A United Airlines plane leaves Newark International Airport, in Newark, New Jersey, on January 11, 2023.
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United Airlines On Monday, he said new technology would open up more seats on his flights so kids can sit with an adult in their party without paying a fee, a type of fee that has been scrutinized by the Biden administration in recent months.
United will show parents or other adult travelers accompanying a child under 12 years of age access to the Preferred seats in addition to the regular economy seats, if required, at the time of booking so they can be seated together.
The change applies to travelers with basic and basic economy tickets and will be in full effect next month, although United has already increased some available seats.
The airline will also not charge customers a fare difference if they switch to the same destination that has adjacent seats.
In recent years, airlines have charged passengers to reserve seats in their “preferred” location on flights. They do not come with extra legroom or other benefits but are often in front of the aircraft, although they can cover a large number of aircraft seats.
President Joe Biden called on lawmakers to “expedite the ban on family sitting fees,” the White House said earlier this month. In July, the Department of Transportation required US airlines to “do everything they can” to ensure that passengers under 13 are seated alongside an adult companion at no additional charge.
“Baggage fees are bad enough,” Biden said during his State of the Union address earlier this month. “Airlines can’t treat your child like a piece of baggage.”
These seats usually vary in price. On a round trip between Newark, NJ, and Los Angeles in August, preferred seats on a United flight were offered at $37 each way for one person.
Delta Airlines She said she is blocking certain rows of seats so families can sit together.
“Delta does not charge a family seating fee and regardless of the class of tickets purchased, will always work with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure that their family seating needs are met,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement Monday.
American AirlinesThe booking platform will automatically search for available seats together at the time of booking for the main cabin and basic economy passengers. A CNBC spokesperson said preferred seats and the extra legroom section, Main Cabin Extra, open the day of departure if needed.