The holiday travel plans for a Charlotte family were derailed by U.S. Airways employees who objected to their attempt to fit six people in three seats on a crowded plane to Chicago right before Christmas.
"I felt we were discriminated against because we had too many children in their eyes," mother Kathy Fickes told ABC 7.
The Fickes have four young children: a 3-year-old, an 8-month-old and 20-month-old twins. Parents Jason and Kathy tell ABC that they followed the directions when buying three tickets on the U.S. Airways website, entering two adults and one child above 2 years old. The option for infants or kids under 2 is not included unless you look at a different part of the website and click again for a further explanation. The Fickes say they did not see that.
Come the day of the flight, all six Fickes made it past security and boarding with just three tickets, and did not have any trouble until they tried to seat one of each of the three youngest children on the laps of each parent and the 3-year-old.
Before take-off a flight attendent noticed the situation, and informed the family that due to FAA regulations only four oxygen masks are in each row and someone would need to move seats. After moving seats, the Fickes tell NewsChannel 36 that the flight crew was still not satisfied:
"This time, Fickes claimed the woman told them another adult needed to hold one of their children. A stranger, sitting one row behind the family, offered to hold the child. The couple said this briefly satisfied the attendant, but then the crew decided that would not work either.
The Fickes say a first class passenger even offered to purchase an extra ticket for them, which was once again initially accepted then declined by the flight crew.
After holding up the plane for 40 to 50 minutes, the Fickes say they were asked to leave.
"We kept on trying to comply,” Jason Fickes told NewsChannel 36. “I don’t think they ever really gave us a clear reason.”
A spokesman for the airline defended the crew's decision, telling ABC 7 that safety regulations require one adult per lap child, as oppose to the Fickes' attempt to fly three lap children with only two adults.
ABC 7 video on the Fickes' holiday travel fiasco: