Seating of families on flights when haven't pre-booked seats

(47 Posts)
GoingVerySlowlyMad Wed 12-Jun-13 22:17:23

We are due to fly with thomson fly in just under 3 weeks. At time of booking I didn't pre-book seats as had a feeling that they wouldn't be able to seat my 5 and 8 yr olds on their own anyway, so it would be a waste of money. Am now starting to panic after hearing a few horror stories, should I try and book seats together or just wait and see what happens at check-in?

GoingVerySlowlyMad Wed 12-Jun-13 22:19:30

Meant to say that I'm fully prepared for one child to be sat with me and another sat elsewhere with my husband, just worried they'll try to seat the kids with strangers.

MistyB Wed 12-Jun-13 22:23:43

No help at all but this is why they think they can lure you in to buy your ore booked seats. I have three children and often travel without DH so almost always book seats (unless as in the case of the summer where with one under 5 giving us priority boarding and only part of the aeroplane available for booking, I am risking it).

Good luck!!!!!

I'd be surprised if they could, who would look after them in an emergency? You might end up with a 2/2 split or a 3/1 split, though.

If I was sat next to an unaccompanied 5 year old I would be rapidly offering to swap seats with the parent!

GoingVerySlowlyMad Wed 12-Jun-13 22:28:48

I never pre book with easyjet (who we fly with regularly) as with the online book in system you usually get allocated together and it's only a 45min flight anyway. However this time it's a 3 hr flight and I've not flown with Thomsons in years so feeling a bit wary! However I am loathed to pay £40 a seat!

NotMoreFootball Thu 13-Jun-13 19:36:45

I was seated seperately from my DS (8) last week as our original flight was delayed so they bumped us up to an earlier flight which only had 2 seats left on it about 4 rows apart. I gave him his iPad and a few snacks before take-off and he never even noticed that I wasn't there next to him.
I'm not sure if there is an official age when children are allowed to sit alone, I think 5 is too young but from this experience I know they seat 8 year old by themselves.

NotMoreFootball Thu 13-Jun-13 19:37:21

Sorry, should have added that wasn't Thomson, it was American Airlines.

Cleanandclothed Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:00

http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx/docs/80/airport_data/200402/docs/148/default.aspx?catid=952&pagetype=90&pageid=9855

Caa guidelines on seating of families. Ideally the group should be together, a child should not be on their own. It is a safety risk for everyone if a separated family panics and slows down evacuation.

BrianTheMole Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:44

You'll probably get a 2/2 split.

MultumInParvo Thu 13-Jun-13 19:45:52

I have flown every year since forever with my DH and kids. Mostly Thomson/first choice. We have never booed seats, and have never had a problem sitting together.

forevergreek Thu 13-Jun-13 19:49:45

They wouldn't split children up unless you say they are really confident flyers then maybe 8 year old.

But in your case 2 and 2 worse case. They won't split children from an adult due to health and safety if an emergency. Ie an adult wouldn't exit plane without knowing their child is off, or if they need help with oxygen masks etc.

No adult wants responsibility of children either so adults would get swapped around to make space.

BlueSkySunnyDay Thu 13-Jun-13 19:57:54

We have always paid to pre-book the seats, £52 for the pleasure this year. I know in previous years we have been asked if they can split our party because a parent and child cannot sit together, whilst this is a shame we have always said "no sorry" as everyone has the opportunity to pay through the nose for this the same as we did.

Looking at the seating plan (mid August) a lot of the seats are already booked.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 20:09:07

Caa are guidelines only.

Ryanair split me and 6yo dd on a flight back from Tenerife some years ago. Pretty much opposite ends of the plane. I begged people to swap and nobody would. Cabin crew were very unhelpful and couldn't give a shit and were yelling at me to get sat down.

I've also flown with Thomas cook but I'm sure it was a Thomson charter flight and we didn't prebook. But when we checked in they seated us together and nice check in person said of course a child would always be with a parent. She said it was a waste of money for one parent/one child combo to pay extra for seats together as they'd never split you up.

Problem with Ryanair is its a total free for all. You can pay for priority boarding but apart from that is a scrum. In our case priority boarding wouldn't have helped as although we checked in really early (first at gate) we were last on plane due to a combination of dd getting the shits just before they called the flight and also they had the wrong gate info on the board when we came out the loo.

