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  1. #1
    CPS Technician ctbcleveland's Avatar
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    "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Somewhere else on the site, I saw a post saying that airlines are required to allow parents with lap children to use an available seat when flying.

    Does anyone know if this is an FAA rule or if it is airline-specific?

    My cousin is flying in May with her 1 year old DC as a lap baby from CA to OH. I'd like to give her something to take to the airport so she can get an empty seat if available.

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy groovymom2000's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I've never heard/seen a "rule", but most airlines that I have ever flown have allowed me to use an empty seat. That was all pre-9/11, though. Lately flights have been so overbooked that it is more unlikely that she will be able to find an empty seat. Her best bet would be to purchase a seat, but if she can't do that, then she should check in early and be prepared to gate check her seat.
    The Groovymom, Mom to DS v1.0 in a seatbelt and DS v2.0, in the Monterrey

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I just looked it up on the FAA website. It's airline specific and not an FAA rule

    Nathan - FF-ing in a Frontier
    Logan - RF-ing in a Boulevard
    Megan - RF-ing in a Boulevard

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy mimieliza's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I've flown with DD twice as a lap child and have not been allowed to use empty seats on the plane unless I could convince the people around me to move. The airlines did nothing to try and make sure I ended up with an empty seat next to me, even though there were empty seats elsewhere on the plane.

    I was really disgusted. DD won't fly as a lap child again (we don't plan to travel again until she's over two anyway).
    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


  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy The Bjorns's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I've only flown with DD once and she was a lap child. We actually used a travel agent since we were flying with breavement fares and needed help guiding us thru that process. Since the flight was not a super popular and didn't routinely sell out, she suggested to increase the chances of getting an open seat next to us that we book the window and aisle seats. The center seats always sell last. We figured that we would bring the infant seat to use if the center seat was still open and if it was sold we would gate check the seat and trade the center seat with whomever was unlucky enough to get it for the aisle. We had an open center seat both ways and were able to use the seat. On the return trip I don't think I actually used the seat much because DD nursed and had no ear problems.

    However, I won't be doing lap children anymore 1) DD#1 is too old, 2) DD#2 still qualifies, but I'm overly educated now and would buy a seat to ensure using her restraint!

  7. #6
    CPS Technician ctbcleveland's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Thanks everyone! We ponied up the money for our first trip too....but my cousin did not. I will suggest the aisle window strategy to solve their problem.

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy miraclebabies's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I have never heard this before. We flew last october and DD rode on my lap and we did not hear this rule. Also we are going to take a trip to Florida at the begining of May and she is going to ride on my lap. I am going to take her carseat with us instead of renting like last time. Should I take it up to the gate with me and see if they have any open for her or shold I ship it with our luggage. I am new at this and don"t know what to do. Also should I take my cheap Evenflo or my expensive Marathon? I am afraid if I ship the MA something will happen to it. They are really rough with things. We plan on flying later this year to and she might ride on our laps we will see. I am nervous to fly without her in her carseat but they say before they are 2, they can ride on your lap.
    Andrea SAHM to
    W~2/2007
    C~11/2008
    J~2/2010

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy The Bjorns's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I would gate check any seat or stroller. I would also want to take a MA if I had my choice between seats simply because it is so easy to get a great install in whatever rental car you might wind up with.

  10. #9
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Quote Originally Posted by miraclebaby View Post
    I have never heard this before. We flew last october and DD rode on my lap and we did not hear this rule. Also we are going to take a trip to Florida at the begining of May and she is going to ride on my lap. I am going to take her carseat with us instead of renting like last time. Should I take it up to the gate with me and see if they have any open for her or shold I ship it with our luggage. I am new at this and don"t know what to do. Also should I take my cheap Evenflo or my expensive Marathon? I am afraid if I ship the MA something will happen to it. They are really rough with things. We plan on flying later this year to and she might ride on our laps we will see. I am nervous to fly without her in her carseat but they say before they are 2, they can ride on your lap.
    That's an airline rule. The rules of physics still apply. It is no safer for a child who is 1 year and 364 days to ride unrestrained than it is for a child who is 2 years and 1 day.
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

    Posted from my toaster using a PopTart

  11. #10
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Quote Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
    That's an airline rule. The rules of physics still apply. It is no safer for a child who is 1 year and 364 days to ride unrestrained than it is for a child who is 2 years and 1 day.
    Very true... but they don't make it easy to buy a seat for a younger child. I recently booked our flights for a summer trip, on Air Canada. I booked online because the 1 888 number repeatedly warns that there is a $25 charge per booking if you use the agents rather than book online. However, when I tried to enter my younger daughter's true birthday, the system kept rejecting it, as she'll be under 2 when we fly. I ended up entering an incorrect birthdate just to please the system - hopefully it doesn't backfire when we go to check in. I couldn't believe how difficult it is to *buy* a seat - I wasn't asking for a free seat!

