This will make it easier for families to sit together without additional fees
United just announced that it will introduce a new seat map feature that allows children under 12 to sit next to a parent without additional fees. This will be available for Economy ticket classes, including Basic Economy. Previously, if families booked Basic Economy, they would have to pay an additional fee for seat selection or rely on the kindness of strangers to swap seats during boarding.
Families have long been complaining about the difficulties of air travel with little ones, and this change from United is a step in the right direction to make it a better experience for all passengers because in all honesty, if you aren’t traveling with kids, more than likely you wouldn’t want to sit next to someone else’s either. “We’re focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know it often starts with the right seat,” said Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United. “We look forward to rolling out more family-friendly features this year.”
How does the new United family seating policy work?
A new seat map feature will dynamically find available adjacent seats at the time of booking. The online seat engine first reviews all available free Economy seats and then opens complimentary upgrades to available Preferred seats, if needed. It does not apply to Polaris, first-class, or Economy Plus tickets. You will start seeing this change immediately with the full rollout happening by early March.
If an instance arises where there are no adjacent seats on a flight (due to circumstances like last-minute booking, full flights, or aircraft changes), customers can switch for free to a flight to the same destination with adjacent seat availability in the same cabin. Customers also won’t be charged if there is a difference in fare price between the original and the new flight.
This announcement from United comes on the heels of President Biden denouncing hidden airline fees in the State of the Union address. “Americans are tired of being played for suckers,” Biden said last month. “We’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront.”
With this announcement and Southwest quietly rolling out a new family pre-boarding program in Atlanta in December 2022, we hope that airlines are getting the message that it is a better flying experience for all passengers if families can stay together.
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(With Inputs from redtri, thebarefootnomad)