The United States Transportation Department warned airlines on Friday that it may release rules preventing companies from charging additional fees to let small children to seat adjacent to accompanying family members.
The agency cited a 2016 legislation that compelled it to evaluate family seating regulations on US airlines.
The government published a warning asking airlines to seat children under the age of 13 next to an accompanying adult for no extra fee, to the greatest degree possible, and warned it may take regulatory action later this year after reviewing airline practices.
The Transportation Department said that although it has received few complaints about the problem, “even one incident is one too many.”
It also said that airlines should establish procedures that allow employees to “to make immediate adjustments as needed to ensure young children are able to be seated adjacent to accompanying adults” but they are not compelled to supply seats that would result in an upgrade.
According to the agency, airlines that use seat blocking should assess their capabilities to guarantee that an appropriate number of seats are blocked to fulfill demand for adjacent seats for people flying with small children.
The government said last month that US customers filed more than treble the number of complaints against US airlines in April compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Travelers are set for a challenging summer as airlines deal with near-record demand and rebuild personnel levels after thousands of employees fled the business during the COVID-19 outbreak. Air travelers face lengthy waits, congested airports, and limited available seats.
Airlines for America, a trade organization representing major airlines, did not respond immediately Friday.
By August, the Transportation Department intends to propose official regulations codifying the need that airlines offer fast reimbursements when they cancel or make major changes, even when tickets bought are non-refundable.
It also intends to issue rules requiring detailed fee disclosure for baggage, cancellation, and family seating costs at the time of purchase, as well as final rules requiring passenger airlines to refund fees for bags that are significantly delayed, as well as refunds for services such as onboard Wi-Fi that do not function properly.