Seat selection: Now families are paying to sit together on planes | The Economist

e           Travel

e Travel (Photo credit: Sean Munson)

AIRLINES are increasingly charging to let passengers reserve window and aisle seats, leaving families stuck paying extra to sit together. This is good news for some business travellers—some of the extra-fee seats are being handed out free-of-charge to high-status frequent flyers. Read more: Seat selection: Now families are paying to sit together on planes | The Economist.

Wow! I didn’t even know we had an option to pay more to sit together on the flights we booked for our upcoming summer vacation. Guess I didn’t read the “fine print” mentioned in the article. As it turns out, three of us will be sitting together, with the fourth person on the aisle across the way, or in front of us (if memory serves correctly). Assuming that will be my husband, but we may rotate!

The Vacation Itinerary Juggling Act

Travel Booking  Our 2012 summer vacation plans started to take shape after my daughter, Alison, crafted her initial itinerary this past winter. Her original plan called for us to fly into San Francisco and out of Seattle. In February, the airfare was about $185-$200 per person. However, in March, airfare for Seattle increased to $250 and held steady, so the itinerary needed to be changed.

Cheaper options were Las Vegas ($185), Los Angeles area ($150), and Boise ($190). Not one to shrink from the challenge, Ali devised other itineraries involving Death Valley National Park, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park, and Los Angeles.

Death Valley

Death Valley (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

However, my husband pointed out that the trip was now taking on a more southerly direction – adding several hundred more miles to the vacation. He suggested we save these stops for another trip, and besides, the thought of  enduring 110 degree heat  through Death Valley in July seemed a bit much. I had to agree!

Alison took another look at the map, and the available air fares, and saw an opportunity to fly into Boise. We agreed to lengthen the trip and fly out of San Francisco.  The Boise leg with United Airlines was $189 per person, with a connection in Denver. The flight out of San Francisco was with Southwest Airlines at $208 per person with free checked bags and a no plane change stop in Las Vegas (so at least the kids could see Las Vegas from the sky).

The trip then went from the original 10 days to 17 days, departing in the morning from Orlando and midday from San Francisco.  This would give us two full days in San Francisco and a couple hours on a third day before we depart home.

I should point out here that one of the reasons my daughter plans these vast vacations is to visit another state. Her goal is to hit all 50. Every time we visit a new state, we collect magnets and stick them up on the refrigerator. We’ve got quite a collection as you can see!

Magnet U.S. Map

This trip will add California, Washington & Oregon to our collection. But I think we’re going to need a bigger refrigerator! :-)

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul /


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