Why no sling on airplane? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I am curious, does anyone know why they make you take the babe out of the sling for take-off and landing? I haven't had a chance to ask why, but it seems like if something bad happened I would be better off trying to keep a hold of baby with him connected to me or try to evacuate the plane and be able to use my hands. Does anyone know? I try to get away with leaving him on and they always seem to catch me.

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#2 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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Courtney-
This will depend on the flight attendants that you have- some allow babies in a sling, others don't. I know that the carseat is much safer than holding him in arms. I feel somewhat safer knowing that he is in a sling- even though that may be somewhat of a false sense of security.

It is worth noting that if you can afford to buy you child a seat then the carseat is the safest way to go.

From what I know the technical policy says that babies either need to be in an FAA approved seat or held-- and since a sling is not FAA approved they technically can say that you can't use it during those 2 times. Even if you argue that the sling is safer than being held in your arms etc. etc. You ARE allowed to hold your baby (up to age 2), in your lap- and flight attendants have never pressed that issue with me.

I think the reasoning behind the policy is the airlines don't want to be responsible for the safety. Carseats are tested and meet regulations- where a sling might not be as well constructed- so if it broke during the landing brakes being used you might try to blame the airline???? I'm not really sure why.

I think the policy depends on the airline- and how familiar a flight attendant is-- most seem to be fine with the sling.

IMO it is better to find out when you first board then to find out at the last minute-- that said because on one flight I had to pry my baby off the breast while the whole plane was waiting. The flight attendant who had gone by 3-4 times hadn't mentioned the 'policy'. I even asked her if we were 'okay'- but I guess she didn't realize I was asking about the sling.. She sat down in her seat and was about to strap on her seat belt when she noticed me.

She had her hand on the intercom to give the okay to leave the gate and instead came up to me to tell me that my son could not be in the sling. She would NOT let me just take the sling off my son (I tried- I put it around my waist like a belt- I think she thought I was trying to be belligerant- but I really just didn't want to disturb my son who was frantically nursing trying to fall asleep). I had to take the WHOLE sling off and thus had to stop nursing to do that. One more minute and he would have been asleep and then I could have put him in the car seat-- but instead everyone had to listen to him scream for 3 minutes while I tried to unlatch him, cover my self, hold him, unbuckle the seatbelt, and wiggle out of my sling, rebuckle etc.

After that I tell the flight attendant that I want to be able to hold my son in the sling. I tell them I want to be sure that I will be able to use the sling the WHOLE flight. If they look at me cross eyed I explain that I mean during take off and touch down. They usually say 'sure fine, why not' and then if they seem curious I relay the story about the rude flight attendant-- because I understand she needs to follow policy but she was very rude about the whole situation. She had ample time to tell me. She also gave me my own safety demo while my son was in the sling-- because apparently (and she's the ONLY one that said this to us during 8-9 flights through the years) the oxygen in the masks is too much oxygen for infants so I would have to take the mask on and off him in the event of an emergency. She made sure to tell me that not having him in the carseat was more risky -- and yes, that is a valid point-- but the fact was if she had left us alone he would have BEEN in his carseat because he was just about asleep when she approached us- so I found it even more irritating.

I also think that if there was ever in a situation where I had to get off the plane in a hurry with my son, it would be easier to have him in the sling than in the carseat- or to remove him from the carseat. So I was very irritated that I was not allowed to pop my son out of the sling (leaving it on).

Also make sure you ALWAYS put the car seat (if travelling with one) in the window seat. No airline/attendant should let it stay in a middle or aisle seat because it blocks access to the aisle (and would trap you from getting out quickly if you were sitting in the window seat).

Make sure you don't end up in an exit row.

You (again technically, but depending on how stringent people are) "always" have to remove child from the carrier to go through the xray-- BUT if you have an all cloth carrier (ring slings will set off the detector) they MIGHT let you through- -just don't count on it.

There is usually flight attendants that know nothing about the rules and at least one per flight that does. My complaint is the seat belts are a pain and you may have to request a seat belt extender- which in my experience was useless because the flight attendants then didn't know how to use it.

Also, even if you tell everyone when you buy the ticket, when you check in, when you board the plane, etc. that you are travelling with an infant/carseat/ or whatever, they still seem to put you in the one seat that you can't be in!! On one plane (very small one) we were in the bulkhead, which apparently carseats are not supposed to be in-- and the pilot almost had to cut the seat belt to get my sleeping son and the carseat out (the plane belt clasped and when it was tightended the buckle ended up in the back of the seat where we could not reach it to open it up and release the belt). I've been seated in the exit rows, blockign other travellers, etc.

