More airlines are increasingly charging passengers extra for a window or aisle seat, leaving families who want to sit together paying extra. The move—a bid to boost revenue—was also designed to reward frequent travelers, who don't have to pay extra for the seats.
Passengers must increasingly reserve the select seats in advance at a cost of $25 or more each way.
The Oregonian cited a Jan. 3 tweet from American Airlines that served as an announcement of sorts for the new policy:
"To ensure seats together, preferred seats is a great option. Customers can purchase starting at $4."
The tweet linked to a section on American's website about how to secure seats together for extra money. The Oregonian cited airline industry consultant Robert Mann as saying carriers were increasingly reserving aisle, window and other choice seats for those willing to pay extra, while others block off a section of the plane for elite frequent fliers.
The change is among a number of policies implemented by U.S. airlines recently that have been criticized as family unfriendly. Last month, United Airlines ended its policy of allowing families traveling with small children to board early.