United’s new family friendly announcement

You have to hand it to United Airline’s PR department. They managed to flood the news this week with their story about how United is now allowing families with young children under 12 to more easily sit together.

“We’re focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know it often starts with the right seat,” United’s Chief Customer Officer Linda Jojo said in a statement. “We look forward to rolling out more family-friendly features this year.”

Excuse me for not realizing that not being able to sit together is considered normal and not charging for that is now a widely-heralded benefit. That’s how bad things have become in the airline industry. The airlines have removed so many basic elements of what most people would consider normal, that bringing them back makes it a featured story all over TV, the Internet and in the newpapers.

So what comes next? Here are few predictions:

Southwest Airlines announces that they will no longer charge extra for flights that arrive on time

A spokesman for the Dallas-based airline says they will remove the additional fees charged when a flight arrrives on time. The airline earlier explained that people have been willing to pay extra for this great benefit because it reduces their stress level and makes it easier to make a connecting flight. Southwest, however, will still charge extra for those flights that arrive early.

Delta Airlines announced that they are matching United’s new policy and upping it one better

Delta says that not only will they allow families with children under 12 to sit together, they will also allow grandparents to sit with the family, as well. Delta will require grandparents to provide proof of their relationship at the time of booking.

American announces a new benefit for mothers

American weighed in and announced a special plan for mothers that lets them pay $25-$50 per flight to sit apart from their kids. 10 rows apart cost $25 and 20 rows apart costs $50.

Spirit weighs in

Spirit Airlines, known for its high rate of lost luggage, announced their new benefit: They will allow passengers to add their own tracking device to their luggage for a $25 fee per bag.

A spokesman noted, “Not only do families want to fly together, they also want to fly together with their luggage, so we think they will be happy to pay for this new benefit. They will be given a phone number to call us and tell us which city their bags are located upon their arrival. (Toll charges may apply.)

Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, lauded the airline industry for incorporating these new family-friendly policies, saying “These recent announcements by the airline industry are the result of my department’s unceasing efforts to force the airlines to become more consumer friendly.”

by Phil Baker