Airlines have come under fire throughout the past year for charging families an additional fee to ensure parents and children get adjacent seats. The Department of Transportation called for an end to parent seating fees last year, and in his State of the Union address, President Biden further expanded on the issue: “Baggage fees are bad enough – they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage.”
This week, United Airlines announced a new seat map feature geared toward easing the ticket buying process for families. It will allow families to switch into a similar flight or upgrade to a more expensive section at no additional cost when adjacent seats are not available in the section they’re looking to buy.
CivicScience polled Americans to gauge their interest in United’s new family seating policy. Fifty-one percent of U.S. adults who fly on airplanes are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to utilize the new seat map feature – with 18% clocking in at ‘very likely.’ Among parents who fly, the ‘very likely’ figure hits 21%. And among parents who fly with children aged 0-2, the ‘very likely’ figure jumps to 33% (with 66% at least ‘somewhat likely’ to use the new United family seating policy).
Despite recent troubles for the airline industry, United has a greater share of U.S. adults who view it favorably than unfavorably. In fact, it ranks in second place among airlines Gen Z plans to fly with this year. Excluding those without an opinion on the airline, parents are the most likely to hold a ‘highly favorable’ opinion of United, but their overall favorable numbers fall just beneath non-parents. Grandparents are the least likely to hold a ‘highly favorable’ opinion of United (6%).
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