A North Carolina man was forced to pay $88, in addition to the $1,200 he had already spent, to sit next to his four-year-old daughter on a plane.
Frank Strong, an avid blogger, was traveling from Raleigh, North Carolina to Montgomery, Alabama with his daughter in late April to visit her grandmother on a Delta flight. Strong explained to Yahoo Parenting that he co-parents his daughter, but when he is alone, he is essentially a single father, and when he booked his flight through Delta, he expected to be able to sit next to her. However, this was not the case, and Delta booked the seats 11 rows apart.
— Frank Strong (@Frank_Strong) May 5, 2015
“One of the first pieces of information they asked me was her age, but when I was given the option to select seats, there were no seats together. I couldn’t even pay them for us to sit together,” he said. Strong made the choice not to choose seats, but rather opted to wait until they arrived at the airport, hoping that two adjacent seats would be available. However, when he got there, there were still no seats beside each other, so he approached the ticketing counter.
“The gate agents exchanged knowing glances – they obviously had seen this before – and suggested I go to the gate. They said maybe they could fix the problem for me for free, otherwise I could pay $88 to get our seats together right away,” he said. “I did that, because I didn’t want to have to worry about what might happen at the gate.”
“Faced with a dilemma of handing over ransom money to Delta in exchange for certainty, or taking a risk that an agent might fix the problem at the gate, I opted to pay,” Strong wrote in a post on his personal blog, Sword and the Script.
“No parent holds a higher responsibility – or more deeply visceral instinct – than keeping their child or children safe,” he added. “That’s hard to accomplish 11 rows away when the fasten seat belt sign is glowing.”
— Frank Strong (@Frank_Strong) April 19, 2015
Delta released a statement saying that they are investigating the incident.
“We strive to ensure that every customer has a great experience with Delta,” a Delta spokesperson said. “We are investigating the situation.”
Strong says he hopes the airlines will re-examine their policies to make it possible for parents and children to sit together no matter what.
“They should be doing everything they can to put those folks together, why don’t they?” he said. “They knew my daughter’s age as soon as I started booking my ticket. I’ve got to believe the airline has the sophistication and technology to make [seating us together] work if they so choose. Why would you separate a parent and toddler?”
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[Photo by Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock.com]