KarlB737
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WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:55 pm

There have been recent instances of passengers kicked off Southwest flights for various reasons. There have been overweight passengers that have needed two seats. One can overlook much of these incidents as unfortunate and maybe policy needs to be relooked at as these issues have come to pass. I travel on Southwest from time to time so I am not for the record a hater of Southwest in any fashion.

We have a very young kid that has batten disease and he is terminally ill. He has a small chair because he is small that assists him in keeping himself upright because he is unable to do it for himself.

A Southwest staff member takes the chair away from him. If I were the parents I would be furious. If that kid that cannot support himself to be upright is removed from the only chair that will keep him upright I believe the line is crossed by the Southwest staff member.

With these recent incidents and now this I now have to wonder. Yes they have safety rules. This is different. What medical background does the Southwest staff member have to overtly take away this kids chair. With this overt act if I were the parent and any harm came to that kid that staff member would be in litigation forever and Gary Kelly would be included.

Courtesy: MyFoxBoston

Southwest Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/...rminally-ill-childs-chair-20111224
 
xjramper
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:05 pm

I am confused. The parent's gave up the seat because the flight attendant wanted to make sure that it was FAA approved. I can't believe I am defending WN, but quoting the article "When his parents strapped him into his protective seat, an airline staff member approached the family concerned that the chair may not be FAA approved to be on the plane."

There are certain seats that are not FAA approved. It sounds like the F/A was just making sure that it was FAA approved, the family doesn't question it (even though the article says "relented" and they "gave up the seat" meaning the airline didn't "take" the seat).

There are two sides to every story and this story seems fishy and somewhat sensational. Id like to know what happened before everyone jumps on the hate WN for a story that doesn't add up.

/defending WN
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Cubsrule
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:21 pm

Quoting xjramper (Reply 1):
I am confused. The parent's gave up the seat because the flight attendant wanted to make sure
that it was FAA approved.

Me too. From the extremely sketchy details in the article, I see no evidence that WN did anything wrong.

For the record, I have a family member who is confined to a wheelchair, and it's probably been close to a decade since he has traveled with any carrier other than WN. From checkin to bag claim, the experience for disabled customers (or, at least, his experience) is head and shoulders above any other carrier.
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NASCARAirforce
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:23 pm

There goes the media spin again with their title. The title makes it look like the staff member stole the chair from him, when in reality the staff member was covering his ass because the chair might not be safe to be strapped in an airline seat in case of an incident - its basically a damned if you do damned if you don't situation.

Believe me I feel bad for the kid and family and I understand because my father is handicapped, so bad that he cannot fly on a plane because we are worried that the airline bag handlers would damage his electric wheelchair that costs as much as a small car. My dad couldn't sit up straight in an airline seat either and would need a seat that leans back or he gets all kinds of health problems (his wheelchair tilts back)

I take it this happened at MCO, since they said they were on their way home from Disney World and haven't heard anything about this here.

Like I said its a damned if you do damned if you don't situation:

A. If he allows the chair. something happens in flight like a hard landing, turbulence and the chair not FAA approved falls out and the kid gets hurt parents sue Southwest - he loses his job because he allowed it.

B. Being that he doesn't - parents run to the media, media makes him look like a villain. He also looks like he doesn't have good customer service skills - of course the Boston Media spun it like he stole the seat from the kid, which in reality he just said the seat isn't FAA approved and they had to check the seat in luggage, where Southwest wouldn't even charge him for checking it, while other airlines probably would have (and I am not sticking up for Southwest because I really am not a big fan of them either).

Also- without this chair, would the kid be in harm sitting in the airline seat? So either way there is a potential for lawsuit

Honestly - it was an honest mistake, mainly on the parents end but also excuseable mistake. If anything it is the FAA. Everything has to be FAA approved. Someone I know tried shipping a couple dogs, the kennels weren't FAA approved so they had to run out and buy FAA approved containers. The parents probably should have checked ahead to see if this chair was safe to fly. However with a terminally ill kid you have to take care of 24/7, it is hard to think of other issues like that.

This brings up the next question - they said the kid was flying home from Disney World? Does that mean that the chair was approved for the flight down? Did they fly another airline or go down by a different means ie drive? Why was this chair ok to get down but not ok to come back?

What should have been done was go to the airport a couple days ahead, talk to someone from Southwest management to get chair approved and have that person sign a waiver.
 
KarlB737
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:23 pm

Quoting xjramper (Reply 1):
I am confused

The first sentence of the writeup:

"A terminally ill New Hampshire child on a Southwest Airlines flight was removed from his protective travel seat by an airlines staff member."

I stress this:

was removed from his protective travel seat and by whom according to the above sentence. Notice this seat is for his protection.

I have made my point and will leave it alone for the rest to comment.

[Edited 2011-12-26 15:27:16]
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:31 pm

Quoting KarlB737 (Reply 4):
"A terminally ill New Hampshire child on a Southwest Airlines flight was removed from his
protective travel seat by an airlines staff member."

I still see no problem. If the seat was not FAA-approved, he should have been removed. End of story.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
NASCARAirforce
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:39 pm

Quoting KarlB737 (Reply 4):
"A terminally ill New Hampshire child on a Southwest Airlines flight was removed from his protective travel seat by an airlines staff member."

Again that sounds like media bias spin to me. Just look at the sentence and tell me it doesn't look like an idiot wrote it.

Basically what that sentence says is that the staff member physically lifted the kid out of his seat and took his chair away. What parent at that point wouldn't open a can of whoop ass on that staff member for physically touching their kid? Right there you know you have a clueless reporter writing -you can't legally touch someone's kid - hell let the media reporters there spin their story to turn this staff member into a pediphile now too.

If this happened at MCO, I would have heard about it because Orlando Police would have been called in for a disturbance because if anyone grabbed a kid and pulled him out of his seat there would be a major physical altercation between the parents and the staff member, and even more likely a law suit

I don't know what else there is to comment on - this is a bad reporter.

This is more likely what really happened. It happened before they got on the plane. They were waiting to board, the gate agent said "Ma'am this seat is not FAA approved, we cannot allow your child to fly in it. Let me check with the captain"

Doesn't say if the captain came out or not, but wouldn't surprise me because this reporter sucks and is just looking for sensationalism. The captain would have final say whether the kid could use the chair or not. The captain probably agreed that it wouldn't be safe for that chair, Southwest then offered to check the chair for free - or it probably could have been stowed in the overhead even because it looks small enough.
 
JetBlueGuy2006
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:40 pm

I am a little confused though. Apparently the family had no issues on the way to Florida, presumably flying WN; so did an employee not do their job on the way down?
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NASCARAirforce
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:54 pm

Quoting JetBlueGuy2006 (Reply 8):
I am a little confused though. Apparently the family had no issues on the way to Florida, presumably flying WN; so did an employee not do their job on the way down?

I brought that same thing up too - did they drive down? Fly another airline? Is this their first ever flight with this terminally ill boy?

If this bad reporter would have brought up that the family had no issues flying down with Southwest, then this would have somewhat changed my oppinion of this article, I'm really surprised this writer has a job because he/she made a lot of rookie mistakes. If they had no problem flying down and you really want to villainise this MCO SWA staff member then you think they would have brought that up that he is the cruel oddball that didn't allow the kid to fly.

There definitely have to be FAA approved chairs for kids with this or a similar problem where they cannot sit up straight. Terminally ill kids travel every day for Make a Wish Foundation trips, BA has its Dream Flight to Disney, Air Canada has a similar trip to Disney etc - I am sure a lot of those kids would need special chairs too. The parents probably should have done some research before flying.

With my dad the way he is, he can't get into bed from his chair without a lift - so my mom has to call hotels if she travels with him (its amazing he can still travel, but my mom is not willing to give up travelling) to see if the hotels have beds with the open area beneath them so the lift can go under the bed.
 
777STL
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:17 am

http://ourpromisetonicholas.com/wp-c...ntent/uploads/2011/12/IMAG0222.jpg

This isn't acceptable, and I was all ready to defend WN on this one....
PHX based
 
eastern747
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:21 am

It has "always" been the airline policy that any disabled passenger who can't deplane the aircraft in case of an emergency, be accompanied by someone who can take charge of them. F/A's must be there for everyone and not dedicate themselves to just one person. Was the child flying alone? How big is this chair/seat--ie overhead? If there was any emergency and the disabled person was hurt or killed, because of the disability, the lawsuits would come the next day.
 
