Booking the right flight seats is essential when traveling with children or a disabled person; today we explore the flight seat policy of Air France and KLM.
French flag carrier Air France and Dutch airline KLM are part of the same group, Air France-KLM. The merger between the two airlines took place in 2004, creating one of the largest world's airlines.
In 2011, the Air France-KLM group carried 75,780,000 passengers to 254 destinations worldwide. The group operates a fleet of 594 aircraft.
Reduced Mobility Rights contacted the airline, to understand which procedures are in place for seat booking for those passengers traveling with children and passengers with reduced mobility or other disabilities traveling with a companion.
The first question is about family seats. "When there is no seat together request at the time of booking (long haul flights only) or during internet check-in (all flights), Air France and KLM make all efforts to ensure that the child under 12 seats at least near to one of his parent," a spokesperson for the airline explains.
Airlines do not bear legal obligation to ensure a family seats together. All carriers reserve the right to assign or reassign seats at any time, even after boarding the aircraft. However, the Civil Aviation's guidelines state that children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults.
The next question is about how flight attendants handle the possibility of a child separated from accompanying adults.
"This may occur, for example, if parents choose to travel in a different cabin (business for example)," Air France-KLM spokesperson says. "In this case, the child under 12 is registered as unaccompanied child and though stays under the constant supervision of a dedicated crew on board."
The third question is about seating arrangements for passengers with reduced mobility and their travelling companions. Depending on the severity of a passenger's disability, the airline may request the passenger to be accompanied by a travel companion.
We asked the Air France KLM spokesperson what happens if the disabled passenger is seated away from the travel companion, and if the airline offers discounted fares for travel companions accompanying severely disabled passengers.
"Normally passengers with reduced mobility and travel companions book seats together; However, in the event they were seated apart, flight attendants would ask another passenger to move in order to seat together the disabled passenger and his/her companion."
Air France offers travel companions of disabled passengers discounted air fares on selected domestic flights.
The final question is about flight crew training in dealing with passengers with disabilities such as Autism and reduced mobility. "Flight attendants receive general training about disabilities and reduced mobility as required by the current regulations," Air France KLM explains. "At the moment, we are not planning on giving any additional training, given the fact that there are numerous different conditions."