CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Davidson family claimed it was kicked off a U.S. Airways flight for having too many children last Thursday. Kathy and Jason Fickes have four children, a three-year-old, 20-month-old twins and an eight-month-old son. They told NewsChannel 36 they only bought three tickets to Chicago because they were told children under the age of two don’t need tickets.
The Fickes made their purchase at the U.S. Airways desk in Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
According to U.S. Airways policy posted on its web site, an infant does not need a ticket for a seat, as it can sit in an adult’s lap. However, that policy does specify one ticket-less infant per traveling adult. The Fickes said no one in security or at the gate said anything to them about needing to purchase another ticket.
Kathy told NewsChannel 36 the first time she was made aware there was a problem was when a flight attendant said either she or her husband needed to move to a different seat. After complying with the request, Fickes said the attendant returned with a new issue. This time, Fickes claimed the woman told them another adult needed to hold one of their children. A stranger, sitting one row behind the family, offered to hold the child. The couple said this briefly satisfied the attendant, but then the crew decided that would not work either.
“We kept on trying to comply,” said Jason Fickes. “I don’t think they ever really gave us a clear reason.”
“I feel like we were discriminated against because we had too many young children, in their eyes,” explained Kathy Fickes. “We already held up the plane 40 or 50 minutes and we didn't know why because we kept doing what they asked us to do.”
Fickes said they were then asked to leave.
As the family exited the plane, a first class passenger offered to purchase an extra ticket for them. The flight crew initially agreed, according to the Fickes, but then the family was told the other passenger was not allowed to do that. Kathy Fickes said she didn’t understand why, if they were in violation of rules, the children were all allowed to board without question in the first place.
“From the gates to checking in, nobody said anything. Then on the plane, 40 minutes later, being asked to leave, now not able to fly home for the holidays,” said Fickes.
She claimed a supervisor followed them off the plane to tell them they could return to their seats if they wished, but the family declined. The Fickes also said that supervisor told them a refund would be available, but said at this point, no one from U.S. Airways has returned their messages.