News NH parents: Sick son ordered out of safety seat

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jess71903

Ambassador
I was going to post the same story earlier and got distracted. It seems that the seat is more of a positioning device than a car seat necessarily. I wondered what kinds of rules there were for such things. I wonder had it been an adult what the solution would have been.
 

Pixels

New member
From what is posted in the article, Southwest did exactly what they were supposed to do. It is the parents' responsibility to be sure the seat meets FAA regulations and to know where the statement of certification is, an to provide that proof upon request. Without FAA certification, FAA regs say that the passenger must be restrained only by the plane's belt.

Crappy situation all around, but it could have been avoided if the parents did their job.
 

Starlight

Senior Community Member
the article doesn't clearly indicate whether this was a carseat or a medical device. If it was a carseat, something available without an rx, through a regular retailer (ie, not a durable medical supply company), than yes, the parents should have ensured FAA compliance... but if it was a medical device for a child with little to no tone, that completely alters the scenario.
 

LISmama810

Admin - CPS Technician
Pixels said:
From what is posted in the article, Southwest did exactly what they were supposed to do. It is the parents' responsibility to be sure the seat meets FAA regulations and to know where the statement of certification is, an to provide that proof upon request. Without FAA certification, FAA regs say that the passenger must be restrained only by the plane's belt.

Crappy situation all around, but it could have been avoided if the parents did their job.

I have to agree with Pixels here. It's a very unfortunate situation, but if the device wasn't approved for airline use, it can't be used. That's not Southwest's policy; it's federal regulation.

ETA: Children and adults with special needs can petition the FAA to be allowed to use a non-approved restraint on a flight, but obviously that needs to happen prior to the flight. (Info available on the last page of this document: http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC 120-87B.pdf)
 

jess71903

Ambassador
I have to agree with Pixels here. It's a very unfortunate situation, but if the device wasn't approved for airline use, it can't be used. That's not Southwest's policy; it's federal regulation.

ETA: Children and adults with special needs can petition the FAA to be allowed to use a non-approved restraint on a flight, but obviously that needs to happen prior to the flight. (Info available on the last page of this document: http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC 120-87B.pdf)

That answers my question, then. I wasn't outraged at the article, although I can see that side. I wondered what could be done for a child like this one who needs a device like that.
 

LISmama810

Admin - CPS Technician
I don't see where it's a Traveller Plus, just that it's a "Brittex." (Great fact-checking, there. :rolleyes:) Is there a photo or something that isn't coming through on the mobile site?
 

Shaunam

New member
A traveller can't even FIT in an airplane seat can it? I wonder how that worked before since they said they had been allowed to use it on previous flights. The thing is massive! You can transport in a wheelchair right? I wonder why they just didn't use his chair. I'm assuming he has one of course, since he can't walk.
 

LISmama810

Admin - CPS Technician
Shaunam said:
A traveller can't even FIT in an airplane seat can it? I wonder how that worked before since they said they had been allowed to use it on previous flights. The thing is massive! You can transport in a wheelchair right? I wonder why they just didn't use his chair. I'm assuming he has one of course, since he can't walk.

I don't know that you can transport in a wheel chair. Where would it go? I've always seen people transfer to a seat. Even if you can somehow, I'm sure you'd need special permission.

When they said they'd used it before, it sounded like they were alluding to using Britax seats before, but then I realized they probably used the TP at least to get down to Florida. So I guess it fit. Obviously no one asked to see the FAA label (which doesn't really surprise me; I've ever only been asked once).
 

Kecia

Admin - CPST Instructor
A traveller can't even FIT in an airplane seat can it? I wonder how that worked before since they said they had been allowed to use it on previous flights. The thing is massive! You can transport in a wheelchair right? I wonder why they just didn't use his chair. I'm assuming he has one of course, since he can't walk.

You cannot fly in a wheelchair. There are no empty spaces with wheelchair tie-downs in a commercial aircraft. You can transport in the wheelchair until you get to the aircraft door but then you have to walk or be carried to your seat.

