He bought a first-class seat for his infant son. The airline put him in mom's lap

Josh Shaffer, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Business News

For his infant son’s first flight, Timothy Ketcham took the extra steps, for both comfort and safety, of buying the 6-month-old his own first-class seat.

But when it came time to board an American Airlines flight to Charlotte, the plans got nixed: Baby boy had no seat, forced to fly two hours on his mother’s lap.

“I know why,” said Ketcham, his dad in Willow Springs. “So they can put more people on the plane, right?”

No refund, no explanation

The Ketchams’ air-hassle adds to a summer of discontent in the skies that are now crowded with post-pandemic leisure fliers.

To date, Ketcham has gotten no satisfaction. No refund. No explanation. Just an offer for bonus air miles.


The situation especially galls Ketcham because he took precautions for a smooth late-July flight between Charlotte and his wife’s family in Michigan, spending extra time and money.

American Airlines did not respond to the N&O’s e-mailed questions Monday or Tuesday, but the carrier is not the only airline with a recent infant-passenger snafu.

In July, a family got booted off a Delta flight when they declined to give up a 2-year-old’s seat and place him on a lap for an overbooked flight, according to Travel Noire.

On its website, American Airlines states that infants can fly for free in an adult’s lap, or they can occupy a safety seat or a separate aircraft seat.


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