JetBlue announced that as part of their family seating guarantee, passengers aged 13 and younger will definitely be able to sit next to an adult travelling with them, which the carrier said is part of an “ongoing commitment to enhance the travel experience and promote a comfortable and stress-free journey.”
It’s the fourth airline in the States to implement this policy, following in the footsteps of Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
It comes after the US Department of Transport’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection “urged airlines to do everything in their power to ensure that children who are age 13 or younger are seated next to an accompanying adult with no additional charge”, with the threat of “additional action” if there were barriers to this.
JetBlue has introduced a new process to identify families with young children travelling together, assigning seats so that the child is sat next to at least one adult at no extra charge. The only necessity is that all family members are booked on the same reservation.
“We know traveling with young children can add challenges, and we want to do everything we can to put parents and families at ease by providing a smooth trip each time they choose JetBlue,” said Joanna Geraghty, the airline’s president and chief operating officer.
“This enhanced family seating policy reflects our commitment to continue to meet the needs of our customers and provide exceptional service.”
The provision applies to all classes of seat, including Blue Basic fares, where passengers usually have to pay for assigning seating.
In the UK, there are no rules that compel airlines to seat adults with younger children. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says that “the seating of children close by their parents or guardians should be the aim of airline seat allocation procedures for family groups and large parties of children.”
“Young children and infants who are accompanied by adults should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults. This is because the speed of an emergency evacuation may be affected by adults trying to reach their children.”