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fxramper
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:23 am

This isn't surprising, but I was on an AA flight from FCO to ORD a few years back and there was a disabled passenger that needed a seat to get back for treatment and the captain kicked a flight attendant's husband off the flight so the child could fly. Both the FA and her husband where on passes used for holiday and the FA got in a heated argument with the Captain over booting her husband. She ended up leaving the a/c with her husband and the Captain got a standing ovation for his actions in helping the family of the ill child.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:29 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 10):
This isn't acceptable

Why not? This is easy. Travel with an FAA approved chair/seat - just like tens or hundreds of thousands of other parents do each and every day.
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eastern747
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:38 am

The person traveling for treatment was another pass rider or full fare? Either way, Capt was right. Keep the husband in his seat and let the F/A ride on a jump seat. Sounds like more to the story here......
 
777STL
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:45 am

"Why not? This is easy. Travel with an FAA approved chair/seat - just like tens or hundreds of thousands of other parents do each and every day."

Yeah, no. I'm pretty sure this kid was safer in whatever seat he was sitting in rather than sitting slouched in his seat with his belt around his upper stomach/lower chest. This is one of those instances where it helps to use a small bit of common sense instead of seeing everything in black and white.

And this isn't a normal kid, so perhaps being a decent human being and exercising some compassion instead of being a by the book a-hole is in order, no?
PHX based
 
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fxramper
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:02 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):
And this isn't a normal kid, so perhaps being a decent human being and exercising some compassion instead of being a by the book a-hole is in order, no?

I'm sure we aren't getting the entire story as is so popular, but I would have given up my seat for either the ill passenger or the employee going to work.
 
Jerseyguy
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:58 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):
And this isn't a normal kid, so perhaps being a decent human being and exercising some compassion instead of being a by the book a-hole is in order, no?

And if something happened and the FA was fired or sued, I guess all that would be reversed because well he was just using some common sense. I'm sorry these days with the sue happy society we live in common sense does not apply anymore.
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Daysleeper
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:06 am

I feel sorry for the cabin crew as this was a no win situation for them, had they let him use the seat and he got hurt somehow then the headlines would have been “Southwest lets terminally ill child travel in unsafe seat”. In a situation like that I think it’s best to just stick to the letter of the law / regulation.

I’m also surprised the parents hadn’t checked before travelling that it was okay to use the seat in the cabin. I’d have thought it common sense too.

[Edited 2011-12-26 18:20:25]
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:09 am

Quoting KarlB737 (Reply 4):

The first sentence of the writeup:

"A terminally ill New Hampshire child on a Southwest Airlines flight was removed from his protective travel seat by an airlines staff member."

I stress this:

was removed from his protective travel seat and by whom according to the above sentence. Notice this seat is for his protection.

And I stress this - as a trained ACAA Complaint Resolution Official for a major U.S. air carrier - safety comes first, and if the child's seat is not FAA-approved, despite how comfortable, protective, or necessary it may be for him, he cannot travel in it aboard a commercial air carrier.

Full-stop.

End of story.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
ah414211
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:25 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):
And this isn't a normal kid, so perhaps being a decent human being and exercising some compassion instead of being a by the book a-hole is in order, no?

I'm not sure I would call someone who is following FAA regulations a by the book a-hole. Like it or not, the FAA regulations are very clear, and if the crew chose to not abide by them then they could all be held personally liable for that decision. Nothing against the child at all, but rules are rules. I'm not sure why everyone thinks they should be the exception to the rule.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 20):
And I stress this - as a trained ACAA Complaint Resolution Official for a major U.S. air carrier - safety comes first, and if the child's seat is not FAA-approved, despite how comfortable, protective, or necessary it may be for him, he cannot travel in it aboard a commercial air carrier.

Full-stop.

End of story.


  
 
777fan
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:42 am

Could this problem have been resolved when the child/family checked in on the outbound leg of their trip? Seems to me that regardless of the point of embarkation, the problem could have been mitigated at several points along the way, beginning as early as the reservations agent (example: the parents could've given a heads-up and/or sought clarification as to whether or not the chair would be permitted), to the check-in agent(s), station manager(s), or gate agent(s). No doubt the FA was probably only covering their ass, but from my distant vantage point, it appears that they were the last line of defense along the way.

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chrisnh
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:49 am

How did the child manage to get from Manchester to Orlando in the first place, in a 'non-approved' seat?
 
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:56 am

Quoting chrisnh (Reply 23):
How did the child manage to get from Manchester to Orlando in the first place, in a 'non-approved' seat?

