Will the US government finally stop airlines from separating children and parents?

Airplane Kid

We can all agree that kids should sit next to their parents on flights, right? And we can agree that parents shouldn’t have to pay extra fees or higher fares to sit next to their kids on that flight, right?

Apparently, US Airlines isn’t convinced by either of these propositions, especially the second one.

Last week the US Department of Transportation announced that it has issued a notice Calls on carriers to “do everything in their power to ensure that children 13 years of age and younger are seated next to an accompanying adult at no additional charge.”

The request comes in response to hundreds of complaints the federal agency’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection has received in recent years from fliers who discovered at airports that their seat assignments in airplane cabins were too far away from the youngsters traveling with them.

A collection of horror stories Compiled by Consumer Reports Include 2-year-olds and children with convulsive disorders assigned seats in cabins that were rows from parents and guardians, leading to stressful and sometimes expensive last-minute scrambling and petitioning to airlines under no real obligation to rectify the situation.

The Department of Transportation previously declined to impose that obligation, determining that the number of complaints against airlines related to family seats was relatively small compared to other issues such as refunds. (No word from the government on how many traumatized children count as problematic.)

The government’s latest push for nice-to-please airlines has no official regulation of family seating, but we may be getting closer to a firmer policy.

The Department of Transportation notice said that within the next four months the agency will “begin a review of airline policies and consumer complaints,” and “if airline seating policies and practices are found to be restrictive for a child seated next to an adult family member or other accompanying adult family member.” , the department will be prepared for possible action consistent with its authority.”

Airline tickets that don’t allow seat selection at the time of reservation, such as no-frills basic economy tickets and flights on so-called ultra-low-cost carriers that charge a cheap base rate but then charge a fee for everything else, are obviously families trying to get in the same row on an airplane. The biggest obstacle for

To eliminate the risk of isolation, parents are often forced to choose pre-assigned seats, paying more than other passengers who don’t have to worry about placing small fry in stranger danger.

For seats other than basic economy, many airlines have implemented systems that automatically flag reservations for passengers traveling with children so that the airline can try to seat those groups together (and some airlines even say they try to put children in basic economy with their parents. – Don’t count it out though).

You can find links to the family seating policies of nine major US carriers The web page of the Department of Transport in this regard.

Despite the steps airlines claim to have taken, complaints of parents being separated from children persist, and not just from basic economy passengers.

“This can happen even when you have allocated seats,” According to Consumer Reports“If your flight is canceled and you are booked on another flight, or if a different type of aircraft shows up for your flight.”

Booking flights far in advance, arriving at the airport early to take advantage of pre-boarding and choosing fares that allow seat selection (if you can afford them) are among Frommer’s recommendations to parents traveling with young children.

But don’t they deserve a guarantee that separation won’t happen in the first place?

Therefore, if an airline assigns you a seat away from your children, regardless of fare category, your US Department of Transportation (Use this link to a file), especially as the agency conducts a review of airlines’ family seating policies over the next four months

This is the best way to pressure the government to make a rule with teeth for common flyers.

Don’t know how to file a complaint against an airline? Follow our step by step guide.

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