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Got a Baby? Back of the Plane! Parents Outraged over "Baby Ghettos"

My daughter's first flight at 6-months-old.

Parents are apparently outraged over some airline seating policies that force babies to the back of the plane, in effect, creating a “baby ghetto.”

Outraged? Ya think?

What is with people? Seriously. Hey, jerk-off! You were a baby once. So were you! And you, and you, and you. Don’t want to listen to a baby fuss? Purchase a private flight or else shut up. You think you loud-talking on your cellphone is any less offensive?

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Apparently airlines are forcing babies to the back of the plane. In some cases, families are even being split up, Yahoo reports, leaving little kids in middle seats next to strangers unless other passengers will swap seats.

Michael Lyon tells Yahoo he checked his reservation for a flight to Bangkok on United Airlines several times to make sure his families’ seats were all set. When he checked in his family was split up. His 6-year-old son was moved to the back of the plane for the 13-hour flight and Lyon was told there was nothing that could be done about it.

After dealing with several “hostile” employees, Lyon made a supervisor find two seats together so he could sit with his son. A United gate agent told Mr. Lyon there were no seats and nothing could be done. He protested, ultimately getting a supervisor who found two seats together so he could sit with his son. “Not only did the United gate staff not seem to understand the importance of having him next to us, they were hostile,” Mr. Lyon said.

Teresa Toth-Fejel, mom to a 1-, 2- and 6-year-old has been told by AirTran that if she wants seats together with her kids she should pay extra for reserved seat assignments.

Babble’s own Sierra Black experienced the same thing last year.

I’m sorry, but this is absolute crap. There is NEVER a time when a parent should be forced to sit away from their child. EVER. And they shouldn’t have to pay extra for the “privilege” of sitting with family members.

Back of the plane? That sounds awfully similar to back of the bus. Do I need to book a flight and pull a Rosa Parks? Because I’ll do it, I swear to God, I’ll do it. Not sitting next to my 2-year-old is not an option, period, and you forcing her to sit with a stranger is discrimination, plain and simple. I don’t give jackcrap about your “policy.” My parental policy is to STAY WITH MY CHILDREN AT ALL TIMES WHILE IN PUBLIC PLACES, ya dig?

As Babble’s Meredith Carroll said to me, “It’s not like I am thrilled about flying with children any more than the people who have to sit next to us, but it has to be done sometimes.” Right. And flying with children is already hard enough without the added stress of worrying if you’re going to be able to sit with your children. And it ain’t like airlines are making it any easier on parents:

Several airlines, including American and United, don’t let travelers add children flying free on a parent’s lap to reservations online. Instead, they must call the airline or get an airport agent to add a lap child to their reservation. Southwest Airlines requires taking a lap child to a ticket counter with a birth certificate on the day of travel to verify the child is younger than 2 years old.

The plane’s configuration can also affect placement. On smaller regional jets, for example, some rows don’t have an extra oxygen mask to be used on an infant traveling on an adult’s lap. That means someone who reserved a seat and has a lap child must be relocated, splitting up a family.

I know! I’ll upgrade to first class to avoid being sent to the back of the plane. But wait, I can’t do that on Malaysia Airlines, which, this past summer, decided to ban babies from first-class cabins. Airlines are turning into a caste system, treating rich first-class passengers like royalty while kicking middle-income families to the curb. For example, most airlines don’t let families with kids board first anymore. Guess who goes first now? First class and frequent fliers. And, as reported on Yahoo, “In June American stopped letting parents check jogging strollers, non-collapsible strollers or strollers heavier than 20 pounds at the gate. United already bans gate-checking strollers that don’t collapse.”

What is going on? Do you think all these policy changes including “baby ghettos” are fair? What would you do if an airline tried to separate you from your toddler?

 

Babble Discussion: Is drugging your kid on the plane child abuse?

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