You know about airline change fees, baggage fees, premium seat fees and food fees. But how about a "you-get-to-sit-with-your-child" fee?
John Parish is giving his 5-year-old daughter the birthday present every child dreams of: a trip to Disney World. But he's afraid American Airlines has booked a travel nightmare for his family and other fliers. There's only one way out of the nightmare, he was told: Pay an additional fee, months after booking the trip.
Parish bought his tickets months ago, in March, and scored three seats together on a flight from Dallas to Orlando, Fla., for his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Megan. Then, in July, bad news arrived. American Airlines had changed the flight schedule for the return trip, and it had changed the plane, too. It was a bigger plane, but no longer could the family sit together. In fact, Megan had been moved onto the other side of the plane, rows away.
Parish, himself a frequent business traveler and American customer, thought that it was a simple mistake and that a quick phone call could correct the problem. After all, who wants a 5-year-old separated from her parents on a three-hour flight?
Parish was only half-right.
There were three seats together, an American customer service agent told him. But the only way he could get them was to pay $60 in extra fees for what was now considered premium seating. Parish was outraged. But a discussion with a supervisor got him nowhere.
"What bothers me about this situation is that they are trying to charge me for something I already had paid for because they changed flight schedules," he said. "I know it's only $60, but this is a little extreme. ... It's not fair when it is literally their fault because they are changing their schedule, but they put the onus of the cost and change on the consumer."
Amanda Parish said the family had booked the trip a full seven months in advance specifically to ensure that they'd all be able to sit together.
"As a mother, I couldn't imagine letting my child fly next to a stranger," she said. "It really does feel like a bait-and-switch. At the very minimum, you should get what you paid for. ... We already paid for seats together. The point of going on vacation is to actually be together."
John Parish sent a letter to customer service asking for a response and an explanation; he got neither. Then he contacted NBC News.
American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told NBC that she was "sorry that the Parish family encountered difficulties" but that a change in aircraft type can alter seat assignments.
There's much more to this story from NBC News, CLICK HERE.