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  1. #21
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    I sent off an email as well.

    I have a question about traveling with my infant. I'm hearing rumors that United will no longer be allowing rear facing child restraints on its aircraft. My daughter is seven months old, at the time of travel this summer she'll be right around 10 months old. She will not be 22 pounds (the forward facing minimum limit on her child restraint). There are no child restraints in the US that are FAA approved under one year old forward facing. And holding her on my lap is not a safe alternative. Is it true that flying domestically United no longer has a safe option for my infant? Either she flies forward facing against the manufacturer approval and FAA recommendations (http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/), or she flies on my lap against FAA recommendations? I hope the rumors I'm hearing are not true. I know this is the case for many European carriers, and so I make a point not to fly them while my children are safely of an age to rear face on the plane (which is to the limit of the child restraint, about three years for my tiny kids). If this is the case, United will be banned for us for travel until my children are older. Which is disappointing, as I've generally had pleasant and comfortable flights on United, and have no problem flying your airline.

    If I travel on United to Europe at all, do you follow the FAA regulations as you're an American carrier, or do you follow the rules of the country to which you are flying? That can make a difference for me in planning international travel. I assumed American carriers followed the FAA and American rules, as long as one of the cities on the flight was an American city. If this is not the case I'd be very interested to know it.

    Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to address this, and for helping to keep myself and my most precious cargo as safe as possible when flying.

    Wendy Thomas
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

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  3. #22
    CPS Technician mommycat's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Hoping to find info on why RF might be unsafe, as stated that the UK has banned it. I found this. Looks like someone else has tried to summarize this in the past:

    http://otoh.org/opal/carseat.html
    #5 Restraining babies with an addition to an adult seatbelt (an extra loop) keeps them from flying around the cabin, which is good, but significantly increases the chance of other injuries to the baby, which is bad. [The US and Australia differ on whether this tradeoff is acceptable, but agree that it will result in some babies that would have died of head injuries living with abdominal injuries and also some babies that would have had no injuries having abdominal injuries.]

    #6 The best possible way to restrain a baby on an airplane is an aviation-approved child restraint (that is, a car seat certified for airplane use). This should be installed according to the manufacturer's label, even if that means facing the rear of the airplane. Aviation-approved child restraints are tested for airplane safety as well as car safety.

    Note that the UK CAA does not agree on these points. In particular, although their own test data appears to agree with point 5, they still require the use of loop restraints for babies under 6 months (I think this is scandalous, although admittedly the FAA allowing completely unsecured babies is no better) and their test data does not quite agree with point 6. The CAA believes that the best available way to restrain a baby on an airplane is a forward-facing aviation-approved child restraint, and that rear-facing seats, when secured with an aviation lap belt, do not provide as much protection, and they have crash-test data to support this belief. There is not enough data online for me to compare the tests that lead the UK CAA and the US FAA to different opinions. I tend to believe the FAA; that might be just jingoism, but I think it's partly because the FAA and the NTSB, who don't speak in chorus, have the same belief. Also, because the CAA still requires loop restraints and forbids carseats for babies under 6 months in spite of their own data showing that carseats are better, I don't trust them. ...
    Credit: Please follow the link to get a more info and see the author's blog, etc.
    Cat in Canada
    DS1 7 yo - 47 lbs (47"/??"t/??"top of head) - boostered in SKMonterey/2TBs/2CowmooPWSG/2HarmonyNBBs
    DS2 4 yo - 34.5 lbs (40"/15"t/??"top of head) - FF in CowmooMA/TrueFit/2Radians/2Nautiluses/HarmonyV7
    Also in possession of: Graco SafeSeat1 and MyRide (loaned out) + 1 demo seat: SnugRide.

  4. #23
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Hi there! I'm the mom who got the original e-mail from United. This is what happened:

    I had purchased a seat for my 8-month old on a recent flight from SFO to Phoenix. I brought my Graco Snugride (infant carseat) onboard. This carseat can only be installed in the RFing position. As we were taxiing to the runway, the flight attendant walked by and kept looking at the carseat. Then he came over and told me RFing carseats are not allowed. I asked if he was sure, as I had used RFing carseats plenty of times when my older daughter was under 1. He went to check with the head flight attendant and came back and said RFing seats are prohibited and asked me to turn the seat around. The plane was about to take off, so I didn't argue with him. I turned the seat around, even though it was awkward and the belts didn't fit properly around the seat.

    After we landed in Phoenix, I sent an e-mail to United to ask for clarification about this policy. I was hoping it was a misunderstanding on the part of the flight attendant, but I got the e-mail that the previous poster posted. I am in complete shock, and I do not understand how United can go against the FAA recommendations and ban RFing carseats, when they are the safest way for infants to travel. I have sent an e-mail to the FAA, but not sure when I will get a response. When I do, I would be happy to share the reply with this forum.

