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United Airlines Announces Improved Family Seating Policy for Economy and Basic Economy Customers

United Airlines is making it easier for families to sit together with an improved family seating policy. It will now be easier for children under 12 to sit next to an adult in their party for free, including customers who purchase tickets in Basic Economy.

United Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX - Courtesy United Airlines

On Monday (February 20, 2023) United Airlines announced the introduction of a new family seating policy that will make it easier for children under 12 to sit next to an adult in their party for free, including travelers in Basic Economy. The new policy has been made possible by investments the airline has made in a new seat map feature that dynamically finds available adjacent seats at the time of booking. With the new technology, the online seat engine first reviews all available Economy seats, and then opens complimentary upgrades to available Preferred Seats, if needed. Guests traveling with children under 12 will start seeing more adjacent seat options immediately, with the complete policy change going into effect by March.

In Monday’s announcement, United Airlines’ Chief Customer Officer, Linda Jojo, said,

“In an era where more families are working in a hybrid environment, they’re traveling more often – and they’re flying United. We’re focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know it often starts with the right seat. We look forward to rolling out more family-friendly features this year.”

When adjacent seats are not available prior to travel due to situations such as last minute bookings, full flights, or unscheduled aircraft changes, United’s new policy also lets customers switch for free to a flight to the same destination with adjacent seat availability on the same cabin. In this case, customers won’t be charged if there is a fare difference between the original and new flight. Other airlines use a more manual process, such as blocking random seats or asking agents to facilitate seat swaps at the gate, which often results in more stress and a longer boarding process for everyone. United Polaris®, United First Class®, and Economy Plus® remain separate products and are excluded from the new family-friendly seating policy change.

United Airlines’ shared purpose is ‘Connecting People. Uniting the World.’ In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated over 1.7 million flights carrying over 162 million guests. United Airlines operates the most comprehensive network among North American carriers with mainland U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Shares in the company’s parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., are publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol ‘UAL.’

Source: United Airlines/PRNewswire


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