Consumer Reports looks into new travel rules, fees

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's the time of year when many families are planning holiday travel, and if yours includes a flight with kids, listen up. Consumer Reports says there are new rules and added fees that could quickly take the jolly out of your holiday air travel.

The standard fee for an unaccompanied minor has in some cases more than doubled over the past decade, from $200 to $300 depending on the airline.

And the fees don't stop there: If you actually want to sit next to your kids, you might have to pay more for that, too.

With the rise in "basic economy" fares, often the only way to guarantee that your family can sit together is to pay more to reserve a seat that can cost hundreds of dollars more.

Consumer Reports says that separating children from their parents during flights is not only stressful but also poses a safety risk if there's an emergency.

Consumer Reports has reviewed more than 100 complaints by consumers to the Department of Transportation about this concern. They are rightfully upset, because this is a potential safety issue.

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If you can't fork over the extra cash, CR says you can try calling the airline when booking your flight to say you're traveling with young children.

If you don't realize that you and your children are separated until you arrive at an airport, talk with a gate agent to see whether he or she can make a change. But keep in mind it could cost you more money.

Consumer Reports says that when you have a problem, you should file a complaint with the Department of Transportation, which says it will continue to monitor the issue of family seating.

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