    On a happier note, on our return flight to SFO, the flight crew did not question my installation of the carseat in a RFing position. For future flights, I guess we will choose other airlines (and hope they do not follow United's new policy) or else bring the Britax Roundabout (at least it can be properly installed in the FFing position, if it comes to that).

    Camilia

  5. #24
    Senior Community Member InternationalMama's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Quote Originally Posted by mommycat View Post
    Hoping to find info on why RF might be unsafe, as stated that the UK has banned it.
    I've spent a huge amount of time hunting for this info, I think I could quote the address of the blog you quoted by heart , and I've tried to spark conversations about it here several times to no avail (although you might be luckier). The CAA has data that says rear facing on the airplane is not safer than traveling as a lap baby. My best **guess** is that they tested rear facing UK infant seats, none of which can be installed with a lap belt only and all of which need the shoulder belt for a safe install. Probably that type of infant seat is not very effective in the event of severe turbulence, emergency landing or crash. (I've actually used one on a plane when it was my only option. There are some that are approved for use in aircraft.) I could go into it all more if you want, but the truth is for right now we just don't know what they are basing their recommendation on because they haven't provided enough information.
    International Mama
    Mom to Two - ERFing in a Graco My Ride 65 , Combi Coccoro, and Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL.

  6. #25
    Senior Community Member InternationalMama's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Quote Originally Posted by AverysMom View Post
    Hi there! I'm the mom who got the original e-mail from United.
    Hi Camilia! Thanks for that clarification about what happened. I asked your friend Jenn if I could repost the e-mail you got and she said to go ahead. I hope that was okay!

    I've had flight attendants tell me I couldn't rear face car seats before too, but I always found that once I provided this document that Crunchierthanthou linked to they agreed that I could. It has happened though that the head flight attendant has had to check with someone off aircraft (I don't know who) before agreeing with me that it is allowed. How terrible that you were faced with this when the plane had already left the gate. I don't know what I would have done. I was horrified by the response you got to your message and still can't believe that is United's new policy. I guess we'll keep trying to get answers. I'm glad you contacted the FAA.

    Wendy, thanks for writing an e-mail! I didn't write one yet because I was waiting until I was calmer.
    International Mama
    Mom to Two - ERFing in a Graco My Ride 65 , Combi Coccoro, and Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL.

  7. #26
    CPS Technician mommycat's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Here's athread I had posted previously about Air Travel and some UK info:
    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=73940

    including this article:
    http://www.aerospace-technology.com/.../feature48143/

    and this:
    Quote Originally Posted by mommycat View Post
    This is an interesting point on UK and Canadian airlines chartering eachother's planes:
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/co...ars/AC0223.htm

    I think it says that 1) even if it is a Candian plane, so long as it is chartered by a UK airline and does not fly within Canada, it is allowed to use loop belts and 2) a UK plane chartered by a Canadian airline and not flying within UK they will prohibit the loop belt.
    And this:
    http://www.cic.cranfield.ac.uk/occupant_p3.htm
    including:
    Further tests evaluated use of automotive child restraints in passenger aircraft. These showed that forward facing restraints could provide similar levels of protection to those provided in cars. Rearward facing restraints were unable to demonstrate this capability when restrained solely by an aircraft lap belt - also reported in CAA paper 92020.

    Subsequently, the use of European approved forward facing automotive child restraints on UK aircraft was approved by the CAA, but this left infants with no improvement in levels of protection.
    Would still LOVE to find this paper to see details of why RF seats are supposedly not safe for airline use:
    Hardy RN. The Restraint of Infants and Young Children in Aircraft. CAA Paper 92020,
    Civil Aviation Authority. 1992
    Cat in Canada
    DS1 7 yo - 47 lbs (47"/??"t/??"top of head) - boostered in SKMonterey/2TBs/2CowmooPWSG/2HarmonyNBBs
    DS2 4 yo - 34.5 lbs (40"/15"t/??"top of head) - FF in CowmooMA/TrueFit/2Radians/2Nautiluses/HarmonyV7
    Also in possession of: Graco SafeSeat1 and MyRide (loaned out) + 1 demo seat: SnugRide.

