How to snag seats together on holiday flights
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
Flying this Thanksgiving and worried that you won't be able to sit with family? You're not alone. Nearly 24 million people are expected to fly during the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving, up slightly from last year. Many will be separated from their loved ones. Airlines are making it much more difficult for groups of travelers to sit together — unless they want to pay extra for seats with more legroom or those near the front of the plane. Since last Thanksgiving, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier and United have increased the number of coach seats requiring an extra fee. That means it's much more difficult to find adjacent seats unless passengers pay an extra $25 per person, each way. But don't fret. There are still a few things fliers can do between now and takeoff to snag seats together:
• Confirm your seat assignments online with the airline now. Sometimes, plane types are switched between booking and departure, meaning there's a whole new seat layout. If you booked through Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity or other third-parties, your assignment might not have been recorded correctly with the airline.
• Set up alerts for seat openings. ExpertFlyer.com offers free notifications when a window or aisle seat becomes vacant. For 99 cents, it sends an email if two adjacent seats become available.
• Check the airline's website five days before the trip. That's when some elite fliers are upgraded to first class, freeing up their coach seats. Another wave of upgrades occurs every 24 to 48 hours.
• Check in 24 hours in advance when airlines start releasing more seats. If connecting, see if seats have opened up 24 hours before the second flight departs.
• Keep looking for new seats. Even after checking in, seats can be changed at airport kiosks and on some airlines' mobile applications.
• Ask at check-in. Agents can sometimes put families in seats held just prior to departure for disabled passengers.
• Ask again. Gate agents and flight attendants can sometimes seek volunteers to swap seats.
• If flying Southwest Airlines set an alarm for exactly 24 hours before departure and check in online. The airline lets passengers pick their own seat at boarding. The earlier you check-in, the quicker you board the plane.
• If all else fails, offer nearby passengers candy or a drink to switch seats. Seriously, bartering works.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.