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  1. #1
    Keurigirl
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    PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    I just want to warn everyone about using Hawaiian Airlines if you're traveling with a carseat.

    I just finished writing up my complaint of the most horrible travel experience I've ever had. We travel frequently and I have a 16 month old and a 4.5 year old. I have never been treated so poorly by an airline for doing nothing other than trying to use a carseat.

    If you every fly Hawaiian, make sure your seat has a current FAA approval sticker, and you have a copy of the FAA circular about carseats on airlines (http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...%20120-87B.pdf) so you are allowed to install your carseat correctly.

    For those of you who want specifics, my complaint about Hawaiian is below.

    I had purchased four tickets for my family, including one ticket for my 16 month old baby. I brought his infant car seat to use on the airplane, which
    I have done dozens of times before, on many different airlines.

    Upon boarding the plane, a flight attendant very rudely stopped me and asked me to prove that my carseat was airline approved. This surprised me, as my carseat is a
    very common Graco seat, but I was fine with showing her that it was airline approved.

    The FAA sticker on this carseat had fallen off some time ago, and I had never had a need to replace it. In the dozens of trips this carseat has made on airlines I have never ONCE been asked to show this sticker to anyone to prove it was airline approved. I realize Hawaiian has a different policy (or is far more strict than other airlines), therefore I was willing to provide the carseat manual to the flight attendant to show it's airline approval.

    When I started to explain to the flight attendant that while I did not have the sticker, I could show her the manual, she told me that if I did not have the sticker they would be confiscating the carseat. She began to get very confrontational, ordered me to my seat, threatened me with an "incident report" and told me someone would be down to speak with me. I was shocked and appalled by this, as I had not been rude, raised my voice, or said anything at all to warrant this type of reaction from the flight attendant.

    I went to my seat and opened the manual to the correct page, which explained how to use my carseat on an airplane. I asked another flight attendant to come over and ok the carseat for use, but she very coldly said "I am aware of the situation" and asked me to sit down again. Again, I was shocked by the rude way I was being treated, as I had been nothing but friendly and accommodating to their requirements.

    Finally a fourth flight attendant came over, and after a lengthy discussion and a reading of the instruction manual, she said she would allow it's use, but not during takeoff and landing. In addition, she would be writing up an incident report (although I never found out what that meant).

    Considering that takeoff and landing are the most obviously dangerous portions of the flight, I pleaded with her, again showing her the manual and reading where it indicated my carseat was airline approved. She finally relented.

    Thinking this was finally over, I began installing the carseat into the seat next to me. Within a moment the flight attendant came back and told me I was not allowed to install the carseat rear-facing. Her reasons included that the intructions she just read indicated it needed to be forward-facing, as well as the fact that the person in the row ahead of my son would not be able to recline their seat.

    There are two major things wrong with these reasons: One, the instructions clearly say to install the seat as you would install it in a vehicle (rear-facing). Two, this flight was by no means full. There were at least eight seats within four rows of me that were empty, including an entire bulkhead row of five empty seats. The person in front of my son could easily have been moved to another seat, OR my husband would have gladly swapped seats with this person to allow me to install my seat correctly.

    However, the flight attendant refused to allow me to install my seat properly, continuing to threaten incident reports and be very rude to me and my husband.

    I finally relented and installed my seat incorrectly, afraid that if I protested any further we would be thrown off the airplane.

    A few minutes later another flight attendant came back and asked me who would be my lap child, since I was now "taking up a seat with a carseat". I told her no one, because I had purchased four tickets, but she interrupted and talked over me, lecturing me about proper airline travel and how I was "causing trouble" and that I was not allowed to take up more seats than I purchased. When I finally was able to tell her that I had purchased four seats, she demanded to see my tickets.

    At that point I was livid with the flight attendants and Hawaiian Airlines. I have never had such a horrible travel experience, all in the name of keeping my child safe.

    I was well within my rights to use my carseat on this flight, and be able to install it correctly. I am familiar with the FAA Adisory Circular regarding Use of Child Restraint Systems on Aircraft (http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...%20120-87B.pdf). Perhaps Hawaiian Airlines should review this document with their staff, in which it states the following:

    1. Section 10-d on page 7, it indicates that no airline can prohibit a child from using an approved carseat when a ticket has been purchased for that child.

    2. As stated in section 11 on page 7, an owner's manual is acceptable as proof of safety standards.

    3. Section 10-f on page 7 indicates that if an approved carseat does not fit in a particular seat, the aircraft operator has a responsibility to accomodate the
    carseat.

