United Airlines has issued an apology to a mother who claimed a flight attendant on board forced her 8-month-old infant daughter to face forward in her car seat, though she is below the recommended weight for forward-facing seats.
Cassie Hutchins said she was flying from Denver International Airport with her daughter on Sunday. Hutchins said in a Facebook post that because her daughter is only 18 pounds, placing her rear-facing in a car seat is safest.
“My daughter had her own seat, it was rear-facing because she’s only 8 months old and around 18 pounds, so rear-facing is safest. Also, that’s what I’ve been told to do in planes as well,” the mom wrote on Facebook.
Hutchins pointed out that on her Friday flight to Denver, she placed her daughter rear-facing in the seat and had no issues with the airline.
However, on Sunday before takeoff, Hutchins said a flight crew member came up to her seat in first class and said she would have to turn her daughter around for takeoff.
“They told us that the plane could not leave without us moving it, so I knew we would be kicked off if we did not comply,” she wrote in a post published on Facebook.
Hutchins claims another crew member got on the plane to tell her the same thing.
“This man told me that we can’t be on the flight without facing her forward. He then has another woman come on and berate me for trying to not face my daughter forward, WHICH IS SO UNSAFE. You cannot put a rear-facing seat forward, it is not meant for facing forward, putting my child in a dangerous position,” she wrote in her Facebook post.
During the flight, Hutchins said she asked the flight attendant where it says forward-facing is policy because an attendant allegedly insisted “that she didn’t really care about what I thought was safe, but this was just policy.”
“After looking, [the flight attendant] comes back and says that she is supposed to rear-face, but the gate agents have final say in how the baby sits,” she wrote.
Though Hutchins said the flight attendants apologize and allowed her to turn her baby around for landing, the mom contacted United Airlines about the experience.
In a statement to Fox News, United said they are looking into the incident.
“At United, our customers’ safety is our top priority. We have been in touch with the customer and have apologized for her experience. We are continuing to review this with the SkyWest staff to learn more about what happened.”
A spokesperson for United Airlines also told Fox News they have refunded the daughter’s ticket and said “it was our mistake and we acknowledge that.”
According to the airline’s website, passengers can use car seats on planes according to “all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle standards.”