If your holiday travel does include a flight with kids, listen up. Consumer Reports says there are new rules and added fees that could quickly take the jolly out of your holiday air travel.
On a trip to see his grandmother in Las Vegas, Hudson Palacio got his wings by flying solo, a first for the 12-year-old New York native.
Although a safe and successful trip for the Palacio family, sending off a child alone on a flight can come with anxieties, and hefty fees.
"Airlines have been raising fees on services for years, and charging more to watch over unaccompanied minors is no exception," said Consumer Reports Money Editor Donna Rosato.
In addition to the airfare, the standard fee for an unaccompanied minor has in some cases more than doubled over the past decade from $200 to $300 depending on the airline.
And the fees don't stop there: If you actually want to sit next to your kids, you might have to pay for that, too!
"With the rise in "basic economy" fares, often the only way you can guarantee your family can sit together is to pay more to reserve a seat and that can be hundreds of dollars more," Rosato said.
Consumer Reports says that separating children from their parents during flights is not only stressful, but it also poses safety risks if there is an in-flight emergency.
"We've reviewed more than 100 complaints by consumers to the Department of Transportation about this issue," Rosato said. "They are rightfully upset because this is a potential safety issue."
If you can't fork over the extra cash, Consumer Reports says you can try calling the airline when booking your flight and say you're traveling with young children.
If you don't realize that you and your children are separated until you arrive at the airport, talk with a gate agent and see if they can make a change, but keep in mind it could cost you money.
Now that Hudson Palacio is well on his way to frequent flyer status, he can share his travel wisdom with his family for their next big trip.
Consumer Reports says when you have a problem you should file a complaint. The Department of Transportation says it will continue to monitor the issue of family seating. You can file your complaint at transportation.gov.
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Consumer Reports: Traveling with children
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