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Everything you need to know about the family airline seating dashboard

Traveling with children is a fun way to build memories and let them experience various cultures. Still, some airlines charge fees for specific seats, meaning you can’t sit with your child unless you’re willing to pay extra. Luckily, several airlines have pledged to make it cheaper for families to travel together. The Transportation Department is rolling out a dashboard that makes it easier to find airlines based on their seating policies.

In this article: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet, UniLiGis Washable Travel Laundry Bag and Dr. Talbot’s Deluxe Baby Wipes Dispenser.

What is the Transportation Department’s dashboard?

On Mar. 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled a dashboard that lets you see which airlines seat children with their guardians without additional fees. Those that accommodate fee-free family seating receive a green checkmark. The web page also has dashboards detailing each airline’s cancellation and delay policies, making it easier to choose the best service.

It’s important to note that airlines can set conditions for fee-free family seating. For example, they only have to offer fee-free seating if the child is on the same reservation and it’s physically possible to do so. 

When flying on an airline with an open-seating policy, you must inform the gate agent that you need adjacent seats. Airlines with assigned-seating policies don’t have to honor the offer if adjacent seats aren’t available or if they must substitute the plane for a smaller aircraft. Making changes to your assigned seats can negate the offer as well.

Why did the Transportation Department create the dashboard?

President Biden’s February State of the Union address mentioned his administration’s commitment to reducing or eliminating “junk” fees. 

“We’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is canceled or delayed,” said Biden. “We’ll prohibit airlines from charging up to $50 round trip for families just to sit together.”

Fee-free family seating isn’t required by law yet, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is urging airlines to make this “common-sense change” ahead of impending regulations. “Parents traveling with young kids should be able to sit together without an airline forcing them to pay junk fees,” Buttigieg said. “All airlines should do this promptly, even as we move forward to develop a rule establishing this as a requirement across the board.” 

Best products for family airline travel

Best Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet

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Best UniLiGis Washable Travel Laundry Bag

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This set includes two large laundry bags with built-in handles. They are affordable and made of durable nylon material. Many reviewers said they were impressed with how much laundry they could fit in them. They are available in gray or blue.

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Best Dr. Talbot's Deluxe Baby Wipes Dispenser

Dr. Talbot’s Deluxe Baby Wipes Dispenser

This case is translucent on all sides, letting you see how many wipes are left. The lid locks tightly to keep your wipes from drying out. It is easy to refill and has a travel handle to attach to your bag or stroller.

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This enormous bag fits plenty of laundry, but doesn’t take up much space in your luggage. It is available in two sizes and has a flap to keep it from unzipping. You can place it in the wash to protect your delicates from hotel washing machines.

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