What do you get with one three-year-old, twins who are almost two years old, an eight-month-old, two parents and one crowded plane? Bumped off the flight.
The Fickes family was grounded in Charlotte, N.C., after a U.S. Airways flight crew was unable to accommodate their brood on a trip home to Chicago for the holidays.
The family of six had planned to fly using just three seats. Kids under two fly free, and that worked for half of the group. However USAirways.com does stipulate, "On domestic flights, one lap child will be accepted without charge when traveling with a paying ticketed passenger age 18 or older." So technically this family had one too many, which should have been the end of this story. But it's not always that simple.
Mom Kathy Fickes told HLN affiliate WCNC that no airline employees mentioned any problem until after her family was onboard the plane. No one at the ticket counter, no one at the gate. Then, once on board, the Fickes' complied with every request the flight attendants made which included moving seats and even letting a stranger hold one of their kids for the flight to Chicago.
But after delaying the flight for nearly an hour trying to come up with that solution, the family says they were asked to leave the plane. On their way out, a passenger in first class offered to BUY a 4th seat. Initially the flight attendant said that would be OK, but dad Jason Fickes told WCNC the airline stepped in and said no to that offer too. Once again, they were asked to get off.
A supervisor did make one last attempt to make it work for the family, but by that point the Fickes' say they weren't up for it and simply walked away, cancelling their trip home for the holidays.
So what was the issue? It may boil down to one word: safety. According to an email from U.S. Airways to WCNC there are only four oxygen masks in each row, and that would not be enough to help the entire family in an emergency. But if you ask Kathy Fickes it was something else all together. She says, "I think we were discriminated against, because we had too many young children ... in their eyes."