A family of six who attempted to fly on just three tickets were kicked off the plane by flight attendants.” as reported by the Daily Mail. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081013/Family-thrown-US-Airways-flight-trying-fit-just-THREE-seats.html#ixzz1iFIFgSBD

It’s articles like these that make me realize how misinformed the flying public really is. Air travel is extremely safe and 2011 was one of the safest years in aviation. As much as we all love to hate the FAA they have FARs (federal aviation regulations) in place to protect us and keep air travel safe. Flight Attendants, who are often made out to be the bad guys are on the airplane to inform passengers of the FARs and make sure everyone is compliant. I’ve always felt that the airlines take a “do what I say because I said so” attitude when it comes to their rules which is partly why I started this blog, to inform and educate the flying public.

This story about the family of six, the Fickes is a perfect example of a family who doesn’t fly often and doesn’t understand the reason behind the rules. The explanation is simple but, if you don’t fly a lot you may not understand. The Fickes have four children under the age of three (three of which are under the age of two and eligible to be lap children). The Fickes assumed they could purchase three tickets and each have a lap child on their lap. All in the same row. There are two reasons they could not. The first being that a three year old cannot have a baby on their lap, you must be eighteen to hold a lap child on US Airways. The second being there is only one extra oxygen mask per row of seats on a plane. The FAA requires enough oxygen masks per person in each row. You know that part of the safety demonstration where we say, “put your mask on first before assisting others?” It’s actually extremely important that you have oxygen in the case of a decompression and unlike the rules about the electronic devices no one can argue this one! The family thought they were being discriminated against for having too many children. Not the case!

Anytime you are purchasing tickets be sure to read the airlines policies. All the information the Fickes needed was on the US Airways web site.

Confused about any of  the airlines rules? You can ask your question on Facebook or twitter. You can also write us at [email protected] and we may answer your question on The Crew Lounge Podcast.




  1. Infants and toddlers travelling with adults pose some problems which as you have rightly stated stems from lack of knowledge and lack of communication. Almost all single aisle aircraft have four (4) masks over a triple seat, which limits the number of occupants to absolutely four (4). Another problem is parents travelling with toddlers other than the seating problem is the issue of who will take care of them during the flight and most importantly,God forbid, during an emergency. Realistacly one adult can barely handle a toddler or an infant in case of an emergency.
    All these issues are never properly explained to parents and large families and to some extent to the airlines’ ground staff. This makes it awkward for FAs to handle at the time of boarding passengers and so close to departure.

  2. This one blew my mind. While my first reaction was everything you said…my second reaction was “Someone at US Airways dropped the ball at several points here.” When the booked their tickets, did it not ask about lap children? When they checked in, were they not asked about lap children? When they got to the gate during boarding, did the agent not notice that there were too many lap children?

    So while all of the information was right there on the website & available to the family- there were several stops along the way where this family should have been informed that they would need another adult or another ticket.

  3. […] Family of Six Thrown Off US Airways Flight for Trying to Fit into Just THREE Seats The Flying Pinto | Jan. 1 “It’s articles like these that make me realize how misinformed […]

  4. Maybe it’s just been way too long since I’ve visited your site directly, but I just wanted to say I love the (new?) design!

  5. Help, lol. I have searched endlessly for a lotion that is only sold outside of the US. Sounds strange, but it is “Vaseline Intensive Care Total Age Defense” with ginseng and double suncreen and for some reason it is only sold out of the country?
    A flight attendant told me about it but I forgot to ask her where it could be bought? Does anyone travel to London or Japan and know of an online shop where I could order it?
    I would appreciate any help at all :o)

  6. You make great points. But with our beloved airline you must only be 12 to have an infant in your arms. I blogged that you should never ever do this:


    Any a fellow Boarding Area blogger did the same. If turbulence is bad, as you well know, how could you keep your dear one safe?

  7. The airlines pay absolutely no attention to how they are seating tickets that include infants-in-arms. We booked tickets 7 months in advance to travel, and one of the tickets (out of three) had an infant-in-arms. Apparently you can only have an infant on the left side of the aisle as the right side of the aisle doesn’t include the extra oxygen masks, however we were placed in seats on the right side and it was left to the flight attendant to resolve the problem after we got on board. Just silly that the reservation and gate people couldn’t flag and resolve the problem sooner. It’s not like people are showing up at the boarding gate and then announcing they have an infant-in-arms.