SHORT HILLS, New Jersey — Parents from New Jersey say their family was humiliated, and they want an apology from United Airlines after having to strap their disabled 3-year-old daughter across their laps during takeoff and landing.
According to ABC News, Elit Kirschenbaum, of New Jersey, said she was flying with her husband and four children from Punta Cana to Newark on Dec. 30.
Her 3-year-old daughter, Ivy, is a stroke survivor and has Cerebral Palsy, she said.
The parents, who were sitting in first class, bought a ticket for Ivy for an economy section seat, but wanted to hold Ivy on their laps.
Federal regulations require children over two to sit in their own seat, but Ivy’s parents claim she is the size of a one-year-old and cannot sit on her own.
They said one of the flight attendants insisted Ivy sit in her own seat, and that the flight was delayed by an hour due to the situation.
“Despite the fact that I had a purchased a seat for her that we could not use and thoroughly explaining to said attendant that she is unable to sit independently, she insisted on creating a scene,” Kirschenbaum wrote in a Facebook post.
The parents were eventually permitted to allow Ivy to lay across their laps, belted in, for takeoff and landing.
She sat on Kirschenbaum’s lap during the rest of the flight.
A spokeswoman for United Airlines told ABC News: “The parents, who were ticketed in first class, wanted to hold the child in their lap rather than have the child take the seat they’d purchased for her in economy. Federal safety regulations require any child over the age of two to have his or her own seat, and flight attendants are required by law to enforce that safety rule. As we did in this case, we will always try to work with customers on seating arrangements in the event of any special needs.”
Kirschenbaum said she wants an apology from the airline. She is also asking for support on social media after posting about the situation on Facebook and Twitter.