16 May 2008

Reservations Tricks When Flying!!!

"BlkAv8tor Checking In!!!"

Hello All,

Despite the latest happenings, I thought I would bring up a few reservations trick for everyones, especially those who travel with children.

This all got started because of passengers in Canada who left there child in one city while they flew on ahead not realizing that the child was on board the aircraft. Now don't jump to the conclusion that they were bad parent or how could you forget a child. This one was was easy, when they left Canada it sounds like the didn't have a child and were going to pick the child up from another country. They were caught up in the moment of a new child being added to the family plus a multitude of problems with their flight being possibly missed. They were split up running between flights and split up once seated on the plane and never had a chance to talk once at the next departure flight.
So I figured I should put out some helpful tips and info that the airline probably won’t tell you. I know it’s long but it can be helpful when you fly with the family, kids, new spouse etc.

Ok, let’s say you’re planning a trip for the family and you have two kids and a husband and wife pair. This is an easy roundtrip and no connecting flights this round. (This is based on what you might find in today’s families.) You’re married and your spouse has a different last name than you. Here is what the airline will see. Since the adults have different last names even though the reservation system sees the names in the same reservation it will consider them (2) two separate parties. So why is this important? Do you want to sit with your wife (kids read below)??? (Guys don’t answer that one too fast) Usually in today’s day and age some women don’t usually change from their maiden name to their married name. So when the reservations system see’s this it will automatically seat you separately. Now the agent will go back in the check-in profile and change that to put you both together in seating. This is ok when the flights not real full but when it’s full this can be a headache for some people. If you have a good agent this will happen and you won’t even notice it in the time you’re standing there checking in. The trick is 1. Ladies change your maiden name to your married name if you if you think you’re going to travel. It’s usually it’s a trip down to DMV and it’s done. 2. Always keep each other in the same reservations if at all possible. Now if you’re coming from different airports and meeting up and traveling on further, this is not possible. The more you show individuality the more problems you may encounter, so travel as a family unit it will make things easier.

Now as far as the kids are concerned, the children should fly under whatever the family name is when it comes to what they’re reservations should be made under. (Carry some form of ID for your kids like passports or at least copies of birth certificates) Even if the mother’s children from a previous marriage they should fly under the new family surname. If you don’t, you take the chance of the children getting split from one or both parents when seating assignments are issued, like children under the age of 12 sitting in the Emergency Exit Row Seats and worst of all not everyone getting a seat assigned if the flight is in an oversell situation. Because of children I have seen a whole family to get bumped (Involuntarily Denied Boarding) and it’s usually late night, vacation trip or international travels which are the hardest to fix after the fact. Also I know it might be a pain to do but when you initially go to check-in for the flight (before you know exactly what the seat assignment are) bring the whole family up, not just the tickets that way the agent can see what type of passengers they will be seating. The agent will know to avoid the certain areas on the plane that are not conducive to children. There is another way to try to keep from catching a seating problem when making the reservation through an airline representative or travel agent.
Male or female children, 15 and younger get “MSTR” or “MISS” in front of their name when the reservation is made. This will tell the reservation system that this is a minor and to seat them with the assumed adult names listed in the reservation. The computer system will try to keep this group together.
Lap children (defined as a child less than 2 years of age) may travel sitting on your lap. If the flight is full your child is required to be in your lap the whole flight. Now if the flight is not full “after” the flight get’s going you may put your “Lap Child” in an open seat if one is available next to you. Carry some form of ID for your kids like passports or at least copies of birth certificates and if your child is larger than most 2 year olds prepared to be asked. Age and weight requirements do exist and the airline may charge you if the child is too big to sit on your lap even though they may be 2 years old or younger. Lastly when you check in for the flight with an agent at the airport you can ask for a boarding card for an infant or it say’s “INF”, this is not really for you but more for the agents working the flight that will now to look for an infant or lap child in there physical counts before the flight leave. If there is an emergency on board the aircraft or worse the airline can advise emergency officials that there was “X” number of infants or “INF”’s on board.

So these are a few tips to help you when you travel with the family, take what works for you and pass on anything that doesn’t apply. I think everyone can benefit from this in some way.

Have A Good Flight!!!


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