Bill Would Require Airlines Ensure Families With Young Children Sit Together

Image courtesy of David Transier

It’s no secret that traveling with children can be a test of patience for families and other passengers. That’s especially true when the airline of choice can’t ensure that small children are seated with their parents. That could soon be changing, however, as Congress recently voted to add an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that aims to take some of the hassle out of traveling with children. 

The amendment, which the Senate voted to add to the reauthorization bill on Monday, would establish new rules for security screening, boarding procedures, and family seating arrangements.

Among other things, airlines would be required to have policies in place that allow family members to sit next to their children on a flight at no additional cost.

Current airline policies and flying procedures can lead to unnecessary stress for traveling families, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who introduced the amendment, says.

With airlines offering premium seats and boarding option for fees, families are often forced to pay additional fees when checking in for their flights just to ensure they can sit next to their small children.

While most passengers are willing to accommodate families after boarding, it can be a hassle and passengers who paid extra for certain seats may not receive those seats.

“Our amendment puts in place commonsense protections that will reduce the extra and unnecessary stress applied to families and pregnant women traveling by air,” Bennet said in a statement.

Additionally, the amendment would require the Transportation Security Administration to allow parents to accompany their children throughout the airport screening process to ensure they are never physically separated and that airlines accommodate pregnant women during the pre-boarding process.

The amendment was unanimously added to the reauthorization bill, which is still being negotiated.

[via The Washington Post]

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