Another day, another story about an airline treating parents unreasonably. American Airlines is currently under fire for advising parents against putting their baby in a safety seat, as it would delay take-off, resulting in a late departure fine from the FAA. A flight attendant on an American Eagle flight headed from New York City to Columbus, OH noticed that the approved safety seat a 14-month-old was sitting in was not buckled properly when they were doing their final check after two grueling hours of sitting on the tarmac. Despite the FAA vouching that "the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap," the flight attendant told the parents to simply hold their child instead of fixing the problem, as it would take to long. When Dad protested, he was given the choice of being thrown off the plane, or holding his son during takeoff and landing. Lovely.
Obnoxious airline debacle aside, let's talk about flying with little ones for a moment here: It's basically the opposite of a walk in the park. But there are some things that we can and should keep in mind when flying with young kids. For one, a safety seats. They're important.
This family was right in bringing aboard a safety seat for their child to fly in (and, yes, the airline was wrong for putting a fine over the child's safety). The FAA continually recommends parents travel with an CRS, as "it's the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination." And if you do fly with an CRS, please make sure it has been approved by the FAA. It should say, "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft" printed on it. Otherwise, you may be asked to check it as baggage, which defeats the whole purpose. Another smart thing to do before take-off might be to ask one of the flight attendants if your kiddo's seat is properly attached, fastened, buckled, and harnessed. As we all know, there's always puh-lenty of time before taking off to make sure it's installed correctly.
More from The Stir: Baby Flying on Parent's Lap Gets Thrown Across Airplane on Terrifying Flight
All this said, the airline is completely at fault here for not taking the time to fix what they saw was wrong with the CRS before take-off, full-well knowing the parents paid for the airline seat, the safety seat, and that it's the safest place for a child to be. Sure, the best thing for this family to do would have been to check with a flight attendant (or vice-versa) before take-off, but when you're traveling with a 14-month-old and you're delayed two hours on the tarmac, it's a lot of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Not cool, American Airlines. Not cool at all.
Do you travel with a safety seat?
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