Today Is Your Last Chance To Tell The DOT To Enforce Allowing Children To Sit Next To Their Parents On Flights Without Charge!

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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 download the slides from that meeting here.



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!

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61 Comments On "Today Is Your Last Chance To Tell The DOT To Enforce Allowing Children To Sit Next To Their Parents On Flights Without Charge!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Simple solution to part of this issue. Don’t allow basic economy for minors mad adults traveling with minors


The current “guidance” as it is to airlines doesn’t stop the airlines from neglecting to abide by it (happened with me personally with my family that they would NOT seat us together) so why should I care if they do away with the “guidance”?


Does this apply to elal?


Why should the DOT enforce this? Why can’t the airline charge for this?

As “M” said the airline just won’t allow basic economy for minors.




I believe in a free market. Requiring this or other regulations will raise the prices across the board. As long as they disclose this information they should be allowed to do as they want

Joy rosen

Children need supervision by their parents and should be allowed to sit near then fee free!


When will our tax dollars that bailed them out mean something. They keep nickel and ‘dime’ing us


With about 80 comments total, and half of which are for the proposal (OK to charge as long as properly disclosed), I don’t see how this campaign is liable to sway any minds. I agree that it’s absurd to charge families to sit together, but unfortunately that ship has sailed long ago.


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Thanks you for posting.

Readers, don’t slack off. Your comment can and will have an effect. Dan gave you a great template to work off; use it and comment away!

15 seconds of your time now may save you much aggravation on future flights.


If you owned an airline why in the world would you give up a free seat bc someone has a child? Lap
Child, sure. But their own seat, cmon. That’s ridiculous.


Read it wrong. Apologize. I agree with this. Kids should be allowed to sit with parents!


Dan While I certainly don’t fly as often as you are most people on here do, the twice a year that I fly with my several kids, I’ve never been seated anywhere other than right next to them. And I’ve never paid extra for it.

Just wondering

Kids absolutely need to be seated next to parents. After teaching kids stranger danger, dropping kids off next to complete strangers when they can’t see where you are is just baffling. It’s also insane that “watch your kids” (so they should behave and nothing bad happens to them) just flies out the window when you sit into an airplane. Also, if a 3 year old is not seated next to the parent, do they hand the barf bags to the person in the next seat?

#1 Dad

I prefer not to sit with my toddlers on flights. Maybe we can make the airlines pay me to watch them on flights 🙂

#1 Dad

My mother in law has the best travel hack. She would approach the person sitting next to her child and hand them a spare vomit bag and told them her child has a tendency to vomit on planes so please keep an eye on kid and ring the bell for the flight attendant if there any issues.

Dovid E

My message to the DOT

“It seems that when congress says something, the Department of Transportation seems to think that it is optional to them. Congress specifically mandated that the DOT establish policies requiring airlines to seat children age 13 and under next to an accompanying adult, without additional payment.

The DOT notified all the airlines about this policy that children under the age of 13 should be able to sit next to one of their parents for free. I most certainly would not want my child sitting next to some random stranger.

The DOT is seemingly trying to take the easy way out by offering the airlines to have a pop-up option telling them about yet another fee to either the airline or the government.

Most airlines allow children to sit next to a parent upon request. Once the DOT makes it optional, the airlines will not have “big brother” looking over their shoulder and will surely change the rules to their benefit. DOT is a great deterrent to the airlines and keeps them in-line.

By having this pop up option to airlines, the DOT is not following the request of Congress that children be seated next to an accompanying adult, with out additional payment.”


And what if the child is the one who requests to sit next to his parents?
“Sorry, kid, that’ll cost you three bags of nosh!”

Barbara Fryman

It is imperative children and parents be able to fly beside one another free of charge. Please require and enforce

Voice of Reason

They charge money to sit with your pet. Why can’t they charge to sit with your child.


Last week I flew United. A few days prior, I received a text that my seat had changed due to reconfiguration. They changed me from A to B. My 12 year old son was in C and I had put a space in between us hoping it would be free. I changed it back to A which was still available. Same thing happened the next night but when I went to change back to A it wasn’t available. I paid for regular economy and selected seats at time of purchase. Could it be that they moved me to B because they wanted me to sit next to my “minor child”?


United will move you together many times if the flights are fuller. JetBlue does this, too.


Why does it ask for you name & address and then state at the bottom:
Do not submit personally identifiable information through this form. Any personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, phone number) included in the comment form or in an attachment may be publicly disclosed in a docket or on the Internet


If you select anonymous you don’t have to provide your email address.


