two girls holding stuffed animals sitting on an airplane
(Photo: @brightideasfl via Twenty20)

Congress to Airlines: Sit Families Together!

A new bill in the Senate, the Fly Together Act, complements an earlier House bill that would require airlines to assign seats together for traveling families without requiring any extra seat-assignment fees. The House bill was bipartisan, but so far the Senate bill has only Democratic support. Given the current state of Congress, it’s hard to assess the chances of this bill’s passage this year, but we’ll see: Voting against family seating would not sound good from any candidate in a Senatorial campaign debate.

This is yet another case in which the airline industry demonstrates its tin ear to consumer abuses. Typically, with repeated abuses, consumers give airlines plenty of time to solve their problems, themselves, but the airlines almost always ignore those consumers. Then, when consumers finally give up on getting airlines to do something sensible on their own and turn to the Department of Transportation or Congress for relief, airlines whinge about “excessive regulation.” 

Related: Unaccompanied Minors on Flights: Everything You Need to Know

In this particular case, despite earlier Congressional urging, the current anti-consumer DoT refused to act. Hence the need for Congress. Regardless of party affiliation, let your Senators/Representatives know that families need the relief of the Fly Together Act.

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Ed Perkins
Ed Perkins is a longtime consumer advocate and reporter. He spent 25 years in travel research and consulting and was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter. He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004). He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union. Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America,” "The CBS Evening News," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.