child made to come out of rf CR on plane b/c legs were touching plane seat


New member

Can anyone point me to some information regarding flight policy as it relates to rf CR's in general. Friends of ours recently flew with their 2y/o in a SS1. Her feet extended past the end of the CR. Because of this, the FA forced the child out of her CR and into a seatbelt. Not withstanding she does surpass the 32" length limit, but she is well under 30lbs. My confusion lies in the FA stating her feet could not touch the plane seat. For example, my 11m/o who does not exceed the weight or length limit on the SS1 has long legs that hang over the edge. I'm sure you all see my point in this, so I won't blabber on.

Anyone have any relevent info on this, it's much appreciated.

And FWIW, the child in question is approx 34" in length, so not overly long. She does have 1" of hard seat shell above her head. She weighs approx 25lbs.


ETA: my thread title should read "feet touching plane seat"... (not "legs").


Moderator - CPST Instructor
Unfortunately, because technically the restraint is outgrown per the manual (not that they measured her) you won't "win" with them, although you could try. Every plane has an in-flight manual, and you should have requested the documentation from the in-flight manual stating that rule. I don't think it exists--although we have a FA here on the forums who checks in every so often and will (hopefully) respond.



New member

They didn't measure her, just glanced.

The concern had nothing to do with her surpassing the 32" length limit.

The issue is feet touching the plane seat in general.

Like many here, I have an infant (under 20lbs, just under age 1) who has long legs and feet that would likely touch the plane seat. So am I to understand that she would either have to be a lap baby or be ff?? :rolleyes:

Again, this is something that recently happended to our friends, not me. Had it been me, I would have had her search her in-flight manual (I've read enough threads about flying with CR's and kids to *know* what to say, and *how* to say it, um, well sort of :whistle:). I wouldn't have been nearly as compliant as our friends. (read probably gotten kicked off the flight LOL ;)).

Basically, is this "feet touching" a pile of bologna or is this the real deal?

I went online and read their policy (west jet) and it doesn't talk about feet.

I then called, asked about "feet" and was told it's not an issue.

From the Search I've done today on .org it seems that flying with CR's and kids hasn't gotten any easier over the years. :thumbsdown:


New member

I saw that story when I did a Search. It's interesting to me that there seems to be no clear concrete policy on this stuff. Like some FA's say nothing, some come up with all sorts of odd reasonings.

It's probably a good thing that we don't travel by air too much. I'm quite certain I really would get booted before take-off. :eek:


New member
No, I never heard of any such rule and I actually worked for, and therefore did the training for two major companies.

Now, I will admit it's been awhile but we only had to check for the FAA sticker and that the seat was actually installed. We were told to let the parents install it, although we could indirectly help (hold the baby, bags, get an extension if necessary, etc.)

Here is the FAA advisory circular, if any of you want to check. I've been through this pretty thourghly and haven't seen any mention of legs touching seats;

Sorry to hear this. I actually can trawl some Flight Attendant sites. Also, my old supervisor and coworker, who is with yet another company has been over my article. Let me know if I should add to it.

I want to get to the bottom of this!

Any of you are free to email me. It's "eclipsepearl" at both gmail and hotmail dot com.

soon to go on


New member
Hope this helps but I looked up Midwest and they are part of the same union as my former airline (there are 20 so this wasn't a long shot :D).

I wrote the union directly. Notice the different angle I took, objecting to F/A's assessing weight and enforcing rules that are not in their handbook. Yes, for you as parents, these are not the central issue but I'm coming at it from the F/A's perspective.

"AFA" is the name of the union. Association of Flight Attendants.

Dear former flying partners at AFA,

I'm a former XXXXX Airlines F/A and I wrote an article on flying with children. A lot of complaints and questions come up to me and one of them was disturbing regarding fellow AFA airline Midwest.

A couple of passenger incidents occurred when parents were forced to remove children from their car seats because of a vague rule that the childs' feet can't touch the seat back when the car seat is installed backwards, facing the rear of the aircraft. These children fit the seat according to the manufacturers' guidelines and at least in one case, the car seat was not designed to be installed facing forward.

In at least one case, the passenger asked the F/A for written proof and this rule and was told it was not printed in her manual. Citing passenger compliance, they were forced to remove the child from the seat and place the child unsafely in the ill-fitting adult seatbelt, putting the child at risk in an emergency. The airline wrote the customer in one case and told them they rule does exist but is not in the manual.

This brings up several points;

1. There is no FAA rule that I know of that states that a child's legs cannot touch the back of the seat in a rear-facing car seat.

2. There is no practical or safety justification for such a rule existing.

3. Flight Attendants should not be put in a position to judge the fitting of a child's restraint device. This is the job of the parents. F/A's need to make sure the car seat is installed and approved, not judge the equipment itself nor how the child fits into it.

4. Parents should not be forced to use a seat against the manufacturers' instructions.

5. Flight Attendants should not be put in the position of forcing parents to remove safety equipment for their children based on vague rules that are not even covered by the FAA.

6. Flight Attendants should not be enforcing rules that are not printed in their manual and properly communicated to passengers before flying.

As both a parent and as a former Flight Attendant, I was appalled to read of this. I hope AFA will come out and insist that the participating airlines not require arbitrary and illogical rules, that don't even appear in their manuals and aren't endorsed by the FAA. Your members have enough of a job to do just enforcing "real" safety regulations dictated by the FAA without adding to the load. Since this has resulted in a few passenger incidents already, I hope you will support our flying partners at Midwest and get this straightened out!


full name, airline and bases listed

Keep me posted as to what is going on!


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