US warns airlines they may enact regulations prohibiting child seat charges

Band David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters)The US Department of Transportation warned airlines on Friday that it may issue regulations prohibiting them from charging extra fees for allowing young children to sit next to accompanying family members.

The agency cited a 2016 law that required it to review U.S. airline family seating policies.

The agency issued a notice urging airlines to ensure children 13 or younger are seated next to an accompanying adult at no extra charge where possible, and said it may take regulatory action later this year after reviewing airline policies.

The Department for Transport said it had received few complaints about it, but said “even one incident is one incident too many”.

He added that airlines should implement policies allowing workers “to make the immediate adjustments necessary to ensure that young children can be seated next to accompanying adults”, but are not required to provide seats. which would result in an upgrade.

The agency said airlines using seat blocking should monitor their ability to ensure enough seats are blocked to meet the demand for adjacent seats for passengers traveling with young children.

Last month, the department noted that U.S. consumers more than quadrupled the number of complaints against U.S. airlines in April from pre-pandemic levels.

Travelers are facing a tough summer as airlines grapple with near-record demand and rebuild their workforces after thousands of workers left the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Air passengers face long queues, crowded airports and few free seats.

Airlines for America, a group representing major carriers, did not immediately comment on Friday.

The Department of Transportation plans to propose formal rules by August codifying requirements that airlines must promptly reimburse carriers that cancel or make a material change, including where purchased tickets are non-refundable.

It also plans to issue rules requiring detailed disclosure of fees for baggage, cancellation and family seat fees at the time of purchase and to issue final rules requiring passenger airlines to reimburse fees for baggage that is significantly delayed and refunds for services like inflight Wi-Fi that is not working.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)

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