Conjoined twins - one seat or two?

Filed under: Just For Moms, Babies, Places To Go

When Mandy Bailey decided to fly from Phoenix to Baltimore to visit relatives, she planned to carry her 1-year-old conjoined twins on her lap to avoid the expense of buying a seat. She was paying for her own seat as well her sister-in-law Shar Lybbert's with her Delta frequent-flier miles, but her travel plans hit a snag when Delta insisted that she buy a seat for her twins.

Federal Aviation regulations allow for children under the age of two to sit on the lap of an adult rather than purchasing a seat of their own. But regulations also stipulate that an airline must provide "enough oxygen for each passenger carried" on flights traveling more than 15,000 feet up. Obviously, this situation was a little outside the norm and Bailey wanted an exception to be made.

"They mulled it over for a day. .. and got back to me and told me 'this is all we can think of' and then said to call American Red Cross to see if they'll pay for it," said Bailey. The airline explained that "there needs to be (an oxygen) mask for everyone" even though both girls would be sitting on her lap. Her daughters, Taylor and Emma share a heart, but each girl has her own lungs.

I guess Bailey made some noise about the situation and after a call from a reporter, Delta backed down and agreed to let the girls fly for free, with Bailey and Lybbert sitting next to each other and presumably sharing their seat's oxygen masks with the girls. But the happy ending is still up in the air, as Bailey and Lybbert are scheduled to return on different flights.

I am happy for this family that Delta has made concessions, but I am also confused. How many oxygen masks come out of that overhead panel? Is there one for each seat or two? If there are two, then the unless the seat next to her also has a lap-child, there is still an available mask whether she pays for it or not, right? And if only one mask per seat comes down, then how does the parent provide oxygen for even one lap-child?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.