Posts tagged with "NBC News"

Harlan Crow again refuses to give Senate Dems details of his relationship with Clarence Thomas

May 25, 2023

A lawyer for Republican donor Harlan Crow has told Senate Judiciary Democrats that the billionaire businessman will not provide them with information about his relationship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, reports NBC News.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have asked Crow to provide a full accounting of the gifts, trips, and travel accommodations given to Thomas, or to any other justices or their family members.

Indeed, a May 8 letter from 11 Democratic members of the Judiciary panel, led by Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), directs Crow to provide the committee with itemized lists of all gifts worth more than $415, real estate transactions, and transportation or lodging given to Supreme Court justices or their family members; as well as a list of the occasions when Crow provided any of the justices with entrance to any private, members-only clubs.

Michael D. Bopp, Crow’s attorney, told Durbin in a letter on Monday, May 22, that he believes the committee doesn’t have the authority to “investigate Mr. Crow’s personal friendship with Justice Clarence Thomas.”

Congress “does not have the constitutional power to impose ethics rules and standards on the Supreme Court,” Bopp wrote. “Doing so would exceed Congress’s Article I authority and violate basic separation of powers principles. That precludes the Committee from pursuing an investigation in support of such legislation.”

In response, Durbin released a statement saying the letter “did not provide a credible justification for the failure of Crow and three corporate entities to respond to the Committee’s written questions.”

“The Committee will respond more fully to this letter in short order, and will continue to seek a substantive response to our information requests in order to craft and advance the targeted ethics legislation needed to help restore trust in the Supreme Court,” Durbin said in a statement. “As I’ve said many times before: The Chief Justice has the power to establish a credible, enforceable code of conduct for the Court today.  However, if the Court will not act, this Committee will.”

Bopp argued that the committee lacks a legislative purpose in its request for such a list. He said the “Supreme Court has explicitly stated that Congress has no authority to engage in law enforcement investigations or to conduct investigations aimed at exposing citizens’ private affairs for the sake of exposure.”

Thomas has been under fire over allegations reported by ProPublica that he failed to properly disclose trips and gifts paid for by Crow, the sale of Thomas’ and his relatives’ properties to Crow, and tuition that Crow had paid for one of the justice’s relatives.

Thomas said after ProPublic’s reports that he had been advised that the trips and gifts were “personal hospitality from close personal friends” and did not have to be reported in disclosures.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Hollywood writers go on strike after contract negotiations fail

May 3, 2023

Hollywood writers are closing their laptops and heading to the picket line, reports NBC News.

Thousands of unionized scribes who say they are not paid fairly in the streaming era went on strike early on Tuesday, May 2—bringing television production to a halt. It comes after high-stakes negotiations between a top guild and a trade association representing Hollywood’s marquee studios failed to avert the first walkout in more than 15 years.

The board of directors for the Writers Guild of America, which includes West Coast and East Coast branches, voted unanimously to call for a walkout and said writers face an “existential crisis.”

atement, the union said, “The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union work force, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP)—a trade association that bargains on behalf of studios, television networks, and streaming platforms—said in a statement that its offer included “generous increases in compensation for writers.”

The main “sticking points,” according to the entertainment giants, include union proposals that would require companies to staff television shows with a certain number of writers for a specific period of time, “whether needed or not.”

The strike brings production on broadcast programs, streaming shows and, potentially, some films to a virtual standstill, upending the entertainment industry.

In some cases, the impact will be clear immediately. Late-night talk shows are going dark this week, for example, and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” could nix this weekend’s episode. In other cases, the producers of scripted drama and comedy series may be forced to cut their seasons short or delay filming altogether.

The work stoppage comes amid intense economic and technological upheaval in Hollywood, which is grappling with the increasing dominance of streaming services, the decline of traditional broadcast viewership; and even the rise of artificial intelligence, which has stoked anxiety about the future of creative professions.

WGA members are seeking pay increases and structural changes to a business model that they say has made it increasingly difficult to make a living. In recent years, amid the explosion of streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+, median writer-producer pay has declined 4%, or 23% when adjusted for inflation, according to WGA statistics.

