Schumer: Airlines must allow kids to sit with their parents

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New York Sen. Charles Schumer says airlines lack policies assuring children can sit with their parents, despite the 2016 legislation requiring the federal Department of Transportation to enact a universal family-friendly seating policy.

Schumer said on Sunday that recent complaints by parents to the DOT reveal that children are sometimes seated rows away from their families, even when parents paid extra fees to ensure their kids sit with them.

Schumer said an investigation by Consumer Reports revealed 136 complaints against airlines for separating parents from children as young as 2 years old.

He sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao urging her to establish a policy to keep families together when traveling on commercial aircraft.

According to a spokesperson for the DOT, the law required the Department to review U.S. airlines' family seating policies. The Department's website states, "A review of family seating complaint data through June 2019 revealed that the Department continues to receive a low number of family seating complaints."

Schumer's office says they think there are more complaints than are being filed because parents simply don't know to file them.

People flying out of Newark Liberty International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend told News 12 New Jersey that they think that families should be kept together.

"A group should be able to sit together, especially when they have small kids,” says John Wallace of Florida.

Cheo Smith says that he had to ask a passenger to switch seats to keep his family next to each other. He says that he is in support of a new policy.

"I think that would be really cool for people to be able to know that they're going to be next to their kids,” the Minnesota resident says.

A DOT spokesperson tells News 12, “The Department is continuing to monitor and review the family seating complaints it receives to determine what is and is not working."

Schumer is encouraging those with complaints to report them.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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