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(CNN) United Airlines has a new seat mapping feature that allows families with children under 12 to find free seats together, the airline announced Monday.
The feature includes Basic Economy tickets.
The new seating technology will dynamically find available adjacent Economy seats at the time of booking and open free upgrades to other available seats if necessary, the airline said.
In cases where side-by-side seats are not available, customers can transfer to another flight to their destination with adjacent seats in the same cabin free of charge. No fare difference will be charged in such cases, United said in a press release.
“We are focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know that it often starts with the right seat,” said Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United, in a statement.
United Polaris, First Class, and Economy Plus seats are not included in the new family seat policy change.
U.S. airline customers have long complained about seats separating young children from their parents on flights and the added expense associated with buying seats to sit together.
President Biden spoke this month in his State of the Union address about the administration’s efforts to curb such fees.
“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 for U.S. airlines to provide seats for children alongside accompanying adults at no additional cost
More adjacent seat options will be available on United Airlines immediately. The full policy change will take effect in early March, the airline said.
Delta Air Lines said Monday it “will not charge for family seats and regardless of the ticket class purchased, will always work with customers to ensure their family seating needs are met.”
Delta’s website refers to family seats “by request”, directing passengers who are unable to secure seats through the airline’s website or mobile app to contact Reservations.
American Airlines offers booking tips on its website for families traveling with children under 15, noting that “the farther in advance you book, the better.”
“Our current family seating policy is designed to allow families to sit together without having to pay extra,” American Airlines said in a statement Monday.
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