“The companies have used the transition to streaming to cut writer pay and separate writing from production—worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels,” the WGA said in a bulletin released on March 14 titled “Writers Are Not Keeping Up.”

The guild added that more writers are “working at minimum regardless of experience.” In contrast, salaries for top entertainment executives have ballooned in recent years.

In a video message posted on April 11, comedy writer and producer Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (“The Carmichael Show”), a member of the WGA’s negotiating committee, said “this is not an ordinary negotiating cycle,” adding, “We’re fighting for writers’ economic survival and the stability of our profession.”

The writers in the union are particularly frustrated that streaming-era shows run for fewer episodes than their broadcast counterparts, making it tough to maintain a consistent income. In addition, residual fees—money paid when a show is put into syndication or aired oversea—have all but disappeared as more content is hosted exclusively on streaming platforms.

The union is facing issues that might have been unfathomable during the last strike, when Netflix was best known for shipping DVDs in red envelopes and traditional network television channels still generated mammoth ratings.

In one sign of the times, the WGA’s demands for this negotiation cycle include regulations for the “use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

GM to end production of electric Chevy Bolt, its first mass-market EV

April 27, 2023

General Motors plans to cease production of its electric Chevrolet Bolt models by year-end 2023, CEO Mary Barra told investors on Tuesday, April 25, when discussing the company’s first-quarter earnings, reports NBC News.

The Chevy Bolt EV and EUV, a larger version of the car, comprise the vast majority of the company’s electric vehicle sales to date. However, the battery cells in the cars are an older design and chemistry than the automaker’s newer vehicles; such as the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, which utilize GM’s Ultium architecture.

Barra said a suburban Detroit plant that has produced Bolt models since 2016 will be retooled in preparation for production of electric trucks scheduled for next year.

There’s irony in the timing of the Bolt getting axed. It comes amid record production and sales of the vehicle for mass-market consumers, which was GM’s initial goal. The company plans to produce more than 70,000 of the vehicles this year, as it targets to sell more than 400,000 EVs from early 2022 through mid-next year in North America.

GM pushed the Bolt out ahead of the Tesla Model 3 in 2016. The two were considered to be the first long-range EVs designed for mainstream drivers, starting at around $35,000.

But Bolt sales never caught on as well as many executives hoped, as EV sales overall remained miniscule outside of Tesla. The Bolt also suffered a major setback more recently, as GM recalled all of the Bolts ever produced due to a supplier-related battery issue.

“When the Chevrolet Bolt EV launched, it was a huge technical achievement and the first affordable EV, which set in motion GM’s all-electric future,” Chevy spokesperson Cody Williams said in a statement. “Chevrolet will launch several new EVs later this year based on the Ultium platform in key segments, including the Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV. ”

GM expects to launch its upcoming EVs far faster than it has its high-end Hummer models and Cadillac Lyriq—which have been rolling out at a snail’s pace compared to its traditional vehicles.

Barra said that, when the Orion, Michigan, plant—which currently produces the Bolts—reopens and reaches full production, employment will nearly triple, and the company will have capacity to build 600,000 electric trucks annually.

GM has set a target to reach production capacity of 1 million EVs annually in the United States and in China, each, as it attempts to catch up to industry leader Tesla.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Eighty-year-old segregation ‘Spite Wall’ finally comes down in Baltimore

April 13, 2023

For more than 80 years, students at Morgan State University—a public historically black research university in Baltimore, Maryland—saw a massive red brick wall near the school’s entrance. Some thought it was a simple alley; others thought that, perhaps, it protected a few garages. But the structure was actually a “spite wall,” intended to keep Black students from venturing into a once predominantly white Baltimore neighborhood, reports NBC News.

White Baltimore residents banded together in the late 1930s to erect the wall in response to the growing number of Black people in the area attending Morgan State. On Tuesday, April 11, University President David Wilson, school officials, and residents watched as an excavator destroyed the barrier.

