United Airlines Investigating After Car Seat Controversy

June 19, 2018 Last Updated: June 19, 2018

An internal investigation has been launched by United Airlines after a mother alerted the company that an employee made her turn her seat around so that it was facing the wrong way.

The seat was rear-facing because the small child in it was only 8 months old, weighing around 18 pounds, according to mother Cassie Hutchins-Brosas.

The baby was in a rear-facing seat in accordance to Federal Aviation Authority recommendations but two gate agents forced the mother to turn the seat around, claiming it was safer for the baby to face forward. They told the mother the flight couldn’t leave without the seat being switched.

“So I face her forward, and I can’t even get the belt through the slots on her car seat because it should be rear-facing, and it’s facing the opposite way, so the belt wouldn’t fit through it. The woman had to extend it as far as she could, and it still didn’t have enough room to fit into the slots on her car seat. I had to have it in and out of the slot which once again, is unsafe. During the flight, I asked for the flight attendants to show me where it says that this is their policy because she kept telling me that she didn’t really care about what I thought was safe, but this was just policy,” Hutchins-Brosas wrote on Facebook.

“After looking, she comes back and says that she is supposed to rear-face, but the gate agents have final say in how the baby sits. So because this man was ticked off for whatever reason, and wanted to have an issue with my daughter having her own seat, he disregarded all safety precautions and got to have final say in making my daughter sit dangerously.”

Hutchins-Brosas said that she suspects the gate agent wanted her baby to sit in her lap so the baby’s seat could be sold to someone else.

She said in a later update that United had told her they were launching an internal investigation and that her daughter’s ticket would be refunded.

In a statement to the Denver Post, United stated: “We’re reviewing the incident on SkyWest 5526, operating as United Express. At United, our customers’ safety is our top priority, so we have already been in touch with the customer and the relevant flight staff to learn more about what happened.”