  8. #27
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Camilia,

    The next time that happens ask to see where it says in their manual that you must forward face the seat. If you're taxiing I'd turn it around, then when the flight attendants sit down for take off, quickly turn it back the right way around. Then when in the air make sure you see the manual where it say you cannot do it. Because I'm 99% sure that the wording is confusing and that it says you cannot install a seat on a rearward facing seat, NOT a rearward facing infant seat is not allowed. I've had attendants tell me that I have to turn my child around, and on British Midlands it does say in their manual that no rear facing seats are allowed, but at least in American's manual it does not. The lady said she learned something new after 38 years of being a flight attendant. But if you phrase it like that you force the attendant to look it up, if it IS actually prohibited you get to see where it says that, but more likely the attendant will learn something new. And just turn it back around when they're seated and can't get up.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  9. #28
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Int'l Mama - I guess I didn't fight harder this time b/c I've been through this once before. When my older daughter was 9 months, we flew from Hong Kong to Bali on Cathay Pacific. As always, I purchased a seat for my baby and brought along a RFing carseat. The flight crew told me I could not use a RFing seat during takeoff and landing, and asked me to hold her in my lap and use a seatbelt extender (one of those straps that secures the baby to my seatbelt). I refused to do this and told them it would be dangerous as my baby was already crawling and never sat still (always squirming, arching, etc.). I asked to speak to the supervisors, but they all kept telling me I was not allowed to use a RFing seat. Finally, the pilot came back and told me I had to hand over my carseat or they would escort me off the plane, and they could also press charges against me. So in the end, I complied. I didn't have any other choice. However, on the return flight, this wasn't an issue, and I was told that as long as my baby was over 6 months old, I could install the seat RFing.

    After this incident, I swore I would never fly Cathay Pacific again. Even on international flights, we try to choose US airlines b/c it's never been an issue to use a carseat (RFing or FFing). I guess that's why I'm so shocked that they're now banning them on US airlines as well.

    It's perfectly fine that you posted my e-mail. I'm all for spreading the word in order to keep our little ones safe.

    Camilia

  10. #29
    CPS Technician mommycat's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    We seem to be going a bit off topic here, so if anyone wants to split out the technical/research posts away from the United-specific posts, feel free...

    I will be reading these later on so I don't know if they are quite right. They both reference the 1992 CAA paper though.

    Here's an FAA (US) research paper from 1994:
    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf
    Two factors affect passenger convenience with these devices. The forward overhang interferes with passage between the seat rows and the recline of a forward row seat.

    Performance of aft facing carriers observed in horizontal as well as vertical dynamic tests was satisfactory. Considering the other method for traveling with small children, i.e. on the lap of an adult, the use of this type of child restraint is the only available means of providing adequate protection that can be recommended.
    Australian/CASA:
    http://www.casa.gov.au/airworth/pape..._Restraint.pdf
    phase II:
    http://www.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_asset...int-phase2.pdf
    report of results:
    http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/32773/crs_final.pdf
    Last edited by mommycat; 05-06-2010 at 12:41 PM.
    Cat in Canada
    DS1 7 yo - 47 lbs (47"/??"t/??"top of head) - boostered in SKMonterey/2TBs/2CowmooPWSG/2HarmonyNBBs
    DS2 4 yo - 34.5 lbs (40"/15"t/??"top of head) - FF in CowmooMA/TrueFit/2Radians/2Nautiluses/HarmonyV7
    Also in possession of: Graco SafeSeat1 and MyRide (loaned out) + 1 demo seat: SnugRide.

  11. #30
    CPS Technician crunchierthanthou's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    well, I'm glad I'm only flying domestically and on another airline.

    If I was on United, you can be sure I'd raise a fuss and have the local news stations on speed dial though.

  12. #31
    CPS Technician mommycat's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    This looks good for reading later on:
    http://www.ntsb.gov/events/1999/meet..._use/index.htm

    Oh yeah. Slide 16 and 17. Anyone agree that maybe we need some updated testing?!!!! We don't have metal-tube infant recliners anymore! Slide 18 - seatback interaction - a bit of a yikes! do we really have the airline seat backs that flimsy? I would still guess that a newer restraint would do better, especially one with an actual (deeper) shell. And still better than flying off across the plane or being in a loop belt, I would think. In the last few slides (slide 23) it seems to say that aft-facing restraints are best for newborn/infants and allowed for toddlers (to 40lbs when they become "child/adult"). Or is this just the recommended testing procedure for the study? (still, it admits that's how we would want kids to travel). The presentation is from 1999 and is presented by Robert Hardy from Cranfield, the author of that CAA paper from 1992.
    Cat in Canada
    DS1 7 yo - 47 lbs (47"/??"t/??"top of head) - boostered in SKMonterey/2TBs/2CowmooPWSG/2HarmonyNBBs
    DS2 4 yo - 34.5 lbs (40"/15"t/??"top of head) - FF in CowmooMA/TrueFit/2Radians/2Nautiluses/HarmonyV7
    Also in possession of: Graco SafeSeat1 and MyRide (loaned out) + 1 demo seat: SnugRide.

