This summer we traveled out to China. We were going to see friends and had decided this was the time to take that one once in a lifetime trip. Do the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, temples- all that stuff. We booked with China Southern from Jakarta through to Beijing. We got ! a seat. She's not yet 2 (only 18 months at the time) and we've learned that more than 4 hours is really hard to lap sit. You can't take the money with you but you can choose to spend it on therapy or an extra seat. On our way there China Southern failed to impress when they left us sitting on the tarmac on the plane for 5+ hours and then filled the plane with more people. So uncool. On the way home they failed to impress when they canceled !'s seat. We had 4 seats and they had given us that middle aisle row of 4 seats- perfect for a family because no one else has to be disturbed by my kids. They sold !'s seat to someone else and he was now sitting in between me and my son. Needless to say, Mom got mad. The attendant kept telling me that I didn't book that seat, until I showed him my receipts and itinerary. Then he said but its not booked now, she doesn't have a seat. To which I explained that he could "hand me a $1000 and it wouldn't be her seat anymore but until then she was a ticketed passenger with a paid seat. Find another place for this nice gentleman." And he did, but not without coming back and trying to guilt me by telling me she actually isn't booked. I got home and found that an hour before the flight my yahoo account had recieved an email telling me that her seat had been cancelled. Pretty cheeky I thought given that China didn't allow me access to my yahoo account the entire time I was in country.
All of that huff and guff to lead into this story about American Airlines bouncing kids around the plane with hopes of parents paying fees. China Southern did this one too. With @ sitting 5 rows ahead of Jonathan and I and ! sitting 10 rows back. @ is now 8 and a hard core traveller, we had no worries about him so long as he was on the plane with us. ! is again pretty small but if they really think that is a good idea- I double dog dare them to sit her away from us. No problem. At check in they saw what was going on and reseated us before we even asked. Blinked! I'm not really that sassy but I won't blink either when it comes to airlines being obviously stupid.
As it turned out @ did end up sitting by himself on at least one leg coming home. It was great. Jonathan and I had ! between us. @ sat between two gentlemen in front of us. We talked with them. Introduced @. Helped him get situated with his things and understanding the entertainment guide. Asked what kind of juice he'd like and chicken or beef. Then we left him be, which he loved. He watched a few movies and the men sitting on either side would smile when @ got to laughing at his movie. They were happy to let him in and out and I was proud to see he said "Excuse me" and "Please". All told and excellent leg of the trip. But @ is a rare bird. He's been around the block a bit and I wouldn't recommend doing this for the 5yr old going to Disney World.
Shame on you airlines. Way to loose the family friendly vote.