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American Airlines Adds Family Seating Policy Ahead of DOT Dashboard

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American Airlines is the latest carrier to add family seating rules to their customer service policy, just as the Transportation Department plans to publish an easy-to-follow dashboard on all U.S. air carriers.
Another airline is creating new rules for family seating, following two other carriers in making the change.


American Airlines quietly made a rule change for family seating, allowing travelers to select seats next to their children at no extra charge.


Buttigieg: Parents and Children Should Sit Together “With No Extra Fees”

The policy change was announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, as part of a larger fact sheet highlighting initiatives by the Biden administration. Under American’s new plan, the airline is guaranteeing children 14 and younger will be seated next to an accompanying adult for no additional fee, if they meet the following requirements:


  • All flyers are booked on the same reservation
  • Seats are selected for everyone at the same time, or seat selections are skipped for the entire party
  • No changes are made once seats are assigned


There are two exceptions to this policy. First, the aircraft’s seat layout must be able to accommodate all of the children on the itinerary. Second, if there is a change to a smaller aircraft, families may be broken up to accommodate all flyers.


American’s change comes as the Transportation Department is preparing to launch a family policy dashboard on their website. Similar to the Airline Customer Service Dashboard, it will highlight all of an airline’s policies for family seating, including which carriers charge families to sit together, and which ones offer it as a free service.


“A parent should be able to sit next to their child without paying extra fees, asking other passengers to swap seats, or facing a last minute scramble at the gate,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wrote on his official Twitter account. “That’s why [The U.S. Department of Transportation] is moving to require airlines to guarantee fee-free family seating.”


American Joins Frontier and United in Change

With the shift, American is the third carrier to offer family-friendly seating policies. Earlier in February 2023, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines made changes to allow families to sit together without paying additional seat fees.


What are your tips for getting the best seats on an American Airlines flight? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk Forums. 

TastyPlaneEats March 6, 2023

When will Pete have a hazmat accident dashboard?

AllanJ March 3, 2023

If getting children settled does not multitask well with other pax' boarding then there is no advantage in letting children board first.

Experienced flight crew may judge whether boarding overall will complete more quickly with or without family preboarding.

milohoss March 2, 2023

This is great but what about priority boarding? It saves everyone a lot of hassel if famlies with kids can get on and seated first.