Tue, May 29, 2012
Calls For Rules To 'Protect Traveling Families'
New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) (pictured) is urging airlines to allow families with young children to sit together without paying extra. The senator is calling for rules to prevent airlines from charging parents more to sit next to their children.
"Children need access to their parents and parents need access to their children," Schumer said in a statement. "Unnecessary airline fees shouldn't serve as a literal barrier between mother and child."
USA Today reports that since 2011, several airlines have increased the number of seats set aside for frequent fliers or customers willing to pay extra. Fees for the seats — on the aisle, next to windows, or with more legroom — vary, but typically cost $25 extra, each way. Airlines are searching for new ways to raise revenue to offset rising fuel prices. In the past five years, airlines have added fees for checked baggage, watching TV, skipping security lines and boarding early.
Schumer is asking Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to issue rules preventing airlines from charging parents more to sit next to kids. He is also asking the industry's trade group, Airlines for America, to persuade carriers to voluntarily waive the fee for families.
"A parent should not have to pay a premium to supervise and protect their child on an airplane," Schumer wrote in a letter to Nicholas E. Calio, the trade group's president. Airlines have resisted past efforts by the government to further regulate them. Their argument: The cost associated with new rules would cripple an industry already struggling with thin profit margins.
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