As If Flying Isn’t Already Painful Enough….

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Parent or not, you should be outraged by Air Canada’s recent policy, even if it only applies to Tango fares.

Let me set the scene….

You’ve scrimped and saved and planned care for your two children, so now you are off on a well-deserved, child free holiday. You can almost smell the ocean and feel the wind in your hair. You can taste the pina coladas. You and your spouse walk towards your seats; seats that you opted to pay the extra money to choose because really, how often do you get to go away? You get to your row and you double check your tickets. Yep. There it is, you are in the right row. Someone must have made a mistake because there is a three year old sitting in the aisle seat, but no other adults around at all. You quickly flag a flight attendant because this can’t be right.

Unfortunately, it is. Yep, according to Air Canada’s recent policy, there is no guarantee that a child from age 2-8 is sitting beside a parent. According to the airline, they just have to seat the parent in the same cabin as the child. What??!!!!! Yep. Not the same row or even adjacent row. Just the same freaking cabin. So you, who arranged child care for your own children, though not responsible for caring for this child, might have to sit by a three year old whose parents are four rows away for a six hour flight? Yep. That, or the parents can choose to pay a $40 fee to ensure that they are seated by their own child.

This is preposterous.

Someone must have made a mistake because there is a three year old sitting in the aisle seat, but no other adults around at all

This actually happened to a Vancouver couple (you can see CBC’s story here). The father pointed out that he couldn’t have booked the child on the flight independently as the system doesn’t allow for a child that young to fly alone; the ticket must be attached to an adult fare. Therefore the $40 charge isn’t optional and as such, should be disclosed up front and included when a flight is booked.

According to the CBC article, the only way to get around this is to write Air Canada’s president, which we hope that you do. For the sanity of everyone, parents who don’t want to fly without their child next to them as well as regular folks who don’t want to fly with someone else’s child, write the president of Air Canada and let him have it.