My long vent of the day.
First, my sincere apologies for posting something so baby-centered during ICLW week. I really try to avoid Kate-heavy posts during this time, but ugh, I need to vent.
Here’s the deal. We’re moving in August. We’ll be Stateside for a month, then we need to fly back to Europe, where we’ll live for three more years. Before Kate, I really didn’t care, nor pay much attention to, which airline we flew. Well, now that I have an infant, who I insist ride in a car seat while flying, I’m paying much more attention to our choice of airline.
Kate is my daughter and whether she’s in a car or a plane, she’s strapped into her car seat. Our upcoming travel is not leisure, it’s work related, and therefore, we don’t have a choice about flying. To keep the nasty, anonymous comments at bay, can we just leave it at that? Please? Yes I know that a lot of people are comfortable flying with their infants in their laps, I’m not. Yes I know that if the plane falls from the sky, it’s likely, though not certain, that we will all die anyway. I worry more about take-off, landing, turbulence, aborted take-offs, and my personal desire of not having a squirmy, one-year old in my lap for 8+ hours.
So, here’s the problem. The European carriers are notorious for being anti-car seat on board, and there are no U.S. carriers that fly into our destination city. I have spent hours upon hours researching online, and yesterday, hours upon hours on the phone with several of the European airlines, trying to get a straight answer about their car seat policies.
Today, I’m more frustrated than ever.
Airline A: Website policy looks phenomenal, even listing specific makes and models of car seats. I wasthisclose to telling my husband to book with them, without even talking to a customer service rep. Fortunately the little voice in my head told me to call. Sure enough (after 30 minutes on hold), I was told that car seats are not permitted on board and the agent was shocked when I read her the policy from their website. So I called back, hoping to get a different agent, and therefore different answer. Once again, no car seats are allowed on board. When pressed for a reason, I was told it was a “security issue.” WHAT? So, I called again. Same thing. No car seats allowed on board, and no explanation as to why the website hasn’t been updated to reflect the policy change.
Airline B: Website states car seats are allowed. Internet research for passengers’ experiences with this airline tells a very, very different story. Add in that the armrests are fixed, making car seat installation difficult, if not impossible.
Airline C: Website states that car seats are allowed, forward facing only. Kate is too young to front face. I mean yeah, it’s better than nothing , but when questioned about using a car seat on board, the agent said it was at the discretion of the flight crew.
Airline D: Website policy looks good, with one, MAJOR exception. Car seats can’t be used during take off, landing, or when the fasten seat belt sign is on. I had to read that about 10 times. Um, isn’t that the most critical time of the flight, the time I most want her strapped into her car seat? Having hit severe turbulence going over the Atlantic when she was seven weeks old, I was very grateful that she was safely nestled in her car seat. There is no way I could have held onto her during that flight anymore than I could have done it in a car. I asked the agent about the policy and she said she had no idea, other than they might be worried about the car seat “tipping over during take off.” WHAT? It’s held in by the same seatbelt that keeps all of the adult passengers in their seats.
I AM BEYOND FRUSTRATED! As of last night, I’m leaning toward Airline D, and hoping for an understanding flight crew. Plus it’s the only direct flight from Dulles to our next home, so only once will I have to show my angry face, I mean, sweetly explain that I need to use the car seat for Kate’s safety, and for the comfort of other passengers.