It's quite possible that WN's dropping of the ball actually occurred when the child was allowed to travel outbound in the non-approved seat in the first place. However, you can't selectively disregard FAA regulations on the return because someone neglected to catch the issue on the outbound flight.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
2175301
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:58 am

The issue that I see here is that I doubt that this chair is a normal child seat - and it is more likely to be a piece of medical gear.

How many medical devices are FAA approved. I cannot imagine the medical supply companies submitting their equipment to the FAA for approval.

Have a great day,
 
ATCtower
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:22 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 24):


Not sure, but I dont recall WN asking me if I required separate seating the last time I booked a flight.

All this is, is another BS reason for someone to complain because a corporation isnt 'sensitive' to the needs of everyone else. I can assure you that if any 'reasonable' accommodation could have been made for this child to travel MEETING ALL FAA guidelines, and in accordance with FAA part 121 procedures, WN would have been more than willing to oblige.

The unfortunate fact remains that no matter what WN did in this instance it was wrong. If they were to allow the child to travel in a seat not approved, they could be cited, fined, and summoned by the FAA and forced to comply. Denying the child their seat gets the sympathetic ear of every liberal media outlet who will listen, and thus vilify an otherwise legitimate, reputable carrier in an attempt to slander their image to that of an 'unwilling' discriminate.
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Tbone354
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:46 am

ATCtower:

I think you have intercepted the localizer and glide slope here.
 
Mir
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:06 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):
Yeah, no. I'm pretty sure this kid was safer in whatever seat he was sitting in rather than sitting slouched in his seat with his belt around his upper stomach/lower chest. This is one of those instances where it helps to use a small bit of common sense instead of seeing everything in black and white.

Whether he'd be safer or not is, unfortunately, irrelevant. If the seat is not FAA approved, the airline cannot accept it for travel - to do so would be to violate the regulations set forth for the operation of the aircraft, and the captain, F/As and Southwest itself could be targeted for enforcement action by the FAA for that. And the FAA does not have a whole lot of common sense. Nor do the lawyers who would sue the airline if something happened.

Aviation is a black and white world. Safety equipment is either approved or it isn't. There's no such thing as "it's not technically approved, but it works fine". And, in the aggregate, I think the track record would indicate that that's a good thing.

-Mir
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Geezer
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:16 am

After having read all 17 replies, I must say, I wasn't there so I really have no idea what did or didn't happen. If I allowed myself to get all upset every time I read something like this in a newspaper, ( or on the internet for that matter ), I would probably go............crazy ? Let's face it folks........if you believe everything you read in newspapers, you are going to be seriously ill-informed.

also,
[quote=KarlB737,reply=0]There have been recent instances of passengers kicked off Southwest flights for various reasons.

Yes, I'm sure there have been; and I would hasten to add, the same thing holds true for every other airline out there; it happens hundreds of times every day, every place you go. ( The operative words here being "various reasons" ! )


[quote=KarlB737,reply=0]There have been overweight passengers that have needed two seats.

There have been many discussions on this forum about this subject; this is a subject that has so many "sides" to it that we could argue for weeks, months, or even years and never solve the problem, mainly because there are just too many ways to look at it. Just for the "heck" of it..........ever take a close look at the seats in any Southwest plane ? I have never bothered to measure them, but I have noticed this; they are not designed for people who are morbidly obese; they are designed for "average" size people. I'll tell you something else about Southwest Airlines..........if you happen to weigh, say 400 pounds, and you are contemplating flying Southwest, do yourself a big favor first.......call them up....tell them you are a 400 pounder, with a "backside" to match. They will very quickly inform you, "be prepared to purchase two seats, and even then we cannot assure you that you will be all that comfortable." My point being, almost no one who is "huge" EVER takes the trouble to do this; they just go to the airport, buy a ticket, and "show up" on board, where the poor FA's have to deal with the problem. But it doesn't work this way at SW; they inform you "up front", before you ever board the plane; and for people who want to "debate the issue", they will even have you attempt to sit in a seat, and if that big "hind end" won't fit.........you'll be buying two seats ! ( or taking a train )

Every time this subject comes up, we invariably hear about all of the hundreds of medical reasons some people are 400 pounds; and I'll grant you, there are some good reasons people get that big, just like there are many "not so good" reasons, ( too much soda pop, too many "whoppers", "big macs", "french fries", etc. etc. etc. ) But all of this completely misses the point. All airlines are in business to make a profit; as I'm sure almost anyone on this forum, on this web site realizes, all airliners are very "weight sensitive", whether it's a 10 seat plane, or a 747; every single pound you put on any airplane costs X amount of fuel to get it from point A to point B. It's not like a train, a big cruise ship, a river barge, where a few more pounds doesn't make all that much difference.

