Tuesday, June 12, 2012

JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic Promise to Waive Premium Seating Fees for Families

Who says government does nothing to make our lives better?

This week, Chuck Schumer proves the naysayers wrong. The Senator from New York has extracted a promise from both JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic, that they will waive the new and insidious "premium seating" fees for families, thus making it easier for parents to get seats next to their children.

Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY)
For those who haven't been following this issue: this spring, a number of airlines expanded the number of seats in economy class that require an extra fee to book. On some airlines, these extra fees are being attached to all but the middle seats, making it impossible for families to sit together without incurring huge extra costs (as much as $40 per person per flight), costs which most don't know about until well after they book the ticket.

Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, announced last week that he couldn't interfere on this issue since airline pricing has not been subject to government oversight since the Deregulation Bill of the late 1970's was passed. 

Schumer is pushing back. He's trying to publicly shame the airlines into doing the right thing by families. And the Senator has asked the DOT to at least require airlines to reveal these extra seat fees at the time of booking. (Right now, when one books, one is simply told that seats can't be reserved at this time. It isn't until well after the 24-hour window for ticket cancellation that most consumers discover they're going to have to pay much more to sit next to their kids).

Thanks Chuck.

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