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British airways- seating with kids

(23 Posts)
Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 02:24:17

Would really appreciate your advice.

Just checked in for our overnight flight home tomorrow from the US. I'm travelling alone with my DC aged 7 and 9. I've read that you should pay to guarantee seats but when I checked in for our outbound flight, I noticed that we'd been assigned seats for our flight home and were seated together so thought no more of it.

Doing the online check in now, we've been split up- several rows apart. Although there is the option to change seats online, all the remaining seats are dotted about too.

Is it true that BA policy is to seat under 12s with an adult? If I turn up super early at the airport tomorrow, do you think they will assign us seats together or do I have to lump it? My 7 year old is in tears and won't sleep on the plane unless on me and my 9 year old is very anxious in general. I'm kicking myself for not paying extra but I was (wrongly) reassured by BA initially assigning us seats together.

midsummabreak Sun 29-Oct-17 03:35:01

Yes if you turn up early they should sort it out so you can sit together.

midsummabreak Sun 29-Oct-17 03:36:54

Especially if you say your children suffer anxiety and may be quite a hand ful for flight attendants Good luck

midsummabreak Sun 29-Oct-17 03:38:12

Tell them you were wrongly reassured. by BA. Im sure they will sort it out

Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 03:54:32

Thank you, much appreciated. I'm a bit frazzled after a fortnight with the DC on my own and so a handhold has been great. Thanks

Clearly so frazzled I've inadvertently created 2 threads!

Reppin Sun 29-Oct-17 04:14:05

Why is your seven year old in tears? Have you told them you are not sitting together?

Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 04:24:44

Sorry- am so tired from lack of sleep. We've been in the noisiest hotel so all a bit tired and emotional. She's largely been in tears because we're going home. I did tell them about the seating problemas they were with me when I was doing the online check in, and my 9 year old needs to be told about plans/lay out of the day/what's happening etc in order to cope with her anxiety. I presented it to them as there had been a mix up and we need to leave earlier than planned so we can sort it out. Fingers crossed. Otherwise someone will be next to my wailing wired 7 year old and someone else will have my 9 year old who will probably have adopted the brace position on the floor!

Reppin Sun 29-Oct-17 04:50:29

It doesn't sound like it was the wisest move to tell your children. I am sure you can get this sorted. I have never not been seated with my family on BA flights. But why would you add to their anxiety by discussing it with them?

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Sun 29-Oct-17 05:18:58

You didn't pay to guarentee seats, so they are well within their rights to seat you all randomly.

Airlines say they will always seat a child "next to" an adult, but "next to" can mean anything from across the aisle to a row (or maybe even two) in front or back.

You can always ask, but they might not be able to do it. And if they say no, please don't kick up a fuss and be those parents who stand there and refuse to be seated, demanding they are to sit together and that someone else should move for them because they are cheeky fuckers didn't want to/couldn't be arsed to/forgot to buy seats together.

Goshthatwentwell Sun 29-Oct-17 07:50:07

Bit harsh WhattoDo. None of those reasons apply to the Op - she had seen that the homeward seats were together. No idea why she checked in so late though.
The situation is entirely down to profiteering by airlines. Nothing wrong with charging for seat choice in itself but they need to go back to putting people that book together, together.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 29-Oct-17 07:56:20

I agree with the profiteering bit!

CAA guidelines.

It is in the interest of the airline to sit minors with a parent/guardian. In the event of an evacuation it would be much safer to have a calm parent escorting a calm child (as calm as calm is in those circumstances) off the plane rather than a frantic parent trying to reach a frantic child before evacuating.

Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 08:00:00

I don't need kicking thanks- thought I'd made it clear from original post that I knew to guarantee seats together I'd need to pay but when I checked in for the outbound flight, I noticed that BA had already assigned us seats for the inbound leg and these were together so I assumed ( wrongly it transpires) that I didn't need to do anything further. I have no intention of kicking off- I was merely asking here for advice and a bit of support. It can be pretty tough holidaying as a lone parent.

And thanks (not) to the pp about parenting advice. My kids were with me as I was checking in and my eldest saw her seat was at the other end of the plane. Much better that I talked it through with her in our room whilst holding her than having it sprung on her suddenly at the airport prompting an almighty meltdown.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 29-Oct-17 08:02:29

Are you sorted out now OP. IME BA are always very good, we have never paid for seats and have never been separated.

CAA advice is pretty straightforward ......

Family groups naturally want to sit together during flights - when travelling with young children this becomes essential.

