NJ parents claim daughter with special needs was ‘humiliated’ on United flight
NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) — Parents from New Jersey say their family was “humiliated” after their daughter with special needs was not allowed to sit on the mother’s lap during the family’s flight from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey.
Elit Kirschenbaum told Good Morning America that the flight was delayed over an hour after the flight attendant wouldn’t let 3-year-old Ivy sit on her mother’s lap — something she has done on previous flights.
Ivy suffered a pre-birth stroke and has cerebral palsy.
Now, Kirschenbaum is demanding an apology from United Airlines.
While FAA guidelines require all children over the age of 2 to have their own seat, “there are significant and obvious and extenuating circumstances here,” Kirschenbaum said.
According to Charlie Hobart, a spokesperson for United Airlines, the family purchased an economy ticket for Ivy, but had the girl sitting on her mother’s lap in first class.
“We would like to clarify certain facts in regard to our service to parents who fly with ‘lap children.’ FAA regulation requires everyone over the age of 24 months to sit in his or her own seat for taxi, takeoff and landing. There is no exception in the regulations or in the United flight attendant manual that allows a lap child over the age of two under any circumstances.”
The airline has posted an explanation of the incident on its website.
FAA reportedly recommends a child safety seat for passengers with Ivy’s special needs, but Kirschenbaum told media outlets that she wasn’t aware of the child safety seats before her flight.
The parents were eventually permitted to allow Ivy to lay across their laps, belted in, for takeoff and landing.
The issue created a controversy on Twitter, with posters using the hashtag #UnitedwithIvy.
Kirschenbaum later tweeted that she received an apology from United.