Airlines plans to introduce hefty fees for passengers booking seats together translate into disabled passengers’ worst nightmare.
Airlines compete on base fares, but add-on services are growing in number. While charges for checked baggage are an accepted practice by passengers, other creative ways to make money produce controversial outcomes.
A growing number of airlines are introducing fees for passengers wishing to seat together. Some airlines, like British Airways, charge anywhere from £10 to £60 for the privilege of reserving seats together at the time of booking.
Most U.S. airlines block best seats for either their top frequent fliers or for purchase. This practice is questionable at best when travelling with children.
In this day and age, with all existing concerns about grooming, families unwilling to spend money to purchase their seats together may end up scattered around the cabin, regardless of the age of the passenger.
This means a family traveling with two children age 6 and 8 may be broken up, with the children seated next t6o strangers several rows away from their parents.
The issue becomes a serious problem when a disabled passenger is traveling with a companion. Quite astonishingly, even the law protecting the rights of disabled passengers traveling by air is unclear on this point.
"All reasonable efforts to give such person a seat next to the disabled person or person with reduced mobility," Annex II of Regulation 1107/2006 says, leaving the door open for a companion to be split up from the disabled person he/she is assisting.
The seats together fee policy is complete nonsense for ordinary passengers like families traveling with children; it is pure monstrosity for disabled passengers traveling with a companion.
As summer holidays approach, we have decided to approach leading airlines to learn more about this matter. In the coming weeks, Reduced Mobility Rights will publish the result of this investigation into the issue of seats together fees related to families traveling with children and disabled passengers traveling with a companion.