“We had no choice but to tear it down,” Wilson said in an interview. “We couldn’t have this symbol of hate staring down every single day. This was an easy decision for us. It was time for us to tear down that hate.”

The wall was built along Hillen Road in front of the school’s entrance and stretching past Northwood Shopping Center in the early 1940s after years of debate and opposition. Residents and neighborhood associations in the predominantly white city already had qualms about the school when it moved to its current location in 1917, Wilson said.

The state’s decision to change what was then Morgan College from a private institution into a public one in 1939 to help Black people only “exacerbated” the racial strife, Wilson said. It happened as Baltimore began to adopt restrictive racial covenants limiting where Black people could live. Baltimore was among the first cities to adopt such practices.

The Baltimore AFRO newspaper published articles chronicling the debate: College trustees called plans for the wall “discriminatory to Morgan College,” while Morris Macht, part of one of Maryland’s largest residential building companies at the time, denied that it had anything to do with race. Ultimately, a zoning board approved the wall and construction began in 1942, according to the Afro-American.

“For the white community, this spite wall was to send a signal and to physically create a divider that would symbolize the segregation that they stood for,” said Dale Green, a professor and architectural historian at Morgan State. “They were not supportive of the integration of African Americans into the greater society. The wall was to fortify the whites from the Blacks.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump pleads not guilty at arraignment in hush money case

April 5, 2023

On Tuesday, April 4 in a criminal courtroom in Manhattan, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his alleged role in hush money payments toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign—the first time a former president has had to plead to criminal charges, reports NBC News.

Trump arrived at the courthouse at 100 Centre Street in lower Manhattan in a presidential-style motorcade from Trump Tower in midtown, where he’d stayed overnight. He was informed he was under arrest, fingerprinted, and processed ahead of his arraignment.

“Seems so SURREAL—WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America,” he said in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, which published as he was arriving at the courthouse.

The indictment was unsealed in a proceeding before Judge Juan Merchan. Trump was flanked by his lawyers inside the courtroom as prosecutors outlined their case, alleging he made covert and illegal payments to affect the 2016 election. He faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted.

Asked for his plea, Trump answered, “Not guilty.”

Prosecutor Chris Conroy told the court that Trump engaged in an “illegal conspiracy” to aid his campaign and “undermine the election.”

The statement of facts compiled by prosecutors in conjunction with the indictment said Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”

It outlined three people who received hush money payments: adult film star Stormy Daniels, Playboy model Karen McDougal, and a former Trump Tower doorman who’d claimed to have a story about a child Trump had out of wedlock.

Daniels was paid $130,000 by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, while McDougal and the doorman were paid $150,000 and $30,000, respectively, by AMI, the publishers of The National Enquirer.

The Enquirer later concluded that the doorman story was not true, and it wanted to release the doorman from the agreement, but it held off on doing so until after the election at Cohen’s request, prosecutors said. The court filing said Trump thanked AMI CEO David Pecker for his help by inviting him to dinner at the White House in the summer of 2017.

The indictment said the falsified records Trump signed off on were all made in 2017, when he was president. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters the false statements were “made to cover up other crimes,” including violations of New York election law and federal campaign finance limits.

Addressing supporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Tuesday night, Trump said, “I never thought anything like this could happen in America.”

“The only crime I’ve committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it,” he said, calling the case “fake.”

“It should be dropped immediately,” he said.

The legal troubles, media spectacle, and porn-star-hush-money salaciousness at the heart of the case are a new chapter for the New York tycoon-turned-TV star-turned-politician, whose career has careened from scandal to success for four decades, NBC said—noting that this time, unlike his bankrupted casinos or his failed marriages, many of Trump’s supporters and detractors argue, the fate of American democracy is hanging in the balance as the former president increasingly conflates any legal woes as an effort to illegitimately deny him a return to power.

Conroy also told the judge prosecutors were “very concerned” about Trump’s inflammatory social media posts about Bragg, other prosecutors, and the judge—saying they could have an impact on jurors and witnesses.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche told the judge his client is “upset” and was simply exercising his First Amendment rights.