I'm sure there will be many people calling me names (mostly un-flattering) for pointing this out; for those people, I can only say this...........I happen to know at least a half dozen very good friends who are anywhere from 300 lbs, to a couple who are probably over 500 lbs; my heart goes out to them; I feel very sad that they are this way; but there isn't much I can do, other than treat them kindly, which I do. I also know, and have known folks who are in the airline industry; they all depend on the company they are employed by to stay in business so they will have a job and an income to get by on.

Someone above mentioned Gary Kelly; I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Kelly about 2 years ago; two things came to mind; A. he is a very nice person, and B. he is almost certainly one of the major reasons why Southwest Airlines is doing so well. ( IMHO )

Charley
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wnflyguy
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:44 am

FAA approved chair/seat NEEDS to be just that. The FAA is also just Black and White and a little outdated. If we let a parent or anyone traveling with some use that NON-FAA approved chair/seat not only will the FAA FINE WN but Also the flight crew for bending the rules. The flight crew has to pay for the fine themselves before they are allowed to fly again. Safety first always..no matter what in my book..my job or a fine not worth a NON-FAA approved chair/seat ..wnfg
my post are my opinion only and not those of southwest airlines and or airtran airlines.
 
milesrich
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:54 am

The parents should have made sure the seat was FAA approved before beginning their trip. PERIOD. Why should WN risk getting fined? This story is unfortunate, but WN is not at fault.
 
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b727fa
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:59 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 20):
And I stress this - as a trained ACAA Complaint Resolution Official for a major U.S. air carrier - safety comes first, and if the child's seat is not FAA-approved, despite how comfortable, protective, or necessary it may be for him, he cannot travel in it aboard a commercial air carrier.

Full-stop.

End of story.

I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring up the CRO. Thank you!

Quoting ah414211 (Reply 21):
Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):
And this isn't a normal kid, so perhaps being a decent human being and exercising some compassion instead of being a by the book a-hole is in order, no?

A "decent human being" doesn't hold up in court.
My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
 
wn700driver
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:42 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):
This is one of those instances where it helps to use a small bit of common sense instead of seeing everything in black and white.

This is aviation. You cannot use "common sense" as you put it. I'm not joking either. The reason is that regulations exist for a purpose, and at no time is it ever acceptable to substitute someone's subjective personal judgement (which is what you really meant; "common sense" really doesn't exist given its subjective nature) for company policy and/or FAA regulations.

If you're willing to think like that, there better not be a turqoise colored card in your possession.

Quoting 777STL (Reply 15):


And this isn't a normal kid, so perhaps being a decent human being and exercising some compassion instead of being a by the book a-hole is in order, no?

I think few things will make one want to break rules more than satisfying the needs of a terminally ill child. There really is nothing sadder, I agree, & I do not see anything "wrong" per se with feeling that way. But rules are there for a reason & I do not see enough cause to label this individual an "a-hole." This individual really was in an unenviable position here...
Base not your happiness on the deeds of others, for what is given can be taken away. No Hope = No Fear
 
odafz
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:31 am

It must have been a very awkward if not tragic incident. But 2 things come to mind : rules are rules and they must be enforced , the link comes from Fox Boston....My very limited exposure to the American media allows me to say that Fox is not famous for its sterling reporting ( pepper spray.... it is food) and consequently and by default i do not buy anything they say.

On an other hand, the author of this thread most probably wanted to bash an airline in a sensationalist way has his efforts fell flatly : of the 33 threads more than 25 are in favor of the airline .....Dear sir you should choose your battles better and leave these kind of news to the likes of national enquirer, Fox, Daily mail etc....
Merry christmas
 
aztrainer
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:43 pm

Damned if you do and damned if you don't situation for WN and the FA.

I am wondering if the seat is similar as the one on the video. If it is I would bet that the FA saw it as a hindrance as the child (from the picture posted) was sitting in a middle seat and functionally blocking the window seat passenger from egressing the A/C if a need arises.

