[Read out latest update about this: July 28 > To Keep Families Flying Together, U.S. Congress Passes New Law]
Last week saw only partial success after the push to support family-friendly language as part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s marking up of the FAA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 4441).
We threw our weight behind Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), who were attempting to amend the Reauthorization Bill in ways that would help families who fly together sit together. Specifically, they proposed legislation based on language from their so-called Families Flying Together Act of 2015 (H.R. 3334).
One proposed amendment (section 4 of H.R. 3334) required that families with children are notified, before tickets are booked, when they are assigned seats that are not together on the selected flight. This was included in the base text of the FAA bill, H.R. 4441, in Section 501. (Other interesting pro-consumer provisions were also included in the bill – see the AIRR ACT packet)
However, and very unfortunately, a second amendment to include the remaining portion of H.R. 3334 in the FAA reauthorization bill – in particular language “directing each air carrier to establish a policy to ensure, to the extent practicable, that a family that purchases tickets for a flight with that air carrier is seated together during that flight” – unfortunately failed in a 28-31 vote. (Here’s the roll call.)
The next step is for the full House to consider the bill, which will allow for additional amendments. The failure of the Committee to approve the language means it is unlikely to move on the floor of the House should it be proposed there again. Another attempt could be made to get the language included in the Senate FAA bill, but there’s apparently little certainty about when they will move such legislation.
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