American Airlines guarantees family seating in new customer service plan – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) — American Airlines will guarantee that children will be seated next to an accompanying adult, according to the airline’s updated customer service plan. It’s the latest airline response to calls for better family seating policies.
The move comes alongside an announcement from the Department of Transportation about a family seating “dashboard” it plans to publish next week “to show which airlines guarantee families can sit together for free,” Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Twitter on Tuesday.
He thanked American Airlines for being the first US airline to add a family seating guarantee to its customer service plan, which was updated Tuesday.
There are conditions to American’s guarantee, which applies to children 14 and younger.
They include a requirement that everyone in the party is booked in the same reservation, that adjacent seats are available in the same class of service at the time of booking and that the original flight isn’t switched to a smaller plane, among others.
Full details are available in the airline’s customer service plan.
Last week, United Airlines announced an overhaul to its family seating policy that would help ensure that families with children younger than 12 are seated together free of charge.
Calls for free family seating
US airline customers have long complained about seating that separates young children from their parents on flights and the added costs associated with purchasing seats in order to sit together.
President Joe Biden addressed the government’s efforts to curb such fees in his State of the Union address this month, touting a Junk Fee Prevention Act that would also target resort fees and concert ticket fees, among others.
“Baggage fees are bad enough — they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage,” Biden said in the speech
A July 2022 notice from the Department of Transportation called on US airlines to make seating children next to accompanying adults available at no additional cost.
Delta Air Lines said last week that it “does not charge family seating fees and regardless of the ticket class purchased, will always work with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure their family seating needs are met.”
Delta’s website refers to family seating “upon request,” referring passengers who are not able to secure seats via the airline’s website or mobile app to contact its reservations team. Delta’s seat map technology blocks off some areas for family seating up to 48 hours before a flight.
On Southwest Airlines, which does not have assigned seating, families with children 6 or younger are allowed to board early — right after the “A” group of passengers. The airline’s website also offers the option of EarlyBird Check-in for a fee that may yield an “A” group boarding position.
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