Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization with Bennet Measure to Improve Family Travel

Also Includes Bennet-Backed Amendment to Strengthen Airport Security

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill, which renews the agency's authorization through September 2017. The bill includes Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet's amendment to assist traveling families, which ensures young children can sit with their parents on flights and won't be separated from their parents by TSA during security screening. It also allows pregnant women to pre-board their flights.

The bill also includes a provision cosponsored by Bennet to strengthen U.S. airport security, particularly in non-secure "soft" target areas at airports like check-in and baggage claim areas.

"Parents shouldn't have to pay extra to sit with their kids on a flight," Bennet said. "Separating them is not safe and often leaves them at the mercy of other passengers who must decide whether to trade seats. Separating young kids from their parents during the screening process can be just as traumatic, and the TSA shouldn't be allowed to do it."

With the transition to new airline policies offering premium seats and boarding options for a fee, families across the country are facing anxiety-inducing challenges and choices. Parents are forced to pay additional fees when checking in to their flight just to ensure they can sit next to their small children on the plane. In many cases, parents must disrupt the boarding process to ask willing passengers to change their seats, despite the fact that these individuals may have already paid additional fees for seats themselves.

Bennet's amendment would make several changes to ensure a smoother traveling experience for families and pregnant women. The measure would establish new rules for security screening, boarding procedures, and family seating arrangements. It would ensure airlines have policies that allow family members to sit next to their children on a flight at no additional cost and expressly require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow parents to accompany their children throughout the airport screening process to ensure they are never physically separated. It would also require airlines to accommodate pregnant women during the pre-boarding process.

"This bill also ensures the security of the American people remains our top priority," Bennet added. "Our amendment to enhance airport security will help airports like DIA and others around the country make important security enhancements to keep travelers safe from the moment they arrive at the airport until they reach their destination."

The FAA Reauthorization Bill also includes a Bennet-backed amendment to strengthen airport security at Denver International Airport (DIA) and all airports across the country. After recent terror attacks in Europe, the amendment updates federal security programs to provide active shooter training for law enforcement and increase the presence of federal agents with bomb-sniffing dogs in non-secure areas in airports.