Transportation Dept. has failed to direct airlines to ensure families can sit together during flights at no additional cost


Washington (September 10, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and eight other Democratic Senators today sent a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) calling for an explanation as to why it has failed to fulfill its statutory requirement to ensure families can sit together on airplanes. Parents who want to confirm a seat next to their children, including young infants, are often required to pay extra fees for advance seating, purchase more expensive tickets, or simply rely on the kindness of strangers. In 2016, Congress required the DOT to conduct a review of U.S. airline family seating policies and, if appropriate, direct airlines to establish policies ensuring children can sit next to or adjacent to at least one adult family member. Instead, the only actions taken by DOT include posting website tips for families seeking to sit together and providing links to existing family seating information on select airline websites.


“Families that travel with children on airlines have few options to ensure that they will be seated together,” write the Senators in their letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “The DOT owes Congress and the American people an explanation for why it has failed to meet the deadline Congress imposed and help families traveling with young children. The obligation Congress placed on you to address this issue is clear.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

The letter also was signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).