American Airlines Admits Crew Shouldn’t Have Refused To Allow Safety Harness, Will Modify Pre-Flight Manual

The CARES harness in use by children who are not related to this article.

The CARES harness in use by children who are not related to this article.

Remember John and his family, who wanted to use a child safety harness approved by the Federal Aviation Administration on a recent American Airlines flight, but were told they couldn’t? American has now admitted the pilot and crew were wrong for telling the family the device couldn’t be used during taxi and takeoff, and told John the airline will update its pre-flight manuals.

John and his wife had brought a CARES (Child Aviation Safety Restraint System) harness for their two-and-a-half-year-old.

In spite of the fact that it’s approved by the FAA, meaning airlines are required to allow its use, he says the pilot refused to take off until they removed their child from the harness.

American did confirm to Consumerist that CARES harnesses “may be used during all phases of flight,” but today John says he spoke with a customer service representative from the airline, who apologized, and admitted that the flight crew and pilot erred in their actions, and said the situation would be addressed with them.

“Their pre-flight manual will be modified to specifically address the CARES harness,” John added.

Because the family used award tickets from Alaska Airlines to book their seats on the flight, American could not provide them a full refund. John tells Consumerist that the airline did, however, offer them a transferrable $200 flight voucher.

“We have no plans to fly on American anytime soon but I appreciate the good faith gesture,” John wrote.

“The primary goal was to ensure that no one else would have to go through the same situation,” John said, adding that he hopes his story has helped to achieve this end.

We reached out to American to confirm the information John relayed to us, and will update this post when we hear back.