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American Vows to Seat Families Together [Even in Basic Economy]

Ashley Onadele's image
Ashley Onadele
Ashley Onadele's image

Ashley Onadele

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 15U.S. States Visited: 10

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerou...

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American Airlines has just announced that it would guarantee that children under 14 years old will be seated adjacent to an accompanying adult — at no extra cost.

This comes after both United Airlines and Frontier Airlines both changed their family seating policies last week.

The new policy has been added to American Airlines’ Customer Service Plan and gives further details into what travelers can expect.

Here’s what we know so far.

American Airlines Family Seating Policy

The updates coming to American Airlines’ Customer Service Plan are a much-needed change for families traveling with children.

Under the new policy, children 14 and under will be able to sit with an accompanying adult at no additional cost, no matter the cabin — even in basic economy.

Here’s what must happen to ensure that family seating is possible:

  • Everyone must be booked on the same reservation
  • Adjacent seats must be available in the same class of service at the time of booking
  • You must either choose seats or skip seats for the entire reservation
  • You don’t make a change to seat assignments
  • The plane’s seat layout must allow for the number of children under 14 in your reservation
  • There are no equipment swaps to an aircraft with a different seat configuration

Even if the above conditions aren’t met, American Airlines will still try its best to seat families together.

How Did We Get Here?

Before the introduction of basic economy and the inability to choose seats at the time of booking, seat selection was a standard inclusion in the cost of an airline ticket. Over the past decade, travelers have been required to pay extra for seat selection on many airlines.

Families traveling with young children have felt the impact of these additional fees as they attempt to keep their families together on the plane. Thankfully, that seems to be changing.

Aircraft Interiors American Child with Parent
A child and parent sit together on an American Airlines flight. Image Credit: American Airlines

Even the Department of Transportation called for airlines to make this change in July 2022.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Department of Transportation would be publishing a family seating dashboard next week to show travelers “which airlines guarantee families can sit together for free.”

President Biden also agreed it’s time to end the additional fees to seat children with accompanying adults. In response to American Airlines’ announcement of their updated family seating policy, he tweeted, “No one should have to pay extra to be seated with their kids.” He then called for more airlines to follow suit.

Bottom Line: High-ranking government officials and families support the airlines’ move to more inclusive and no-additional fee family seating options.

Final Thoughts

This is a positive change to another airline’s seating policy, especially for families traveling with young children.

Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines might be next in line to offer more favorable family seating options, but only time will tell.

Ashley Onadele's image

About Ashley Onadele

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerous publications and podcasts.

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