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U.S. House passes legislation to ensure children are seated with parents during airplane travel

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American families continue to be separated from their children during air travel despite 2016 passage by Congress of a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill with a policy against that practice.

A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bill today led by U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger to ensure children are seated next to their parents on flights for no extra fees.

As a mother of three children, Spanberger said she understands the stress associated with air travel, and extra fees do not make traveling easier. The Fly Together Act would prohibit airlines from adding fees for parents to sit with children 13 years of age and younger. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation would be directed to issue a rule requiring airlines to seat young children with their family members on flights to the greatest extent practicable at no additional cost within the same class of service.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the U.S. House for understanding the importance of providing peace of mind to parents, improving the travel experience for young kids, and stopping some of the senseless nickel-and-diming in the airline industry,” Spanberger said.

Her legislation is part of the bipartisan Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, legislation which reauthorizes the FAA.

Spanberger leads the legislation alongside U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri.

The Fly Together Act explicitly prohibits the imposition of any changes in the seating or boarding policy of an air carrier that has an open or flexible seating policy in place that generally allows adjacent family seating, including Southwest Airlines.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.