The Name part is the only part with a * everything else is optional


I submitted my horror story from last year pesach, and demanded families be able to sit together as a civil right.


Do airlines deny the right for families to purchase seats together?
If a mother purchased a ticket to the Super Bowl in the first row, should her child be permitted the seat next to her at no cost if she had purchased his seat in upper decks? Civil rights = equal access


The free market allows airlines to sell real estate on their aircraft as the market supports. Airlines should be permitted to run their business, as they own the asset – just as hotels, stadiums, landlords, and other entities should. Consumers have the opportunity to Purchase the specific space they desire. If you don’t want to purchase that space, other passengers should not have to subsidize the selection others choose not to pay for in their with their purchase.


I’m for free markets too but that logic doesn’t hold in this case- because here, people aren’t asking for a BETTER resource, from an objective standpoint, for free- that now someone else can’t have. The seat next to an adult is worthless to anyone else. It’s not like there is now one less desirable space available because a child is next to their parents. In fact, most families would be fine if you seated them in the worst seats in the back of the plane if they were guaranteed to sit together. It’s just a money-grab from the airlines, nothing more, and it makes sense that the DOT should intervene to ensure that airlines can’t grab money just to avoid the preposterous situation of a young child sitting next to complete strangers on an airplane.


Don’t most airlines offer on option to purchase assigned seats for an extra fee? I understand it’s an extra cost for parents while traveling but so are diapers and wipes. I fly with my kid’s often and factor this into the cost of the trip. Why do we need the government to solve everything through regulation?


1) I did post a comment
2) (and this was the gist of my comment) this should essentially be mandated under the ADA laws.
a young child has a REAL special need to be seated with their parents / caregivers.
the airlines are obligated to accommodate every other special need (including allowing animals on board),. this should be no different. the children we are talking about are paying passengers like everyone else.
the airline is not being asked to put up any money – children are anyway not allowed in the exit row, and no one is asking that a child be placed in a premium seat for free.
this is basic decency, and most passengers recognize this, and willingly give up their seat to accommodated this. people should not be forced into the uncomfortable position to ask. and often the person being asked to give up their seat is sitting next to a partner etc. this could have all been avoided if the airline seated them together in the first place.
on Spirit airlines, a booking that has multiple children on it, will automatically be seated in the back oif the plane (unless one pays extra to choose seats), so it is not something that they have no control over.
if they see children on the booking, they should do this.
I know that sometimes it is a last minute booking etc. but where there is a will, there’s a way.
as for free markets: as many mentioned, the airline industry is a regulated market, and is not fully a free market (like banks, the federal reserve, the railways, the stock market and others)
when did the airlines lose their basic humanity? (OK, scratch that last one…)


The DOT should require airlines that charge to sit with kids to hire babysitters to watch our kids. Good luck to them!


OMG hope I’m not too late! Of course it’s beyond horrific, greedy and inconsistent to a whole new level to make parents pay for children to sit together


Thank you, comment posted! Your post probably trigerred some “free market” comments but that’s life.


Seating children separately from the parents makes absolutely no sense! I understand the airlines’ resistance to allowing parents to choose their seats for free, but why should they have to? The airline can assign them seats – just making sure that they are seated together. The harder part is when one parent flies with several young children, and they can not all be seated together – what is the airline to do then?




Why? Just because you have children you shouldn’t have to pay, but adults should? No


Just posted comment now (1/24/23 7:35am) and it seems to have been successfully submitted. People should keep trying. Don’t be lazy. Imagine an airline being stubborn and not letting someone sit next to their own children, and those children end up being seated next to some pervert/pedophile G-d forbid. Sounds like this scenario is very possible in the near future if we don’t make our voices heard now!


Or maybe parents shouldn’t be cheap. Buy a REGULAR ticket that allows you to select seats so that YOUR child doesn’t sit next to “a pervert.”

How about taking some personal responsibility?


How about airlines stop nickel and diming for a basic safety?


I’m not concerned, 5 min sitting next to my kid unaccompanied and the airline will be begging me to sit next to them


It is solely the parents’ responsibility to ensure when booking a flight that their children can be seated with them.




I commented. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.


Done – thanks for the encouragement


Having this issue now with Delta. Put our six travelers (my wife and I and four kids) all over the place and they can’t do anything about it over the phone. Person told me to try at the gate.

Any tips on how to handle? Flight is tomorrow and it’s a full flight.

Mosaic King

Seems like Biden is trying to get these fees removed for families to sit with kids.