A NUMBER of correspondents wonder why airlines and travel agencies do not do more to ensure that travellers are given the seat on the plane that they want (e g, well away from the smoking section, lots of leg room, etc).

Peter Rance raises a more serious issue. 'On four occasions last year I took my family (two adults, one two-year-old and one four-year-old) on British Airways scheduled flights. I rang in advance to make sure that seats were reserved so that at least we could get two pairs, so the children could sit next to an adult.

'On every occasion I was told this was not possible. It cannot be guaranteed, or even noted on the computer, that a child will sit next to its parent. Indeed, on one flight we were given one pair of seats plus two singles, which meant that one child had to sit on its own. There are obvious safety implications in this - imagine a parent trying to go against the flow during an evacuation in order to reach its child.'

Mr Rance says that, in an age when it is possible to make a reservation a year in advance, the British Airways computer can surely organise a child and its parent to sit next to each other.