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COMPLAINT: Allegiant Air - Refused to let me use a car seat!

 
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  #1  
Old Jan 25, 2012, 11:34 PM
flightattendantmommy flightattendantmommy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 2

I purchased a seat for my 9 month old's carseat. I was able to travel to our vacation spot with the carseat, no problems, on Allegiant Air. Upon attempting to return (again, with a paid seat for the 9 month old) the flight attendant asked if the car seat was authorized for use by the FAA.

Disclaimer: I have been a flight attendant for 15 years. I am aware that it is required that a carseat be authorized for use by the FAA. In my 15 years and 3 airlines (one regional, one major U.S. carrier, one corporate) I have NEVER been trained to physically check car seats for labels. Anyone with common sense knows that it is safer to fly a baby/child in a carseat than as a lap child. In fact, as a flight attendant, I regard flying the same as driving...car seat, or don't go.

I told the flight attendant that is was authorized (it is Graco...of course it is). She physically took the car seat from my hands and would not return it as she started looking for the label. Apparently the label had fallen off, a fact which I was unaware of. She told me to sit down while boarding finished and we would resolve it at the end of boarding and that I would have to talk to the captain because she could not find a sticker.

At the end of boarding I spoke with the captain and the lead flight attendant who had confiscated our baby carrier. The captain told me he knew that the seat was okay because he owns the same one, but without the sticker they had no choice. At this point I admitted to being in aviation for 15 years, told them I understood the FARs. But at the same time, come on...

I asked if we could hold the baby during taxi, takeoff and landing (the most dangerous segments of flight) and use the carrier in-flight. Again, we had PAID for the seat! I asked to speak to an FAA rep. I was just searching for solutions, but the flight attendant refused to budge on her single-mindedness, and of course the captain got out of there as soon as he could! Yes, I have known plenty of Flight Attendants like her in my career

They would not return OUR carrier to us. Eventually we had our 9 month old ride forward-facing (a BIG no-no) in our 4 year-olds car seat, and the 4 year old went without.

My argument is this: okay, technically they are correct about the sticker. However, obviously not all flight attendants at Allegiant are trained the same, as we had no such problem on our first flight. They basically allowed me to become stranded without a safe way to return home. BAD customer service. On top of this it is always the Captain's right to authorize something for safety purposes.

BOO ALLEGIANT AIR!
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  #2  
Old Jan 26, 2012, 12:59 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Boo to the airline, and boo to the FAA! Frankly, any car seat is safer than a lapbelt. These babies in an accident either become missiles or are crushed to death. The FAA should make a ruling that any parent who wishes to purchase a seat for their child and use ANY car seat, they must be permitted to do so. The FAA know perfectly well that permitting lapbelts is unsafe. They calculate that if parents had to buy a seat, they might drive instead and so the lapbelt is preferabe. This illogical argument could equally be used for kids over 2. The Sioux City accident put paid to any idea that the lapbelt could be considered safe. This FA was being a jerk.... And it sounds like the Captain knew it. He should simply have told the FA that he had personal knowledge the seat was approved and that he was not prepared to jeoardise your child's safety. Notwithsanding CRM, he had the power the over rule this stupid FA.
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Old Jan 26, 2012, 3:07 AM
cortney cortney is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 288

I have been a customer service agent for a few different airlines and ALL of them told us to look for the sticker on a car seat. Now I'm a flight attendant and we are also told in our training to look for the sticker. If it's not there, the child can't sit in it. No proof that it's FAA certified. If we just take word for it and god forbid something were to happen, it's our ass. I can your side of it and the flight attendants side. You mention crm with the captain, but he didn't authorize it. You also say you know the far's , so you wanted them to break the far just for you?

I understand your side too. Quick question. They didn't give you the car seat back? What did they do with it? They couldn't gate check it? I would call them and fight with them on that. I think they owe you a car seat.
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Old Jan 26, 2012, 6:35 AM
flightattendantmommy flightattendantmommy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Jimworcs, thanks for the insight and agreement. I agree that the real root of the problem is with the FAA. Unfortunately I do not have the time to fight that battle, though I may forward an account of my situation to them and of course expect nothing to happen.

Cortney, I see your point, no I do not want them to "break an FAR just for me". I'm not sure if you are a parent or not, but I know when I became one protecting my children became foremost in my mind...above everything, including FARs. As Jimworcs said, a sensible solution would have been for the captain to override the flight attendant and allow us to use it as he had personal knowledge that the carseat was authorized for use in an aircraft. I also expressed to the crew that if they were going to physically check for the sticker they should notify passengers in some way so the passenger can verify that the sticker is present. I live in Las Vegas, I can only assume that the glue melted and it slid off somewhere. I now have a document from the manufacturer to prove it is safe for use. As a flight attendant I know that sometimes common sense must be employed.

The lead flight attendant gate-checked the baby carrier and it was returned to us at the end of the flight. In retrospect I should have refused to go, called Graco and flown a different airline.
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Old Apr 26, 2013, 7:27 PM
GSPflight GSPflight is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1

Time of occurrence: 1105am

Aviation safety related issues/concerns to report: While flying allegiant airline on April 22, 2013 from GSP to FLL 913 We were told that the FAA had delayed the flight And that it was not the fault of allegiant . We were told that the flight set for 1005 would be leaving 1205 pm ... five minutes later the allegiant rep announced came we must board in 25 minutes and we can leave at 11:05. Everyone rushed the counter... We had paid an additional $14 per ticket for assigned seating to be able to be with my two-year-old grandchild we paid for three tickets ( D section).some one already had our seats once we boarded in the order that they had anounced over the PA. My two-year-old grandchild was forced to sit on the lap of her grandmother and I was forced to the back of the plane... How was forced to pay for a ticket for my two-year-old grandchild and chose to pre pay extra $14 per ticket so that we can have assigned seating my two-year-old grandchild was forced to sit in the lap of her grandmother rather than an individual seat jeopardizing her safety in violation of FAA rules ... The flight attended Salina (approx 30 blond female) Told us they would not be honoring assigned seating...and also forced me to move an additional time calling me a baby to the other flight attendant... she bragged to the passengers that that was a record time of boarding at 12 minutes. I am a pilot in training GA and this has been a very upsetting event to me Dangerously rushing and skipping over rules ...is future of aviation?This flight attendant used the threat of either leaving now or having a 4 hr delay to cheat me out of seating and risk the safety of my baby LeAnn...Love flying and site seing didnt look out the window this whole flight and only wanted it to be over
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allegiant air, carseat, customer service, faa, flight attendant


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