I can tell you more 'bad stories' because I've had my share of bad luck... but the truth is that most of my travelling experience has been wonderful and people, flight attendants, and airport staff have been MOSTLY helpful, kind and understand to me travelling alone with my son.

Sorry for the long ramble- I don't travel a lot but it seems that we've travelled enough times. Each time I think I'll finally get it right but there is always just one more "surprise" waiting!

HTH

Jessica

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#3 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessjgh1
<snip>
Also make sure you ALWAYS put the car seat (if travelling with one) in the window seat. No airline/attendant should let it stay in a middle or aisle seat because it blocks access to the aisle (and would trap you from getting out quickly if you were sitting in the window seat).

Make sure you don't end up in an exit row.

You (again technically, but depending on how stringent people are) "always" have to remove child from the carrier to go through the xray-- BUT if you have an all cloth carrier (ring slings will set off the detector) they MIGHT let you through- -just don't count on it.

<snip>

Also, even if you tell everyone when you buy the ticket, when you check in, when you board the plane, etc. that you are travelling with an infant/carseat/ or whatever, they still seem to put you in the one seat that you can't be in!! On one plane (very small one) we were in the bulkhead, which apparently carseats are not supposed to be in-- and the pilot almost had to cut the seat belt to get my sleeping son and the carseat out (the plane belt clasped and when it was tightended the buckle ended up in the back of the seat where we could not reach it to open it up and release the belt). I've been seated in the exit rows, blockign other travellers, etc.
Our experience is that on international flights (trans-pacific as well as just to Canada) it's only US security that demands that the baby be taken from the carrier when going through the metal detector. Obviously, a ring sling would set it off, so you'd want to take that off, but a mei tei won't. Going through security in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, we not only got waved to the front of the line (crying toddler, anyone?) but didn't have to take her out of the mei tei.

(I got really irritated in Los Angeles recently--had to take apart everything: toddler out of carrier, carrier through x-ray, shoes off, video camera out of case and in it's own bin to be x-rayed...so we're on the other side, trying to get everything put back together, and I got chastised by one of the TSA folks for seating Clara on the table in front of me--you know, so she wouldn't make a run for it. Grrr.)

It's worth double-checking on the bulkhead thing, as the policy may vary from airline to airline. We were on Cathay Pacific in February; had made a big point of getting the bulkhead (which is, incidently, where they have the bassinets anyway). One flight attendant told us we'd have to be reseated; we asked that they double check and it turned out the policy had just recently changed and we were able to stay there, with carseat. Plus side: more legroom. Minus side: the seats are narrower (because the tray is built into the side and has to go somewhere).

Mom of two girls.
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#4 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 04:03 PM
 
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Slightly OT, but since it was mentioned...I wonder how babe's get through the metal detectors? I have only flown with my kids over a yr. old & they ALWAYS made them walk through alone, no matter how freaked out (DD1) they were. : I am flying to NY next month & wondering how they will do it with a 3 month old...

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#5 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 04:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm
Slightly OT, but since it was mentioned...I wonder how babe's get through the metal detectors? I have only flown with my kids over a yr. old & they ALWAYS made them walk through alone, no matter how freaked out (DD1) they were. : I am flying to NY next month & wondering how they will do it with a 3 month old...
I was allowed to carry DD thru when she was 5 months old. I think that is standard. However, not sure what carrier you use, but I had to take DD out of the Moby and they demanded I take OFF the Moby and suggested I send it through on the conveyor belt...yeah, right, I am going to put my wrap that my baby likes to chew on your nasty conveyor belt...so I had to get them to give me back my bag, unwrap the Moby from myself, stash it in my bag, send it through, carry DD through, redo Moby, etc, etc....SO IRRITATING!!!!!!!
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#6 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 04:34 PM
 
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Jessica has it right. The FAA forbids any non-approved restraint during critical phases of flight (take-off/landing) and slings fit into this category. I can't seem to find my old post where I wrote about the exact CFRs (regulations) regarding this, but I did post them here once.

Some FAs will ignore your sling, others are more by-the-book, and yet a few more are on some power trip.

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#7 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 04:34 PM
 
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Arent' policies fun!!! And people, some are on a power trip and others are so helpful.

I've always been able to carry my son through the xray's. Last trip was in May and he was over 2 and fully mobile. I guess he may have walked through one, but while he was holding onto my hand. I think we set it off because he touched the sides while walking through, so it took a second try.

