Family claims they were kicked off plane for having too many kids

Caitlin McCormack
Shine from Yahoo! Canada
January 3, 2012

Babies have been taxed at restaurants, banned from pubs and first-class flights, and now one U.S. family is claiming that they were singled out on a recent holiday trip for having too many children.

When the Fickes family tried to catch their US Airways flight from North Carolina to Chicago on Dec. 22, 2011 with their four young children, they say that they were asked to leave the flight by the crew.

“I felt we were discriminated against because we had too many children in their eyes,” the children’s mother, Kathy told ABC 7.

The Fickes’ were able to make it through security and boarding agents with only three tickets for mom, dad, and their 3-year-old, 20-month-old twins and an 8-month-old. When the family tried to seat one of the younger children on the lap of their 3-year-old, they say that’s when problems started.

“We kept on trying to comply,” said Jason Fickes. “I don’t think they ever really gave us a clear reason.”

According to the Fickes’, members of the flight crew told them to move seats, or have someone else hold one of the children in order to comply with the airline’s policy. A first-class passenger even offered to purchase an extra ticket for one of the children. After about 40 minutes of delays, the family was ultimately asked to leave the plane.

US Airways website clearly states their policy for infants (under 24 months of age) travelling saying: “On flights within the U.S., US Airways will accept one lap child without charge when traveling with a paying ticketed passenger age 18 or older.” An airline spokesman defended the crew’s decision, citing the airline’s official policy and saying it’s simply a matter of safety, not discrimination.

It appears as though several oversights caused the Fickes’ travel headache, from the ticket agent who didn’t clearly inform them of the airlines infants-in-lap policy, to the security personnel that didn’t ensure enough adults were able to travel with all the young children.

Do you think this was a case of the airline discriminating against the family for having too many children, or was the airline staff simply trying to ensure the safety of all their passengers?

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