Mom Told 'Ditch the Car Seat or Get Off the Plane'

Christie Haskell

After the topic of car seats on airplanes being brought up constantly, and the legality of flying without one being a point of consideration, this news story confused me, and likely, really confused this poor mother.

We're told our babies on airplanes, in turbulence, would be like a projectile and go flying, or our bodies would crush them if we tried to cling to them. So when Melissa Bradley took her infant car seat onboard a SkyWest airplane, the last thing she expected was to be told she was not allowed to use it -- she could either hold her baby or get off the plane.

Like we're told to do, Bradley carried her infant car seat onto the plane and installed it rear-facing into the plane's seat.

The flight attendant came over and argued with her that she needed to turn the seat forward-facing, to which she replied, obviously, that infant seats can't go forward-facing -- they're not made to install that way, and it's not safe.

Once the attendant dropped that argument, he told her that her Graco infant seat wasn't FAA-approved, which of course is equally ridiculous, and she showed him the sticker that proved him wrong. It's worth noting nowhere on the sticker does it say "FAA-Approved." It says "The restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft." I'm surprised he didn't argue with her over that some more.

Apparently incredibly determined, the attendant then gave her the ultimatum of holding her baby for the flight and not using the seat, or getting off the plane. Like many people when confronted with stressful situations, she caved and agreed, and spent the entire flight terrified for her daughter's safety -- not surprising with all the information about how unsafe it is being discussed daily.

There's no question the attendant was in the wrong, and the airline has since apologized and said they've spoken with the attendant.

I know car seats on airplanes can be a pain in the butt, so I can't imagine going through everything to get the seat there, only to have some seriously misinformed attendant start spewing fallacies at me about the seat itself. Poor Bradley!

(Edited to add: Mr. and Mrs. Bradley have commented on this post and yes, they did pay for the seat the baby, Sunshine's car seat was to be in.)

Have you ever had problems taking a car seat on a plane?


Image via Graco

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