WN gave the family a full refund and apologized for the problem.

My question would be how can a one off (special protection device) be approved by the FAA? Is/are there special dispensations for these types of situations that parents can get such devices approved by the FAA?
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:51 pm

Quoting aztrainer (Reply 33):
If it is I would bet that the FA saw it as a hindrance as the child (from the picture posted) was sitting in a middle seat and functionally blocking the window seat passenger from egressing the A/C if a need arises.

Don't child seats have to (per the FARs) go in window seats for that very reason? On WN, I'm certain they do, but I've never flown with a child seat on any aircraft with a middle seat besides WN's.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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b727fa
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:54 pm

I have strong feelings about CRS' not being in a window seat. I think they should ALWAYS be on the window. However, there is no specific FAR on it--it comes down to airline policy. Some say, "if the CRS is in the middle seat (and/or) blocking someone then the person being "blocked" must be in the same party of the pax in the CRS or agree to having the CRS "in their way."
My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
 
bwaflyer
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:04 pm

At the airline I work for (governed by the UK CAA rather than the FAA) we would not accept this seat for travel. The seat could not be securely attached to the aircraft seat, and therefore in an emergency could not only injure the child, but other passengers or could become dislodged and block other passengers exit. I don't know about WN, but our airline carries a CARES harness http://www.kidsflysafe.com on our aircraft which would be used in this case. If the child could not use this harness, then, as harsh as it seems, they would not be permitted to fly. We have to consider not only their safety, but the potential that they may compromise other people's safety. The CAA regulates everything down to minute detail for a reason. New rules and procedures are brought out after pretty much every aircraft incident as the regulators discover new problems and work around to solve them. In aviation, for every rule there is a reason for it, and probably injuries or worse from a previous incident to support them.
 
KarlB737
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:14 pm

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 3):
There goes the media spin again with their title.
Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 6):
tell me it doesn't look like an idiot wrote it.
Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 6):
this is a bad reporter.
Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 8):
If this bad reporter would have brought up that the family had no issues flying down with Southwest, then this would have somewhat changed my oppinion of this article, I'm really surprised this writer has a job because he/she made a lot of rookie mistakes. If they had no problem flying down and you really want to villainise this MCO SWA staff member then you think they would have brought that up that he is the cruel oddball that didn't allow the kid to fly.



It is now possible to take the MyFox Boston reporter out of the equation since an additional report from the Boston Globe adds a little more information to this incident.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 3):
Does that mean that the chair was approved for the flight down?




Yep! Apparently if you're flying south these "rules" don't exist. When you choose to return north the "rules" suddenly appear.

Courtesy: Boston Globe via Boston.com

"the boy has used the seat on previous flights, including the Southwest flight that took the family to Orlando so they could visit Disney World."

http://articles.boston.com/2011-12-2...uthwest-airlines-flight-attendants

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 18):
And I stress this - as a trained ACAA Complaint Resolution Official for a major U.S. air carrier - safety comes first, and if the child's seat is not FAA-approved, despite how comfortable, protective, or necessary it may be for him, he cannot travel in it aboard a commercial air carrier.



And yet on the flight from New Hampshire to Florida the seat was perfectly OK.

Quoting Mir (Reply 26):
Aviation is a black and white



Black if you're traveling north. White if you're traveling south.
 
av8orwalk
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:26 pm

The good news is this seat will not be aboard any more Southwest flights. I appreciate the flight attendant that finally caught the violation. As a frequent passenger, I feel a little better knowing an unapproved seat is not going to turn into a projectile during turbulence or a hard landing and injure this child, myself, or someone else on the aircraft.

Kudos to the FA!

Cheers,
Drew MCO
The safest place to be in an airplane crash is on the ground.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:34 pm

Quoting KarlB737 (Reply 37):
Yep! Apparently if you're flying south these "rules" don't exist. When you choose to return north the "rules" suddenly appear.

So two wrongs make a right?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
justplanenutz
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:23 pm

Difficult situation for all involved. As some have said here, WN was damned either way and I am sure the FA took no pleasure in ordering the child removed from his seat. And, one can imagine the parents concern about the loss of a medical device they believed provided comfort and safety to their child.

