To be fair, parents traveling with young children already have their hands full as they try to mollify little Jenny or Johnny for the duration of a flight. Should we punish them further by lumping them all in the back? But for other passengers who have shelled out significant sums of money to be poked and prodded by the TSA and crammed into ever shrinking seats, having a screaming child alongside can often feel like the seventh circle of hell.
Since many flights today are fully booked and even overbooked, there is less seating flexibility. Business travelers who pay the full fare, as well as elite frequent flyers, are obviously the airlines’ top priority. Whereas it used to be a choice option for a family to sit in the first bulkhead row of a plane (which offers a bit more space), penny-pinching airlines are now charging passengers for these “premium” seats.