United Airlines' latest innovation promises hassle-free family travel with its new seat map technology ensuring parents and children can sit together without any extra costs.


American airliner United Airlines recently announced a feature they will be implementing that will make it easier for families to sit together on flights without any additional fees.

This new feature will help parents and children under 12 to sit together during flights. In a statement from United Airlines, the seat map technology will find empty seats in the nearest economy class that are still available and as needed free of charge. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said the idea was based on his own experience. He was frustrated when his seat on the plane had to be far away from his family.

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"As a father of seven children, I understand this (sitting far from children). I often experience it on various flights," Kirby said as quoted by CNN.

Kirby said that he believes the policy will help parents worry less as they reserve tickets for United Airlines.

"Once you've booked your tickets, you'll know where you and your child will be seated. Instead of having to wait until you get to the airport and hope to get a seat right next to your child," she says.

According to United Airlines, the policy will take effect in early March. The policy does not apply to United Polaris, First Class, and Economy Plus seats. This has been a long-time inconvenience for American passengers, who would often complain about being separated from their children during flights. The problem itself reached the ears of US President Joe Biden.

"Baggage fees are bad enough. They can't treat your child like luggage," Biden said in his speech.

The US Department of Transportation then asked airlines in the US to provide child seats next to an accompanying adult at no additional cost in July 2022. The American Economic Freedom Project advocacy group then praised President Biden's leadership in solving the problem. They also asked the government to end the family seating fee permanently.

"Under intense scrutiny, United is now openly admitting that family seating costs are an issue, something many other US carriers deny," William McGee, senior fellow for aviation and travel at the American Economic Liberties Project, said in a statement.

"However, the problem is in the details, while United's voluntary action may prove helpful, it is no substitute for government regulation," he added.

After the US Department of Transportation asked for this consideration, airlines in the US then gave relief. Delta Air Lines said it will not charge family seating regardless of the class of ticket purchased on Monday, February 20, 2023. They will also work with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure their family's seating needs are met.

On its official website, Delta Air Lines also makes it easier for passengers who cannot secure seats through the airline's website and mobile application to make reservations. Delta Air Lines' seat map technology also blocks some areas for family seating up to 48 hours before a flight. American Airlines also offers booking tips on its website for families traveling with children under 15.

"Our policy regarding family seating is designed to allow families to be seated together without having to pay extra," American Airlines said in a statement.

In addition, Southwest Airlines also allows families with children aged 6 years or younger who are not assigned seats to be allowed early boarding. The airline's website also offers an EarlyBird Check-in option for a fee which can result in a group A boarding position.

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