These days, there are so many laws, rules, policies and procedures that people are pretty much discouraged from thinking at all. A recent example involves a terminally ill child, flying with his mother and father, who was on a return flight from Disney World. The 8-year-old suffers from Batten Disease and is unable to talk, walk, or even hold his head up.
Despite having flown in his safety seat multiple times, the flight crew on the return trip refused to allow the child to fly in the seat because they were unsure whether it was approved by the FAA. The flight crew admitted that they thought the child would be safer in the seat, yet they still refused to allow the child to fly in it — for fear of an FAA fine or other legal action, should an incident occur.
In case you missed it the first time, the Southwest Airlines staff actually demanded the removal of a child — who cannot even hold his head up on his own — from his safety seat and made him sit in the seat just like anyone else. In what alternate universe is this acceptable?
Now there’s enough “blame” to go around in this case, because the parents didn’t have to allow their terminally ill child to fly unrestrained by his safety seat. Upon learning that the child wouldn’t be allowed to fly in the safety seat, the parents had the option not to proceed with this flight until the airline could confirm whether the seat was FAA-approved. It’s understandable that the parents may have felt a sense of urgency to proceed with the flight as planned, but it’s their responsibility to ensure that they’re acting in the best interest of the child at all times.
Luckily, the child came through the flight unharmed…
BEDFORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire couple said Saturday that Southwest Airlines flight attendants put the couple’s terminally ill son at risk by ordering him out of a safety seat and into a regular passenger seat for a flight home from Florida.
Chris Dainiak and his wife, of Bedford, were told to remove 8-year-old Nicholas from his protective travel seat for a Friday flight home from Orlando to Manchester, N.H., Chris Dainiak said. Nicholas suffers from a rare illness called Batten disease and can’t walk, talk, feed himself or hold his head up.
The attendants agreed Nicholas would be safer in his special seat but didn’t know if it was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, Dainiak told The Associated Press. He said the boy has used the seat on previous flights, including the Southwest flight that took the family to Orlando so they could visit Disney World.
He said he wants Southwest to develop a policy to ensure other people with disabled children aren’t put in similar situations.
“They just wanted to cover their butts to make sure that they weren’t going to be fined by the FAA and, therefore, they decided the best thing for Southwest was to put my son at risk,” Dainiak said.
Southwest is looking into the particulars of what happened and contacted the family Saturday to learn more, said spokesman Brad Hawkins. He said the FAA has regulations regarding the size of medical seats, but he didn’t know if the Dainiaks’ seat was in compliance.