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Parents, kids separated more often with new airline seating

Kristen Leigh Painter, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Parenting News

Some countries, like Canada, have come to the same conclusion.

On Dec. 15, Canada's new Air Passenger Protection Regulations went into effect, including a provision that requires airlines have help seat children under the age of 14 near their parent, guardian or tutor "at no extra cost and at the earliest opportunity." Children under 5 must be given an adjacent seat, those between 5 and 11 must be in the same row and separated by no more than one seat, and those 12 or 13 cannot be separated by more than a row from their accompanying adult.

Efforts to legislate a solution by members of the U.S. Congress have continued, including a bipartisan bill, called the Fly Together Act, introduced earlier this month by Reps. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and Anthony Brown, D-Md.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has also continued to press DOT to take greater action on the issue.

There are technological solutions the airlines could implement. "The technology is not that difficult, but it requires the airlines make some decisions," said Mann. "It's a ranking issue, but also a sequencing one. How do you sequence these events as well as rank (your passenger) priorities?"

Jenss suggests airlines focus their big data and algorithms, which they are already using for other purposes, on better forecasting how many families will be flying on a given route at that exact time of year.


"They should be able to block off the last X-amount of rows -- not premium seats -- for X-amount of families. They just haven't made it a priority," Jenss said. "But for now, the airlines are relying on the generosity of strangers being willing to move, and sadly, that doesn't always happen."

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