President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg are calling on major passenger carriers to drop family seating fees following American Airlines policy change.
On Tuesday, American Airlines updated its customer service plan saying that children under 15 years old will be seated adjacent to an accompanying adult at no additional cost, including Basic Economy fares as long as certain conditions are met.
Biden applauded the Dallas-based carrier’s move saying “no one should have to pay extra to be seated with their kids.”
“Time for more airlines to follow suit,” he tweeted in part.
Buttigieg joined the president in commending the airline, claiming it was the first U.S. carrier “to commit to putting this guarantee in its customer service plan.”
The move comes just weeks after United Airlines changed its policy, which takes effect this month, to allow families to be seated together more easily and free of charge.
The airline created a new seat map feature to help seat kids under 12 years old next to an adult in their party for free.
This includes customers who purchase basic economy tickets, the airline said.
Customers traveling with children already started to see more adjacent seat options immediately but the complete policy change will go into effect early this month, United said.
Buttigieg also announced on Twitter that Frontier Airlines implemented a similar policy and that “now would be a good time for other airlines to follow suit.”
Last July, the Transportation Department issued a notice that said carriers “do everything in their power to ensure that children who are age 13 or younger” are next to an adult in their party at no extra cost.
Airlines for America—an industry trade group representing the largest U.S. carriers—previously noted that airlines “have always worked to accommodate customers who are traveling together.
Still Buttigieg said the Transportation Department is seeking to require that airlines guarantee families are able to sit together and is planning to publish a family seating dashboard to show which airlines guarantee families can sit together for free.
“A parent should be able to sit next to their child without paying extra fees, asking other passengers to swap seats, or facing a last minute scramble at the gate,” he tweeted.