The Biden administration has urged Congress to pass a legislation that would end family seating fees for parents traveling with children under the age of 14.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) declared that President Biden is attempting to reduce add-on charges for travelers. If the Congress passes the legislation, airlines would not be allowed to charge families for sitting together.
According to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, current airlines’ seating policies do not guarantee that parents can sit with their children without an extra charge.
Upon review of the airlines’ seating policies, DOT remains concerned that airlines’ policies do not guarantee adjacent seats for young children traveling with a family member and that airlines do not guarantee the adjacent seating at no additional cost.Pete Buttigieg, US Transportation Secretary
After the DOT pressure, several airlines have made written commitments to guarantee that families with children under 14 can sit together without an additional fee.
Earlier this month, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Frontier Airlines all agreed to include family seating guarantees in customer service plans. Similarly, United Airline declared that it would give families access to seats that normally cost extra at the time of booking.
The Department of Transportation has also launched a new Airline Customer Service Dashboard that shows which airlines have committed for fee-free family seating, and which ones have not.
In a statement, Mr. Buttigieg has urged all airlines to promptly eliminate family fees as the DOT moves forward to develop a rule establishing this as a requirement across the board.
Parents traveling with young kids should be able to sit together without an airline forcing them to pay junk fees.Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary
The new draft legislation also calls for refunds to passengers who cannot get adjacent seats for their kids. A violation of the new family seating rules could result in DOT fines.
The fee-free family seating measure is part of the Junk Fee Prevention Act, a bill that also includes measures cracking down on excessive fees for concert and entertainment tickets, and eliminating unnecessary fees for canceling a television, phone or internet service.
The Transportation Department is calling on Congress to pass the law immediately.