However, flying to short haul destinations on aircraft such as Boeing 737s or Airbus 320s, can make this tricky as their cabins are configured into rows of three seats either side of the single aisle. Not ideal if there are more than three of you travelling together!

Some people assume they have to pay for reserved seating when they book a flight to ensure family groups sit together, but is this actually necessary?

In a word, no! CAA guidance is quite clear

Airlines are expected to sit family groups together when they check-in for their flight, either at the desk in the terminal or in advance at home online. This is particularly the case if the group contains a child under 12, who should be seated in the same seat row segment as an accompanying adult. If this is not possible for any reason then the child has to be seated no more than one seat row away. This can happen if a single adult is travelling with three or more children, for example. On larger, twin aisle, aeroplanes children should not be seated more than one seat row or aisle away from an accompanying adult.

Regulators, such as the CAA, fully expect airlines to comply with this rule, and, to be fair, check-in staff and cabin crew generally do everything they can to accommodate family groups. Passengers can of course pay for reserved seating if they so wish, but families travelling together should be aware that they do not actually need to.

Updated guidance on seating policies for all European airlines is due to be published later this year. The CAA will be working to make sure UK airlines follow this new guidance and we will continue to push for greater transparency to help consumers make informed choices about their flight bookings.

Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 08:03:06

Check in opened 24 hours before the flight ( I think, unless I got that wrong too) and I checked in at 22 hours beforehand- later than I'd have liked but we were having dinner and that was the first time I had wifi.

bakingaddict Sun 29-Oct-17 08:09:06

BA is a bit shit for online checking in unlike the other low cost carriers were you can online check in a month in advance, BA's is just 24hrs in advance

dantdmistedious Sun 29-Oct-17 08:14:56

Check in opens 24 hours before but seat allocation a month before.

For future if you fly with them again if you select through as if you are paying for seats but don’t actually check them out the system holds them. Then 24 hours before when check in opens you just confirm the pre-selected seats.

ememem84 Sun 29-Oct-17 08:16:14

I thought if you had children BA allowed you to check in your to 5 days before? Or is that only if you’re not flying economy?

Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 08:19:22

I think I've lost a post so I'll type it again. Apologies if it's a duplicate, it's the middle of the night.

Thanks Barchester- really helpful to have the official guidelines. Our flight isn't until tonight- I've woken up at stupid o'clock, it's clearly playing on my mind.

And thanks to the other posters who have been kind, much appreciated.

We're going to head to the airport an hour earlier than we were planning to and see what BA can do.

BeyondThePage Sun 29-Oct-17 08:22:53

They are required to make sure you are "seated with" children.

"Seated with" for BA means- imagine you are in a block of 9 seats, you are in the central one - your child can be in any of the others. (including across an aisle... you could be in the middle seat of 3 and your child in the window seat a row behind. (That would be fun for all concerned!!! NOT!!!)

I hope they can sort you out.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 29-Oct-17 08:54:58

Good luck at the airport Clawdeen. I hope you all get to sit together.

BA check in has never opened for me more than 24 hours ahead and I only ever fly economy!

Let’s hope the CAA issue clear cut guidance. Seating on a plane isn’t like selecting your ticket at the theatre - if things go wrong the implications of having children sitting separately because someone is prepared to flash their credit card to get the seat they want are huge. Thankfully the regulator seems to think the same. Pure greed by the airlines.

Thingvellir Sun 29-Oct-17 10:00:51

Hope it worked out OP. We flew Thomas cook earlier this year on a long haul package holiday and I forgot to book seats. They had us scattered across the four corners of the plane as far apart as is possible! One child was 6 and the 9 yo has anaphylaxis. At check in I spoke to the desk and they arranged for us to be together in the last row of the plane - I wonder if they keep one row free for this purpose.

I won’t forget to book seats (and pay £££ for the privilege) again - the run up to our flight was really stressful for me as I was so anxious it wouldn’t get sorted on the day

Clawdeen Sun 29-Oct-17 21:00:19

Update- arrived at the airport very early ( they were still checking in the flight before!). As soon as I mentioned we were seated apart, the BA lady at check in said 'oh don't worry about that, I'll sort it' and promptly did! Very relieved and feeling slightly silly about my lack of sleep over it all. Now have 4 hours until the flight to fill! Many thanks all.

BarchesterFlowers Mon 30-Oct-17 06:28:59

Excellent news Clawdeen, I hope you get some sleep and the daft culture of this seat buying lark changes very soon.

In the meantime I will continue not to buy seats and expect to be sat together as a family!

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