Airline says dad has to pay $88 to sit next to 4-year-old daughter

In the past few years alone, airlines have not been getting good press for how they treat parents. Just days ago, we heard the shocking story of a teen with autism kicked off a United Airlines flight. Now Delta Airlines is in the hot seat — and they are being accused of price-gouging a father who needed to sit next to his 4-year-old daughter on the plane.

When traveling from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Montgomery, Alabama, in late April, Frank Strong noticed when booking his flight that there were not two seats together for him and his 4-year-old daughter. Once Strong checked in at the airport, he discovered an even worse fate: He was seated 11 rows away from his young daughter.

Upon booking, Strong opted not to choose seats since two seats weren’t available. The dad hoped to lock in two seats next to each other when he checked in with his daughter at the airport. On his personal blog, Strong asserts that “airlines like Delta hold parents hostage,” and he isn’t that far off base.

Strong writes, “For a mere eighty-eight additional dollars, the airline was kind enough to reassign us in a row together. And by additional dollars, I mean on top of the $1200+ I had already spent for the trip and not counting the additional $25 baggage fee (each way) for which carriers have become notorious.”

“There were plenty of empty seats on that flight and this should never have happened in the first place. In fairness to the ticket agent, who traded knowing glances with a work acquaintance when I broached the issue at the counter, she suggested I might ask the gate agent at boarding to make the switch at no cost. Faced with a dilemma of handing over ransom money to Delta in exchange for certainty, or taking a risk that an agent might fix the problem at the gate, I opted to pay.”

The sad part of this story is that what Strong writes is totally believable — every parent who has traveled knows this to be true. I personally have yet to take the leap and fly with my young toddlers, mainly because I want them to be relaxed enough to somewhat enjoy an expensive flight, and they are just not there yet. I can’t imagine other passengers, who often complain about crying babies and whining children, would be happy to see a young child separated from a parent on a plane. Who’s going to keep an eye on this kid to keep them safe and entertained?

As Strong argues, Delta doesn’t care. Strong says airlines like Delta prey on these emotions to squeeze out even a few more dollars from families that need to sit together — including parents with young children and those traveling with family members with disabilities. Delta representatives told Yahoo Parenting that the complaint is under investigation.

If airlines want to remain family friendly — and profitable — you’d think they would get their act together. I can only hope that if enough parents like Strong take their story to the internet, this unfair treatment will stop.

More on parenting and travel

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Mom and baby stranded at airport following breastfeeding confrontation
Delta’s breastfeeding “policy” on Twitter creates uproar


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