How many of us have gotten onboard a flight, only to see an infant sitting on their parent’s lap? Most of us probably don’t think much of it, but as it turns out, flight attendants do. In fact, they have been pushing to see an end to infants sitting on their parent’s laps during flights.
According to the Association of Flight Attendants, this has been in the making for 30 years – with flight attendants asking that all passengers have their own seats.
According to the Washington Post, the union has been asking that infants travel in a car seat while onboard a plane, with the group using the example of a Hawaiian Airlines flight in December that injured 36 people, including a 14-month-old.
While many young kids seem to travel in their parents’ laps on flights every year, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) guidelines for traveling with children actually say, “the safest place for your child under the age of two on a U.S. airplane is in [an] approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not in your lap.” But even with these guidelines, we still see many children not traveling in this manner.
As travel expert, Sarah Dandashy, shared with Denver 7, “I’m very surprised that regulations and rules around this have not been in place. You think about the rules and regulations that we have to have just in our own private vehicles. And then you think about an airplane, and you think about the speed that the airplane is going.”
The Association of Flight Attendants as well as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) both say it’s impossible for any parent to able to keep a firm grip on their child during cases of severe turbulence in the air. Because of this, they want to see infants in their own seats in an approved car seat.
However, the biggest question coming out of this debate is, who is going to shoulder the costs?
As Dandashy said, “Is it going to be the cost that’s put onto the consumer? Basically, parents buying an additional seat for their child? Or will the cost of them be put onto the airlines? Or will they actually offer maybe a seat for free?” Many parents are pushing back against the change, as requiring an additional seat for infants and a carseat adds a lot of extra costs and hassle to air travel.
The current FAA authorization bill expires in September, and as a result, the Association of Flight Attendants is pushing for the change to be implemented in the next FAA reauthorization bill.
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