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I e-mailed Spirit airlines to see if I need to pay for seating assignments, or if they'd assign my 2 year old next to me by policy, and they told me to shell out the cash for the seating assignments. I thought that was a bit odd; it'd seem like you'd want to go out of your way to make sure somebody isn't sitting next to a child crying for their parents 8 rows away. As a paranoid father, I'd also like ensure my 2 year old isn't sitting next to Grabby the Child Predator.

Is this this not something airlines typically do by procedure?

  • Spirit is not known for their customer service, caring about their customers, or giving anything, at all, away for free. Other airlines may, sometimes, be more accommodating. Most other US airlines don't charge for seat assignments outside of exit rows and premium economy, though on a busy flight, all the free seats (or at least all the free seats together) may be taken when you try to select. – Zach Lipton May 24 '16 at 0:09
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    You can try asking for people willing to switch so you can sit together. If nobody does, tell your child to run up and down the aisles until the flight attendants make someone switch so you can sit together. – phoog May 24 '16 at 0:15
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    I already said this in another question: another astonishing case of parent entitlement. Your child, your responsibility, your money! If you want a certain person in a certain seat, that costs money, end of story whether that person is 80 or 2 years old doesn't matter. – chx May 24 '16 at 3:18
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    @chx I disagree. Airlines' new practice of separating even small parties in order to promote their agenda of extracting revenue from travelers through hidden or supplementary charges is antagonizing at best. The fact that those traveling with small children are more vulnerable prey for such a scheme does not reflect poorly on the travelers. Airlines should look at the longer term here. Do they really want a whole generation of children to have traumatic memories of being separated from their parents inextricably linked with air travel? – phoog May 24 '16 at 4:06
  • @chx you are jumping to conclusions - it's mostly about good customer service for the entire cabin, not the parents specifically. I already paid the money - my issue is what about parents that don't pay that money? It's almost like the airline is gambling on parents doing the right thing. It shouldn't even be an option; you have to have the guardian sitting next to a small child to keep things in line. – coburne May 24 '16 at 14:47
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Spirit Airlines charges for advance seat assignments, so yes you need to pay if you want to request seating in advance. Just because you have a child traveling with you is not grounds for them to waive that fee.

That said, in most likelihood, the counter agent checking you in or the automatic assignment algorithm will take into consideration that you are traveling with someone on a child's fare (assuming you bought a child specific airfare and not a standard ticket) and assign adjacent seats if possible.

But if you wanted a guarantee of seats together, you need to pay the fee.

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