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Crawling right behind Air Asia’s “Hot Watergate” and the Korean Air “‘nutroversy,” Tennessee mom Nicki Gazlay and her baby were kicked off a Frontier Airlines flight yesterday for arguing with a flight attendant.

Frontier Airlines is looking into the incident. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Frontier Airlines is looking into the incident. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Gazlay and her five-month-old son were boarding their connecting flight from Denver (DEN) to Memphis (MEM) when a flight attendant demanded Gazlay take her son out of his Ergobaby Carrier, something she was not asked to do during the boarding process of her previous Frontier flight.

Some of the Ergo style baby carriers
Some of the Ergo style baby carriers

Gazlay alleges that after she sat down, got settled in her seat and took the baby out of the carrier, the flight attendant then asked her again to comply. Gazlay responded, “Of course I am going to comply. I’m going to do whatever you say because you are the queen of this airplane.”

The flight attendant reportedly told Gazlay, “You’re off,” and the mother and infant were then escorted off the flight, leaving them to find another way home. (Gazlay in fact bought another plane ticket at the airport and arrived home to Memphis shortly thereafter).

Frontier Airlines explained that Ms. Gazlay was repeatedly argumentative with their flight attendant and they confirmed the support of the actions of their flight crew members. They’ve stated that “Everything we do onboard is done with safety as the primary driver and we simply will not tolerate abusive behavior on board towards crew or other customers. This is the reason she was removed. We love children and families but customer compliance with crew member instructions regarding safety is critically important and mandated by Federal Aviation Regulations.” 

Whereas Gazlay firmly believes she was severely mistreated, nearby passengers state that the flight attendant was actually quite polite, and it was Gazlay who seemed “belligerent and argumentative.”

Many moms are angry after hearing this story, taking to social media and complaining that airlines’ rules about babies, carriers and lap seating are “unclear.”

Most airlines allow children under two to be seated on the lap. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Most airlines allow children under two to be seated on the lap. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The infant rules on Frontier Airlines state that children under two years of age must be seated either in the lap of an accompanying adult or, if the parents or guardians wish for the child to travel in an FAA-approved car seat or the AMSafe Aviation C.A.R.E.S. child harness device, an airline seat must be reserved for both the child and the car seat or harness. The rules actually seem fairly clear, implying that anything aside from these two products —such as a front-wearing baby carrier like the Ergo Carrier—can’t be used during take-off, the flight itself, or landing.

Nonetheless, Gazlay has written a letter to Frontier asking them to clarify not only their take-off, landing and in-flight infant policies, but also their boarding protocol, so that moms can know what to expect and have consistency. She doesn’t understand why she was asked to do something during one boarding process but not during another, and why the flight attendant asked her a second time to comply when she had already taken her baby out of his carrier. Frontier Airlines is still looking into what happened.

Recently, there have been several headline-making flight incidents related to babies and children, such as a family being kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight when their three-year old refused to stay buckled in his seat and stop crying, or a family being thrown off a Jet Blue flight because their child had a temper tantrum and refused to get buckled into her seat.

In case you plan to travel with your infant, we recommend you carefully read the rules for the airline with which you’re traveling, as well as these related posts:

How to Travel With An Infant or Lap Child

A New Parents Guide to Traveling With Children

Making Family Travel Easier with Car Seats and Strollers

TPG readers, what do you think? We know traveling with infants can be stressful for everyone involved. Do you think this mom was out of line? Did the flight attendant overreact? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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