New bill will guarantee that children can sit with their parents on flights at no additional cost, an important safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Fly Together Act, legislation that directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to require airlines to allow children to sit together with their family members on flights at no additional charge. Under current law, 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.

“Families should be able to sit together on flights without having to pay extra fees,” Klobuchar said. “This important legislation would keep kids safe by requiring airlines to seat parents with their young children on flights without charging additional fees to do so. It’s just wrong to make some passengers pay extra to sit next to their kids.”

“Ensuring that families can fly together is a consumer and safety issue that predates the coronavirus pandemic,” Markey said. “However, the current crisis has increased the need for immediate action to address this issue. Children must be able to sit with their families and stay as far away as possible from potential exposure to COVID-19 while on airplane. As the aviation industry adjusts to the health risks of this ongoing emergency and plans for a new normal in air travel, now is the perfect time to make sure airline seating policies allow families to safely fly together.”

“The friendly skies deserve a family-friendly cabin, but it is clear-as-day that for many parents aboard flights, the real turbulence is the family seating policy which has become a game of musical chairs that is neither fun nor fair,” Schumer said. “It’s either costing parents more or delivering a giant headache that includes pleading with strangers to swap seats, and that’s why Congress needs to pass the Families Fly Together Act, so this problem finally gets solved.”

The Fly Together Act is companion legislation to a bipartisan bill previously introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Ann Wagner (MO-2) and Representative Anthony Brown (MD-04).

“In these especially fraught times, it is important that airlines keep families with young children close during necessary air travel,” said Congresswoman Ann Wagner. “The Fly Together Act would ensure these families are seated together, keeping children safe and reducing unnecessary exposure as we practice social distancing. I appreciate my colleagues in the Senate for working with me to advance this legislation and guarantee that airlines don’t take advantage of families and charge parents excess fees simply to sit with their children.”

“Parents should be able to sit with their young children on flights,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “Separating kids from their parents is unsafe, potentially traumatic and needlessly increases stress and anxiety. This bill is the right choice for consumers and families, who are some of the most frequent fliers. I appreciate Senators Markey, Schumer, and Klobuchar for their partnership on this legislation to make air travel safe, welcoming and convenient for all.”