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Tue, Dec 27, 2011

Terminally Ill Child Focus Of Latest Southwest Airlines Flap

Parents Say Child Was Removed From A Protective Seat

The parents of a terminally ill eight-year-old child say Southwest flight attendants insisted they not use a special seat for the boy because they were concerned it did not meet FAA guidelines. The family was returning to New Hampshire from a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.

The child suffers from a condition known as Batten disease, which makes him unable to speak, walk, or even hold up his head. The child's father, Chris Dainiak, wrote on his blog that it is his hope that by being open about the event it might help others with disabilities who travel on commercial airliners.

The Associated Press reports that the flight attendants on the Southwest flight said they were concerned that the safety seat used by the child's parents did not meet FAA guidelines. He was belted into a standard seat with a neck cushion to support his head, but the position in which he sat was described as "awkward."

The incident was the second of the holiday travel season for Southwest. A nine-year-old girl was reportedly left alone by flight attendants when the airline switched her flights in transit.

FMI: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, www.southwest.com

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