The largest flight attendants union in the United States, the CWA, insists that every passenger, regardless of age, has a separate seat.
Traveling with children under the age of 2 years is usually accompanied by a privilege: a free or practically free ticket for infants. However, more and more voices of aviation professionals are in favor of stopping the practice of flying on parents’ laps for safety reasons.
Recent cases of turbulence, when planes “fell” into an air hole for more than a kilometer in a fraction of a second, once again convince: the resulting overloads are such that no one, even the most loving parent, will be able to protect and keep their child. It’s physically impossible.
For this reason, the flight attendants’ union insists on changing the rules. It is necessary that all passengers have their own seat with a restraint device, regardless of age. This question was raised again last week during the security summit of the US Federal Aviation Administration in Northern Virginia.
Currently, children under the age of 2 can fly for free or for a small fee (about 10 percent of the adult fare) in many countries of the world. And such trips “on your knees” are not the best option.
The safest place for a child under the age of two, according to experts, is in a certified child restraint system in his own chair, not on his knees. Hands are not able to hold a child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence, which is the main cause of childhood injuries on the plane.
More than thirty years ago, in 1989, there was an incident with an emergency landing in Iowa, union members recall. Then three babies were injured during the crash, and one died. “We need to ensure the safety of children on the plane and in their own seats with the proper restraint so that this never happens again.”
Recently, the US Department of Transportation issued a recommendation for airlines to accommodate parents with older children for free. They even launched an online control panel for family places. However, so far only American Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Alaska Airlines have committed themselves to providing free family seats, including this service in customer service standards.