Biden to airlines: allow family seating as American Airlines does




WASHINGTON D.C.: President Joe Biden has called upon US airlines to follow American Airlines, which remove their family seating fees under their customer service plans.

"No one should have to pay extra to be seated with their kids. Time for more airlines to follow suit," Biden tweeted.

In his State of the Union earlier this month, Biden told airlines, "Baggage fees are bad enough. Airlines cannot treat your child like a piece of baggage."

Airlines for America, a group that represents major US airlines, said its members do not charge for family seating, but other carriers have not adopted the commitment in customer service plans.

The US Department of Transportation, which can take action against airlines that do not honor commitments in their written plans, is drafting regulations preventing airlines from imposing family seating fees.

Next week, it will reveal which airlines have committed to not charging such fees on a government dashboard.

The family seating dashboard will "show which airlines guarantee families can sit together for free," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, lauding American Airlines for "becoming the first US airline to commit to putting this guarantee in its customer service plan."

Its written plan "provides additional clarity" and it is "proud to offer industry leading, customer-friendly policies that ensure a positive travel experience for families," American Airlines said.

In September, Biden lauded his administration for "cracking down" on US airlines, making them improve treatment of passengers after they updated customer service plans for services provided when flights are canceled or delayed.

Almost all airlines now offer passengers meals and overnight stays for delays within their control.