Senator Pushes FAA To Require That Airlines Drop Seat Change Fees For Parents

Nowadays, airlines charge a fee for just about everything – even when it comes to travelers trying to ensure they’re seated next to their children. But that extra cost could be a thing of the past if one legislator has anything to do about it.

In a letter to Federal Aviation Administration administrator Michael Huerta, Sen. Bob Casey urged the agency to step in and require airlines drop seat change fees for parents traveling with their children, The Hill reports.

The Pennsylvania senator expressed concern over what he believes is a lack of policies that would ensure airlines are taking “appropriate steps to guarantee that young children can sit with their parents during a flight without paying extra fees.”

While reassigning seats may be inconvenient, Casey says there is no reason to separate a child from a parent during a flight.

“In recent years, consumers have grown increasingly frustrated by the growing use of varying fees associated with air travel,” Casey wrote. “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 contends that airline policies that allow parents to be charged for changing seats to be near their children even when an open seat is available are unfair.

“Making those with children pay an extra fee to sit next to their children puts a burden on parents and guardians and disadvantages middle class families that may struggle just to afford the basic fare and for whom an additional fee would be a significant hardship,” Casey continued. “Prior to boarding the flight, reservation agents should make every effort to secure appropriate seating for young children and their guardian without additional fees.”

Some airlines have taken steps to alleviate inconvenience when it comes to seating parents and children together. Earlier this month, Southwest – which doesn’t offer assigned seats – announced it would revamp its boarding process to cut back on the time passengers spend moving back and forth between seats to accommodate traveling families on crowded flights.

Southwest’s current process allow families to board together after the “A” group as long as the children in their party are four years old or younger. Additionally, families can pay extra to board earlier. Now on select flights the airline is expanding the ages of those covered by the early boarding process to include children up to 6, 8 or 11 years of age.

Dem senator to airlines: Drop seat change fees for parents [The Hill]