As Spring Break and summer approach, some good news arrived for families who will be flying to their vacation destination. United Airlines announced that when you make a reservation that includes kids under 12, and there aren’t enough open seats next to each other, select adjacent Preferred seats will automatically become available at no charge. That means every kid will be able to sit with a grownup.
If seats next to each other are not available for any reason, such as a last-minute booking or an unscheduled aircraft change, then you can switch to another flight with availability in the same cabin and you won’t be charged a fee or a difference in fare.
Right now, this option doesn’t include families who book Basic Economy tickets, but the expectation is for that to roll out soon, according to United.
The Facebook announcement has had mixed reactions. One person wrote, “I love this United! Thank you for being inclusive to families. I’m going to recommend all my clients with kids’ book with you in the future!” Another said, “I don’t fly often, but when I do, I wouldn’t mind moving so that a family can sit together. I’m glad you’re doing this.” Someone who seems not too keen on the idea responded, “Now you just need to show where kids are sitting so others can avoid seats near them.”
And keep in mind travel show host Samantha Brown’s advice: don’t pre-board with kids. Instead, one parent should get the seats settled and wait for the other parent to bring the kids along. Once you’re on board, give your kid a snack, a coloring book or an iPad, or hope they take a nap during the flight. That way you won’t have to bribe the person next to you with a cocktail so they’ll switch seats!
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