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American Airlines makes parent move child’s safety seat so someone could recline

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Dalek

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Mar 5, 2014
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Why Did American Airlines Make Me Move My Child’s Safety Seat So Someone Could Recline

Planning ahead can go a long way when it comes to reducing the amount of stress parents face when flying with their young children. At least that was Becca’s thought when she researched and decided to pay extra so her 7-month-old son could travel rear-facing in his safety seat on a recent American Airlines flight. Despite Federal Aviation Administration rules — and American’s own policies — things didn’t go as planned when a flight attendant ordered Becca to move the child seat so the passenger in the row in front of her could recline.

Becca tells Consumerist that she purchased three seats for the flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles in May specifically so her son’s car seat could be rear-facing, per safety stipulations for children under one year of age.

After examining FAA guidelines and those of American Airlines, she felt confident paying an additional $300 for her son to have his own seat so that his rear-facing carseat would fit comfortably.

Under those FAA rules, parents are urged to secure their child in a hard-backed child restraint seat (CRS) or device for the entire flight. Based on the FAA suggestions, children under 20 pounds should be in a rear-facing safety seat. Becca’s son weighed 17.5 pounds at the time of the flight.

Per American Airlines’ own policies, infants can either be held by a parent, or by someone who is at least 16 years old, or have their own reserved seat with a safety seat approved by the FAA.

These seats must “have a solid back and seat, restraint straps installed to securely hold the child and a label indicating approval for use on an aircraft,” and be installed per the label on the carrier.

Becca’s son’s carseat met these requirements, and was placed aft-facing per the label.

The flight started smoothly, but shortly after takeoff Becca said she received unexpected pushback from the flight’s crew and another passenger.

“American Airlines jeopardized the safety of my infant so that a passenger could recline their seat,” Becca recalled. “The seat in front of my infant was an emergency row seat where the female had about 6 feet of leg room, but she wanted to recline her seat. My carseat prevented that, which upset this passenger.”

Becca said the woman asked if she could “do something about the carseat,” to which she said she couldn’t, informing her fellow passenger that per the carseat label she couldn’t move it to the forward-facing position.


According to the FAA guideline, a CRS must be installed in a forward-facing aircraft seat, in accordance with instructions on the label. This includes placing the CRS in the appropriate forward- or aft-facing direction as indicated on the label for the size.

Despite following these rules and pointing out the label – which includes a red line stating “this restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” – Becca says a flight attendant “continued to argue with me and requested that she adjust the carseat to allow for the patron’s seat to recline.”

While American’s policy notes that safety seats can’t be used in exit rows or the rows directly next to one, she was able to purchase the seat specifically for that reason and wasn’t informed of any issue prior or after take off. Additionally, per the FAA, if an “approved CRS, for which a ticket has been purchased, does not fit in a particular seat on the aircraft, the airline is responsible for accommodating the CRS in another seat in the same class of service.”

That option wasn’t provided to Becca, and the flight attendant moved her son’s carseat diagonally, as it would not fit any other way. At this point, the safety seat was at a “big incline.”

“I do not understand why this passenger’s comfort was more important than my child’s safety,” says Becca, who tried, after the flight, to bring the incident to American’s attention.

She says the airline ignored her until she commented on the American Facebook page. Eventually, the airline offered her 10,000 rewards miles, but she says that would only cover about one-third of the ticket she’d paid full price for.

“This kind of treatment is not only unfair, it is extremely unsafe,” she says. “American put my child at risk. I bought a seat on purpose, and all of this occurred so that one customer could recline two inches.”


A spokesperson for the FAA tells Consumerist that “no airline may prohibit a child from occupying an FAA approved Child Restraint System, if certain conditions are met.”

“A child safety seat should be installed in compliance with FAA regulations and the airline’s FAA-approved procedures,” the spokesperson continued. “The FAA is reviewing the incident with the airline and will take appropriate action.”
Team Seat Recliners continues to be the worst of humanity.
 

poppabk

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Jan 21, 2008
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That is pretty messed up. Some flight attendant is probably having a real bad day.
 

VGChampion

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May 5, 2007
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While American’s policy notes that safety seats can’t be used in exit rows or the rows directly next to one, she was able to purchase the seat specifically for that reason and wasn’t informed of any issue prior or after take off.