The judge warned both sides against escalating their rhetoric but did not issue any type of gag order. “Please refrain from making statements that would incite violence or civil unrest,” Merchan said.

Trump last month called for “protests” in the event of his arrest,; and he later ratcheted up his rhetoric, warning of “potential death and destruction,” if he was charged.

The arraignment is just the beginning of a lengthy legal process that could take months or years to resolve. The case is expected to go to trial next year.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Study: Having a pet may take a toll on your sleep

March  30, 2023

Your beloved pet may be interrupting, or impairing the quality of, your sleep, research conducted at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee has found, reports NBC News.

Although pets can have many positive effects on health, pet ownership was linked with poorer sleep, according to the study results, published the journal, Human-Animal Interactions on March 24.

The researchers looked at data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which asks questions on a variety of health topics. They adjusted for factors that could affect sleep—including race, income, age, gender, and BMI—and focused on whether a person owned a cat or a dog.

Sleep quality was measured by looking at reported bouts of snoring or snorting at night; being diagnosed with a sleep disorder; having trouble sleeping or falling asleep; waking up during the night; waking up too early; feeling unrested; not getting enough sleep; needing medication to sleep; or having leg jerks or cramps. Taking longer than 15 minutes to fall asleep and regularly getting fewer than six hours of sleep were also indicators of poor sleep.

The findings showed that having a dog was associated with a greater chance of having a sleep disorder or, overall, having trouble sleeping; while having a cat was associated with having a higher chance of leg jerks during the night.

The study was observational, meaning the researchers could not say for certain the pets caused poor sleep, but the results were consistent with previous studies that found that pet ownership negatively affected sleep quality.

Lead study author Lauren Wisnieski, an assistant professor of Public Health and Research at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, noted that the study didn’t look at where people’s pets slept. For example, is a dog taking up all the space on the bed? Is a cat curling up right next to the pet owner’s head?

That would be a good direction for future studies, she said, “to ask owners more about where their pets sleep and how those pets are disrupting their sleep.”

Lieve van Egmond, a sleep researcher at the Uppsala Sleep Science Laboratory in Sweden, noticed that her sleep changed when she got her kitten, Bacco. She looked into the relationship between pets and sleep quality while earning her doctorate. She was not involved with the new study, but did lead a separate study that also used self-reported data to examine how pets may affect sleep.

In that study, published in 2021, van Egmond and her team  found that having a cat was associated with a shorter night’s sleep, but having a dog was not linked to changes in sleep. Still, she noted that more research would need to be done to establish whether the findings were a coincidence, or if pets were truly causing sleep issues.

She said the association found in the new study likely has more to do with owning a pet—and the many different factors tied to that unique cat or dog—rather than where those pets sleep.

“The age of the pet has a big influence on whether or not they keep you up at night,” van Egmond said. “If you have multiple pets, they can egg each other on.” 

With dogs, she said, it depends a lot on the breed and the activity level it needs. Making sure a pet gets plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation during the day and working with its natural instincts can help animals — and their owners — get better rest. 

Unlike dogs, cats tend to have bursts of energy at night, van Egmond said. That was certainly the case for Bacco, who would run circles around her apartment and, even if her bedroom door was shut, would wake her up by scratching at it to be let in, she said.

She eventually consulted a cat behavioral specialist and learned that if she played with Bacco before she was ready for bed, she would activate the cat’s hunting instinct. By being fed after that, Bacco would feel that he had successfully hunted his food and was rewarded with a nice meal in return. His natural instinct after that was to groom himself and go to sleep—just as van Egmond was getting ready for bed herself.

The new study “indicates that pets can influence your sleep, but we have to really take into account that pets are much more than a facilitator or inhibitor of sleep. They are part of the family,” she said.

