Online petition asks American Airlines, United, Delta to seat families together
An online appeal urging three major American carriers to seat families with young children together on planes at no additional charge has received tens of thousands of signatures.
The new petition from Consumer Reports hit the Internet last week and has since collected over 62,000 signatures of a 75,000-signature goal, as of early Tuesday afternoon.
The appeal calls out American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines in its argument that children 13-year-old and under should be seated with their families in the high skies, free of charge.
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The petition claims that various complaints have been filed against all three carriers for “separating children as young as age 2” from family members during flights.
“This is a security hazard for the child and a safety threat to all passengers during emergencies. It also puts an inappropriate burden on customers who sit next to an unaccompanied child,” it states. “Airlines can easily fix this, but they haven’t. Doing so would mean giving up millions of dollars in fees from parents who simply want to keep their kids safe.”
The plea initially hoped to collect just 25,000 names, USA Today reports, far surpassing that goal.
When reached for comment on Feb. 25, spokespeople for all three carriers said that their airline have mechanisms in place to ensure that children are seating with their families.
“Our team has spent a considerable amount of time developing a process that will ensure that a child under the age of 15 are seated with an adult,” a spokesperson for American Airlines told Fox News, confirming that the process has been in place since 2018.
“For families traveling with a child under the age of 15 who don’t have a seat assignment, our system will work to seat the child with an adult in the reservation starting 48 hours after the reservation is ticketed,” they explained, to ensure that the child will not be assigned a seat alone.
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“Additionally, we block seats on flights for airport control. This enables our airport team members to move people around, as needed, at the gate,” the American Airlines representative continued. “This is helpful in case families book at the last minute, rebooking due to irregular operations, etc.”
Likewise, a spokesperson for United said that the airline has an automatic seating modification in place to ensure that families with children under age 15 are seated together during the booking process. This policy has been in place since summer 2019, the spokesperson said.
As for Delta, a representative for the airline said that the company works with customers on a “case-by-case basis” to meet their family’s needs during travel planning.
"Regardless of the type of ticket purchased, Delta works with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure their travel needs are met,” a spokesperson said. “When customers have seating questions, we encourage them to reach out to us as soon as possible to allow for the opportunity to address their concerns."
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In September 2019, the Department of Transportation denied a policy change request organized by Consumer Reports that lobbied for families with children to be seated together on planes at no additional fee, TravelPulse reports.