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  1. #1
    Concerned Aunt
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    Who to complain to re: lost car seat?

    Hi,

    My brother and his family flew home yesterday on Southwest Airlines. They checked one car seat and flew with the other. The checked car seat didn't make it. After an awful delay and tarmac wait (with active 1.5 and 3.5 year olds) they were told they couldn't be helped about the lost luggage for 2 hours (I think they had to wait for the next flight in). The car seat did not show up and they were given a run-around about the airline not being responsible because it was "weather related". I guess the rain and wind lost their car seat between Las Vegas and SFO? They also claimed that they were not responsible for strollers and car seats.

    My brother complained and they gave him a loaner car seat that doesn't look safe. They had a 6 hour car ride home in bad weather, which they did not feel safe making with the loaner car seat and at night. Their car seat has still not arrived.

    It seems like there needs to be better accountability for car seats on airlines. Who can my brother write to? Southwest Airlines, yes, but is there an appropriate national oversight organization for car seats and airplanes?

    Thanks!!

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    7,732

    Re: Who to complain to re: lost car seat?

    Unfortunately, this is why we don't recommend checking carseats as luggage. They should be used on the plane (in a purchased seat) or if necessary, gate-checked. Airlines have no more liability for lost carseats than they do for other lost luggage.
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

    Posted from my toaster using a PopTart

  4. #3
    CPS Advocate
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    9,820

    Re: Who to complain to re: lost car seat?

    Per the FAA recommendations, all children under 40 pounds are best served by being in their own seat, in a child restraint approved for airline use.

    We do not ever recommend checking car seats for this reason. They are often lost and/or damaged in flight. Furthermore, children are safer on the plane if they are correctly restrained.

    I would advise your brother to immediately replace the 'loaner' that he got, as there is a high chance it is expired/recalled/crashed/broken etc.

    For future reference, he should avoid checking child restraints, and he should use the restraints for the children ON the plane.

  5. #4
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: Who to complain to re: lost car seat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Concerned Aunt View Post
    It seems like there needs to be better accountability for car seats on airlines. Who can my brother write to? Southwest Airlines, yes, but is there an appropriate national oversight organization for car seats and airplanes?
    I agree with the others. To answer your question, unfortunately, I don't think there's anyone to go to other than Southwest. It's handled the same way as any other lost luggage.

  6. #5
    Senior Community Member thepote's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    1,543

    Re: Who to complain to re: lost car seat?

    I agree with the previous posters and would like to add that even if they do get the seat back, it may not be safe to use and you would not know that by looking at it. It could have gotten thrown around, carried by the straps, or the straps soaked with rain. Just about everyone here would not use that car seat again.

    I would advise your brother to cut his losses and consider the seat gone (even if it shows up).

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    France
    Posts
    339

    Re: Who to complain to re: lost car seat?

    It seems like there needs to be better accountability for car seats on airlines. Who can my brother write to? Southwest Airlines, yes, but is there an appropriate national oversight organization for car seats and airplanes?

    Actually, the opposite. Car seats are considered "delicate" and therefore "check at your own risk" items.

    I'm a former Flight Attendant and I've flown WN a few times with my kids.

    Southwest is actually good about gate-checking car seats. Checking them in as luggage is never a good idea. Even if the baby didn't have a seat on the plane, they could have taken it to the gate if there wasn't a free seat for them to use it in.

    Rain and wind doesn't lose car seats but it does slow down the whole operation. There had been a big storm the day before we flew back to Europe and arriving in Frankfurt, only one of our four bags made it. Luckily, we had used the car seat on board so my little one was safe on the two hour drive home.

    They could buy another seat and send the receipt to WN, claiming it's to replace the car seat. At least have them write the company to complain. WN is good about responding to mail (do not email them and have them keep a copy of the snail mail letter). I felt that a delay was mishandled and they wrote back in quite a bit of detail, giving me vouchers. He even answered "I realize these may not be of much use to you in Europe but either save them for another trip or give to a friend". My sister had a very nice time in Vegas!

    Good luck to them and hope they travel a little more safely next time!
    Last edited by Eclipsepearl; 01-25-2010 at 04:36 AM.
    Former Flight Attendant, 13 years, 2 companies in 5 countries
    3 trilingual, international travelers with two nationalities
    http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com

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