It can be hard for families to be separated on planes, especially on long flights. Here are a few suggestions that might help reduce the chance or the pain of separation.

If you can’t pre-select seats together, check in as early as possible. After seats are assigned to passengers and boarding cards are printed, passenger agents are unlikely to ask people to change. They’ll probably suggest that you ask the flight attendants for help.


Once onboard, try to swap your good seat for a bad seat. Passengers don’t usually want to give up aisle or bulkhead seats, especially if they’ve paid extra for them. If you can offer someone a better seat, (aisle or window), or location, (front of plane), many will oblige.

Be creative in your thinking. Not everyone has to sit together in a row. If family members are across the aisle from each other or in the row ahead or behind, that should be close enough to reduce stress levels, especially on short-haul flights.

Ask your flight attendant for help. If people won’t budge, sometimes a crew member may be able to suggest alternatives. Remember that we can’t force anyone to move, but sometimes we can offer small incentives to passengers who help us out.

FA TIP: For some kids, being separated from parents isn’t such a bad thing. Older children may enjoy feeling grown-up enough to sit by themselves, especially when parents or guardians are only a few rows away.

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