Travelers buying airline tickets today are increasingly faced with a costly decision: pay up for seat assignments or risk not sitting together on the plane.
Consumer Reports' advocacy arm said it's a calculation travelers with younger children should not have to make.
The organization last week launched an online petition urging American, Delta and United to allow adults traveling with children 13 and younger to sit together without paying a fee. The initial goal was 25,000 signatures, which was quickly surpassed. On Monday, the number of signatures was approaching 45,000.
The plea: "I expect you to put safety over profits, and seat children with their families without charging them extra for it.''
A Consumer Reports review of more than 130 complaints submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation on family seating issues found that airlines have separated or suggested separating children as young as 2 years old from their parents on a flight.
Representatives for American, United and Delta, the initial targets of the petition because they received the most complaints, said they have taken steps to ensure families booked together sit together.