HappyAsASandboy Thu 13-Jun-13 20:16:06

Viva that's awful. How could they seat a 6 year old with the squits anywhere other than with a known adult and preferably near the loo? If I was on that cabin crew w'd have made it happen because I'd have been scared of the clean up job if it all went wrong.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Jun-13 20:18:57

Looking back I should have handed the people next to her a load of sick bags and warned them that she was likely to vomit large amounts. Though seeing as they didn't care that she was sobbing her heart out they probably wouldn't have been bothered.

We nearly missed the plane and I was really stressed. The flight crew threatened to kick me off the plane if I didn't sit down and shut up. I think I nearly made the plane miss its take off slot.

diabolo Thu 13-Jun-13 20:23:45

I've never pre-booked seats and never not been seated together.

Clara35 Thu 13-Jun-13 20:29:46

I can't believe they made a 6 yr old sit on her own on a flight & no passenger offered to move for you. Disgraceful! Pity she didn't puke all over them wink

GruffalosGirl Thu 13-Jun-13 20:40:43

That is why I never fly Ryan air with kids. I think they're the only ones that split kids and adults though, easy jet, british airways and jet 2 definitely don't split you.

Coconutty Thu 13-Jun-13 20:51:28

I've been on several flights where families have been split up. I hate paying but I like flying and enjoy sitting together so always book seats. Easy jet definitely do split you - I have been on a flight where the cabin crew begged, then tried to blackmail people to swap seats as a young family were split up (As in, if no-one swaps we will miss out take off slot and will be in for a long delay..) Eventually an old lady swapped and the kid was sat across an aisle from his mum. The old lady moaned loudly the whole way to anyone who would listen as her and her h had speedy boarded to sit together.

For the 12.50 each it cost me this year, I'd rather pay it and not worry about having to get to the airport check in as early as possible.

Total rip off but I don't want any hassle at the start/end of my hols.

forevergreek Thu 13-Jun-13 20:59:32

Most planes just say the plane can't take off until someone offers to move so child an sit with accompanying adult. Most move prompto!

GoingVerySlowlyMad Thu 13-Jun-13 23:08:53

Thanks for all the replies. I'm just going to take my chances I think. I spoke to somebody today who used to be cabin crew for Thomson and she said that they don't split families and worst case scenario is that we'd be across the aisle from each other, I don't mind that.

BlueSkySunnyDay Thu 13-Jun-13 23:39:43

When you say "across the aisle" as far as I have observed they don't let younger children sit near the aisle (Thomson made me move DS once) so there may be other people between you and them, no problem if they are confident but mine would hate it.

If I am being entirely honest grin i'd like to sit nowhere near the children on the flight (so I didn't spend the entire flight dealing with "mum can I have...." and rummaging in the bag)

YEAH DAMN RIGHT I begrudged the extra £52 but in the scheme of the price of a holiday it's not much is it? No way would I be rude enough to ask someone who had pre-booked to move for my convenience.

BrianTheMole Fri 14-Jun-13 00:04:08

viva did you take up a complaint with the CAA about this? Ryan air staff are often very uncaring. But this situation sounds very unusual.

Switchedtoeatingbutter Fri 14-Jun-13 13:11:31

I also had a bit of a nightmare with Ryanair last year. I was flying with my two year old twins and by the time we got onto the plane there were no seats together.
The cabin crew treid to sit us seperately but by this time my twins were screaming blue murder and there was not a chance on earth of them sitting still on their own. The cabin crew were not particularly helpful and told me I'd have to calm them down and sit them on there seats safely (yeah, like i wasn't bloody trying).
Noone was willing to move and eventually the captain had to come out and say if noone moves them the plane would miss its slot and we'd be delayed. Eventually people did move so we could sit together but there was a lot of moaning about it. Fuckers.

BlueSkySunnyDay Fri 14-Jun-13 13:26:21

Like I say if I have paid and someone else hasn't - then that's their problem, don't rely on my goodwill to save you money.

But if Ryanair is just like a bus, with no facility to pay for allocated seating, then I cant see why no one would try to help.

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