And these are medical devices, not something from the toddler aisle at Wal-Mart. His seat was no doubt something like this:

http://www.pattersonmedical.com/app.aspx?cmd=get_product&id=77503

Adaptive seats are prescribed by therapists and physicians, ordered through insurance companies and are quite expensive (frequently >$1,000). They often take months and months to procure. Few appear to be FAA-approved, which I suspect is for some reason (cost of testing for a product with a very limited market, size or perhaps lack of a shoulder belt on an airplane?).

Seems like the CARES harness would have been a better solution, though I do not believe US airlines carry them on board. I also do not beleive the medical community that prescribes such things has much awareness of FAA rules and the need for different seating devices when flying than driving.

[Edited 2011-12-27 08:42:11]
 
rcair1
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:24 pm

Quoting wn700driver (Reply 31):
You cannot use "common sense" as you put it.
Quoting wn700driver (Reply 31):
no time is it ever acceptable to substitute someone's subjective personal judgement

While it does not apply to this case, such a blanket statement requires a clarification. There are situations where a pilot/crew member is allowed to deviate from regulations if they believe it is required for safety of flight based upon their "subjective judgement". There are few things in life that are as black and white as implied. They will be held responsible for their actions of course, but if deemed reasonable and prudent, there will be allowances made.
rcair1
 
Mir
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:27 pm

Quoting aztrainer (Reply 33):
My question would be how can a one off (special protection device) be approved by the FAA? Is/are there special dispensations for these types of situations that parents can get such devices approved by the FAA?

There might be. But you'd be looking at a fairly long approval period, methinks.

Quoting KarlB737 (Reply 37):
And yet on the flight from New Hampshire to Florida the seat was perfectly OK.

No, it wasn't. The fact that the crew let it go (or didn't notice it) doesn't change that. Regulations say that if the seat is not approved, it can't be used. That hasn't changed.

Say you're driving down a road with a speed limit of 55, but you missed the sign and thought it was 65. So you go 65. But then on the way back, also going 65, you get pulled over. Should "well, you didn't pull me over on the way down, so why are you doing it now?" be a defense? Because that's basically what you're saying.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
jkudall
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:07 pm

I am surprised the media would write such an article with such little information, incredibly biased, and what seems to be motivated only for dramatic effect. Oh wait, no I am not surprised...

But to come out and blame this particular crew for doing what was quite possibly the safest thing for not only the child but everybody on board is rediculous. Until they can get facts, they shouldn't have written such as biased article. It is poor journalism.

The problem if anything I see is a consistency problem at WN. If it is true he was allowed to fly with his chair earlier but not on the return flight, people need to brush up on their policies. The two previous crews could have been wrong. But again, not pointing any blame on any crew until better facts come out.

But there is a line somewhere when someone's "protective device" is going to do more harm than good. Whether it be the safety of the passenger themselves, or the safety of other passengers. You can't expect an airline to let the Bubble Boy bring his giant bubble onboard a plane and not expect there to be some issues. Obviously thats an extreme example, but its the same principle.

And to top it off, if the parents were so concerned about endangering their son by not having him in his chair, why on earth didn't they just get off the plane and find another way home?!

[Edited 2011-12-27 09:17:09]
 
justplanenutz
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:21 pm

Quoting jkudall (Reply 43):
why on earth didn't they just get off the plane and find another way home?!

How exactly does that work?
 
jkudall
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:26 pm

Quoting justplanenutz (Reply 44):
How exactly does that work?

Simple. The first article (assuming anything in it is correct) said the family, instead of missing their flight, "relented and handed over the chair". So I would assume this occured before the plane left the gate and they were given the option of getting off.
 
justplanenutz
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:30 pm

And then they get back to New Hampshire how?
 
jkudall
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:41 pm

Quoting justplanenutz (Reply 46):
And then they get back to New Hampshire how?

Last time I checked, there were other modes of transportation besides airplanes.

If it were my kid and I were truly concerned my child would be in serious danger for not having his/her protective device, I would get off the plane and drive. I certainly wouldn't put him/her in a situation I thought was dangerous, no matter how inconvenient or expensive the other options are.
 
justplanenutz
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:56 pm

Quoting jkudall (Reply 47):
no matter how inconvenient or expensive the other options are.

Doesn't sound so "simple" after all.
 
scntekir
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RE: WN Staff Member Takes Terminally Ill Child's Chair

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:57 pm

The parents should have contatced the airline prior to arriving at the airport to detail the special need requirments of their child.

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