problem this is. Seriously we just flew with a bunch of family and were able to set it up to have 15 seats together. Just had to go to the airline's website within the 24 hours before the flight.

And when I checked in, I was given another chance to change seats.
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#24 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 07:09 AM
 
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My experience is flying with a budget carrier within Europe. I understand that there are international regulations that children under 14 years have to be supervised by responsible adults during all parts of a flight. Otherwise the plane should not leave the stand. Perhaps US domestic flights are different.

The airline I fly with wants to charge me extra to choose seats so that me and DS1 (7 years) and DS2 (4 years) can sit next to each other. They suggest this possibility when I buy the seats and when I check-in online. I refuse and they usually allocate us seats spread around the plane. When we board, I make sure we are one of the last few people onto the plane. When we have climbed up the steps onto the plane, I just politely tell the first cabin crew member that I pass that our seats are not together and ask them to help me find seats together. They usually do this when everyone else is seated. Until then we stand in the kitchen area. The last two times we have ended up sitting in the very last row of the plane. This means we are first off as the plane usually disembarks through the back door.

When DS1 was about 2 1/2 years old, we flew with an airline that does not allocate seats. You just board and sit where you can. Even though we were almost last on then, the cabin crew made sure that me, DH and DS1 sat together. They did not want to have to help me (pregnant) care for DS1 during the flight.

I have never taken a car seat into a plane. My kids now just sit in a seat with the normal seat belt on. When they were under 2 years, they sat on my lap with an extra seat belt looped into mine. I have also never seen anyone with a car seat inside the cabin. I do see people checking them in. Perhaps that would make things easier if you have to move at the last minute.

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#25 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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About 10 years ago, my cousin and I were flying back from Europe. There was this family of 3 and they were seated all over the cabin in 3 different center seats. My cousin and I had the two aisle seats in a 3-3-3 bulkhead configuration plane. So we were in the middle three grouping with a seat between us where the little 4yo was assigned. The flight attendants wouldn't help the parents find seats together (United). My cousin and I didn't want to give up our great seats and the parents completely understood this, so they asked us if we'd just keep an eye on the girl. We said, "Sure!" even though it was a 9 hour flight.

It turned out great... neither my cousin nor I were married or had kids, so she and I had fun with the little girl (as a change of pace for us, and lubricated with a couple of gins and tonic) playing different games and the parents were able to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing flight unencumbered by entertaining a 4 yo for so many hours.

We have flown all over the world with dd in the past 7 years and now that I look back on it, it seems very odd to me because no way in heck would I sit separately on a flight from my dd.

I hope it all works out for you, OP.
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#26 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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Otherwise, if they are totally booked go ahead and board the plane and let the gate agents and flight attendants know. We've had to do this before. Seriously, people are understanding and they will move.

You will be fine, trust me!
Yes. We've flown quite a bit, and there is NO WAY that anyone will want to sit next to your dd the whole trip without a parent next to your child. Someone will volunteer to give up their seat without hesitation. You will get switched around.

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#27 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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I forgot about this but when DD1 was small I had the same thing happen, someone refused to change seats. The plane was packed so I didn't much choice in the matter. So I plopped her in the seat, buckled her in, told the unfriendly person sitting to DD1 (in a very nice tone) that she was prone to motion sickness and I hoped they had extra clothes with them because they might need them. I turned around, DD1 started screamed, two seconds later I got a "Miss! You can have this seat now!".
I am LMAO over here! Awesome thinking on your part!

I just cannot imagine not being willing to move.
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#28 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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About 10 years ago, my cousin and I were flying back from Europe. There was this family of 3 and they were seated all over the cabin in 3 different center seats. My cousin and I had the two aisle seats in a 3-3-3 bulkhead configuration plane. So we were in the middle three grouping with a seat between us where the little 4yo was assigned. The flight attendants wouldn't help the parents find seats together (United). My cousin and I didn't want to give up our great seats and the parents completely understood this, so they asked us if we'd just keep an eye on the girl. We said, "Sure!" even though it was a 9 hour flight.

It turned out great... neither my cousin nor I were married or had kids, so she and I had fun with the little girl (as a change of pace for us, and lubricated with a couple of gins and tonic) playing different games and the parents were able to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing flight unencumbered by entertaining a 4 yo for so many hours.

We have flown all over the world with dd in the past 7 years and now that I look back on it, it seems very odd to me because no way in heck would I sit separately on a flight from my dd.

I hope it all works out for you, OP.
Well, they figured you would gladly give up your seat rather than entertain a 4 year old. I might be willing to let my 6 year old sit separately if she were, say, a row ahead of me, and her seatmates were kind to her. I wouldn't go to the far opposite end of the plane though, I'd have to be able to see her for safety's sake.

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#29 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 11:02 AM
 
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Well, they figured you would gladly give up your seat rather than entertain a 4 year old. I might be willing to let my 6 year old sit separately if she were, say, a row ahead of me, and her seatmates were kind to her. I wouldn't go to the far opposite end of the plane though, I'd have to be able to see her for safety's sake.
They came to check on her regularly, of course. They were actually really thrilled to let us look after her and thanked us profusely for doing so (they even bought us some duty free something or other on the flight... chocolates, maybe).

I wouldn't feel comfortable with it, either, though, as much as I'd love to have someone else entertain dd for these long transatlantic flights.
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#30 of 35 Old 03-25-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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Yes, when you get to the airport to check in for the first flight, you will have the option to review your seat assignments before your boarding pass is printed. Try to move them then and if you aren't able to get it to work, the flight attendants will help you on the plane. I would let the gate agent know as soon as you get to your gate and the flight attendants once you board to help as much as you can. Unfortunately, airlines aren't set up to deal with this situation until you are on the plane, but try not to stress too much, it is their own fault and they will get you next to your child before they take off.

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