Another Country Mandates Parents & Kids Sit Together on Planes Without Extra Charge

by SharonKurheg

Children not easily sitting next to their parent(s) or guardian(s) has been an issues for several years. Many, if not most airlines charge for passengers to choose their own seat, unless it’s part of a package of getting a higher end seat int he first place. Otherwise what seats you and your family get are at the mercy of the airline. And when the airlines doesn’t care about little Jamie sitting 17 rows in front of their parent or guardian, it becomes the problem of the gate agent, flight attendant and their fellow flyers to play Musical Chairs to ensure the child is seated next to someone they know and trust.

Some people insist that those flying with children should just get with the program. “They should have to pay for the seats, just like I did. If they can’t afford it, they shouldn’t fly” (nice, huh?). Others are clearheaded enough to realize that having to pay what could amount to several hundred dollars to simply to ensure a child or children’s wellbeing on a roundtrip flight might not be the best answer.

The United States government’s response

The U.S. government has tried a dashboard to help citizens knows which airlines are more willing to work with families to ensure children sit next to their adults without paying extra fees. It began a year ago and the news isn’t good. Many families still arn’t able to sit together without a whole lot of kindhearted moving people around (and other people…not. Sometimes I’ve been one of those – I paid for my aisle seat; I’m keeping it). It’s gotten to the point where some flight attendants have figured out way to threaten people to switch seats.

Other countries’ response

The U.S. isn’t the only country where kids sitting next to their adults is a problem. Airlines around the world have discovered the extra money they can get with ancillary charges such as having to pay for seat selection, and they’re not about to give that up unless they’re told they have to.

Granted, some countries’ governments have made it clear they would “prefer” airlines kept kids and parents together:

But few mandate it.

The ones that do


a red and white flag with a leaf
The Canadian Transport Agency, among other things, provides consumer protection for air passengers. Since July 2019, they have ruled that, “airlines must, at the earliest opportunity and at no extra cost, take steps to seat children under the age of 14 near their parent, guardian or tutor. The distance will depend on the age of the child:

  • If a child is under the age of 5, they must be in a seat next to their parent, guardian or tutor.
  • If a child is between 5 and 11, they must be in the same row, separated by no more than one seat from their parent, guardian or tutor.
  • If a child is between 12 and 13, they must be no more than a row away from the parent, guardian or tutor.


a flag with a circle in the middle
Earlier this week, India’s air regulators have issued the directive to airlines to ensure young children are seated by at least one parent, free of charge. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has rules they should not be required to pay for seat selection if traveling on the same booking.

“Airlines shall ensure that children up to 12 years are allocated seats with at least one of their parents/guardians,” an amended DGCA rule said.

The mandate came about after passengers traveling in groups complained that they were separated from their children if they chose not to pay extra for seat selection.

“In view of the various instances that came to the notice of DGCA wherein children below the age of 12 years were not seated along with the parent/guardian, the existing (rule) has been substantially modified,” said a senior DGCA official.

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