Young family of six kicked off flight to Chicago, nastiness ensues

A couple with a brood of babies was kicked off a US Airways flight to Chicago the other day for adhering to what they thought were the airline's rules about infants not needing a ticket. On domestic flights in the U.S., children under the age of two do not need their own seat with the assumption they will sit on their parents' laps. The problem with this couple, you see, is they have three children under the age of two, and an older toddler and not enough laps to go around. The couple was kicked off the flight for squishing their four kids, plus themselves, into three seats. That's a squeeze, folks.

If this were the only problem, I wouldn't bother writing about it because that's what we have the Daily Mail for. My issue is the nearly unanimous reaction to the story, which can be summed up in the top-voted comment:

"The parents are not only thieves, they're negligent with their children, not caring about their safety."

Really? THIEVES? First of all, the US Airways doesn't even have an online option for buying a ticket for an infant. The passenger must be over two in order to purchase a seat. I'm sure exceptions can be made if you call the desk, but this busy family just followed procedure for buying tickets online.

Negligent? That's ridiculous. The ages of the children were three (gets her own seat), 20-month old twins (one per lap of the parent) and an 8-month-old (easily content in a baby carrier) attached to the mother. Yes, it's possible to hold two kids at once for 90 minutes and don't give me that about the oxygen masks because another seat wouldn't have magically sprouted more arms on the mother, who'd have to help anyway.

Was this the ideal plan? No. Ideally they should have called the airline and bought another ticket for a fourth seat and placed the youngest child in it secured in a car seat. I'm not arguing the parents made the best decision. But to call them thieves and negligent says more about public opinion of larger families. One more seat purchased on a flight wouldn't have done a thing to change that.

Here is a sampling of other up voted comments:

"Wow. Why are they having so many kids in such a short span of time? Especially if it was deliberate. After 20-month-old twins, having an 8-month-old baby is very close together, especially when you add in the 3-year-old. Four kids age 3 and under. They should have gotten kicked off and it's good they did."

"Another lowlife family trying to get something for nothing"

"4 kids under the age of 3... sheesh."

Ah, the real problem is peoples' opinions of "larger" families. As you will recall I'm not a fan of having an insane amount of children when a less-insane amount will fulfill your life and tread easier on the globe (seriously, how many times a day does a toilet flush in the Duggar house - that's a lot of water!) but four kids isn't close to insane. Running this family into the ground is not right.

I wish you had made it to Chicago, Fickes family. Next time, rent a van.



Filed under: Chicago Injustice, Preach


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  • I too have twins. I have flown with them a number of times. The first time we flew with them we went online to find out how to fly with 2 babies... Do we need tickets? What are the rules? Etc, Etc.
    I found out in the first 5 minutes that children under 2 don't need tickets if they are lap babies, BUT two lap babies are NOT allowed in one row so my husband and I had to sit in front/behind each other while holding our babies. It is not hard to find out that only one lap infant is allowed per row. This family should have taken 5 minutes to figure this out!
    I learned rather quickly that paying for a seat for one child made for a happier flight (I realize your first flight with two--or more-- babies is a trial run!). With two adult seats and one child seat we could strap one baby in and pass the other baby back and forth.
    Now we don't fly unless we buy four seats. We aren't rich but this is the way I think about it.... I would NEVER allow my child to sit loose in the car as I barrel 70+ miles per hour on the freeway, why would I allow my child to barrel 100+ miles per hour on the runway?
    Anyway, while I don't agree with the "too many children" comments, I do think that these parents should have spent 5 minutes reading the "lap baby" rules! (Also, most airlines DO NOT allow babies to be strapped to mommy in a front pack....)

  • "and don't give me that about the oxygen masks because another seat wouldn't have magically sprouted more arms on the mother, who'd have to help anyway."

    I don't get that statement. It's not a matter of whether or not she would be able to put the masks on. Even with her best efforts, at the end of it there would be six people and only four masks between them.

  • "Yes, it's possible to hold two kids at once for 90 minutes and don't give me that about the oxygen masks because another seat wouldn't have magically sprouted more arms on the mother, who'd have to help anyway."

    The problem isn't her lacking arms, it's that in an emergency there would be four masks and six people.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    An adult must assist with a child's mask, so if they had to split three mask among six people or four masks, it wouldn't' have made a difference. The same number of parents had to do the splitting. What they needed was another adult, not just another seat.

  • They needed another seat without a passenger in it to free up a mask. Planes fly full these days, there's not a lot of empty seats floating around

  • In reply to Andrew:

    What was interesting is that someone on board offered to buy them an extra seat. I have no idea why they didn't take them up on it, but an even easier solution would have been if someone offered to hold the baby.
    I'm not a huge fan of handing over my babies myself, but hello! She has FOUR of them and besides, it's not like anyone can snatch your child on a plane 1,000 feet in the air.

  • I have to respectfully disagree. This family was negligent in assuming they were in compliance with the airlines regulations, which they obviously were not.

    But truly, to me, the bigger issue is large families. But, oh my God, you can't ever make an observation that could possibly be construed as judgmental or negative about someone's family without being called every name in the book in return. Which is unfortunate, because we should be open to civilized discussion, including number of children. It seems though that most people think the number of children they have is fine, but more than that is too much. Personally, I think there is a lot of truth to the Demographic-Economic paradox. And I also think the more controversial theory that there is an inverse correlation between intelligence and fertility is true. But say it out loud? You'll be labeled as supporting eugenics. I don't support eugenics, by the way, but I also think large families are indulgent and selfish and narcissistic. There I dared to say it.

  • In reply to code14j:

    I can see your point. I'm sure you read my earlier post about the Duggars and how people should think of the earth and use birth control. I was trolled for weeks after that (months?) but I don't think four kids is so insane that this family deserves to be called horrible names. There was a set of twins in there after all and who knows if the last one was an oops? I'm just narcissistic enough to consider third myself - what if that ends up being twins? (TERRORIZING. THOUGHT.) You see my point.
    20 kids is irresponsible on many fronts, just one of which is the environment. I should stop being lazy and link that old post of mine. Off to search . . .

  • PS, here it is. SIGH.

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