  13. #32
    Senior Community Member InternationalMama's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Quote Originally Posted by AverysMom View Post
    Even on international flights, we try to choose US airlines b/c it's never been an issue to use a carseat (RFing or FFing). I guess that's why I'm so shocked that they're now banning them on US airlines as well.
    Yeah, with international airlines you have to be very careful to check their policy because many of them *don't* allow rear facing car seats. I only fly US airlines with my son as well for the same reason (which can be such a pain sometimes, having to buy a more expensive ticket or having to accept an extra layover). I think that's why I'm so upset that United has apparently found a loophole in what I thought were FAA rules they had to follow. Although after the info that Wendy got I'm more confused and not less. Maybe we'll eventually find out the person who wrote to you and the person I spoke to were both wrong? I hope so. I think you should keep pursuing it because whatever their rules were, having you use your carseat on the plane against manufacturer instructions (installed FF when it is an RF-only seat) was definitely unsafe and a violation of FAA policy. If they weren't going to let you use your seat correctly they should have refunded you the price of the ticket and IMO if they *didn't* let you use your seat correctly they should *still* refund you the price of your ticket.
    International Mama
    Mom to Two - ERFing in a Graco My Ride 65 , Combi Coccoro, and Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL.

  14. #33
    Senior Community Member InternationalMama's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Ooooh, Cat, you're getting some new links on the aircraft research I haven't seen before. I am looking forward to checking these out. Thanks.
    International Mama
    Mom to Two - ERFing in a Graco My Ride 65 , Combi Coccoro, and Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL.

  15. #34
    CPS Technician mommycat's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Anyone want to buy the original one?
    http://www.bookkoob.co.uk/book/0860395332.htm
    Cat in Canada
    DS1 7 yo - 47 lbs (47"/??"t/??"top of head) - boostered in SKMonterey/2TBs/2CowmooPWSG/2HarmonyNBBs
    DS2 4 yo - 34.5 lbs (40"/15"t/??"top of head) - FF in CowmooMA/TrueFit/2Radians/2Nautiluses/HarmonyV7
    Also in possession of: Graco SafeSeat1 and MyRide (loaned out) + 1 demo seat: SnugRide.

  16. #35
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Quote Originally Posted by mommycat View Post
    This looks good for reading later on:
    http://www.ntsb.gov/events/1999/meet..._use/index.htm

    [snip] Slide 18 - seatback interaction - a bit of a yikes! do we really have the airline seat backs that flimsy?
    Yes. They are designed to do that. Compartmentalization is not just for school buses. The seat backs of planes are designed to collapse like that to provide ride-down for the adults.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

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  18. #36
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Cat, I know that most European rear-facing seats can only be installed with a 3 point belt. Is that perhaps why in British tests performance with a 2 point belt was "unsatisfactory?"
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  19. #37
    CPS Technician mommycat's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    InternationalMama mentioned the same thing. It is a very possible reason. I think more information might be available in that paper that I can't find online! Someone should try to get it through a library. I know I won't have time.

    Pixels - thanks. Good to know it's designed that way for a reason.
    Last edited by mommycat; 05-07-2010 at 10:32 AM.
    Cat in Canada
    DS1 7 yo - 47 lbs (47"/??"t/??"top of head) - boostered in SKMonterey/2TBs/2CowmooPWSG/2HarmonyNBBs
    DS2 4 yo - 34.5 lbs (40"/15"t/??"top of head) - FF in CowmooMA/TrueFit/2Radians/2Nautiluses/HarmonyV7
    Also in possession of: Graco SafeSeat1 and MyRide (loaned out) + 1 demo seat: SnugRide.

  20. #38
    CPS Technician swtgi1982's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    That is odd, their website states you can use a car seat as long as it is FAA approved, there is no mention of no rear facing seats.

    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,1051,00.html

    I also do not think they are allowed to go against FAA regulations
    10.5yr old Topside Booster, 9yr old Topside, 6yr old Topside, 4yr old RXT RF, 2yr old RXT RF

    Combi Coccorro waiting

  21. #39
    CPS Technician oxeye's Avatar
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    Re: No RF on United??

    Yikes! I am curious to see what comes of this.

    I am glad I am flying American next month, not United (and that DS will be in his CCO which he is at least big enough to use FF should the flight attendants insist on no RF'ing). Hopefully it will not happen.
    Roxie -- CPST and mommy to:
    DD1 - 11, DD2 - 9, DS - 5

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    Re: No RF on United??

    My husband is an Air Force pilot (but they still deal with the FAA). As far as I know they are FAA Regulations not recomendations and the airline can not go against what the FAA says. I would call him and ask, but he is home sick and I hate to wake him up right now.

    I am very interested to find out what further info you get from United and from the FAA! I will say that even if the rules say that you can RF, flight atendants don't always know the rules and will tell you you need to turn the seat around. I personally had one tell me that. I stated that I had the FAA regulations with me and that they said I could RF. We were still at the gate and the flight attendant said they could have the agent come discuss this with me, but when my DH said go ahead and get the agent he backed off saying he would let it go b/c we were all in a hurry to get going.

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