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy miraclebabies's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Quote Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
    That's an airline rule. The rules of physics still apply. It is no safer for a child who is 1 year and 364 days to ride unrestrained than it is for a child who is 2 years and 1 day.
    I know it is not any safer for her to ride on my lap cause she is under 2, but she will be 14mon when we fly and they don't require her to have her own seat. She will be ridding on my lap for the last time on this trip. We already have everything booked for our trip. Once we get there I will check if they have any empty seats available if so she will be riding in her MA. I love my MA and if I have to ship it, I hope nothing happens to it. Like being stolen or something getting cracked that's why I was going to take the Ev. Tribute.
    Andrea SAHM to
    W~2/2007
    C~11/2008
    J~2/2010

  13. #12
    Senior Community Member
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    The FAA rule is that the airline must allow u to use your carseat if you bought a ticket for the child and your carseat is FAA aproved. Seems like a no brainer, but it's a good rule to bring with u cause many flight attendands give parents trouble about carseat usage. If you dont buy a ticket there's no rule
    DD 5.5yo, 38lbs, 43" - FF in a Radian XT and Frontier85 SICT
    DS 3yo, 33lbs, 38" - RF in Radian XT and Britax MT

  14. #13
    Senior Community Member Amaris's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    The first time we flew with ds1 he was 5 months, and I thought about just letting him ride on my lap, but decided to buy him a seat instead. I did have to call the airline to do so because the online site would not let me enter his b-day. While we were in the air we hit some bad turbulance, and the child behind us, who was a lap child, ended up falling head first onto the floor. She seemed fine, however the flight attendent informed the pilot because she had a very large goose egg on her head. When we arrived they escorted the child and her mother off the plane first and medical personal met them at the gate. That was enough for me.....my children have had their own seat purchased for them every time we have flown. It does cost more, but it's worth it.



  15. #14
    Member MandiRN's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    I haven't read all the replies, so I'm sorry if this is duplicate. We flew with DD when she was 13 months and she was on our lap. We almost couldn't keep our flight. I had called the airline to verify something and told them we were flying with an infant. They had to move our seats from one side of the plane because the extra air masks that drop down in the event of an emergency were only on that other side of the plane. The agent moved our seats but told us we were unconfirmed. I was not pleased about that. I proceeded to freak, got it out of my system, called back and got it straightened out. So, moral of the story...call the airline. HTH ~M
    Mandi, ~ Mom to A, 9 years old! ~
    84 lbs, 56 in, belted in her Britax Parkway SGL

  16. #15
    Unregistered - Anja
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    Angry Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying with Air Canada

    Hi there,

    I've just learned about this forum. It is very informative to read the American regulations. I have a similar problem: We are flying with our infant daughter ( then 7 month old) from Ottawa to Frankfurt, with Air Canada. We have booked an extra seat for my daughter, that she can fly in her own car seat (a brand new Graco Snugride, which we have purchased especially for this flight, because we don't have a car). Now there is a problem: Air Canada seems to require to take the baby out of the seat for departure, landing and turbulences. This is kind of ridiculous for me, because we have to fasten our seat belts, and I have to unfasten my baby, because its safer on my lap. I was told so by 7 (!) Air Canada associates. I was also told that this is a Transport Canada regulation, but apparently its not. They actually recommend to leave the baby in the seat in all phases of the flight. I have this written in an email, and their links to the official homepage. But even this doesn't seem to impress those Air Canada associates. If its not a Transport Canada rule, than it is an Air Canada regulation, but nobody was able to tell me, where I can find this written down... What can I do in case they want to force me to take the baby out? I mean, it seems like I'm the first mother who wants to properly secure her baby on board of an Air Canada flight. I'm really frustrated, because obviously my baby doesn't have the same right to be safely in her own seat, that everybody else has. Just because she is under 2? I don't have to understand this, do I?
    I also have a little problem with the car seat. The seat doesn't have this sticker that sais that the seat is approved for use in a motor vehicle AND an aircraft. I have called the importer, they didn't know that such a sticker exists. Then I called Graco in the US, an the US seats (exactly the same model) bears this sticker, and the friendly lady at the service line didn't have a sticker to send me. But she will send the FAA approval for this seat, hopefully this is enough. Does anybody know where I could get such a sticker?

    Sorry for the long post and my bad written English, I am German and English is my second language. I am really frustrated and really do not know what else I can do. I just want my baby to fly securely to Germany, nothing else. And I'm pretty sure they wouldn't take there Baby out of the car seat in case of a car crash, because its safer on the lap. Because then we wouldn't need car seats, right?

