United Airlines has announced that it will be implementing new technology to allow more seats on its flights to be available for children to sit with an accompanying adult without having to pay extra fees. This move follows recent scrutiny from the Biden administration, which has called for a ban on family seating fees. United’s new policy will allow parents or other adult travelers accompanying children under 12 to access both “preferred” seats and regular economy seats when booking, ensuring that they can sit together. This change will apply to travelers with standard and basic economy tickets and will be fully in effect next month, though the airline has already increased some of the seat availability.
Additionally, United will no longer charge customers a fare difference if they switch to a flight to the same destination that has adjacent seats. In recent years, airlines have been charging travelers to book “preferred” location seats, which often include seats in front of the plane but can cover a significant number of seats on the aircraft. However, preferred seats do not offer any extra legroom or other perks.
Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, has a policy of blocking certain rows of seats to allow families to sit together. The airline does not charge family seating fees and always works with customers on a case-by-case basis to meet their family seating needs.
American Airlines’ booking platform will automatically search for available seats together at the time of booking for main cabin and basic economy passengers. Preferred seats and its extra legroom section, Main Cabin Extra, become available on the day of departure if needed.