United Airlines Revises Family Seating Rates After Criticism of Biden

United Airlines introduced a new family seat policy on Monday that will make it easier for parents to sit next to their children without incurring additional costs.

The change comes after President Biden in his State of the Union address earlier this month called on the airline industry to burden families with unnecessary costs to sit together and pledged to ban the practice.

“We will prohibit airlines from charging $50 round trip for a family just to sit together,” Biden told Congress. “Baggage costs are bad enough. Airlines cannot treat your child like a piece of luggage.”

Beginning in early March, travelers booking with United will have access to more side-by-side seat options for their children under 12. If there are no seats available next to each other, families can rebook their flight for free, the airline said.

Linda Jojo, United’s chief customer officer, said the airline plans to “roll out more family-friendly features this year.”

The Department of Transport has said it is working on rules to ban airlines from charging parents for sitting with their young children. The department had advised airlines to review their family seat policies in a memo released last year.

That memo is part of a broader initiative by the Biden administration to tackle so-called “junk fees.” Under Biden, federal agencies have taken steps to limit fees for late credit card payments and concert tickets.

With some of those rules potentially facing legal challenge, the Biden administration is calling on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act, which would codify regulatory efforts, but Republicans have already indicated they are not on board.





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