The mother of a one-year-old baby girl says she was threatened with being ejected from a SkyWest flight when she tried to convince flight attendants that her child’s car seat was acceptable for use on the plane.
The mom and her husband had purchased an extra seat for their daughter so they could properly buckle down the rear-facing Graco seat. The parents say they had already made eight round trips in just the last year with the same seat and had never had any problems.
But as they were boarding the SkyWest flight from Aspen, CO, to San Francisco, they were told by a flight attendant that the seat lacked a sticker saying it was FAA-approved and that the baby would have to fly on one of their laps.
When the mom began to argue her case with the flight crew, a flight attendant threatened to remove her from the flight.
“I said ‘my baby is not going to be safe,’” the mom recalls to KABC-TV. “He said, ‘That’s it. You’re off this plane.’”
The couple eventually located the sticker declaring the seat as “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” However, the flight crew said it could only be used if it faced forward, the opposite of how it is intended to be used.
From the Marin Independent Journal:
In fact, FAA rules say “no aircraft operator may prohibit a child from using an approved (child restraint system) when the parent/guardian purchases a seat for the child.”
“Aft-facing” systems that won’t fit in standard plane seats “may be moved to a bulkhead seat or a seat in a row with additional pitch,” the rules state.
A rep for SkyWest confirms the flight attendant was not exactly in the right on this one: “We are regretful of the misunderstanding and have followed up directly with this flight attendant… Our first priority is truly the safety of all onboard our aircraft.”
To atone for the error, the parents were given a refund for their tickets but the mom says that “my point isn’t to get free tickets… I want this to be really made a big deal out of so that they change their training for their flight attendants… Even after I showed him the sticker, he didn’t know that (the seat) was OK.”