Flying Lap Infants

I’ve addressed the “issue” of lap infants on flights several times. Even though I have no children of my own (I have traveled with my own nephews several times), it’s a subject I feel pretty passionate about.  While I understand the financial hardship of purchasing a seat for a small child, one that you may end up holding for an extended period during a flight, I do not believe it is safe. On a United flight this week from Denver to Billings the plane his severe turbulence, injuring several passengers and crew members.  There is also a report of a child flying up in the air during the turbulence, though not injured.

I do believe there is a difference between flying to visit family and taking a vacation – one you may have limited control over (family can be persistent), while the other (vacation) is completely discretionary.  And, if you can’t afford to pay for your child on a flight for a vacation, then perhaps you need to reconsider if you can afford the trip.

Mommy Points wrote a great article about lap infants and their safety this week.  Personally, I’m not a fan of the FAA’s decision to allow lap infants and I wonder what will happen when just one lap infant gets seriously injured on a flight.

Another trend in the lap infant debate is the roll of airlines.  I have heard stories of passengers being pressured into NOT buying a seat for a child under 2.  While the FAA allows this, I don’t think they ever intended to take the option away from parents.  But what about this case with Spirit Airlines that Chris Elliot highlighted a few days ago.  Parents who purchased a seat for their child and were asked to give it up to another passenger due to a broken seat. I can understand the parents wanting to be helpful and maybe even feeling a little pressured to agree, since they were already on the plane.  But why do airlines underestimate the risk? If I tried to book a seat for my under 2 child and the airline pressured me not to, and something happened to the child.  Who am I suing?

While I think this is an issue that will only be resolved by the FAA, I hope it’s not at the expense of a child who is injured.  Until then it is a choice for parents to make, but I do hope they make their decision based on more than just the financial aspect.

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