Still, people can use this information to evaluate why they may not be getting enough rest, she said. “If they have pets and they have poor sleep, they should look at where this is coming from,” van Egmond said. If it is the pet, “see where the bottleneck is and how you can make it so the cat or dog will not interrupt you when you are sleeping.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Grand jury heard phone call of Trump pressuring Georgia Speaker to overturn Biden’s victory

March 20, 2023

The Fulton County special grand jury heard a phone call between former President Donald Trump and the late Georgia House Speaker David Ralston as part of its investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, the jury’s foreperson, Emily Kohrs, told NBC News on Wednesday, March 15.

During the December call, Trump attempted to pressure the then-speaker into calling a special legislative session to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, Kohrs said. 

The call recording, which was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, lasted about ten minutes, Kohrs said. She recalled that Trump asked Ralston who would stop him from holding a special session. According to Kohrs, Ralston responded, “A federal judge, that’s who.”

Ralston, a Republican who spent more than a decade as Georgia’s House speaker, died in November. Ralston’s former spokesperson and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The grand jury, which conducted a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his allies made any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections” in the state, completed its work in January—submitting a report on its findings to District Attorney Fani Willis.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled last month that parts of the grand jury’s report could be made public. McBurney also said in the ruling that the report includes recommendations for “who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what,” but those parts would remain sealed for now.

A group of news organizations had petitioned him to make the report public, and he agreed with some of their reasoning.

“[W]hile publication may not be convenient for the pacing of the district attorney’s investigation, the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release,” McBurney wrote.

Willis’ office had asked that the entire report remain under wraps for the time being.

In unsealed parts of the report released last month, grand jurors said they believed that some witnesses may have lied under oath.

“A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” said a section of the report released last month. “The grand jury recommends that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

In an interview with NBC News’ “Nightly News” last month, Kohrs said the grand jury recommended indicting over a dozen people, which “might” include the former president.

“There are certainly names that you will recognize, yes. There are names also you might not recognize,” Kohrs said in the interview.

She said the list of recommended indictments is “not a short list,” and there were “definitely some names you expect,” declining to name anyone specifically in accordance with the judge’s instructions.

“I don’t think that there are any giant plot twists coming,” Kohrs said. “I don’t think there’s any giant ‘that’s not the way I expected this to go at all’ moments. I would not expect you to be shocked.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

A pro-Trump PAC files an ethics complaint against DeSantis

March 17, 2023

Donald Trump spent much of the past year teasing a 2024 presidential campaign—telling New York magazine last summer that he had “already made that decision” on whether to run and promising his rally crowds for months that they would be “very happy” about his choice, reports The New York Times.

Now, Trump’s allies are accusing Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida of doing the same—but insisting that he has violated state law.

MAGA Inc., a super PAC supporting Trump, filed a complaint with Florida officials on Wednesday, March 15, alleging that DeSantis—the former president’s chief potential rival for the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination —is operating a shadow presidential campaign.

The super PAC said that DeSantis should be considered a presidential candidate because he has taken meetings with donors, raised money for a political committee, and toured the country to sell books, while allies are reaching out to potential campaign aides.

“Governor DeSantis’s failure to declare his candidacy is no mere oversight,” reads the MAGA Inc. complaint to the Florida Commission on Ethics. “It is a coordinated effort specifically designed for him to accept, as unethical gifts, illegal campaign contributions and certain personal benefits.”

The pro-Trump super PAC, which sent the complaint via certified mail on Wednesday, is asking the state commission to impose “the most severe penalties” under Florida ethics law, which include, among other things, impeachment, removal from office, public censure and ballot disqualification. NBC News earlier reported on the complaint on Wednesday.

A spokesperson in the governor’s office, Taryn Fenske, said the complaint was part of a “list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks,” adding, “It’s inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes.”

While DeSantis hasn’t formally declared a White House bid, he is checking all the boxes of a potential candidate, the Times said. He published a book that could double as the outline of a 2024 campaign platform and has been promoting the book on a nationwide tour—including stops in states that are hosting the first three Republican primary contests. He has also laid out foreign policy positions this week on Fox News.

