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Family travel time: Airlines hinder child travel with new fees and policies

Airline policies increasingly seem hostile to the concept of kids and travel, reported USA Today.
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News Modified: September 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm •  Published: September 3, 2014

Airline policies increasingly seem hostile to the concept of kids and air travel, according to USA Today, which noted new fees, fee increases and more restrictive policies.

"Whether it's an air carrier trying to squeeze more reservation fees from families who want to sit together, crew members treating their littlest passengers like cargo or troubles with unaccompanied minors, it seems as if airlines have issues with their youngest passengers," wrote Christopher Elliott for USA Today.

Elliott is a consumer advocate and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler.

"The child-unfriendly skies are absolutely no fun if you're a parent," he wrote.

He noted a pattern of travel experiences involving kids. One man had an airline cancel an already scheduled trip 12 hours before departure, even though he'd paid an unaccompanied minor fee. Another family balked when asked to pay an extra $500 in fees to be sure the parents could sit with their infant on the flight. (He says not to blink. On the plane, the crew will make sure baby and parents are together.) Still another mother told him of having a flight attendant castigate the entire family because the baby was disruptive.

Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare, recently told ABC News that American Airlines has raised the age limit for kids traveling alone (effective Wednesday), so children up to age 14 will be subject to a $150 unaccompanied minor fee each way. "It's not just American. United charges $150 each way, as does US Airways. And it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Delta raised its $100 unaccompanied-minor fee (age ranges vary by airline)."

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