United Gives Families More Options to Sit Together on Flights

Those flying with kids under 12 will see more adjacent seat options when booking in Economy and Basic Economy.

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Sarah Lord covers TVs and home entertainment. Prior to joining CNET, Sarah served as the tech and electronic reviews fellow at Insider, where she wrote about everything from smart watches and wearables to tablets and e-readers. She began her career by writing laptop reviews as an intern and subsequent freelancer at Tom's Hardware. She is also a professional actor with many credits in theater, film and television.
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It will now be easier for families with kids under 12 to sit together on United.

Angela Lang/CNET

Families flying United with children under 12 should have an easier time finding seats together. The airline's booking technology will now be able to search flight inventory in Basic Economy and Free Economy for adjacent seats. It will also include open Preferred Seats that will available as a complimentary upgrade, the company said in a press release on Monday

In an instance where a family with kids under 12 cannot find seats together prior to travel, the company will allow them to book on a different flight to the same destination at no additional cost. Even if there's a fare difference between the original and new flight, customers will not be charged, United said.

Those traveling with kids under 12 will begin seeing more adjacent seats starting Monday, while the entire policy will take effect in the beginning of March.

"We're focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know it often starts with the right seat," Linda Jojo, chief customer officer for United, said in the press release. 

This policy effects only those traveling in Economy and Basic Economy. United Polaris, First Class and Economy Plus seats are not included in this change. 

The policy change comes as President Joe Biden has put pressure on airlines to better serve consumers. Earlier this month, the administration called for a ban on fees that prevent families with young children from sitting together. 

"We'll prohibit airlines from charging $50 roundtrip for a family just to be able to sit together," President Biden said during his State of the Union address this month. "Baggage fees are bad enough. Airlines can't treat your child like a piece of baggage."