Bill calls for airlines to seat families together

Times have been good for the airline industry, but perhaps not so much for families who fly.

Strong demand for air travel and fees for seat upgrades, entertainment, snacks and checked bags have generated record profits for most major U.S. carriers.

But one of the downsides of this financial windfall is that it has become much harder for parents and children to sit together because planes are more crowded than ever and many airlines charge extra to reserve specific seats.  

 

A bill added this week to funding legislation for the Federal Aviation Administration aims to tackle this problem. The bill, by Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) calls on airlines to create and submit to the secretary of Transportation a policy to make sure that children 13 and younger are seated next to accompanying family members older than 13.

“All we are asking is for airlines to do a better job of accommodating parents ahead of time so we can make flying a better experience for families and other passengers aboard,” Davis said in a news release. 

Under the bill, airlines would be allowed to charge an extra fee if accommodating family members means putting them in extra roomy, higher-priced seats.

A trade group for the nation’s airlines said the law is not needed.

“Airlines have always worked to accommodate customers who are traveling together, including those traveling with children, and will continue to do so — without unnecessary federal mandates,” said Vaughn Jennings, a spokesman for Airlines for America.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.

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