Air Travel With Kids: Surprise #1

We’re fortunate to be fairly well-travelled, both pre- and post-kids, so we we were surprised to learn two new things this week re: travelling with kids:

1. There are no infant seat belts on most Canadian/ US carriers

We (hubbie, myself, 2 year old, 5 month old) boarded an airline in Canada, received our ‘travelling with an baby’ spiel from Mr Crew and waited for our infant seat belt.

Mr Crew: “Oh no we don’t carry those.”
Us: “You mean you this airline? Or you all Canadian carriers?”

Crew: “No one in Canada has them. You’re welcome to contact the authorities if you have any queries, I can get their details.”
Us: “No thanks, that’s fine, we can look it up ourselves. So what do we do instead?”

Crew: “We recommend you hold the baby in your arms close to your body.”

Deathly silence.

He goes on to show the brace position (which involved shielding his eyes from imaginary sun in a very flamboyant manner) but we’re not paying attention probably because we’re still digesting the ‘hold your baby’ advice.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that an infant seatbelt is next to useless in the event of a serious crash. It could possibly be useful however in the event of something less serious, say severe turbulence, or sudden stops when taxiing.

People can’t even hold onto shopping bags in a car when it stops suddenly… And this dude is telling me to just hold my kid in my arms?

As I start telling Mr Crew this, behind his back hubbie is making ‘cut it out’ throat cutting gestures.

It gets better.

Probably sensing our disbelief regarding the policy, reticence to comply, and indeed the general you-have-got-to-be-pharking-joking nature of the discussion, Mr Crew goes on to say:

“In the event of a crash if you feel you are unable to hold your baby effectively, then you should consider handing your baby to someone more able-bodied.”

Yes. He actually said that.

He also disallowed the use of a baby carrier in lieu of my sure-to-fail arms (in our case an Ergobaby – actually this is pretty standard due to fears the baby carrier will get tangled, hindering your escape from the plane in the event of disaster) BUT the reason he gives is that “it’s too snuggly”.

By now I’m having to hold hubbie back rather than the other way around.

We survive the flight. Prior to disembarking Mr Crew comes back with a card with the airline’s details on it and says “in case you want to call them to check their policies and maybe want to catch the train back instead.”

Seriously.  WTF.

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3 Comments

  1. We had a similar experience on a US domestic flight recently, with such disbelief at the crew member’s attitude about it all.

    We, with our then 4 month old, were sitting next to a passenger with a dog. On her lap. I cannot for the life of me see how a projectile dog/baby combo is less safe than the infant belt, and or carrier. Sigh.

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