Washington Post: Airlines are separating families on rebooked flights. Here’s what to know.

August 15, 2022 Media

Getting bumped from your flight — a situation that occurs when an airline overbooks — has become a more common experience for travelers during this chaotic summer of flying. Unfortunately, sometimes getting bumped or rescheduled after canceled flights comes with getting separated from the people or the pets you’re flying with. Shifting your travel plans because of a flight bump is frustrating enough, but being separated from your travel companions can really mess with logistics.

“It’s an awful thing to have travelers broken up, particularly when they’re kids involved,” said aviation expert and consumer advocate William McGee.

What can I do to stop this from happening to me?

“The system is at its breaking point,” McGee said. Years ago, if part of a group of travelers were bumped, they would generally wait around for the next open flight and get on that one together. Today, however, the circumstances are less certain, and waiting to fly with the person you’re traveling with could end up causing even more issues. You might have to take the seat when the space is available, McGee said, even if it means splitting up for the flight, because finding two available seats later on could be a tricky feat.