Unfortunately training is far too short, especially in regard to child safety. The FAA strongly recommends that all infants should have their own purchased seat and fly in a carseat. Many airlines will allow an infant to have an empty seat, but they are not obligated to.
If the child is rear facing in a car they should also be rear facing on a plane. If the child is forward facing in a car they should be forward facing on a plane.
A DansDeals Facebook member shares his experience on Southwest where the flight attendant demanded that they use their carseat in the forward facing position and not the rear facing position as it was hindering the ability of the passenger in front of them to recline their seat.
Others are sharing similar experiences on American and JetBlue and I’ve had the same happen to me on United and on Cathay Pacific. In fact I learned afterward that Cathay Pacific specifically outlaws rear facing carseats and they require belly buckles for lap children that the FAA says are dangerous. But for domestic carriers you can always use a rear or forward facing carseat.
As I wrote in the trip report, out current travel solution is:
-Talia in a Chicco Keyfit 30 pushed in an Uppa Baby Vista which is gate checked. Those are both her everyday items.
-Rafi in a lightweight Cosco Scenara convertible carseat pushed in a GoGo Babyz Travelmate. Those are only used when we fly.
We also have an UppaBaby Rumble Seat that we check under and use when needed at the destination.
Carseats make sure the child can’t open the seatbelt at will and also makes it easier for your child to sleep on the plane.
Make sure your carseat visibly says “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” on the label on the side of the seat.
The Chicco Keyfit can only be installed rear-facing, there is no way for it to be installed forward facing. Even convertible carseats are often designed to be forward facing only for children weighing more than 22 pounds, so it is a safety issue to put an infant in that seat forward facing. To be sure you don’t run into problems with an uninformed flight attendant be sure to bring along at least 1 if not all of these FAA directives when you fly with a child in a carseat:
-FAA Child Safety Tips (1 page)
-FAA Regulation: No airline may refuse a carseat for a child with a paid ticket (1 page)
-FAA Advisory Circular with full carseat rules (14 pages)
In the Southwest case what should have happened when the person complained about not being able to recline was the flight attendant moving the family with the child to the bulkhead row where they wouldn’t bother anyone else. That’s exactly what the FAA says they should have done and what you can show the flight attendant in the FAA Regulation 1 page printout.
If a flight attendant refuses to comply with the FAA rules ask to speak to the purser or the captain. And be sure to take down names so that you can file a complaint afterward with the FAA and DoT so that everyone not in compliance with the FAA rules can be properly educated.
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