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Transportation Department launches tool to find free family seating on airlines

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday announced a new online tool allowing travelers to see what airlines will allow them to sit together without additional fees. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
1 of 3 | The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday announced a new online tool allowing travelers to see what airlines will allow them to sit together without additional fees. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

March 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday said it has opened a new family seating dashboard online that will help passengers find airlines that will allow them to sit together without additional fees.

The agency's dashboard will provide comparisons of services the airlines have committed to providing, which will assist consumers when deciding which airline to fly. Officials said it will make it easier for families to find out what airlines best fit their traveling arrangements.

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"Parents traveling with young kids should be able to sit together without an airline forcing them to pay junk fees," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. "We have been pressing airlines to guarantee family seating without tacking on extra charges, and now we're seeing some airlines start to make this common-sense change.

The move follows up on a promise by the Biden administration to make it easier for families to travel together after passengers have complained in the past about the increasing amount of fees charged by airline carriers.

The Transportation Department said so far American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines have all guaranteed fee-free group seatings for families.

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"All airlines should do this promptly, even as we move forward to develop a rule establishing this as a requirement across the board," said Buttigieg.

Some airlines have started their own family seating services online. Last month, United Airlines said it will enhance the ability for families to sit together through a new online seating engine. That platform will allow customers to access features for family seating, reviewing available economy seating with optional complimentary upgrades.

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