A newly settled Federal Aviation Authority agreement has an upshot for air travelers.
The reauthorization bill, which funds the agency through September 2017, also requires airlines to seat families with children together at no extra charge, speed up the security screening process and quickly issue refunds for baggage fees if luggage is lost for more than 12 hours.
“We’re encouraged that Congress has recognized the challenges families face when traveling and is making it a priority that airlines ensure they sit together when flying,” Rainer Jenss, founder and president of the Family Travel Association, which pushed for the changes, told The Washington Post. “After all, families represent one of the largest economic drivers of the travel industry, so ensuring their satisfaction isn’t just the right thing to do. It makes economic sense.”
While there are exceptions, the agreement directs the transportation secretary to establish a policy to allow children under age 13 “to be seated in a seat adjacent to the seat of an accompanying family member over the age of 13” at no additional cost.
The extension also mandates the Transportation Security Administration to expedite security screening including by keeping PreCheck lines open during peak travel times and to use “private sector solutions” to increase enrollment in the PreCheck process.
Other measures that were considered in the agreement, but not adopted, were a requirement to notify travelers of their consumer rights; prevention of unreasonable fees; and creating minimum seat room standards.