No extra charge for children reseated next to parents on flights

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WASHINGTON (Gray News) – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a set of actions it has taken to help protect airline passengers.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said USDOT has published the first-ever Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights and issued a notice to airlines to seat young children with a parent free of extra charge.

“Today’s announcements are the latest steps toward ensuring an air travel system that works for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a release. “Whether you’re a parent expecting to sit together with your young children on a flight, a traveler with a disability navigating air travel, or a consumer traveling by air for the first time in a while, you deserve safe, accessible, affordable, and reliable airline service.”

The Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights is set to empower travelers with disabilities to understand their rights on flights, and to ensure U.S. and foreign airlines understand and uphold those rights.

The USDOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) also issued a notice urging U.S. airlines to allow children 13 years old and younger to be seated next to a guardian at no extra charge. The department said the announcement was made in response to complaints made about airlines separating children, some as young as 11 months old, from their parents during flights.

The department says that it will review airline policies and consumer complaints later this year and will seek potential actions if needed.

Recently, consumer complaints have risen more than 300% above pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report.

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