From a prior trip I was told that airport personnel are NOT allowed hold a baby- and I would never hand my baby over to a person to walk through the security gate. They HAVE to let you carry a 3 month old. I would be pissed too if they had asked me to take my hands off my son to walk through the xray-- he was clingy on the last trip but usually, one second and he's OFF and away! I'm supposed to attend to my luggage (and child) at all times, so for me that means that I don't take my hand off my child for one second in an airport because I can't afford to be chasing him and leaving my bags alone. Not that I'd be at all concerned about my bags- but the airport would.

They freak out when bags are left alone.

GOOD reminder, I've also always had to take my son out and take off the entire carrier- so take that in mind. Select an easy poppable carrier Only once did they let me go through with my son in the sutemi back pack.

Yes, I agree, definatly check out the bulkhead policy because the extra legroom is nice. In my case the bulkhead was on a _very_ small plane. My other annoyance with the bulkhead was that since there was no seat in front of me, I had no place to store the diaper bag, lunch bag and coat that I had brought with me-- but needed access to during the flight. The flight attendant let that slide, but they should have been put up in the overhead bins-- and then I wouldn't have been able to get stuff during the majority of the flight.

It probably had more to do with the size/type of the plane than the fact that it was the bulkhead-- it was just that on my next flight they tried to put me in the SAME seat.

I've had bad luck travelling through customs. Mostly back to the US from Canada- but a crying toddler/baby has never gotten me special treatment- even when travelling alone- dragging my carseat, stroller, luggage with babe in a sling, and cutting the connection flight quite close. (can I just say 'poor me'). I think the Canadians were always a bit more friendly than the staff on the American side.

I've gotten the special treatment when ds was happy as a clam and I had hours to get to my flight.

Oh, another "tip" sippy cups seem to explode from the pressure changes of the airplane. At least ours did- luckily just a slow leak.

For me, I just assume and prepare for "Murphy's Law!"

Jessica

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#8 of 27 Old 07-12-2006, 04:36 PM
 
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The rule for metal detectors is to carry them through, in arms. The sling is in the same category as the baby bucket carriers and must be screened.

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#9 of 27 Old 07-13-2006, 11:16 PM
 
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I'm really surprised to hear all of your experiences, because we had no problem. My husband was wearing my son in the security line, and of course my son chose that time to fall asleep. The sling had metal rings so my husband asked to be wanded and they did it without question.

We flew Northwest, and at take-off I'm certain he was still in the sling. I don't think he was at landing though, but not because anyone said anything.

I agree that I would much rather have him in a sling than in my arms. If we need to get off the plane fast it would be much faster and safer in a sling!
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#10 of 27 Old 07-14-2006, 10:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Past_VNE
The rule for metal detectors is to carry them through, in arms. The sling is in the same category as the baby bucket carriers and must be screened.
When DD was very little, I always asked if I could leave her in the sling and be searched with the wand. I never had a problem.
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#11 of 27 Old 07-14-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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I think the rules vary on how much of an ego trip the TSA security agent is on that day. We are frequent fliers and we have nearly a different experience every time.

Once when DD was around 1 and just beginning to walk, the agent wanted her to walk through the metal detector by herself, while I stood on the other side, coaxing her to come to me. She wouldn't. She was confused and just wanted to stand there. The agent wouldn't let me hold her hand and guide her through the detector, even though I was patted down and wanded already. Maybe four minutes went by (which is an eternity when everyone in line behind you is giving you the evil eye) and she finally came to me.

Then two months later I was told to carry her through. Same airport.

When she was tiny and we were slingers, the agents at the Norfolk, VA airport would let us go through the screening while I wore her. But during that time we were flying every weekend to see DH and they started to recognize us. The agents there were always very nice, giving me a helping hand, and putting back together everything they took apart.

We fly out of Ohare or Midway now and the TSA agents are total pricks. Not child friendly or patient at all.
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#12 of 27 Old 07-14-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claras_mom
Our experience is that on international flights (trans-pacific as well as just to Canada) it's only US security that demands that the baby be taken from the carrier when going through the metal detector. Obviously, a ring sling would set it off, so you'd want to take that off, but a mei tei won't. Going through security in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, we not only got waved to the front of the line (crying toddler, anyone?) but didn't have to take her out of the mei tei.

).
This has been our experience as well. US policies seem to be more intended to cover the a$$es of the airlines and TSA at times than to help people. As far as wearing the sling on the plane - I think it varies airline to airline as well. American Airlines didn't require my dd be taken out, United did - and United specifically states this on their website.
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#13 of 27 Old 07-14-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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I also never had a problem we flew from canada to florida and back.
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#14 of 27 Old 07-15-2006, 12:36 AM
 
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I have been asked to take baby out of the sling for take off and landing (I could not afford a 2nd seat for him) and honestly, I can not think of a reason why. It makes no sense.

