A mom says airlines are putting money over the safety of children and that needs to change.
Lauren Adamczyk of Milford says it happened as her family returned home from a Florida vacation this week.
While Delta worked to make sure her children were seated by either her or her husband on the trip to Florida, on the way home they were told they would be scattered throughout the plane.
Adamczyk asked for help.
A gate agent told her there was nothing he could do to help her sit with her children, not even her 4-year-old.
She says when she tried asking fellow customers if they would mind trading seats - the response was mortifying.
“The agent came on to my plane and told us to sit down or get off. I said we are not sitting down until our 4-year-old is with an adult,” said Adamczyk. “We were asking other people, and he made a very big scene and berated us before the entire plane, that we should have paid more to ensure our family was together. He said sit down, and then the flight attendant said the police have been called and they are at the gate. You need to sit down.”
Only after she and her child started crying did someone volunteer to give up a seat.
Lauren says it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. The airline knew the age of her children at booking.
Lauren says she booked through a third party and was given no warning that her young children would have to sit alone.
She says the airline doesn’t allow children under five to fly unaccompanied for safety purposes and that makes sense. She says it is just as dangerous for a child that age to be separated by a seating arrangement.
Her four-year-old would need help with snacks, buckling, and using the restroom.
“If there is a bigger emergency on the plane and oxygen masks come down, or something happens, do I trust people to take responsibility for my children, who are the most precious thing to me?” she asked.
So what does Delta have to say? The airline over the phone referred 7 Action News to information on its website saying if you want to sit by someone, don’t buy a basic economy ticket.
It also e-mailed us a formal statement saying:
Delta works with customers on a case-by-case basis to ensure their travel needs are met when they fly with us. We encourage customers to call Delta reservations to talk with one of our agents if they have questions about their seating arrangements or any other concerns prior to flying.
“I would have never in a million years thought that they could separate a four-year-old, or younger. After sharing this on social media, I am hearing stories about children even younger separated from their parents,” said Lauren.
We looked into the law. It turns out in 2016 Congress passed the Families Flying Together Act requiring airlines to allow parents to sit by children under 13 free of charge.
Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation has yet to implement or enforce it.
So why was the bill not implemented?
The Family Travel Association says it has been following this closely, after lobbying for the original act. They have been told the language in the act was found to be too vague, which allowed the Department of Transportation to avoid creating a rule.
This means airlines under the law right now do not have to seat families together.
“I want the law that was passed in 2016 by Congress,” said Lauren. “I want that implemented.”