Washington (February 16, 2023) – Amid sky-high fees and low-quality service from airlines, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the Families Fly Together Act, legislation to prohibit airlines from imposing any monetary charges on families that want to sit together during a flight.
“Airline executives have been taking consumers for a ride, charging exorbitant fees as they provide lackluster service, but now this paid vacation is coming to an end,” said Senator Markey. “Children and parents shouldn’t have to choose between unaffordable fees or the separation anxiety of flying alone. I agree with President Biden—we have got to put an end to unreasonable junk fees that take advantage of working and middle class American families. That is why I am proud to introduce the Families Fly Together Act to ensure air travel is accessible and affordable for everyday American families.”
“It makes zero sense to make parents pay extra fees to sit with their young kids. Airlines have to get their heads out of the clouds,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Congress should ground these junk fees on travelers once and for all and pass the Families Fly Together Act. Senate Democrats are fighting to deliver real results like getting rid of junk fees for American families because families flying together is a no-brainer.”
“The last thing parents should worry about when flying is a surcharge to sit with their kids,” said Senator Blumenthal. “By charging families these unnecessary, exorbitant fees, the airline industry is failing its customers. Our common sense legislation will stop airlines from nickel-and-diming parents and children – providing them with the basic protections they deserve.”
“It’s unacceptable that parents often have to pay extra fees just to sit next to their children on flights,” said Senator Klobuchar. “By requiring airlines to sit families together at no additional cost, our common sense legislation will keep kids safe and provide parents with much-needed peace of mind. As co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus, I’ll keep working to ensure all Americans can access more reliable and convenient air travel service.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
The Families Fly Together Act is endorsed by the American Economic Liberties Project and the National Consumer League.
“Separating children from their families on airplanes is cruel and risks the safety of children, parents, crew, and other passengers in the event of an emergency,” said John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud at the National Consumers League. “The Families Fly Together Act will ensure that parents do not have to choose between paying a seat reservation fee and their kids’ welfare in the air.”
“Nickel-and-diming families with young kids to sit together is the most egregious of all airline junk fees,” said William J. McGee, Senior Fellow for Aviation at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Seating young children by themselves is simply bad policy, and it poses threats due to concerns about health, emergency evacuations, and the rising threat of sexual assaults, not to mention the stress and trauma on kids and adults alike. We applaud this legislation aimed at correcting what President Biden called the airlines treating our children like baggage.”
“Charging families extra money to sit together on an airplane is the epitome of a junk fee, and it should be prohibited,” said Erin E. Witte, Director of Consumer Protection, Consumer Federation of America. “CFA fully supports Sen. Markey’s ongoing efforts to protect airline consumers from ridiculous fees, including family seating fees.”
Last month, amid holiday travel chaos, Senator Markey reintroduced Forbidding Airline from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act to prohibit airlines from imposing skyrocketing fees—including baggage, seating, cancellation, and changes—that are disproportional to the costs that they provide. In July 2020, Senator Markey introduced the Fly Together Act to direct the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure airline companies allow families to sit together for free.