Your opinion: Should parents be required to buy a plane ticket for children under 2?
Holiday travel season is upon us and a polarizing debate has resurfaced: Should children 2 and younger be restrained in their own seat on an airplane?
On Thursday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a forum on child passenger safety in Washington D.C. MSNBC.com travel writer Harriet Baskas wrote about the hotly-debated issue:
The NTSB has repeatedly pushed for a rule requiring all airline passengers — including infants — to be restrained in a separate seat. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) still allows children 2 years and younger to travel unrestrained on airplanes if seated on an adult’s lap. The NTSB submitted its latest safety recommendation to the FAA in August, citing plane crashes where young children held on a parent’s lap were injured or killed.
My friend Jennifer Miner of The Vacation Gals website is in favor of a rule requiring a seat for every passenger.
As parents, our number one concern is child safety. While there’s an added cost to buying an additional seat for your tot, the potential danger of not doing so far outweighs the pinch you’ll feel in your wallet.
I gave the dissenting view. From a financial standpoint it makes it that much tougher for parents to afford air travel if they have to pay for a seat. From my experience, the infant likely won’t want to stay in it anyway (and then there’s the whole other issue that the entire cabin will suffer if the fussing baby is restrained). And what about mothers who nurse during take-off and landing to offset the change in cabin pressure?
Of course I also see the safety side of it. But very rarely do you ever hear about an unrestrained infant dying in a plane crash, juxtaposed against the thousands of injury-free flights every year. And for those who are ardent supporters, I have two questions to ask you: 1) Have you ever flown with an infant on your lap and 2) Would having to fork over an extra $500 for a plane ticket for your infant deter you from flying?
Some people are encouraging the airlines to offer free travel for infants or some kind of discount. I don’t blame the airlines one bit for not jumping on this, which would result in a huge loss in revenue in an industry that is already fighting to survive.
Now that my kids are 4 and 6 we fly a lot less than we did when they flew free as infants. This summer I am taking them to Canada.
And with a $700 per person ticket, you’d better believe we’re driving.
Where do you stand on the issue? If it became a requirement to purchase a ticket for a children 2 or younger, would it impact the frequency of your air travel?
Photo: Southwest Airlines.