OH Stewardess: Does My 2-Year-Old Need Their Own Airplane Seat?

Photo: Pintsizepilot.com

Unless there was a new Executive Order or U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao ordered a change in US Federal Aviation Regulations, the answer is YES.

U.S. FAR 121.311 indicates:

“A child who has reached their second birthday must occupy a seat with a separate seat belt properly secured about them for TAXI, TAKEOFF and LANDING.”

Unfortunately, the latest air travel imbroglio involving a Huntington Beach, CA family of five resulted in a Delta official allegedly misquoting the Federal Aviation Regulations asking the family to give up their 2-year old’s seat on the more than five-hour flight.   NBC news reports the family was threatened with jail time and children put in the foster care if they didn’t comply.

Except, according to U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation regulations, anyone 2 years or older must be seated in their own seat on an aircraft.

There can be exceptions to the rule but it’s Captain’s authority and s/he has final say of what happens on the flight.

Case in point, in 2015, one of my flights departing Aruba was oversold.  Unfortunately, the flight prior to ours had cancelled leaving us, the final departing flight, to accommodate as many passengers, returning to the states, as we could.  The gate agents did the best they could but there was a family of three and only two seats available.  The father was going to remain behind and travel the next day.    Except, the family of three were traveling to Switzerland; not just from Aruba to EWR (Newark International Airport) but they had a connecting flight to their European home.

We had one family on the flight who purchased a seat for their 2-year-old.  The Flight’s Captain gave his approval and the gate agents planned to handsomely compensate the family for the baby’s seat. The dad made it on to travel with his family back to Switzerland.  United Airlines saved that family a lot of travel woes and headaches that day, and they kept most of the passengers happy.

According to initial reports the family on the Delta flight bought a ticket on an earlier flight for their older child so the 2-year-old would have a seat on the red-eye flight.

Follow-up reports indicated the family didn’t change the name on the ticket and that’s where the mix up could have occurred.  Positive ID-ticket match didn’t come into question.  Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration don’t require ID for those under 18 years old. Therefore, Delta allegedly gave away the seat believing the ticketed passenger was a no-show. It’s reported Delta Airlines officials compensated the family for their inconvenience.

For TL; DR

  • FAR 121.311 requires 2-year-olds and older to purchase seats on domestic carrier flights.
  • FAA advises use of airline-approved car seat for flights.  Proper CRS will have one or both labels.  “THIS CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM CONFORMS TO ALL APPLICABLE FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS” or this one printed in red “THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN MOTOR VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT
  • Positive ID match for each airline ticket purchased is required for anyone over the age of 18.   TSA –Department of Homeland Security doesn’t require ID for anyone under 18 years old.

Having worked with several large customer-facing organizations, I learned Public Relations nightmares could be avoided if employees remember

“Great Customer Service always starts with the word “YES”

Thank you for reading!

Styles of the Decades | Voices inside my head

…asked for a description of fashion and style during the last century.

At first I wasn’t sure who was doing the asking or why it was important but I tend to be an obedient scribe.  So, I went along with the exercise.

Then, I realized it was the writer in me doing the asking. “Gasp”

I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m no writer. A journalist, yes; a writer? No way.

A journalist simply gossips about stuff that matters… but to make up a story, a 90,000-word story? Oh, I don’t think so.  OK, maybe 1 story, but it’s the 2nd novel, that makes a writer, a novelist.

it’s the 2nd novel, that makes a writer, a novelist.

At night or whenever it’s quiet, however, it’s her, the writer screaming to be heard.  She is the one who convinces me to work on a manuscript I can’t see myself completing.

And since I can be stubborn, she whispers to me to do these exercises that masquerade as…


In the books I’ve read, I always notice when the novelist pays deference to the time by painting the scene with clues – such as style and fashion, I find it’s the quickest way to draw me, the reader, into the story.  Sometimes, the outfit’s description sets the story’s


It may be a part of a sentence in 90k words but even the description of an outfit sets the mood.

But as I’ve written:


So, without further ado, let’s see where this talk about fashion takes us.

The 1960s Menswear brought to the streets: Suits with straight lines and a gangster lean.  If someone said, “You look sharp as a mosquito’s peter”- you could be sure those creases were on point. Suits were tailored from fabrics such as shark skin rayon, a two-color woven fabric that reflected subtle shade, a complement to the dominate color.

It wasn’t all Dapper Dan, there were Dashikis, Turbans, Afros, Jewfros (not derogatory term at the time, but a real hairstyle on men who were not directly of African descent) –

Mini dress
Womenswear: Crochet ponchos, peasant shirts, denim bell-bottoms, with embroidered decorative patches, miniskirts, mini-dresses, go-go boots. Even Flight Attendant uniforms looked the part of a revolution.

In the 1970s Menswear had an effeminate yet pimpish flair. Three-piece garbardine polyester suits; flare-legged tight-fitting pants, matching vest and jacket, satin button-down shirts. Think: John Travolta in that iconic white suit in the movie “Saturday Night Fever”.  Not everyone dressed up for disco dancing,

Saturday Night Fever Movie (1977)
there was also discotheque-inspired unisex wear: leg warmers, head bands, off the shoulder-tapered tees and shiny spandex leggings. Everyone was Jennifer Beals in Flash Dance or Irene Cara in Fame.  The 60s revolution gave way to dancing in the 70s.

By the 1980s – Disco was on its way out but it wouldn’t die gracefully – Gold Lame * continued to claw its way out of the grave, but it eventually gave way to Punk Rock styles.   Sharp angles and dark colors offset by silver chains shared the stage with clothing from the 1940sVintage couture was in! And with it, oversized single or double-breasted jackets with huge shoulder pads began flying off the racks in New York’s Village shops.  Then gold chains, leather pants & jackets, Kangol hats and printed T-shirts, began to show up on the New York City sidewalks.

The 1990s was hijacked by Grunge and Hip Hop couture.  Grunge was almost Gothic meets Lumberjack with its large flannel shirts. In contrast, Hip Hop was colorful – a bright complement to the dark Seattle-sound inspired fashions.

In addition to “playful” Hip Hop styles, elements included ripped tees, Afrocentric wear, crowns including Kufi caps, leather bomber jackets, baseball caps with an opening for a fake or real pony-tail, thigh-high boots, fashion that served as a boastful and rebellious response to the Reagan Era.

Maybe the “voices” were right.   Writing about style isn’t an exercise in futility.  Fashion serves as its own medium; communicating society’s mood or temperament during an era.

Oh, by the way  * Gold Lame clothing is back. (Vogue Magazine – May 2017) Maybe we’ll be dancing in the streets again.

Thank you for reading.