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United Airlines makes it easy for families who want to sit next to their younger children.
The Chicago-based airline announced Monday that its new seat map feature will help children under 12 sit next to an adult in their group for free. That includes customers buying basic economy tickets, the airline said.
It comes less than a year after federal officials urged airlines to ensure families, especially those with young children, can sit together without additional fees.
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United customers with children under 12 will see more adjacent seating options starting immediately, but the full policy change will go into effect in early March.
Passengers wait for their luggage after boarding United Airlines flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport December 13, 2022. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/Getty Images)
The online seat engine tool first checks all available economy seats. If necessary, the tool will provide “preferred seating,” the airline said.
If adjacent seats are not available due to last-minute bookings or full flights, customers can transfer to another flight to the same destination free of charge if an adjacent seat is available in the same cabin.
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Last July, the Department for Transport issued a notice saying that transport companies “must do everything in their power to ensure that children who are 13 years of age or younger” travel alongside an adult in their group at no additional cost are.
People sit on board a United Airlines plane on July 25, 2022. (Photo by Gado/Getty Images/Getty Images)
“Although the department receives few complaints from consumers about family seating, complaints persist about instances where young children, including a child as young as 11 months, are not seated next to an accompanying adult,” the department told the Times.
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However, Airlines for America — an industry group representing the largest US airlines — previously noted that airlines “have always worked, and continue to work, to accommodate customers traveling together, particularly those traveling with children.” become”.
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Since last summer, United says it has invested in its tools and technology to help families sit together more easily.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.