It can be tricky to travel with kids. Biggest understatement ever, we know. From tantrums to boredom to constant requests for snacks, it all makes the idea of teleportation so, so much more tantalizing. The Department of Transportation wants to make the travel process a little bit easier for parents with a simple decree — there shouldn’t be an extra fee to sit next to your children on flights.
The DOT offered new guidance to airlines that urges them to stop upselling parents and make coordinating sitting with your kids as easy as possible.
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“The Department has determined that it is appropriate for each U.S. airline providing scheduled passenger service to have and implement a policy that enables a child, who is age 13 or under on the date an applicable flight is scheduled to occur, to be seated in a seat adjacent to the seat of an adult family member or other accompanying adult over the age of 13, to the maximum extent practicable and at no additional cost,” the statement read, per Parents.
While there have been only a few complaints about this issue, the DOT explained that “even one incident is one too many.” The guidance also directed airlines to develop protocol that would enable airline workers “to make immediate adjustments as needed to ensure young children are able to be seated adjacent to accompanying adults.”
Airlines will be given four months to adjust their current policies accordingly. Should they not comply, the DOT will consider creating a rule that airlines cannot charge this extra fee. In the meantime, the department has offered some helpful tips for traveling as seamlessly as possible with your children. They advise parents to contact the airline directly if unable to secure seats together. “Ask the airline how it may be able to accommodate your family in advance of your flight or at the airport,” one portion notes. “Discuss with the airline your concerns about a child being seated alone. Even if the airline is unable to seat the whole family together, they may be able to assure you that each child is seated next to an adult family member.”
Also, helpful to remember: “If you are traveling with a child with a disability who you are assisting during the flight to perform a function that is not required to be performed by airline personnel, for example assisting with eating, and you self-identify to the airline, the airline is required to provide you a seat next to your child in the class of service that you purchased. Airlines may not charge for such adjoining seats.”
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