Airline coach fees make it harder for groups to sit together during holiday travel

If you plan to travel this holiday with a group, it may be harder to find seats together.

This year, some major carriers have increased the number of coach seats requiring an extra fee for leg room or to sit closer to the front.

American, Delta, Frontier, and United are among them, according to the Associated Press. This means it will be more difficult to find seats group together unless you're willing to pay an additional $25 per person, each way.

Planes are expected to be packed. Nearly 24 million Americans are planning to fly during the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving. That's slightly up from last year. 

If you will be traveling with family or a group, there are some things you can do to improve your chances:

  • Confirm your seat assignments online. Sometimes, plane types are switched between booking and departure and that means there could be a new seat layout.  If you booked with a third party, like Expedia or Orbitz, your assignment might not have been recorded with the airline. 
  • Set up alerts for seat openings. ExpertFlyer.com offers free notifications when a window or aisle seat becomes available. For a small fee, it can also notify you when adjacent seats are available.
  • Check the airline's website five days before your trip. That's when some flyers upgrade to first class and free up coach seats.
  • Check in 24 hours before departure or as soon as you can.
  • Ask the agent at check-in if any seats have become available.
  • Ask your flight attendant to assist you in finding another passenger who may switch seats.
  • If flying Southwest Airlines set an alarm for exactly 24 hours before departure and check in online. The airline lets passengers pick their own seat at boarding. The earlier you check-in, the quicker you board the plane.
  • If all else fails, offer nearby passengers candy or a drink to switch seats. Seriously, bartering works.

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