Families are starting to think that airlines value them least of all as passengers. The trend in air travel of putting a premium on aisle and window seats is forcing families to effectively pay a fee if they want to sit together. Children need more things for flights than can be crammed into one carry-on, so they’re also forced to pay charges for extra carry-on bags. These charges continue to rise on many airlines – to $100 in the case of Spirit Airlines – while United Airlines has announced that it will no longer allow families with small children to board early.
The “unbundling” of ticket prices appears to be leading to favouritism. The focus for airlines is increasingly towards frequent flyers and business travellers willing to pay premiums.
However, commercial pilot and columnist Patrick Smith explains: “Unbundling can leave customers feeling nickel-and-dimed, but it's a smart idea in that those looking for perks can have them, absorbing a higher share of the cost. Is it not better to charge a premium for specific items, not all of which everybody wants, rather than raise prices across the board?”
But airlines that don’t make such charges are increasingly likely to be the ones that families will choose to fly with.