09/06/2012 07:21 am ET | Updated Nov 06, 2012

Ask Airfarewatchdog: Your Air Travel Questions Answered

Have a question about travel or airfares? We answer as many as we can, either by email to or in our Q&A column

Saving Seats On An Airplane?!
Q: I recently paid $10 each for my wife and I to do the early boarding on Southwest. However when we tried to take two seats together, another passenger was apparently holding five seats for his friends (guess he didn't think the other friends should have to pay the $10 fee). What should I have done to avoid causing an uproar that would have gotten us kicked off the plane (assuming I was willing to endure the glares and comments of him and his friends during the flight)?

A: Was it Snagglepuss who used to opine, "That's the most unhoid of thing I've ever hoid of?" (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Anyway, this is pretty outrageous. You should have contacted a flight attendant immediately and had this jerk put in his place (maybe off the plane would have been a good place -- exit, stage left! -- where you wouldn't have had to endure his "glares").

I've heard of this thing happening on cruise lines (people saving deck shares) and around resort pools, but never on a plane. Carnival Cruise Lines has begun cracking down on this practice, by placing stickers with the current time on chairs that been "claimed" by passengers with books, towels, etc. After 40 minutes, if the chaise is unoccupied, staff remove the items and leave a note where to claim them.

Flying With 37 Pounds On Your Lap? You'll Pay For That!
Q: I have a three year old who weighs 37 pounds. Do I have to purchase an additional ticket or can she fly on my lap for free?

A: With air travel as uncomfortable as it is, why you'd want to have nearly 40 pounds in your lap during the flight is beyond me. In any case, only children two years old or younger are allowed to fly as lap children on domestic flights for free. On international flights, you'll be charged 10 percent of the applicable adult fare.

To Get The Miles, You Have To Fly The Flight
Q: Can I get Delta SkyMiles for a flight I paid for but never used? It was cheaper buying a round trip ticket than a one way -- I never understood this!

A: No, you cannot claim frequent flyer miles for flight segments not flown. I'm assuming that you bought a round-trip ticket and just used the outward-bound segment in order to save money. You should know that if you do this often, the airlines might wipe out your frequent flyer account since this practice is against most airlines' rules. So if you do it again, don't provide your frequent flyer number!

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