‘You can’t treat your child like a piece of luggage’ – US to stop airlines charging families for sitting together
US President Joe Biden has used part of his State of the Union address to promise to ban “resort fees” levied by hotels and ban airlines from charging family sit-togethers.
e is planning a Junk Fee Prevention Act.
The President said: “We will ban surprise ‘resort fees’ that hotels add to your bill. These fees can cost you as much as $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts.”
Such fees are very common in Las Vegas and also apply in Florida and New York City.
They justify their eligibility as covering benefits like Wi-Fi and gym access, though other hotels routinely include them. They are not optional.
research of The Independent shows that both resort fees and taxes can nearly double the cost of a stay.
For example, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas has a headline price of $89 (€83).
But in addition to taxes of $18 (€17), a resort fee of $46 (€43) is mandatory. The total rises to $153 (€143) – a 72 percent increase from the initial listing.
The president’s Junk Fee Prevention Act will also ban airlines from charging families who sit with young children, he promised.
Mr Biden said: “We will ban airlines from charging up to $50 [€47] Round trip for families to just sit together.
“Baggage fees are bad enough – they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage.
“Americans are tired of being played for jerks.”
While most airlines will join families for free, some ultra-low-cost carriers don’t guarantee it.
For example, Spirit Airlines says, “Spirit will randomly assign you a seat at check-in free of charge, but we cannot guarantee that you will be seated with your friends or family.
“If guests with children under the age of 13 do not choose a seat selection at the time of booking, our gate agents and flight attendants will work to offer adjacent seats where possible.”
In the UK, airlines are required by law to seat families with young children in close proximity.
Aer Lingus’ seating rules for flights in Europe state that passengers can pre-book seats to sit next to fellow passengers.
“If you choose not to pre-book a specific seat, we will allocate one based on remaining availability upon check-in,” it adds.
“We will do our best to ensure you and your travel companions are seated together, particularly when traveling with children, but this will depend on the number of seats remaining at the time.”
Under its seating rules, Ryanair says: “For safety reasons, children under the age of 12 must be seated next to an accompanying adult and infants (aged 8 days to 23 months inclusive) must be seated on the lap of an accompanying adult.
“It is mandatory for an adult traveling with children under 12 years old (excluding infants) to reserve a seat.
“A maximum of four children for each adult in the same booking will receive a reserved seat free of charge. This ensures that parents of young children sit together during the flight.
“It is not mandatory for other adults or youths in the booking to reserve a seat, but they can do so if they wish to sit with the rest of the family.”
Regarding resort fees in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has issued “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” to prohibit “deceptive or unfair acts or practices relating to fees.”
Chair Lina Khan said: “Resort fees in hotels first appeared in the late 1990s. By 2015, they accounted for one-sixth of total hotel revenue. That’s $2 billion (€1.86 billion) a year.
“As prices rise, fees become more common, allowing some companies to increase effective prices without doing so.”
The commission found that resort fees “artificially increase search costs and cognitive costs” for consumers.
In other U.S. travel news, the House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to end the requirement that most foreign air travelers be vaccinated against Covid-19, one of the few remaining pandemic travel restrictions that remain.
The vote was 227 to 201, with seven Democrats aligning with the Republicans.
The US Travel Association said, “The need for this requirement is long gone, and we appreciate the bipartisan action of the US House of Representatives to end this outdated policy… The US is the only country that has retained this policy.”
However, the White House says it opposes the bill and that mandatory vaccination “has made it possible to reunite loved ones around the world while reducing the spread of Covid-19 and the strain on the health care system in the United States.” “
It’s not clear if the Senate will take up the bill, Reuters reports.
– Additional reporting by Pól Ó Conghaile
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/they-cant-treat-your-child-like-a-piece-of-luggage-us-to-stop-airlines-charging-families-to-sit-together-42334240.html ‘You can’t treat your child like a piece of luggage’ – US to stop airlines charging families for sitting together