US flight attendants demand ban on unsecured infants on laps during flights

Irina Wilhauk /

The United States Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) is demanding a ban on unsecured infants traveling on the laps of adult passengers. 

Citing several recent incidents where passengers have been injured due to severe turbulence, the association is demanding that all aircraft passengers, regardless of age, should have their own designated seats. 

“We’ve seen airplanes go through turbulence recently and drop 4,000 feet in a split second. Its G-forces are not something that even the most loving mother or father can guard against and hold their child. It’s just physically impossible,” Sara Nelson, the international president of the union, told The Washington Post. 

The association, which is the largest union representing more than 50,000 members from around 20 US carriers, has been asking for the ban to be enforced for the past 30 years.

It recently submitted a list of proposals to the US Congress asking for an amendment of current airline rules in order to enhance the safety of passengers.

Under current rules, a child under the age of two does not require its own ticket and it is free for them to fly. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) only recommends, not mandates, parents purchase a separate seat and that the child is secured in an approved child restraint system (CRS). 

“The FAA strongly urges you to secure your child in an approved CRS or other approved device for the entirety of your flight. Buying a ticket for your child is the only way to guarantee that you will be able to use a CRS. It’s the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination,” the FAA recommends in its ‘Flying with Children’ page.

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