The major U.S. airlines, more than ever, are dinging travelers — including whole families — for amenities like checked bags, seat changes and even on-board snacks.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is pushing the Federal Aviation Administration to tell airlines to drop the fee for one of those a la carte conveniences: seat changes for families with small kids. TheHill, a legislative news website, reported Monday that Casey is pressing the FAA to require that airlines not charge parents unnecessary fees to select or change seats that allow them to sit with their children on board airplanes.
“I write today to express concern about the apparent lack of policies in place to ensure airlines are taking appropriate steps to guarantee that young children can sit with their parents during a flight without paying extra fees,” Casey wrote to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, according to Casey’s official government website. The official letter can be read in its entirety on the webpage.
“In recent years, consumers have grown increasingly frustrated by the growing use of varying fees associated with air travel,” Casey continued. “For a family that has already paid full fare to have to pay an additional fee so that parents and children can sit together is financially burdensome and stressful to families,” Casey added.
Consumerist reported that some airlines already make an effort to accommodate families on board their aircraft. Southwest, known for its free-for-all seating procedures, announced in early June that it is taking steps to make its boarding process more efficient and to hopefully allow families to find seats together, even on crowded flights.
Southwest, a major carrier at Philadelphia International Airport, already allows families with children four and under to board together after its priority group, but it is now increasing that age limit to six-, eight-, and even 11-year-olds on some flights. Families can already pay extra to board together if they so choose.
“Families should be able to travel on commercial flights without having to pay unnecessary fees,” Senator Casey said. “Flying can be very challenging for families with young children. It’s important that industry and the FAA take steps to end these fees. For a family that has already paid full fare to have to pay an additional fee so that parents and children can sit together is financially burdensome and stressful to families.”