Rental Car Companies Charge Premium for Old & Busted Car Seats

photo41I just sent the following email to Thrifty Car rental company.  I’ll let you know when I hear back from them what their response is:

When I picked up my rental car I was given a toddler seat that had “Do not use after December 2008” stamped on the back.  Upon showing that to the employee they got me another seat.  That seat did not have all the parts that are supposed to come with a car seat (ie the latch restraint belts) nor did the next 2 that I was given.  The Thrifty agent ended up having to go to another car company to borrow a car seat.  I find it very upsetting that Thrifty would not have brand new infant / toddler seats if you are charging $10 per day to use the car seats. I rented for 7 days and was charged $70 for an old car seat that Thrifty did not even supply to me.  All of Thrifty’s car seats at the Norfolk Airport location were subpar and some were even outdated.  Given this information I would like to request a credit for the car seat rental fee.

In all honesty I feel that this is a problem with all car rental companies, not just Thrifty.  We have rented from a few car rental companies over the past 2 years and have found the majority of the car seats to be old and outdated.  If car rental companies are going to charge such an exorbitant fee for something that is required by law for your child, the least they can do is have brand new or relatively new safe car seats. We rented the car for 7 days which means we paid $70 for a car seat. For that same price I could have purchased a new one at Amazon or Babies R Us.

I’ll post an update when I receive a response from Thrifty.

US Airways Concerned more about Preferred Members over Child Safety?

caresI recently booked a flight on US Airways for our trip to North Carolina. I booked the flight and purchased an FAA approved Child Restraint device for my daughter. A few days before the scheduled flight I thought I should check US Airways policy on the Child Restraint device and came across the following restrictions:

The child restraint system may not occupy an exit row or the row forward of or behind an exit row.

Upon reading this rule, I logged on to check our seats.  I found that are seats were in front of the exit row but luckily I noticed there was an empty row 2 rows up from ours. I attempted to change our seats online but was unable.  I called US Airways and explained my situation about the child restraint and initially the CSR said “Those seats are available to “preferred members” but I might be able to get them if I asked when I check in to my flight”.  At that point I got a little irritated. I did not want to wait until the day of the flight to find out those available seats had been taken. I could understand if they wanted to charge me more for the seats if they were “first class” seats but the plane only has 13 rows and from what I can tell the only difference between row 7 (the row we were booked for) and row 5 (the “preferred seating row”) is 2 rows.  I did not think I was going to get anywhere with the customer service rep until I asked the following question: “Are you telling me that “preferred US Airways customers are more important than the safety of a child?” The CSR put me on hold and said that a new seat assignment would be made for me at the gate.

I’m not giving them an F for customer service yet as they sound like they are going to take care of the issue but what bothers me is that it wasn’t until I got a little perturbed by the issue that the CSR offered to do anything.  I’ll update this post after flying on the fight and let you know how everything goes.

Update: When we got to the gate I spoke to the US Airways representative and she told me to speak to the flight attendant.  When I got on the plane, I spoke to the flight attendant and she told me to take my regular seat and she would move us. A few minutes before the flight was getting ready to leave the gate I went back up to her and asked her what to do and she said she couldn’t help until after everyone had boarded.

Basically what happened is that every US Airways employee left it up to another employee to remedy the situation and none of them ever did.  I ended up getting tired of waiting for someone to assist us and asked the people that were a row up from us to switch. Luckily they were more than happy to help us.
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Info about the CARES Kids Fly Safe Child Safety Restraint

  • Stands for Child Aviation Restraint System and is a harness-type safety device
  • Can be used for children who weigh between 22-44 lbs and are sitting in their own airplane seats
  • Takes the place of a car seat when traveling by air
  • Weighs 1 pound
  • Takes one minute to install on any airplane seat and augments the regular lap belt
  • Is currently Certified by Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and is FAA approved

Where to Buy:
Available online at Amazon.com for $72 (as of this post), KidsFlySafe.com or in-store at select locations.

Health Canada Declares BPA Hazardous to Human Health

bpa_2Health Canada will officially list Bisphenol A (BPA) on its list of toxic chemicals this saturday according to a recent report on Canada.com’s site. This move is the result of new research which has shown that BPA can be detrimental to adults & children. According to a recent study published last month by the American Medical Association, there is a “significant relationship” between exposure to the ubiquitous estrogenic chemical and heart disease, diabetes and liver problems. BPA can be found in just about everything from cans (soda, soup, tomato sauce), water bottles, baby bottles and plastic toys.

Recent BPA Articles:
Canada.com – Top baby bottle (Avent) leached more chemicals
Canada.com – Health Canada Makes it Official: BPA is Health Hazard
The Washington Post – No BPA for Baby Bottles in U.S.
Time.com – Reassessing the Dangers of BPA in Plastics