Her baby had to sit in an 'unsafe' way or plane couldn't leave. 'Our mistake,' United says

Cassie Hutchins says her baby was forced to sit in a front-facing direction while on a United Airlines flight.
Cassie Hutchins says her baby was forced to sit in a front-facing direction while on a United Airlines flight. Cassie Ann/Facebook

Cassie Hutchins was flying home to Sacramento while her baby was forced to sit in a "dangerous position," she says.

The mom says she had purchased her daughter, Mila, her own United Airlines ticket so that she could use her car seat while on the Sunday flight.

"My daughter had her own seat, it was rear-facing because she’s only 8 months old and around 18 pounds, so rear-facing is safest," Hutchins posted on Facebook.

But when she and her baby got to the gate to board their flight in Colorado, the gate agent questioned the baby having her own seat, Hutchins posted.

"I showed him the ticket again and then started to walk away, and then he asked me what seats we’re sitting in," she said. "I’ve NEVER been asked that, and it obviously was starting to seem like United (as they’ve been known to do) was trying to take away my daughter’s seat and just have her sit on my lap."

But the gate agent let her go.

"I sat her rear-facing and got her to stop crying and go to sleep," she posted.

That's when the man from the gate came onto the plane and told Hutchins her baby could not rear-sit on the plane. Rear-facing is when the baby faces the seat, rather than toward the front.

"He then has another woman come on and berate me for trying to not face my daughter forward, WHICH IS SO UNSAFE," she posted. "You cannot put a rear-facing seat forward, it is not meant for facing forward, putting my child in a dangerous position."

Hutchins said she was told that Mila would have to sit in her car seat while facing the front of the plane, or the plane could not leave.

“There were at least four people surrounding us and my daughter was screaming," Hutchins told People. "They were very forceful, it was a really bad situation."

Hutchins told ABC she felt intimidated during the flight.

While flying, Hutchins said there was a "huge patch of turbulence" that caused Mila's head to throw forward.

The mom said flight attendants let her turn Mila around for landing, and they kept apologizing. She also said a flight attendant told her babies are "supposed to rear-face, but the gate agents have final say in how the baby sits."

After Hutchins took to Facebook to express her anger, United Airlines refunded Mila's ticket.

"It was our mistake and we acknowledge that," a United Airlines spokesperson told Fox News.

“At United, our customers’ safety is our top priority," a statement said. "We have been in touch with the customer and have apologized for her experience. We are continuing to review this with the SkyWest staff to learn more about what happened.”

SkyWest partners with United Airlines, according to its website.

United's website says that car seats can be used as long as they are certified for use in both vehicles and aircraft. The airline reserves space for child seats if a ticket was purchased.

The Federal Aviation Administration says that it strongly urges children to be secured in a restraint system while flying.

The seat must be placed in the "appropriate forward- or aft-facing direction (aft means rear) as indicated on the label for the size of the child," the website states.

Hutchins said on Facebook that her daughter's seat was not meant for "facing forward."

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