Saturday, January 29, 2011

Infant Seat Causes Removal from Plane

Airline Infant SeatEver thought about purchasing a separate seat on a plane for your baby? If so, then you might want to think twice because a mother in California has been removed from her plane after doing what she thought was the right thing.

Melissa Bradley, 39, has said that she has encountered problems twice in the last month with airline seats being too narrow for her infant carrier. And not just any carrier but her Federal Aviation Administration-approved infant carrier. According to Bradley, she was forced off of her flight on United Airlines Flight 75 at the San Francisco International Airport in a dispute over an economy-class row that was too narrow to fit the infant carrier that she was transporting her 1-year-old daughter in.

In a statement from Rahsaan Johnson, spokesman for United Airlines, Rahsaan stated that Bradley was removed because she was disruptive. "The customer refused the flight attendant's numerous attempts to accommodate her and the infant seat that unfortunately would not fit her assigned seat," said Johnson. "The captain elected to have the customer and her party removed after she became disruptive, interfering with the crew's ability to prepare the cabin for a safe departure and taking pictures of other customers on board, even after they asked her to stop."

Bradley also encountered problems with her infant carrier, the last time being two days before Christmas, on a Skywest flight leaving from Aspen, Colorado to San Francisco. However, in that instance Bradley was not asked to leave the plane. Federal officials do urge their passengers to place their children in a child seat on planes. Bradley stated that she took a picture of the narrow row on the United plane because an FAA inspector with whom she spoke after her incident with Skywest asked her for a picture. Bradley also denied the fact that she was being disruptive.

According to FAA safety regulations, airlines cannot prohibit the use of an approved safety seat. According to Kate Hanni, founder of, "The airline had the responsibility to move them - with the same class of service - and that's where United failed." Johnson added that passengers who paid for extra leg room in Economy Plus offered to trade seats with Bradley but she refused.

"That is absolutely not true," stated Bradley in an interview with from Hawaii. "I would have been so happy to have a seat." Bradley also exclaimed that she would have accepted a seat away from her family and flying companions. "I told them: 'All I'm asking is for my baby and me to be moved'...I said that so many times." Bradley stated that she even called a United customer service representative two weeks before the flight to ask what needed to be done in order for her to use her infant carrier on the flight. Bradley said that she was told to just inform the United employees when she arrived. However, Bradley said that when she arrived on the plane the rows in the economy section were too close together to fit her Graco Snug Ride infant carrier which is approved by the FAA.

Bradley, who also has four other children in addition to her 1-year-old daughter, said that she has been using infant carriers on planes for years with no problems until now. According to Bradley, United did book her, her family and her companions on a later flight to Honolulu and that the rows were far enough apart on that plane to accommodate her infant carrier. "Honestly, this was the last thing I wanted to have happen on that plane," Bradley said. "I begged them to accommodate me."

Deborah Hersman, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board , has been campaigning for regulations that would require all infants and young children to be secured in child seats on planes. She says that children deserve the same safety protections as seat-belted adults. An aviation advisory panel for the Transportation Department recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration conduct a new study on the issue last month.
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