Scott Mayerowitz has tips for families to secure seats together during peak holiday travel.
The tips apply regardless of season, it can be uniquely hard during the holidays when more families travel, more people thus want to sit together (compared to solo business travelers), and- flights are even more full (as though that’s possible!).
The gist is:
- Confirm your seat assignments, they might not have ‘stuck’ whether you booked directly with the airline (possible aircraft swap?) or through a third party agent (glitch).
- Keep checking back. Especially at upgrade windows, coach seats open up as passengers get moved to first class (although mostly ‘premium’ seats get opened as those were generally occupied by elites, so if you are not an elite you’re likely to still have to pay for those).
- Use Expertflyer.com. Their seat alerts will email you when desirable seats open up (but only one alert is free and if you’re not an elite frequent flyer but would consider paying for more alerts, consider paying for a ‘premium’ coach seat).
- Keep asking. Anyone you can find. Not that your chances are necessarily better at the gate or customer service than at checkin, but it’s another bite at the apple and if you haven’t asked someone yet to help you then you haven’t annoyed them yet!
- Trade with another passenger. They don’t want to sit next to your kids, and it’s hard for them to argue that they should sit next to your spouse (and appear creepy).
I’d add that what you want if you have any choice at all is to secure aisle seats. Those are always the best trade bait. People will almost always give up middles or windows, but it’s a tough ask to get someone to give up an aisle for your non-aisle.
If sitting together is important, then take that into consideration when making your booking. Look at seat maps before you purchase. Make- sure you know what seats are available to you.
And if it’s really important than consider paid premium seats to be part of the trip cost and plan for having to pay.