I wonder if the Airline actually knew that's the reason the seat was purchased. There are no winners in this situation though.
 

hodayathink

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Mar 13, 2013
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So if I'm reading all of that correctly, according to the rules what should have happened is that she shouldn't have been able to buy that seat in the first place. But once the seat was bought, the flight attendant's choices should have been move the entire family to a new set of seats (because there's no way you can just move the kid) or tell the recliner to deal with it.
 

Sho_Nuff82

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Jan 2, 2007
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Team recliners literally hate babies confirmed.

So if I'm reading all of that correctly, according to the rules what should have happened is that she shouldn't have been able to buy that seat in the first place. But once the seat was bought, the flight attendant's choices should have been move the entire family to a new set of seats (because there's no way you can just move the kid) or tell the recliner to deal with it.

You're not reading it correctly. She bought an extra seat for the child and put an airline approved child safety seat in it.
 

Calamari41

41 > 38
Jan 6, 2012
16,694
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620
So if I'm reading all of that correctly, according to the rules what should have happened is that she shouldn't have been able to buy that seat in the first place. But once the seat was bought, the flight attendant's choices should have been move the entire family to a new set of seats (because there's no way you can just move the kid) or tell the recliner to deal with it.

The bolded. In this situation and every situation.
 

ZPs

Member
May 18, 2013
142
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I'm not really sure what to think here. Given that I've seen people take babies on to airplanes all the time without this weird sort of seat contraption, it doesn't seem like it's particularly necessary for a baby to have a safe flight. Furthermore, it's a pretty dick move to go onto a plane knowing that you're going to tell a random passenger "screw you, you don't get to recline because I have a baby, lol".


I think on principle I might actually side more with the person who wanted to recline, but in practice it would have been better to just let it go and not cause a scene over something so stupid in the first place.
 

Sho_Nuff82

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Jan 2, 2007
39,633
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I'm not really sure what to think here. Given that I've seen people take babies on to airplanes all the time without this weird sort of seat contraption, it doesn't seem like it's particularly necessary for a baby to have a safe flight. Furthermore, it's a pretty dick move to go onto a plane knowing that you're going to tell a random passenger "screw you, you don't get to recline because I have a baby, lol".


I think on principle I might actually side more with the person who wanted to recline, but in practice it would have been better to just let it go and not cause a scene over something so stupid in the first place.

She bought the seat, which legally requires a child safety seat.
 

ZPs

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May 18, 2013
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She bought the seat, which legally requires a child safety seat.

Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.
 

Sho_Nuff82

Member
Jan 2, 2007
39,633
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Oh look, 'mothers and young infants should not travel' GAF has arrived.

It's just a "recliners are always right" GAF spillover.

Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

The FAA recommends it over holding the child.

For safety. It's all clearly there in the OP.

She didn't do this to screw people.
 

numble

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Apr 22, 2007
28,682
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

So if I'm reading all of that correctly, according to the rules what should have happened is that she shouldn't have been able to buy that seat in the first place. But once the seat was bought, the flight attendant's choices should have been move the entire family to a new set of seats (because there's no way you can just move the kid) or tell the recliner to deal with it.
No, FAA recommends using a child seat in its own seat for safety. But it is not mandatory since it will be very expensive.
 

TheCochese

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May 28, 2014
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

You're telling someone to hold an infant for multiple hours?

The fuck are you on?
 

poppabk

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Jan 21, 2008
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.
Holding the baby is blatantly not very safe. Most people choose that option (me included) because a full ticket for a baby is expensive and the chance of an accident is low. But you are obviously taking a chance with the babies safety, one which the airline will not let you take for anyone else. Having her baby travel as safely as possible does not seem like her being selfish.
 

TheBryanJZX90

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May 4, 2012
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

Both are options offered by the airline and both are allowed. Most people don't pay for an extra seat and just hold the kid because it is cheaper. But a separate seat with car seat is safer obviously. If there's a lot of turbulence that baby in its mom's arms could go flying into the ceiling.

This lady paid extra money to get the safest option for her kid but was denied that.
 