    Best regards from Ottawa

    Anja

  17. #16
    Moderator - CPST Instructor
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying with Air Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered - Anja View Post
    Hi there,

    I've just learned about this forum. It is very informative to read the American regulations. I have a similar problem: We are flying with our infant daughter ( then 7 month old) from Ottawa to Frankfurt, with Air Canada. We have booked an extra seat for my daughter, that she can fly in her own car seat (a brand new Graco Snugride, which we have purchased especially for this flight, because we don't have a car). Now there is a problem: Air Canada seems to require to take the baby out of the seat for departure, landing and turbulences. This is kind of ridiculous for me, because we have to fasten our seat belts, and I have to unfasten my baby, because its safer on my lap. I was told so by 7 (!) Air Canada associates. I was also told that this is a Transport Canada regulation, but apparently its not. They actually recommend to leave the baby in the seat in all phases of the flight. I have this written in an email, and their links to the official homepage. But even this doesn't seem to impress those Air Canada associates. If its not a Transport Canada rule, than it is an Air Canada regulation, but nobody was able to tell me, where I can find this written down... What can I do in case they want to force me to take the baby out? I mean, it seems like I'm the first mother who wants to properly secure her baby on board of an Air Canada flight. I'm really frustrated, because obviously my baby doesn't have the same right to be safely in her own seat, that everybody else has. Just because she is under 2? I don't have to understand this, do I?
    I also have a little problem with the car seat. The seat doesn't have this sticker that sais that the seat is approved for use in a motor vehicle AND an aircraft. I have called the importer, they didn't know that such a sticker exists. Then I called Graco in the US, an the US seats (exactly the same model) bears this sticker, and the friendly lady at the service line didn't have a sticker to send me. But she will send the FAA approval for this seat, hopefully this is enough. Does anybody know where I could get such a sticker?

    Sorry for the long post and my bad written English, I am German and English is my second language. I am really frustrated and really do not know what else I can do. I just want my baby to fly securely to Germany, nothing else. And I'm pretty sure they wouldn't take there Baby out of the car seat in case of a car crash, because its safer on the lap. Because then we wouldn't need car seats, right?

    Best regards from Ottawa

    Anja

    Anja, since your situation is Canadian-specific, I've answered and posted links in the Canadian & Int'l forum under your own thread. http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=54046
    Tam
    Certified Canadian CRS Technician-Instructor

    DD#1, Aug 1999
    DS, May 2001
    DD#2, Aug 2007

  18. #17
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Hi everyone,

    I'm an ex-Flight Attendant. Just to clear up some points that came up in this thread...

    First of all, that is correct. If you have purchased a seat for your child and if the seat is FAA approved, it can't be refused. Here is the documentation. You may want to print it up and bring it with you next time you fly. I think the information is on page 16 (if I remember correctly).

    http://web.nbaa.org/public/ops/ac/AC120-87A.pdf

    Both the FAA and the AAP recommend using a car seat on board.

    http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/
    http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases...safetytips.cfm
    http://www.aap.org/patiented/flyingbaby.htm

    Please note that it is a myth that a child has to suck on take-off and landing. I had purely breastfed babies who had their own seats and refused pacifiers and nothing bad ever happened to their ears. Also, parents panic and wake sleeping children on take-off...not necessary! Just have a doctor look in his or her ears before flying. If there's an infection, it can be treated. No amount of sucking will help the pain of flying with an ear infection. By contrast, healthy ears can handle pressurization changes.

    Keep them in the seats for both take-off and landing.

    hth!
    Sharon
    http://flyingwithchildren.blogspot.com

    P.S. I've been on this forum before. It just keeps unregistering me, for some reason. Same screenname and password...

  19. #18
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Quote Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
    Hi everyone,

    P.S. I've been on this forum before. It just keeps unregistering me, for some reason. Same screenname and password...
    Inactive accounts are purged periodically, both automatically and manually, especially for newer, unapproved or unconfirmed accounts.

    Sorry for the inconvenience! We've been able to keep spammers at bay with the current system so far, but it can affect legitmate users sometimes, too.

  20. #19
    Charise75
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm new to this website, but I absolutely LOVE it!

    In regards to the subject, I will be flying with my son who is 22months old and I have read on the United.com website that they require a birth certificate when checking in for his lap ticket. I do not have a copy of his b/c yet, I barely sent it for it about a week ago, and I dont know if I will have it by the time we fly. Does anyone know if they REALLY require these when checking in? Is there another form of ID I can show them?? I have his social security card, but it does not list his bday....thank you!

    charise

  21. #20
    CPS Fanatic vonfirmath's Avatar
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    Re: "Lap-Child Rules" - Flying

    If they question whether he is under 2, yes, you really need the birth certificate to prove it.

    It's going to be hard to explain why you never bothered to get one before 22 months too.

    Do you have ANYTHING else with his birthday on it that you can take and hope they give you grace?

    --Sarah & D.J. (3-20-04)
    DS (08/07) ~ 8 ~ 52 pound ~ Graco Highback Turbobooster -- 3rd Grade!
    DD (08/11) ~ 4 yr ~ 32 lb ~ Britax Roundabout 50, Maestro -- Pre-K!

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