Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Administrator, Michael Huerta, urging the agency to take steps to ensure that parents and guardians are allowed to sit next to their children on a plane without having to pay additional fees. As consumers continue to face a bevy of fees during air travel, recent reporting has indicated that parents seeking to sit next to their young children continue to be hit with additional fees. It has been reported that one customer was charged $88 to sit next to his 4-year old child on a recent flight on which multiple adjoining economy seats were available.
“Families should be able to travel on commercial flights without having to pay unnecessary fees,” Senator Casey said. “Flying can be very challenging for families with young children. It’s important that industry and the FAA take steps to end these fees. For a family that has already paid full fare to have to pay an additional fee so that parents and children can sit together is financially burdensome and stressful to families.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
June 24, 2015
Dear Administrator Huerta:
I write today to express concern about the apparent lack of policies in place to ensure airlines are taking appropriate steps to guarantee that young children can sit with their parents during a flight without paying extra fees. In recent years, consumers have grown increasingly frustrated by the growing use of varying fees associated with air travel. For a family that has already paid full fare to have to pay an additional fee so that parents and children can sit together is financially burdensome and stressful to families.
One recent report indicated that a parent had to pay an additional $88 in order to sit next to his 4-year old child on a recent flight on which multiple adjoining economy seats were available. According to this report, the customer was unable to find two adjacent seats during the booking process, but upon arrival instead of getting assistance from the reservation agent, the customer was required to pay this extra fee in order to sit next to his young child. While I understand the reassigning passengers may be inconvenient, it is surely no reason to separate a child, especially a young child, from his or her parents. Making those with children pay an extra fee to sit next to their children puts a burden on parents and guardians and disadvantages middle class families that may struggle just to afford the basic fare and for whom an additional fee would be a significant hardship. Prior to boarding the flight, reservation agents should make every effort to secure appropriate seating for young children and their guardian without additional fees. I urge you to take a closer look at this issue and take steps to ensure that parents and guardians are allowed to sit next to their children on a plane without having to pay additional fees.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and I respectfully request you keep me informed of any new developments. I look forward to working with you to improve air travel for families. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my staff at (202) 224-2844. Thank you for your attention to this request.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator