American Airlines updated its family seating policy in early March, becoming the latest U.S. carrier to promise that small children will sit next to a family member for free.
The airline has clarified that all arrangements will work seamlessly if family members are on the same booking, adjacent seats must be available at the time of booking, and passengers will not make seating changes after initial confirmation.
One more thing limitation: Seats nearby may not be available if the aircraft is replaced with another type of smaller size.
The country's aviation industry regulator noted: “A parent should be able to sit next to their child without paying any additional fees, without asking other passengers to switch seats, and without having to collide at the last minute in the aisle. That's why we intend to require airlines to guarantee free family seats.”
American's decision to update its family seating policy comes days after United Airlines and Frontier Airlines provided similar guarantees.
But Delta Air Lines offered their own dynamic seating option. The system locks down certain rows in the main cabin so that only groups of three or more traveling together can book.
Southwest announced that it has begun testing a new pilot program that will allow families with children to be the first to pre-check in.
Low-cost airline Breeze Airways has announced its policy that adults traveling with children under 12 years of age are always allowed to select seats free of charge in a designated “family area” salon.