    I find it horrifying that any flight attendant would attempt to disrupt a parent trying to keep their baby safe while in flight. If my laptop needs to be secure during takeoff and landing, my child should be, too.

    The behavior of these flight attendants was appalling, both in the way they spoke to me and the way they handled the situation. I did nothing to warrant this type of treatment. I walked on the airplane with an approved carseat for my baby, and was treated as though I was trying to get away with something horribly illegal. It was so bad that at one point I actually thought I might be either escorted off the airplane, or arrested upon arrival in Maui, or perhaps put on some sort of flight blacklist. All for trying to use a common infant carseat to keep my baby safe during flight.

    I have flown dozens of times with this carseat, on many airlines, including Alaska, Delta, United, and British. I have never received any questions or comments, other than compliments from flight attendants who believe it is far safer to fly with a carseat than fly with an infant on your lap.

    I have many choices as a consumer when I fly, especially in this economy. The complete lack of customer service and common decency that I received on this flight does not keep customers. I will never fly Hawaiian Airlines again after receiving this kind of treatment. Judging by the plethora of empty seats on both my inbound and outbound flights, it appears I am not the only one making this choice.


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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Absolutely unacceptable.

    Copy your letter to the FAA as well. I'm sorry you had such a horrendous experience, and I hope you get some kind of restitution.

  4. #3
    Senior Community Member InternationalMama's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    That is a horrible experience. I have had similar lengthy conversations with flight attendance who did not understand the FAA's policy, but I have never had them be that rude!

    Just so that it makes some sense to you, I think a lot of flight attendants get confused because their manual says that you can't install a carseat on a "rear facing seat." Meaning that you can't install one on one of the seats (usually only for flight attendants) that face the rear of the plane. Unfortunately many of them when they are just skimming their manual think that this means you can't install a carseat rear-facing, which is obviously not what is meant at all.

    I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience. I definitely would file a complaint with whatever government bodies you can as well as with Hawaiian Airlines. The FAA needs to know that flight attendants are not being properly trained and are not following the guidelines. Also, I have heard of people getting compensation (the reimbursement of their child's ticket, which I think is appropriate if you were not able to use the seat safely) especially if they contact online media outlets for travelers who are connected to the industry. So maybe in addition to posting here there might be other forums/blogs to contact to publicize this type of unacceptable situation. It is stressful enough traveling without this kind of stuff!
    International Mama
    Mom to Two - ERFing in a Graco My Ride 65 , Combi Coccoro, and Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL.

  5. #4
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    Were you able to write down the flight attendants' names? I would include any names as well as flight information in your letter to the company.

    I wonder why it was such an issue? It's certainly becoming more common for people to travel with child seats.

  6. #5
    CPS Fanatic mom2juliarose's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    Quote Originally Posted by Keurigirl View Post
    If my laptop needs to be secure during takeoff and landing, my child should be, too.
    I LOVE this line.
    Anne, driving a '13 Odyssey and an '05 CRV

    DD-Julia 9/04 (5 stepping now!)
    DS1-Luca 11/10 (Graco Wayz and Graco HB Turbobooster)
    DS2- Enzo 7/15 (Chicco NextFit and Diono R100)

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    I think this is a Hawaiian Air issue. When we flew in March, both HA flights were hideous. They gave me a hassle about having TWO seats (um, I have TWO kids??), hauling my seats on board, not purchasing two window seats, etc. They demanded (not asked) to see the FAA stickers, insisting that my Radians were boosters and not acceptable. They tried to deny me their useage. WHen I pulled the FAA guidelines out, they told me THEIR policies superseded FAA. Umm, I don't think so. Both flights were horrible, and I would choose any other option than flying HA again (but FTR, the US Airways flights were wonderful).
    J, 7 yrs, 41 lbs, Evenflo Big Kid, Recaro Prosport, Turbo SS
    A, 5 yrs, 31 lbs, RF TFP/Princess Radian, and FF SecureKid/Maestro
    M, >1yr, RF TFP/Radian

  8. #7
    CPS Technician shellebelle's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    I'd be calling the TV stations.

  9. #8
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    It's been 5 years since I flew Hawaiian with a carseat, but I didn't have a problem. They asked to see the FAA-approved sticker on the seat at the gate and again on the plane, but that was it.

