This Lap Infant Travel Story Will Give You a Great Start to the Week

Via the ‘Love What Matters’ Facebook page, a woman boarded a packed Delta flight where passengers were having to gate check their carry-on bags. She had two lap infants and her car seat was taken from her.

A flight attendant informed her that she isn’t permitted to hold two babies, and “would have to leave the flight.”

Another woman on the plane sitting nearby offered to hold one of the infants for the whole flight.

While it was scheduled to be a short 45 minute hop, they reportedly sat on the tarmac for over two hours.

Without a complaint this woman fed the other woman’s baby and burped him. Her own daughter started crying. This mom, so calmly, went on to explain to her young daughter that ‘our job is to help other people. This mom is all by herself with no help, and really needs another mom to help.’ She then went on to hold him, sing him songs, and then he slept the entire flight without even a cry.

What gesture have you made recently — a small sacrifice that made someone else’s life meaningfully better, someone you may not have even known? Somehow this story makes me want to be a better person.

(HT: Pop Sugar)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. How does one pax book 2 lap infants on a ticket? Story mentions a car seat (singular). Did she purchase a seat for one infant and intend to lap the second? What happened to the second seat?

    A lot of detail is missing from this story. Perhaps your gesture of kindness could be not misleading infrequent travelers that they can get away with sneaking two infants to the gate and hoping to find another pax to hold a baby to avoid buying a seat.

    The cost of a seat versus putting your child at risk in the lap of a stranger? Thank God there were only tarmac delays and not severe turbulence!

  2. This is very confusing. Why was the car seat taken from her? If she had two infants one would have to be in a seat, since you cannot have two lap infants on a single tickets. What did this woman say when the airline took her car seat, which was to be placed in the seat and had no impact on carryon space whatsoever? Why did they let her board with what effectively 2 lap infants, leaving it to the FAs to manage?

  3. Airlines are quite incompetent with infants. It seems like the woman booked a lap infant and the second child in a car seat, but she was forced to gate-check the car seat. (This may have been reasonable–for example, if this was a small RJ where the car seat wouldn’t fit–but it would not surprise me if the woman was never informed of this fact.)

    When I was flying with my daughter as an infant, I was told (1) I could NOT put a car seat in business class; (2) I was REQUIRED to use a car seat in business class (no lap infant); (3) I could NOT have lap infant; and (4) I could ONLY have a lap infant, at various times by cabin crew. This even included two legs of a trip where I was barred from using a car seat on the first leg but not the second. The solution I was given, after the fact, is that I should have demanded, AFTER BOARDING, that ticket agents board the plane to resolve the situation.

    I’ve traveled pretty extensively with lap infants for 4 years (2 kids, 2 years per kid) and airlines are wildly inconsistent in how they’re handled.

  4. My guess is she only ticketed one lap infant and brought the car seat along hoping for a free adjacent seat. Full flight meant no extra “free” seat available.

  5. Incredibly sweet story, but I would also like to know how she was able to board with 2 lap infants? It’s not making sense to me.

  6. You all are missing the point. This is pretty much a “what did the airlines do wrong today” page. Gary was merely bringing up something good, for us to celebrate a nice person. Who cares why she had a car seat. Gary asked if you have any “what nice things have you seen this week.”?

    I’ll go first, my wife was in the hospital for 3 days last week, and our church sent us a big bag of prepared food. It was a really nice gesture and greatly appreciated.

  7. I will never forget the time years ago when my husband and I were returning home with our 2 “lap infants” ages 5 months and 19 months. I was hospitalized with food poisoning and severe dehydration during our trip and we went straight from the hospital to the airport to make our return flight. I was exhausted and worn out. The kind woman sitting next to us in our 3 seat row held my 19 month old son the entire flight from Dallas to Minneapolis- she read to him, played with him, fed him, and kept him entertained. I was so touched by this selfless gesture and try to remember her loving example…not looking for ways to make it better for me but looking for ways to make it better for others.

  8. I was on a London to Athens flight in BA’s intra-Europe “Business Class” and gave up my seat for a seat in Coach so that a family could all sit together. The father was supposed to sit in Coach with the mom and their toddler up front. When he heard his dad wasn’t going to be with them during the flight, he started calling for him and crying. I buzzed the FA over and said I wanted to switch seats with the dad. She was dumbfounded, and for me as a father of three I just wanted the boy to not be sad.

  9. I hate to do the “how wonderful I am” routine, as, in my mind, it cheapens the meaning of doing a “Mitzvah” (the concept of a good deed for the sake of doing good, without expecting anything in return.) It makes me feel good to do that which made someone else’s day even marginally better.
    About a month ago, on the LAX-HKG flight in Biz Class, next to us was this young Asian Mother, non English speaking who had this delightful toddler. He was a good baby, just very busy, and, was awake every time I looked over through the 13 plus hour flight. Eventually, Mother was tired enough to allow me to help by letting the boy lie on my chest for a while. He became very still for a while (probably a bit scared,) but it allowed Mother to go to the toilet, and rest for a moment. Could tell the poor woman was mortified, but, I did what I could.

  10. 16 years ago we lived in ATL, I worked for Worldspan. My wife and I flew home to SLC, or at least my wife did, frequently, on my flight benefits from work. Still in the days of limited airport security we checked the DL phone line for flight availability and decided to trek out to Hartsfield to try to get my wife on the flight. Usually we took MARTA, it was easy from our downtown apt, but this time we drove out. The flight was oversold we were just sitting at the gate looking at other options. A young mother was trying to use a buddy pass on the flight and was having no luck, she was even below us on the standby priority. She had been there all day and was out of diapers and formula…not exactly items you can pick up at the airport. We knew the area well and told her to wait at the gate for us, we drove halfway home to a grocery store we could semi-trust and bought her some things. That poor mom was stuck there overnight; she refused our offers to get a hotel for her or even to come to our apt with us, so it was very nice that we were able to do something for her.

    Whenever I think about her I can’t stop fuming at whatever DL employee family member gave her those passes and didn’t warn her about flying hub to hub on them. We understood our prospects for flying non-rev, I even flew a red-eye through St Louis on TWA just to make it home for work, but that poor mom had no idea that she was at the bottom of the bucket for seat priority…

  11. I traveled with a crying lap child today. I live him dearly as he is my son but I’m sure the other people traveling from DEN to MCO do not. United was running a 2.75 hour delay and so they moved us to another flight. Sadly, the row we had before was now split up. Thanks fellow passengers for understanding.

  12. My husband did something very similar years and years ago for a young mom with a fussy infant on a flight from Atlanta. She said she was flying to help her husband move from triple a baseball to the major league ball club. She offered to leave him tickets at will call after they landed because he had been so helpful. He went to the ballpark and, sure enough, there was a ticket for him. He got to see Deion Sanders hit an inside the park home run. He felt richly rewarded and I just wish I could remember the ball players name so I could google how he did in the majors!

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