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Secretary Buttigieg Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Ensure Fee-Free Family Seating for Parents

Monday, March 13, 2023

As USDOT works to ban family seating junk fees, new legislation could ensure fee-free family seating immediately 

Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent a letter to the U.S. Congress proposing legislation for Congress to pass that would guarantee that young kids can sit next to their parents without getting charged a junk fee. If passed, this legislation would ensure fee-free family seating on all U.S. airlines. President Biden called for Congress to pass legislation to ban these junk fees in the State of the Union.  

This letter comes on the heels of DOT unveiling a new family seating dashboard last week that highlighted the airlines that guarantee fee-free family seating, and those that do not. As recently as a month ago, no U.S. airlines guaranteed fee-free family seating. Now, after weeks of USDOT and the Biden Administration pressing airlines to improve their customer service, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Frontier Airlines have stepped forward to guarantee that parents can sit with their young children without getting nickel and dimed.  

While this represents significant progress, USDOT is not stopping there. Secretary Buttigieg is calling on Congress to act. Further, USDOT has also begun work on a rulemaking to ensure a young child is able to sit adjacent to an accompanying adult. Because the rulemaking process can be lengthy, the President and DOT are calling on Congress to do this immediately.  

Read Secretary Buttigieg’s letter and the proposed legislation here.