Airline Had Balked, Citing O2 Access Concerns
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 10.04.07 1800
EDT: ANN is pleased to report a happy ending for the
mother of one-year-old conjoined twins, who had run into
difficulties with her plans to fly the little girls from Arizona to
Maryland for a family gathering.
After initially saying the girls' mother, Mandy Bailey, would
have to purchase two seats for the girls -- ostensibly to ensure
each would have access to oxygen in the event of an emergency --
Delta had a change of heart Wednesday, according to The Associated
Press. Airline officials have decided to allow the girls to fly for
Delta says it made its decision due to the "unique situation"
posed by the conjoined twins.
FAA regulations allow a child under two years old to ride aboard
an airliner on the lap of an adult... but the fact the girls are
joined at the chest, and share a heart, posed difficulties, the
airline said earlier this week.
1000 EDT: One heart... two seats. That is the
quandry facing Arizona resident Mandy Bailey, as she prepares to
take her two 1-year-old daughters with her on a family trip in
about two weeks.
The Arizona Republic reports Bailey hopes to take her twin
daughters, Emma and Taylor, on their first plane ride to attend a
family gathering in Maryland. Her relatives are eager to see the
twins, she said, and the girls -- conjoined twins, who share one
heart but each have their own lungs -- have been cleared to fly by
Bailey still isn't sure she'll be able to go, however... due to
federal regulations and airline policies that, admittedly, weren't
intended to handle her unique situation.
When Bailey asked Delta Air Lines representatives if the girls
could travel on her lap, the airline took a day to consider the
situation... before telling her she would have to buy a second
"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 flight is
the important thing. It's just I can't believe that what they said
-- "call American Red Cross."
FAA regulations allow children under the age of two to be held
in an adult's lap during commercial flights. But with both twins on
Bailey's lap, there would be a shortage of oxygen masks, the
airline told her. And regulations say each girl must have access to
FAA Western Region spokesman Ian Gregor admits Bailey's
situation is not typical.
"Do people fly with conjoined twins? I am sure they do," Gregor
said. "Has the issue ever come up? Maybe. But I am certainly
unaware of it."
Adding to the difficulties, Bailey says, is the fact the two
adults on the trip -- Bailey, and her sister-in-law -- aren't
seated near one another on the flight. Bailey is in first class,
while the second adult is in coach.
That wouldn't matter, however, according to Delta. Even if the
adults were seated together -- theoretically allowing each to hold
one child -- one more mask would still be needed.
"We don't want this to turn into a case of poor us," Bailey and
her husband, Tor, assert. But "something so simple like a flight
shouldn't be such a big deal."