The One Thing That’s Now Free When You Fly

When travelers fly, the child fee will no longer apply.

By Joseph Farago | Published

child fee paycheck early

Flying can be the most unbearable type of travel. The long lines, the cramped seats, and the turbulence are enough to make you wish you had bought cruise tickets. The pandemic didn’t alleviate this frustration, either. After demand picked up for air travel in 2021, carriers already burdened by understaffing issues have yet to recuperate, leading to massive flight delays and cancellations throughout May and June. Today, the Department of Transportation is attempting to make things easier during these uncertain times, allowing parents to pay no extra child fee to arrange their airplane seats.

It’s widely known that most carriers make you pay extra money to pick your seats. If you’re traveling with a partner or a friend, it’s customary to ask the stranger sitting next to them if they’d kindly switch seats as a way to evade the additional seat-picking upcharge. Now, the US Department of Transportation is directing airlines to provide free seating arrangements for parents wishing to sit with their children. Issuing a no-child fee for adjacent seating will help alleviate the stresses of air travel and the compounding anxiety of navigating public spaces during a pandemic.

The Office of Aviation Consumer Protection released a statement about this new move and the reasoning behind its inception. The statement acknowledged that though not many people have complained about this issue, the problem was apparent enough to garner a solution. The department is pressuring airlines to do everything they can to instill a no-child fee for arranged seating. This would be applied to any child 13 or younger whose parent wants to be sitting adjacent to them. The notice would also work for any accompanied adult or family member who wants to be near the respective child or children.

Though the Aviation Consumer Protection’s notice isn’t an enacted law, the governmental group is putting pressure on airlines to comply. If carriers don’t take the order seriously after four months, the office will instill further regulations to ensure that child fees aren’t being implemented. The group was unclear about how much further they would go to enforce these new guidelines, but it could mean moving to higher branches of government.

The guidelines will only allow one adult to be situated next to their child. This means that a whole family wouldn’t be able to pick their seats for free due to the Department of Transportation’s recent implementation. The department does encourage families to make sure they’re purchasing airline tickets that allow them to pick assigned seats from the get-go. Families should also buy tickets well in advance so they’ll have time to call the airline and figure out seating arrangements without the extra child fee.

Traveling is incredibly hectic at this particular moment in time. With flight cancellations occurring worldwide compounding with carriers’ overbooking their flight schedules, air travel has never been more challenging and frustrating. The US Department of Transportation is attempting to make getting through the airport and flying to your destination easier by removing the child fee burden many families have to endure. Parents can breathe a little bit easier with airlines allowing families to be situated next to each other for no extra charge.