I'm also surprised that they were able to get that seat to FIT in the aircraft seat on the previous flight. I have a Regent (same platform as TP) and it's not FAA approved because (I was always told) that it was too large to fit in a standard aircraft seat. None of the seats based on the TP (Super Elite/Husky/Regent) are FAA approved.

It's an unfortunate situation all around. However, if the CR did actually fit in the aircraft seat and none of the other passengers were inconvenienced by the size of the CR - they could have looked the other way rather than creating a potential public relations nightmare for their company. Being "right" doesn't win a war of public opinion when the issue involves a child with a horrible degenerative disease.

If, however, the CR didn't fit and there was no other option to accommodate (like moving to a larger business class seat), then I'm not sure what the airline or its employees could have done.

FWIW, I heard somewhere (Lifesavers conference, maybe?) that the Cares harness can be used in special situations like these beyond the stated weight limits. Or maybe that they were petitioning the FAA to allow it's usage for SN kids over the wt limit? I can't remember the details but it was along those lines.
 

Shaunam

New member
You cannot fly in a wheelchair. There are no empty spaces with wheelchair tie-downs in a commercial aircraft. You can transport in the wheelchair until you get to the aircraft door but then you have to walk or be carried to your seat.

I just assumed you could because what else would you do with 200 lb grown men with quad CP? I'm guessing they just don't get to fly, which is a shame...

A cares harness would be fine for kids who are somewhat able to sit on their own. It sounds like this kid lacks even head control. If I try to sit charlie up in a chair, she just flops completely over and her chin hits her chest. A little harness is not going to hold her up.
 

Pixels

New member
Many aircraft have an on board wheelchair. The regular chair is used to the door of the aircraft, then the passenger is transferred to the aircraft wheel chair, wheeled down the aisle, then transferred to the regular aircraft seat. The aircraft wheelchair is specially designed to fit down the aisle. Usually they put such passengers in the first couple of rows and always in an aisle seat.

There are only so many accommodations that can be made. I had an uncle who was oxygen-dependent. He missed many a funeral because accommodations could not be made in the time allotted. Oxygen concentrators can be used in flight with enough notice but oxygen tanks cannot.
 

Shaunam

New member
Many aircraft have an on board wheelchair. The regular chair is used to the door of the aircraft, then the passenger is transferred to the aircraft wheel chair, wheeled down the aisle, then transferred to the regular aircraft seat. The aircraft wheelchair is specially designed to fit down the aisle. Usually they put such passengers in the first couple of rows and always in an aisle seat.

What kind of wheelchair though? A lot of people that truly need to be transported in a chair can't be thrown in any old thing with no headrest, no recline, and no harness. I've never tried to fly with Charlie before and I don't know that I ever will, but when she's the size of me, assuming she lives that long, I hate to think she wouldn't be able to because she wouldn't be able to use her own chair and/or have no seat to sit in.
 

Pixels

New member
Shaunam said:
What kind of wheelchair though? A lot of people that truly need to be transported in a chair can't be thrown in any old thing with no headrest, no recline, and no harness. I've never tried to fly with Charlie before and I don't know that I ever will, but when she's the size of me, assuming she lives that long, I hate to think she wouldn't be able to because she wouldn't be able to use her own chair and/or have no seat to sit in.

The aircraft chair is minimal. As you can guess since it fits down the aisle, it is quite narrow. There is usually a lap belt, but no lateral supports. They usually do recline some, and the only go from the plane door to the first row, so if she could hold herself in place for that short time then that part would be okay.

I think the bigger issue for adult Charlie would be the lack of support in the plane seat, which is where we come to special positioning devices an the ability to petition the FAA for permission to use them even if they don't have the usual FAA approval. I suppose that if the positioning device fit, she could be transported from plane door to plane seat in the device, using the aircraft wheelchair to assist, at least theoretically.
 

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