Travel with Children - Seating with Infants on Small Aircraft
Apr 7, 11, 11:56 am
mrs. iapetus and I are taking our first plane trip with our babies at the end of April! :eek: I've been doing lots of searching through this forum, which I'd never, ever opened before. ;) And that's been hugely helpful. I've gotten the answers to lots of questions before I ever had to post them. ^ (Nice to know that the strollers and the car seats can be checked for free -- we weren't so sure about the car seats.)
However, one question to which I cannot find the answer regards seating with lap infants on small airplanes. Our travel at the end of the month is LAX-SFO and SFO-CIC. The SFO-CIC leg is on an Embraer 120, which has two seats per row on the right-hand side of the aircraft and one seat per row on the left. Am I correct in thinking that it is not OK to have a lap infant on the left-hand side of the aircraft?
I was told it was fine when I called UA to have the note about the lap infants added to our PNR, but I frankly don't think the guy at the ICC knew what he was talking about. My concern is that there will be only one oxygen mask on the left-hand side of the airplane making it unsafe for a lap child. (I posted about this on the UA forum, but either no one knew the answer or no one cared to answer. :()
Apr 7, 11, 12:03 pm
Mods, please delete this (accidentally!) duplicated thread. :o
Apr 7, 11, 2:32 pm
Very likely. Even on CRJ200 AB side does not have additional masks even though it's 2+2 seating.
Keep fingers crossed for empty seats - E- with a lap infant is not fun and if you have two you may have to deal with seatmates (who seem to be particularly oversized on those small birds :D). The good side of Brasilia is noise - even if your kids scream like hell it's barely noticeable. :D
Apr 8, 11, 1:45 pm
Is that a particularly busy route for a small station? I flew IAD-SHD last summer on a Saab 340, and there were 11 passengers for 30 seats. On the return, there were 3 of us (although the flight ended up getting cancelled for other reasons). You should just check at the gate how full the flight is, and if it was like mine, they'll probably let you bring the car seats aboard, and you can sit 2x2 on the right-hand side.
Apr 8, 11, 1:49 pm
I wish I could tell you! I've done turbo props with United but ages ago and please don't even ask which aircraft!
It's very likely there are not extra O2 masks on that left side. I think you're going to have to do two aisle seats, one in front of the other.
The problem is that this is not just for take-off and landing so reseating wont be possible.
You may not get a definite answer until you get on board. This info is in the flight manual (both pilots and F/A's).
Just for the sake of good news, this aircraft does have a lav. Some of the smaller ones don't. Thank goodness for small luxuries! But I do recommend changing them in the waiting area before boarding. The lav is probably really small and cramped.
Be sure to gate-check both the stroller and car seat. Never check a car seat as luggage. They get really bashed up and the airlines will NOT compensate. Car seats aren't really that strong (only meant to protect the child in one accident).
That's true too about the noise. It's such a short flight, if you can't get empty seats next to either/both of you, those passengers next to you just have to deal. Perhaps you'll get nice grandparents who love babies???
Good news... The EMB120 is only certified to operate up to 25,000 feet. This means that there is no requirement for a drop-down oxygen system on board the aircraft to supply all passengers. The regulatory requirement in this case is to provide 30-minutes of oxygen for 10 percent of the passenger cabin occupants as the aircraft is capable of descending to a lower altitude where supplemental oxygen is not required.
Type Certificate Data Sheet A31SO - EMB-120 (http://rgl.faa.gov/regulatory_and_guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/0/1f0492e91f3bd40786256df100524a06/$FILE/A31SO.pdf)
14 CFR 121.333 - Supplemental oxygen for emergency descent and for first aid; turbine engine powered airplanes with pressurized cabins (http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFAR.nsf/0/5A99C617262EF7AB862570D70078AE87?OpenDocument&)
Generally, these type of aircraft that operate at or below 25,000 feet will have a number of oxygen outlets (equal to 10 percent of the passenger seating configuration) spread throughout the cabin to which a mask can be attached following an emergency descent.
Long story short, there will be no limitation related to seating associated with oxygen supply on this aircraft.
Apr 11, 11, 4:09 pm
Thanks for your replies! ^ I'm encouraged by what CD_YOW has to say. (My wife would suffer the brunt of our collective stress should we be forced to sit apart!)
I will follow up with a post-trip report!
May 3, 11, 12:08 pm
So, here's the low down and what I learned following our two trips (two adults, two lap children) on an EMB120 (CIC-SFO):
Oxygen masks may not be required, per what CD_YOW referenced in an earlier post, but the UA staff insist that one be available for everyone. Perhaps this is an additional UA rule.
Lap infants are fine on both sides of this aircraft; the only restriction (per UA and its staff) is that there be an oxygen mask available for each traveler. IOW, two adults and two lap children in one row are fine provided there is an empty seat in that row.
On the UAX-configured EMB120 with the galley at the rear, extra oxygen masks are in rows 4, 5, 7 and 8. This piece of information will come in very handy the next time I book us all to fly into CIC.
In other news, our babies traveled better than I dared hope!!! :cool: They slept a lot on the airplane and really didn't cry at all. And UA staff and other pax were very friendly and very helpful; some even helped us off the plane with our bags (I must remember to pay this kindness forward to the next set of parents I see while flying). The only negative was the hassle that was getting through security at LAX (but even then TSA staff let us into the priority screening line -- which I hope won't be an issue after a few more trips ;)). But, all in all, it was pleasant experience and much better than the 500-mile drive! :D
May 4, 11, 12:42 am
Thanks for getting back to us. This is helpful since most of us fly on the Big Birds and have limited small aircraft experience (at least with babies).
I urge you to contact UA and ask them to make this information available on their website somewhere. Just add this to one of the pages on their website. The extra mask info will be useful for booking with lap babies. On full flights, it's better if the parents can book those seats and perhaps UA could prioritize these seats for lap babies. This is not a huge demand and point out that it could save time and hassle for both parents and staff (music to their ears!)
May 12, 11, 1:04 pm
We recently flew MRY to SFO on an Embraer 120 with an infant and there was indication that there was any limitation as to where we could sit.