According to the family:
"We had paid for upgrades so we could all sit together but some of us were sat in normal economy," said Lois, who works in social media and marketing.
"There was no way our kids were going to be say away from us. I said 'I don't care where you sit us but you have to sit us together'.
"The manager just didn't care. She said it didn't work like that. She said there were no rules about minors having to sit with their parents."
"I told the manager that there could have been a paedophile sat next to my two-year-old for all we knew.
"She said 'that hardly ever happens here'."
I checked on United's website about its family seating policy, which says:
United strives to seat children under age 15 with an accompanying adult family member.
To have the best likelihood of children being seated with an accompanying adult, we recommend booking early and selecting seat assignments when you book. You can select seats through united.com, the United app or your travel agent. There may be additional charges for seat assignments depending on which cabin you select. Customers with Basic Economy tickets cannot make complimentary seat selections but may be able to purchase advance seat assignments. If it’s important for your family to sit together, you may want to consider purchasing advance seat assignments, if available, or selecting a different fare option.
If you don’t select your seats in advance, we’ll do our best to find adjoining seats for your family on the same reservation in the cabin you booked a few days before your flight departs. However, available seats may be limited at that time and your family or group may be split. While we strive to seat your family together, seat selections are not guaranteed and may be changed, including in the event of an aircraft substitution.
A United spokesperson had this to say:
A spokeswoman for United said the family were given Economy Plus tickets as a complimentary gesture and that adjustments were made to their reservations - including a name change - which impacted seat assigment.
She said: "Due to a lack of seven available seats together on the flight from Denver to London, our customer service agents offered alternative flight arrangements.
"We re-booked these customers on the first available flight that offered seats together and provided hotel and meal vouchers.
"We continue to remain in contact with our customers to resolve this issue."
But the family
said they were not given a complimentary upgrade and that the family has proof of paying for the upgrade.
So, what gives? The family paid for Economy+ and seats together, yet United downgraded them (understandable, maybe equipment change?), but still could not accommodate them together, was very casual about letting 2-,4-,and 6-year olds stay away from parents next to strangers on a long-haul flight. It also took 3 days for United to finally find a flight that could seat them together, even though the family offered t o sit in Economy if they were together? Aren't UA agents able to offer seat reassignments? I'm sure plenty of passengers sitting in Economy would have been happy to move to Economy+ so that a family could sit together?
I'd also like to keep the discussion to this incident and general family seating policies please. I did not create this thread to bash United, but rather to talk about this specific incident and to understand family seating policies, as well as customer service practices to accommodate families.