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DOT to help customers find airlines that offer free family seating

Newark Terminal A
Posted at 10:34 AM, Mar 01, 2023

The Department of Transportation plans to create a dashboard that helps passengers find airlines that allow families to sit together without added fees.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the dashboard should be up and running next week.

United Airlines announced last month it would no longer charge extra fees for adults to sit with children 12 and under. Americans Airlines announced a similar policy days later. Buttigieg noted that American was the first U.S. carrier to commit to putting the guarantee in its customer service plan and that Frontier then did the same.

"Now would be a good time for other airlines to follow suit," Buttigieg said.

The push to get airlines to allow families to sit together without an additional fee is part of an effort by the Biden administration to force companies to get rid of so-called "junk fees."

"Junk fees are not only costly to consumers, but they can stifle competition by encouraging companies to use increasingly sophisticated tools to disguise the true price consumers face," the White House said in a statement.

The president has also called on Congress to fast-track a ban on family seating fees.

Biden says a ban by Congress would be more efficient than the Department of Transportation going through the rule-making process to crack down on the practice.