No More Separated Seats for Families! United Airlines Updates Seating Policy
United Airlines has introduced a new feature to its seat map that will make it easier for families with children to sit together. The airline, which is based in Chicago, announced on Monday that its latest feature would allow children under the age of 12 to sit next to an adult in their party free of charge, regardless of whether they have purchased basic economy tickets.
This change in policy comes less than a year after the government advised airlines to permit families, particularly those with young children, to sit together without having to pay any additional fees. United customers who have children under 12 years old will start to benefit from the additional seat options right away, and the complete policy change will be implemented in early March.
The online seat engine tool will first check all available economy seats, and will then offer “Preferred Seats” as necessary. If there are no adjacent seats free due to late bookings or flights being full, customers will be able to change their flight free of charge if there are seats available next to each other in the same cabin on an alternative flight to the same destination.
In July of the previous year, the Department of Transportation released a statement instructing carriers to make every effort to ensure that children aged 13 or under are seated next to an adult in their group without extra charges.
The department acknowledged that despite receiving few complaints from consumers regarding family seating, they continued to receive reports of incidents where young children, as young as 11 months old, were not seated alongside their accompanying adults.
On the other hand, the largest US carriers’ industry trade group, Airlines for America, has stated that airlines have always strived to accommodate customers traveling together, especially those with children, and will continue to do so.
United has made significant investments in its tools and technology since last summer to facilitate family seating.