  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy mimieliza's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    That is horrible. We fly Hawaiian every year, and this summer will be traveling with children near those ages (4.5 year old DD and 15 month old DS). I really hope they get their act together before then. We'll probably bring our Roundabout for DS if he still fits RFing, so at least if they threaten and bother me about using it RFing I can use it FFing and still be using it "properly." But you can bet if I pay $$$ for a seat for DS and am NOT allowed to use the seat RFing, I will be requesting a refund of my ticket price.

    I have traveled with a lap infant, and do not find it shocking and negligent like some do (since the absolute odds of something injurious happening are pretty small), but my DS is nearly 25 lbs., mobile and strong as an ox. Trying to fly with him on my lap would be trouble at best and dangerous at worst.
    michelle mama to
    dd 10.30.06 graco connext & recaro performance booster
    ds 5.4.10 sunshine kids radian xtsl & graco nautilus safety surround
    riding safely in a 2014 mazda 5 and a 2002 subaru forester


  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy mimieliza's Avatar
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    Just wanted to add to this thread... We flew HA from Portland to Honolulu on Thursday. The flight attendant made my husband turn our Roundabout FFing shortly after takeoff. My DS is 15 months old, 25 lbs., and rides RFing in the car. They also hassled parents with a 7 month old and an infant seat, who stood their ground and wouldn't turn the seat. Since our seat could be used correctly FFing, we went ahead and turned it around.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point. Obviously our experience was nothing like what the OP had to put up with, but I'm still irritable about paying $500 for a seat for my baby and then not being allowed to use our seat in the safest way. Should I contact HA prior to our return flight?

    Sent from my iPhone using Car-Seat.Org
    michelle mama to
    dd 10.30.06 graco connext & recaro performance booster
    ds 5.4.10 sunshine kids radian xtsl & graco nautilus safety surround
    riding safely in a 2014 mazda 5 and a 2002 subaru forester


  12. #11
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    I definitely think you should contact them and request confirmation in writing that you can use the seat RF.
    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!

  13. #12
    CPS Technician
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    I'm so sorry. Please do keep us updated on what happens, and if we can help in any way. I and many other CPSTs would be happy to be quoted or write letters of support should that be something that would help...
    Kathleen, CPST and mom to a pair of Cs.

  14. #13
    CPS Technician
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    Quote Originally Posted by mimieliza View Post
    J
    Should I contact HA prior to our return flight?

    Sent from my iPhone using Car-Seat.Org
    Yes, if it were me I would spend the time to get something in writing.
    Kathleen, CPST and mom to a pair of Cs.

  15. #14
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    Quote Originally Posted by mom2juliarose View Post
    I LOVE this line.
    I second that!

    You should feel wonderful about doing everything you could to keep your baby as safe as possible and writing an amazing letter about such an emotional experience, something I find hard to do. I am so sorry this happened to do. They were completely out of line, did not follow the law, and should be fired for the way they treated you. I would have been in tears.

    Quote Originally Posted by mimieliza View Post
    I'm not sure what to do at this point. Obviously our experience was nothing like what the OP had to put up with, but I'm still irritable about paying $500 for a seat for my baby and then not being allowed to use our seat in the safest way. Should I contact HA prior to our return flight?
    That is unacceptable. I would definitely contact the airline if you have time. I know that is not something any of us want to be stuck doing during our vacation and hope you get a quick resolution and can get on with having fun and relaxing.

    Just wanted to add, or even contact them after. The more people who say something, the more likely they will realize they have to change their policies.

  16. #15
    CPS Technician Brigala's Avatar
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    Weird. I had no trouble at all with my infant car seat on Hawaiian Airlines, even though I did NOT purchase a ticket for my daughter. They did ask to see the sticker on the side of the seat each time we boarded a plane, but the only time I was not allowed to use the seat was on the one leg of the trip where the plane was absolutely full.

  17. #16
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: PSA: Horrible service trying to use carseat on Hawaiian Air

    They did have the right to ask to see the sticker. I actually refused to do this as a Flight Attendant myself. I told a FAA inspector this should be done at check-in and that if the parent had been smart enough to make sure the child is safe, I wasn't going to harass them. He nodded and thought I had a point... (this was years before I had kids myself).

    Once my sticker fell off and I didn't realize. The F/A on Lufthansa gave me grief too. Today, I would whip out my iPhone and look up the manual. A better idea is to check that your sticker is still there and/or bring your manual, which is accepted.

    I hope you included the flight number and date. No, they wont fire anyone over an incident like this, especially if it's union. There's a process but it definitely goes in their files and could keep them from getting any kind of special assignments or being promoted to purser (depending on the airline).

    Breaking FAA rules is a big no-no and the airline usually looks into this.
    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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