Flight attendants renew push for infants to have their own seats
Citing turbulence as a major factor, the flight attendants union is again pushing for infants to have their own seats believing it will reduce the number of injured passengers and crew.
The Association of Flight Attendants said their call to action is part of its Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization priorities.
"Our union raised the continued violent passenger assaults, increasing severe turbulence events, and a seat onboard for every passenger," the union said in a recent online news release.
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The union's president, Sara Nelson, is excepted to testify Thursday before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee.
Other industry insiders have weighed in on the issue.
"[Turbulence is] especially dangerous for flight attendants, where turbulence accounts for 3 out of every 4 flight attendant injuries," Jennifer Homendy, a National Transportation Safety Board chair, said . "We issued a report in 2021 to prevent turbulence-related injuries. It had 21 new recommendations and 4 that we re-iterated on weather reports, increased sharing of turbulence events, the need for flight attendants to be seated with their seatbelt buckled during certain phases of flight, and the need for parents to secure children under 2 in their own seat with an FAA-approved child restraint system. All 25 turbulence recommendations remain open."
Earlier this month, a business jet was buffeted by severe turbulence over New England, causing a rare passenger death and forcing the aircraft to divert to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
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Also, this month, a Lufthansa flight that experienced "significant turbulence" was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport and seven people on board were taken to area hospitals, officials said.
The turbulent flights and other close calls on the runway has led the FAA to host a Safety Summit last week to evaluate whether regulations need to be updated.
"We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted," acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen wrote in a Feb. 15 memo. "Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent. Now is the time to stare into the data and ask hard questions."
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The review team, according to Nolen, will examine the U.S. aerospace system’s structure, culture, processes, systems and integration of safety efforts. The Safety Summit will "examine what additional actions the aviation community needs to take to maintain our safety record."
Among the other recent incidents now being investigated:
— Pilots of a small airliner aborted their landing in Burbank, California, after a controller cleared another plane to take off from the same runway; the NTSB is investigating.
— A United Airlines jet crossed a runway at Honolulu International Airport in front of a Cessna cargo plane that was landing on the same runway on Jan. 23.
— The NTSB took the rare step of issuing subpoenas for pilots of an American Airlines plane that crossed a runway that a Delta Air Lines jet was using to take off Jan. 13 at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The American pilots initially refused to sit for recorded interviews, but they complied after getting subpoenas, Homendy said.
— Federal officials are taking another look at an incident in which a United Airlines jet taking off from Hawaii dove to within 800 feet of the ocean before recovering. United says pilots of the December flight are getting additional training.
FOX Business and the Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.