What's the Deal: The sky-high cost of flying with kids

It's the time of year when many families are planning holiday travel, and if yours includes a flight with kids, listen up.

New rules and added fees could really impact holiday air travel,especially for families, whether your kids are traveling with you or on their own.

To see his grandmother in Las Vegas, 12-year-old Hudson Palacio flew solo for the first time.

While it was a successful trip, his family learned that sending a child alone on a flight can come with not only anxiety, but also hefty fees.

"Airlines have been raising fees on services for years, and charging more to watch over unaccompanied minors is no exception," says Donna Rosato, Consumer Reports Money Editor.

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 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," says Rosato.

Separating children from their parents is not only stressful for everyone. It also poses issues if there is an in-flight emergency.

"We've reviewed more than 100 complaints by consumers to the Department of Transportation about this issue. They are rightfully upset because this is a potential safety issue," says Rosato.

Consumer Reports says try calling the airline when booking your flight and say you're traveling with young children and ask to be seated together.
If you realize that you and your children are separated only after you arrive at the airport, talk with a gate agent and see if they can make a change.

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.

To file a consumer complaint with DOT, CLICK HERE.

For more from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.
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