When you’re traveling with kids, you know that Murphy’s Law is definitely out to get you (something will go wrong)–so you’re more or less mentally and emotionally prepared. Mostly.
But what if you have a special needs kid, and what used to be a manageable ordeal has now become a parents’ travel nightmare?
In a recent Facebook post, a father named Divya George posted about his experience with his wife and 5-year-old daughter on a trip to Indonesia. They took tickets for their trip on Scoot, one of the budget airlines operating out of Singapore.
According to his post, he purchased three seats, one each for him, his wife, and his daughter who suffers from muscular dystrophy. He says that his daughter cannot support herself upright and weights roughly 8 kilograms, around the weight of a toddler.
She is however, much taller than a toddler.
Take a look at a video of the incident.
Divya and his wife allegedly told the ground crew of the airline that they would be requiring an infant belt for his daughter, whom they decided should sit on either parent’s lap during takeoff. The flight crew and the pilot, however, insisted that the special-needs child sit on her own seat and use the normal seat belt setup.
Divya and his wife said that since she weighs roughly the same as a toddler and that she has flown in the same manner for over 60 times before, they should be allowed to have the same arrangement.
The pilot, however, who did not speak personally to the couple, demurred, and said that he would only allow them to fly if they strapped the child to her regular seat and that an infant seatbelt would not be issued.
The couple was also asked to deplane if they would not follow the pilot, who had already delayed the flight for an hour until the matter was resolved.
Flight attendants had said during the altercation that only children less than two years old may be carried on parents’ laps. But for this case, where the child clearly cannot sit upright, what would happen during turbulence and she is strapped as the photo above to her seat?
According to this report, Scoot had replied about the incident in an email. The email said,
“As the passenger is five years old, for her safety consideration, infant seat belts may not suffice. She has to be strapped to her own seat with the aircraft seatbelt for take-off and landing in accordance with established cabin safety procedures,”
“Scoot recognises, however, that the guest’s physical condition may require additional consideration for comfort. Accordingly, we have made a one-time arrangement to provide a certified booster seat for the guest to ensure her return journey is more comfortable while still adhering to cabin safety procedures,” it said.
Do you think the pilot was right to insist on what he wanted even without facing the passengers? Or were the parents right to ask for their child to sit on their lap as she clearly could not support herself?
Let us know in the comments!