On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) delivered a notice to domestic airlines indicating the airlines should adopt policies to allow families to be seated together on flights rather than being separated by seats. The notice indicates that in November, the DOT might respond with new regulations requiring the seating of minors with accompanying adults.
The DOT notice stated airlines “should do everything that they can to ensure the ability of a young child” to sit next to older family members.
The FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act, enacted in 2016, gives the DOT oversight of family seating if necessary. Airlines have increasingly charged fees for “preferred” seating which is often not offered in the cheapest classes of service. There have been numerous complaints in recent months about families seated apart from children, along with travel advisors warning passengers of the possibility.
In addition, the DOT issued the Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights, the first section of which is titled a “Right to Be Treated with Dignity and Respect.”