Ms. Geek Speaks: Why Are We Cheering for Child Endangerment?

Scrolling through TikTok, I saw two videos by Black creators seeming to support a Black father from Atlanta who was upset about his treatment by one airline company. In his Instagram post, Christian Rose wrote, “My 2yo toddler daughter and I were removed from FRONTIER flight 1013 by authorities this morning all because she was too nervous to sit in her own seat!”  I haven’t flown in a while and I don’t have any real memories from when I was two so I don’t think the Disney World angle is particularly important.

In case Rose decides to remove this video, he wrote:

I actually can’t believe I am making this post but doing so so that those with small kids are aware of how @flyfrontier treats customers. What was the most awesome daddy/daughter weekend ended with my toddler and I being removed from @flyfrontier Flight 1301 from Orlando to Atlanta. All because she was too nervous to sit in her seat during takeoff and wanted to sit in my lap. My issue is not with the policy because I fully understand the regulation but rather with the way I was treated, discriminated against and threatened with arrest.

I explained to the ONE flight attendant who initiated this whole ordeal that this was her first time flying and that she was just scared. Something any rational human would understand. In fact, 3 other attendants passed us, check for my seat belt and all was fine.

The whole experience was beyond disheartening and handled very poorly, from the aggression of @flyfrontier staff, to them refusing to allow me to ask questions. And to top it all off after we were removed they refused to give us our stroller. The police officers who they called to “arrest” me ended up defending me and demanded that they stopped and take my stroller off.

I never fly this airline and only did so because it was all that was available for returning to Atlanta. I am urging everyone to stay far away from this airline.

#frontierairlines #frontier

According to his Instagram, Rose is a photographer/director.   First he claims that the Orlando-to-Atlanta flight was “her first time flying.” This was not true. Second, he tries to explain how a “rational human” would act. He notes that “3 other attendants passed us” and were fine. We don’t know if this was true. The attendants might have passed their concern on to the one attendant. He claims there was only one attendant who “initiated this whole ordeal,” yet then he proceeds to blame the whole airline. He calls into question the Frontier staff for their “aggression” and states they were “refusing to allow me to ask questions.”   He clearly states, “My issue is not with the policy because I fully understand the regulation but rather the way I was treated, discriminate against and threatened with arrest.”

Rose doesn’t make it clear why he feels he was discriminated against, but some people seem to have taken this as a race issue. Let’s ignore that and focus on the facts.

The FAA regulation is a federal law. Breaking federal laws is more serious than breaking a municipal code or a company policy.

We know that fathers have been removed from flights in other cases. In 2018, a father and his child were taken off a Southwest flight, reportedly because the child refused to sit in her own seat. In another 2018 incident, a couple had to buy their son his own seat on a return flight from Italy because he turned two (United Airlines and Lufthansa).

In 2015, ABC7 News reported on another incident where the child turned two on vacation.

This is not the case for Rose and his daughter and those cases were before COVID-19. Rose’s daughter, Rayana, was 25 months old. Rose notes that from Atlanta to Orlando, he flew on Spirit and told WSB-TV2 that “Spirit allowed for me to fly with her in my lap.”  So the flight back from Orlando to Atlanta was not her first flight. Rose was not able to handle his daughter on her first flight and break federal law and is happy that the flight attendants allowed it.

In question is not just a specific airline ordinance, but a federal regulation. The pilot is ultimately responsible that this regulation is followed and the liability would be on Frontier if something should happen. What the Federal Aviation Administration recommends is actually different. “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight.” A CRS is a Child Safety Restraint system.

This information isn’t new and it was reported in a 2013 Forbes article.

Someone on Twitter asserted: “Just do research how seat belts during take off or landing crash saved % life.” I did.

In 1996, a mother insisted that her 15-month-old child not only have a separate seat, something that is not required by the FAA and most airlines allow children that young to fly free. She also insisted on bringing along the baby’s car seat. This is something the couple argued about.

Then, there was an accident on takeoff, but the child was saved because of the car seat. That flight (Delta 1288) was also heading to Florida.

Accidents do happen on takeoff such as this 2018 accident in Burbank. This was a Southwest flight 278 that originated in Orlando. There are also accidents on landing.

While the Southwest and Air Canada accidents were weather related, the Delta flight was not. In 2012, a six-month-old baby who had been on the lap of its mother was the only fatality in a runway crash, the twin-engine turbo prop plane’s second attempt to land in a tiny community on islands in the Hudson Bay.

The death of this unnamed infant sparked some debate in Canada, but not enough to change regulations. There have been other instances when children who were flying free as “lap infants” have died.

There are two questions that should be asked: Is Rayana old enough to travel by air? I don’t mean by age, but rather by maturity. The second is: Can Rose, as her father, adequately take care of the child? It might be the case that Rayana has her father trained. Either way, I don’t think we should support the disregard for a federal regulation that is the minimal effort when experts would recommend a CRS and children have died. I assume that Rose makes his daughter ride in the car in a car seat for her safety. At least, I hope he does.
I don’t have kids, but hooray for Frontier for putting the child’s safety first. Isn’t doing otherwise akin to child endangerment?

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