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(CNN) United Airlines has a new seat map feature that will help families with children under 12 find seats together for free, the airline announced Monday.
The feature will include Basic Economy tickets.
The new seat mapping technology will dynamically find available seats next to Economy at the time of booking and unlock additional upgrades for other available seats as needed, the airline said.
In cases where side-by-side seats are not available, customers will be able to transfer for free to another flight to their destination with adjacent seats in the same cabin. No fare changes will be charged in such cases, United said in a press release.
“We’re focused on providing a great experience for our youngest passengers and their parents, and we know that often starts with the right seat,” Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United, said in a statement.
United Polaris, First Class and Economy Plus seats are not included in the new family seating policy change.
US airline customers have long complained about the seat that separates young children from their parents on flights and the added costs associated with buying seats so they can sit together.
President Biden addressed the administration’s efforts to curb such tariffs in his State of the Union address this month.
“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 on US airlines to offer children to sit next to accompanying adults at no extra cost
More adjacent seat options will be available soon on United Airlines. The full policy change is set to take effect in early March, the airline said.
Delta Air Lines said Monday that it “does not charge family seating fees and regardless of the ticket category purchased, will always work with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure their family seating needs are met.”
Delta’s website refers to family seating “on request,” referring to passengers who are unable to secure seats through the airline’s website or mobile app to contact Reservations.
American Airlines offers booking advice on its website for families traveling with children under 15, noting that “the further in advance you book, the better.”
“Our current family seating policies are designed to allow families to sit together without having to pay extra,” American Airlines said Monday in a statement.
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