Griss

Member
Sep 26, 2013
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Kind of establishes that airlines and flight attendants see reclining your seat as a part of the rights you get when you buy a ticket

#teamalwaysrecline
 

Dalek

Member
Mar 5, 2014
19,913
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535
Kind of establishes that airlines and flight attendants see reclining your seat as a part of the rights you get when you buy a ticket

#teamalwaysrecline

May you be forever tortured by being squeezed in a claustrophobic existence in hell for eternity.
 

Tragicomedy

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Nov 12, 2011
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

This is an awful post. Every single bit of it.

Sometimes I wonder if recliners enjoy the way they come across.
 

MikeDip

God bless all my old friends/And god bless me too, why pretend?
Aug 23, 2012
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As an always recliner, too bad for those around me screw you I paid for a reclining seat person, I'd give this one to the baby and the baby seat.

I found the line, it's the baby.
 

LumpOfCole

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Apr 11, 2009
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“The seat in front of my infant was an emergency row seat where the female had about 6 feet of leg room, but she wanted to recline her seat. My carseat prevented that, which upset this passenger.”

In every plane I've been on, the emergency exit row specifically doesn't have reclining seats.
 

Lenz44

Banned
Sep 8, 2010
713
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

Except for my kid (11 months) who only sleeps in car seats on the plane or else is crawling and screaming to try and move around. Holding a baby for 3+hours on a plane is a living hell for me, the kid and everyone around. Also that person didn't need to recline, no one needs to recline as you start getting up into someone else's business. Oh yeah, and the safety thing the fight attendant messed up.
 

MaxDOL

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Apr 24, 2012
312
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Team Seat Recliners are selfish people.

Meh I can sit/sleep with out seat recline in long flight from Bangkok to London/Johannesburg easily.
 

Yaboosh

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Mar 18, 2010
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Couldn't she have switched seats with the infant so her infant wasn't behind an asshat?
 

ZPs

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May 18, 2013
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This is an awful post. Every single bit of it.

Sometimes I wonder if recliners enjoy the way they come across.

I'm 6'2 - I'm hardly someone who enjoys getting reclined on. However, I realize that's something that simply happens on airplanes, and I'm not going to go out of my way to put my comfort over the comfort of other people who have expectations for what they can do in their seat.

What isn't cool is going on to an airplane with the expectation that your personal comfort while travelling somehow exceeds the rights of other passengers on the plane. In essence you're putting yourself above others in that situation. Which some people (understandably so) aren't going to be very amenable to. I think most reasonable people would have let this particular situation go instead of making a scene (myself included), but you can't deny the fact that going on to an airplane with the idea that other people have to sacrifice their needs for your child is certainly selfish.
 

Atilac

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Feb 8, 2007
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Except you don't need to do that to transport a baby. You can hold the baby for the duration of the flight, which is what most people do to begin with. She instead opted for the option that was going to randomly select someone to have a shittier flight so she could have a more comfortable flight. Seems pretty self centered to me.

She choose the option that best safeguarded her child's safety, the self centered one is the cunt who wanted to recline and couldn't be an adult about it.
 

thefro

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May 14, 2006
17,455
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Was everyone else in that row reclining?

Seems like the easiest thing to do would be to move the safety seat to one of the other two seats in that row or have the passenger swap seats
 

Aaronrules380

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Feb 19, 2013
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I'm 6'2 - I'm hardly someone who enjoys getting reclined on. However, I realize that's something that simply happens on airplanes, and I'm not going to go out of my way to put my comfort over the comfort of other people who have expectations for what they can do in their seat.

What isn't cool is going on to an airplane with the expectation that your personal comfort while travelling somehow exceeds the rights of other passengers on the plane. In essence you're putting yourself above others in that situation. Which some people (understandably so) aren't going to be very amenable to. I think most reasonable people would have let this particular situation go instead of making a scene (myself included), but you can't deny the fact that going on to an airplane with the idea that other people have to sacrifice their needs for your child is certainly selfish.
It's not a matter of comfort for the child, it's a matter of safety. By the same token, you're saying the right of the person to recline is more important than the right of the child to have a safe flight
 

TomServo

Junior Member
Dec 19, 2007
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...I think most reasonable people would have let this particular situation go instead of making a scene (myself included), but you can't deny the fact that going on to an airplane with the idea that other people have to sacrifice their needs for your child is certainly selfish.

She needed to recline?
 
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