On Wednesday, a coalition of consumer groups called on the White House to crack down on airlines for failing to accommodate families with children. The issue is particularly pressing as airlines have been struggling to fill seats in the face of low oil prices and a strong dollar.
The family reunions 2021 is a movement that has been started by consumer groups. They are pressuring the White House to make changes to the way airlines seat families on planes.
Consumer groups are putting pressure on the Biden administration to have the Department of Transportation reconsider its decision on how families are split up on flights.
The Department of Transportation decided two years ago that airlines must ensure that children under the age of 13 may seat close to a family member for no extra fee.
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Paying additional costs for advanced seating assignments may be expensive for some families, particularly those flying on a cheap economy ticket.
A DOT spokesperson told Travel Weekly, “The agency is looking into this issue again to see what further action(s) should be taken.”
Airlines advise families to check in to their flights as soon as they are eligible and to be at the airport early, with gate officials attempting to seat families together, according to their websites. If it doesn’t work, flight attendants will follow suit.
“US airlines work hard to accommodate customers traveling together, particularly those traveling with children, and will continue to do so,” according to the trade organization Airlines for America.
However, for others, this isn’t enough. Bill McGee, Consumer Reports’ aviation adviser, and Charlie Leocha, president of the consumer organization Travelers United, both met with DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Leocha remarked, “I’d say he’s really on our side.” “He still needs to go through his worker bees, however. He didn’t make any promises, just that he’d think about it.”
Meanwhile, consumer advocates aren’t the only ones who believe airlines should do more to make traveling with children easier. The fast adoption of seat assignment fees by major, full-service carriers in recent years was highlighted in a report published in June by the company IdeaWorks, which advises airlines on ways to increase ancillary income.
Charges for seat assignments, according to IdeaWorks president Jay Sorensen, may create consumer misunderstanding, particularly when it comes to family travel. Airlines often fail to disclose their regulations for paid seat assignments, including cancellation and refund procedures, he said.
“I am a proponent of additional income,” Sorensen added, “but it must be supplementary revenue done wisely and properly.” “Too frequently, in their haste for supplementary income, airlines forget to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.”
The airline news is about the pressure that is being put on the White House to stop airlines from seating children next to adult strangers.
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