Last year, the DOT came out with guidance encouraging airlines to do all that they can to seat children 13 and under next to adults at no additional fee.
Most airlines will comply with that if you ask them to or ask for a manager, though JetBlue can be difficult.
Unfortunately at the DOT zoom meeting, they appeared to be walking that back under airline pressure and will just require an additional disclosure, possibly via a pop-up, that fees will apply for children to sit next to their parents.
You can click on the comment box on this page to let the DOT know what you think of that change. Comments must be submitted by 11:59pm tonight to be considered.
Here is the comment I just left,
“Congress has instructed the Department of Transportation to establish policies requiring airlines to seat children age 13 and under next to an accompanying adult, without additional payment.
The Department recognized this and sent a notice to US airlines last year encouraging airlines to do everything they can to ensure children aged 13 or younger should be seated next to an accompanying adult without any fees.
This is a basic human safety right. No child should have to sit next to strangers on a plane, airlines need to proactively offer children seating next to an accompanying adult.
The Department is backsliding by asking airlines to have a popup disclosing a seat fee for travelers 13 and under. Airlines already tell purchasers that seat fees apply on basic economy fares. There is no need for this additional pointless bureaucracy.
Additionally, most US airlines are allowing children to be seated next to an adult without charge upon request, based on the proposed DOT guidance released last year. That will surely go away if the DOT modifies the guidance from asking airlines doing everything they can to seat them together without charge, to just displaying that there will be a fee for children to be seated next to an accompanying adult at the time of purchase.
This does not reflect the congressional request to the Department that children be seated next to an accompanying adult without fees.”
Leave a comment today to let the DOT know how you feel about this issue!