February 22, 2023: On Monday, United Airlines said that the technology would open up more flight seats so children can sit with an adult at their party without paying a fee, a charge getting scrutiny from the Biden administration in recent months.
United will show parents or other adult travellers accompanying a child younger than 12 to get “preferred” seats and regular economy seats if needed, when booking so they can sit together.
The change applies to travellers with standard and primary economy tickets and will be fully in effect in the coming month, although United has already surged some seat availability.
The airline will not charge customers fare changes if they switch to a flight to a similar destination with adjacent seats.
Recently, airlines have charged travellers to book “preferred” location flight seats. They don’t come with extra legroom or different perks but are often in a show of the plane, though they can cover a huge number of seats of an aircraft.
President Joe Biden has been calling lawmakers to “fast-track the prohibit the family seating fees,” the White House stated. In July, the Transportation Department stated that U.S. airlines shoulds “do everything in their power” to ensure that traveller under age 13 is seated in the upcoming to an accompanying adult without additional charges.
“Baggage fees are bad enough,” Biden stated this month.
Such seats vary in price. For a vacation from Newark, New Jersey, and Los Angeles in August, preferred United flight seats were $37 each way for one person.
Delta Air Lines said it blocks specific rows of seats so families can sit together.
“Delta does not charge family which is seated fees and, even after of the ticket class purchased, which works with customers on a case-by-case basis to confirm their family seating needs are met,” a spokesman said on Monday.
American Airlines’ booking platform will search for available seats together when booking for the main cabin and basic economy passengers. A person familiar with the matter said preferred seats and extra legroom area, Main Cabin Extra, transparency on the day of departure if needed.