Airlines can’t treat kids like ‘piece of baggage’, Biden says.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden harshly criticized U.S. airlines on how unfairly they are charging families and vowing to implement new consumer protections.

“We’ll prohibit airlines from charging $50 round trip for families just to be able sit together,” Biden said in his State of the Union address. “Baggage fees are bad enough – airlines can’t treat your child like a piece of baggage.”

A group, Airlines for America, representing Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and others said its member carriers do not charge extra to sit together.

A spokeswoman said airlines “make every effort to accommodate customers traveling together — especially those traveling with children.”

Biden spoke about the regulations the Transportation Department is drafting to make “airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is canceled or delayed.” Only if the passengers opt not to take the flights will they get the refunds.

Airlines have been facing growing calls to boost consumer protections in Congress after a series of disruptions, including a holiday meltdown at Southwest that resulted in more than 16,000 flights cancellation.

The airlines retaliated at the White House and Transportation Secretary last week saying the proposals on aviation competition were “short-sighted” and will “drive-up costs and reduce choices” for consumers.

In September, Biden touted his administration is “cracking down” on U.S. airlines for improving the treatment of passengers after they updated customer service plans.

“Secretary Buttigieg, at my request, called them out,” Biden said.

Sweeping legislation has been proposed by U.S. lawmakers to require airline passengers to get refunds for delayed flights, prohibit further shrinking plane seat sizes, and give new rights to consumers to sue airlines for unfair practices.


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