Partially in response to being called out for so-called “junk fees,” United Airlines has announced it is introducing improved reservation technology that makes it easier to ensure families buying economy tickets will be able to sit together. Airlines across the board came under criticism by President Biden during his State of the Union address for charging extra, not only for luggage and other amenities, but also for seating small children in the same row as their parents.

Starting early next month, children under the age of 12 will be covered under what Linda Jojo, United’s chief customer officer, called “family-friendly features.” She said in a statement, “We’re focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know it often starts with the right seat.”

“Baggage fees are bad enough,” Biden said during his address, “[but] they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage.”

The Department of Transportation website advises, “The Department recognizes the importance that families place on sitting together when flying. To make sitting together easier when flying within the United States, the Department has issued a notice encouraging U.S. airlines to do everything that they can to ensure the ability of a young child (age 13 or younger) to be seated next to an accompanying adult (over age 13) without charging fees for adjacent seating.”

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