The allegations from the pro-Trump group echo a similar complaint filed against Trump last year in March by a Democratic super PAC. In that complaint, the Democratic group, American Bridge, argued to the Federal Election Commission that Trump had been behaving like a 2024 presidential candidate while avoiding federal oversight by not filing a statement of candidacy.

The group filed a lawsuit in July against the federal commission, seeking to force it to take action against Trump within 30 days. The lawsuit accused Trump of trying to disguise his run for the presidency in order to leave voters “in the dark about the contributions and expenditures he has received, which is information they are entitled to.”

The FEC did not take action against Trump. He eventually announced a formal presidential campaign four months later.

Trump’s allies could face a similarly tough road in persuading the state ethics commission to act. DeSantis has appointed five of the nine members of the commission.

Research contact: @nytimes

‘Wombcam’: Fetuses smile when mother eats carrots, frown when she eats kale

March  7, 2023

Fetuses in the womb smiled after their mothers ate carrots—but grimaced after they ate kale, during a study recently conducted at Britain’s Durham University, People magazine reports.

Findings were released last September from a study of nearly 100 pregnant women and their fetuses in England, during which the mothers were fed capsules filled with powdered versions of kale and carrots.

For the study, which was published in the Sage Journals, researchers gave 35 women the equivalent of one medium-size carrot while 34 women consumed the equivalent of 100 grams of chopped kale. The rest of the participants did not consume either.

According to researchers, the fetuses in the study were at 32 to 36 weeks gestation. The participants in the research were white British women between the ages of 18 and 40 with “healthy, singleton fetuses.”

After 20 minutes, 4D ultrasound images showed varying facial reactions from the fetuses depending on what they were fed. The fetuses exposed to the carrot appeared to be smiling while those exposed to kale looked to be grimacing. The control group did not have the same responses.

“We are the first ones who could actually show on an ultrasound scan the facial expressions in relation to the food which the mother has just consumed,” said Nadja Reissland, a co-author of the study and head of the Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab at Durham University, per NBC News.

Researchers also found that facial responses to the flavors became more complex as the fetuses matured. Reissland noted that she believes the new study could help our “understanding of how exposure to flavors in the womb affects eating habits later in life,” NBC News reports.

Research contact: @people

United says it will make it easier for families to book seats with their children for free

February 22, 2023

United Airlines announced on Monday, February 20, that new technology will open up more seats on its flights so children can sit with an adult in their party without paying a fee—a type of charge that’s drawn scrutiny from the Biden Administration in recent months, reports NBC News.

United will give parents or other adult travelers accompanying a child younger than 12 access to “preferred” seats as well as regular economy seats, if needed, at the time of booking so they can sit together.

The change applies to travelers with standard and basic economy tickets and will be fully in effect next month, although United has already increased some of the seat availability.

The airline also won’t charge customers a fare difference if they switch to a flight to the same destination that has adjacent seats.

Airlines in recent years have been charging travelers to book “preferred” location seats on flights. They don’t come with extra legroom or other perks but are often in front of the plane, though they can cover a significant number of seats of an aircraft.

President Joe Biden has called on lawmakers to “fast-track the ban on family seating fees,” the White House said earlier this month. In July, the Transportation Department told U.S. airlines to “do everything in their power” to ensure that travelers under age 13 are seated next to an accompanying adult without additional charges.

“Baggage fees are bad enough,” Biden said during his State of the Union address earlier this month. “Airlines can’t treat your child like a piece of baggage.”

Such seats usually vary in price. On a roundtrip between Newark, New Jersey, and Los Angeles in August, preferred seats on a United flight showed as $37 each way for one person.

Delta Air Lines said it blocks certain rows of seats so families can sit together. “Delta does not charge family seating fees and, regardless of the ticket class purchased, will always work with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure their family seating needs are met,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

American Airlines’ booking platform will automatically search for available seats together at the time of booking for main cabin and basic economy passengers. Preferred seats and its extra legroom section, Main Cabin Extra, open up the day of departure if they’re needed, a spokesperson told CNBC.

Research contact: @NBCNews