I also had to take him out of the sling and carry him through the metal detector at 3mos (which I do understand).
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#15 of 27 Old 07-15-2006, 12:59 AM
 
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I have different experiences all the time too in regards to getting through security. Mostly in the states I am allowed to carry her but I have to take the carrier off. Recently in Paris they wanted her to walk through on her own and off course as soon as I put her down she burst into tears - I was annoyed to say the least. Poor baby had been traveling for hours and they couldn't just let me carry her through? Usually in Europe though they let me keep her in the carrier to go through which I love!
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#16 of 27 Old 07-19-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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I have never been told to take her out on the plane. I don't think I ever used a sling on my son when we were airborne.

I always assumed I needed to take her out of the sling for security though. I would never try to do anything that upsets security personnel.

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#17 of 27 Old 07-19-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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Is there a way to wear a baby that ends up with the baby sitting on your lap in your arms?
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#18 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 10:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan
Is there a way to wear a baby that ends up with the baby sitting on your lap in your arms?
Some mai tais might allow a sitting position. My sutemi was good for that as well. I'd recommend an experiment before travelling.

Jessica

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#19 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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My friend told me about a recent plane trip she made in which she wasn't allowed to have her baby in the sling at all and also wasn't allowed to cover up with a blanket when breastfeeding. The flight attendants apparently said that she could be concealing something under the blanket. Crazy isn't it?!?
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#20 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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Mommyof2bs,
Your friend should complain. I doubt there is any basis for that and the flight attendants should be re-trained in this policy/issue.

AND if there is actually policy on this then I'd like to know about it. That is very inconvenient for travelling mothers. I personally travel alone (my dh does not fly) and not being able to use a sling during portions of my travel would make it impossible for me to safely travel with my son.

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#21 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 07:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessjgh1
AND if there is actually policy on this then I'd like to know about it.
Then let me tell you about the supposed policy - because I was almost kicked off a plane for it. Here's the post I made about it in my journal after our trip - almost a year ago. My son was 6 months old.

Photo - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...e/DSC03056.jpg

See that carrier I'm wearing? I called 1-800-I FLY SWA about a week and a half before we left to check on two things... their breastfeeding policy (Thank you, Barbara Walters) and whether or not I could wear Robert for take-off and landing. In *an LJ community* a few months ago, someone posted about how they were told that they couldn't wear their baby on take off and landing because of some FAA regulation, and a bunch of other responded with they were allowed to. We were advised to check with our particular air carrier before planning to sling or not to sling. The nice woman on the phone had to put me on hold a few times to check with supervisors and guide books, but I was told that wearing him in either this carrier or my sling is allowed. We both talked about how it's much safer than holding him because it is a form of restraint, etc.

We had two take-offs (and, obviously, two landings) from Omaha to Tampa. I wore Robert in my sling for the first take off and then in this carrier for the rest. We had a great group of flight attendants and they said nothing to us. So I didn't think anything of it.

Fast forward to coming home. Now, I HATE this carrier. The only benefit of it is that Robert can look around, but it's not that comfy to me and his head bounces around if I have to do more than stroll. So the only reason I brought it was for the airplane. As we're getting on the plane, Bonnie (the evil stewardess) smiles at Robert in the carrier, even stops and talks to him and tickles his feet. Sweet =) We pre-boarded with an infant, so we were the first people on the plane, and we were on that plane for about 20 minutes before it started pulling back from the gate.

As we're rolling through the airport to get to our taxi-way, another stewardess comes up to me and tells me that I have to remove the carrier. I told her that I called ahead of time and was told that I could wear it and that I wasn't told to remove it on the flights out here. She said okay and walked up to Bonnie and told her. Bonnie came over to me and told me that I had to remove it. I repeated myself. She told me it was against FAA regulations for me to be wearing that on take off and landings. I told her that was specifically what I asked about at their toll-free number. She told me the people who work there "don't know anything." I told her I would not be removing the sling. She started getting a little louder so that others around could hear her, "So you're saying that you're unwilling to comply with FAA regulations?" I said, "No, I'm saying that I'm going to do exactly what your airline told me I could do." She repeated, "So you're saying that you're unwilling to comply with FAA regulations?" I repeated that I wasn't, that this was safer. She said that I can't wear it for take-off or landing but I can wear it once we're in the air, because if we would need to evacuate in an emergency the straps could get caught. I asked what I was supposed to do with my child in that event, let him go so he can fall? She repeated the crap about me not being willing to comply with FAA regulations.

At this time, I'm panicking. I'm picturing myself in prison for terrorism in TAMPA - where only Geof's grandparents can come and taunt me without my child. I started taking it off and told her that I needed her name because I would be complaining to SWA. She said she'd bring back her name and employee ID. I was shaking. I was holding Robert so hard that I was afraid I would break his ribs - but I was more afraid that he would drop if I didn't hold on to him. Geof tried to comfort me and I pushed him away (I apologized later). She brought the paper back to me and I ripped it out of her hands and stuffed it in the diaper bag.

When I calmed down a little, I felt bad for ripping that out of her hand so rudely, so when she came by to get our drink order, I said, "I still don't agree with you, but that was no reason for me to be rude. I'm sorry." She tried to tell me that it's all about safety and we "debated" that back and forth (If you get caught, you'll be stuck on an airplane that most likely, let's face it, about to explode. If I drop him, his skull would smash and he could die. But the slide is inflatable. But the asphalt at the bottom isn't. I wasn't told to remove it on the other flight. I have kids - they didn't - they don't care as much for your child as I do.)

Thankfully, we changed planes in Chicago and had a much more peaceful flight home. I didn't try the carrier again except for when we were taxiing into the Omaha airport and we needed to get him off the plane. But you can believe that I'll be writing to SWA about her behavior and her claims that the CSAs are incompetent and that the other flight attendants don't care for children (She didn't even know who they were - how did she know they didn't have kids?)

I'm also going to make the suggestion that, if they're so worried about the straps of my carrier getting me stuck on the plane, that they make sure no one is allowed to wear suspenders, belts, shoelaces, drawstrings or bras on the plane either - those could all cause a snag hazard on the emergency slide as well. I'm also going to suggest that if they're going to make parents take these carriers off, they might want to say something when we're boarding the plane rather than when the plane is pulling away from the gate.

(I'm ashamed to say that I never got the letter out to Southwest - life with a now-mobile baby when we got home had me putting it off for a better opportunity. It has been almost a year now, so I'm not sure if I should even bother still contacting them about it - but I still have the little paper with her employee number in the end-table drawer next to where I sit right now...)
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#22 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 07:39 PM
 
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Genevieve, I'm sorry you had such an ordeal with Southwest, but as a pilot, I can tell you that the F.A. was correct was she told you that a carrier of any sort is against the FAA Regs.

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#23 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 07:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Past_VNE
Genevieve, I'm sorry you had such an ordeal with Southwest, but as a pilot, I can tell you that the F.A. was correct was she told you that a carrier of any sort is against the FAA Regs.
Thanks - and I have no doubt that that is the case. However, I still say that something needs to be done to get the message across the board... since I called ahead of time and was told it was fine - AND she didn't say anything to me until the plane was rolling away from the gate... and she clearly saw me walking on the plane wearing my son and sitting in the seat the 20-30 minutes prior to take-off without saying a word to me.
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#24 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 09:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mommyof2Bs
My friend told me about a recent plane trip she made in which she wasn't allowed to have her baby in the sling at all and also wasn't allowed to cover up with a blanket when breastfeeding. The flight attendants apparently said that she could be concealing something under the blanket.
Then why bother with the security checks getting to the gate?

(On the other hand, that does make me wish that Barbara Walters was sitting next to your friend on the flight.)
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#25 of 27 Old 07-20-2006, 09:44 PM
 
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Can we start a letter campaign to the FAA to get them to approve certain carriers for flights? They could gather babywearing mamas to slide down the emergency slides with a variety of carriers and different sizes of baby. maybe have mamas demonstrate that the carrier is on securely by having them put their hands on their hips and bend at the waist, if the baby shifts, you have to have them out of the carrier for take off and landing?
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#26 of 27 Old 07-21-2006, 06:04 PM
 
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If the FAA actually approved carriers for critical portions of flight, the manufacturers of those carriers would be required to carry insurance in case of an injury to a person that could be due to or a contributing cause towards an injury. The WAHMs that make these carriers could never afford the liability.

SAHPilot Mama to a 5yoson, a 17 mo old daughter, and wife to .
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#27 of 27 Old 07-21-2006, 06:37 PM
 
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Is there a way to wear a baby that ends up with the baby sitting on your lap in your arms?
You can use a non padded ring sling with an open tail for this. You can sit child on your lap, either facing you, or facing out. Then just put the sling around your waist and his waist and tighten. Of course if you have to get up and walk the baby won't be stuck to you. You could also try the facing out or facing in positions, which would keep the child attached to you. I sit down with my son facing me all the time. His legs just straddle me.
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