The AirTran Toddler Fiasco

Forget Snakes on a Plane. The new horror flick is Toddler on a Plane -- playing at airports everywhere.

When reports surfaced last week about a toddler who'd gone postal on a crowded plane, I thought: been there, done that. I once became hysterical myself after all three of my kids melted down simultaneously mid-flight. One of the hidden benefits of parenthood is that most of us become far more sympathetic towards crying children (and their parents) in no-win situations like the one the Kulesza family experienced in Florida on Jan. 14 when their 3-year-old daughter, Elly, refused to sit in her seat.

"Elly was sitting in front of our seat crying," mom Julie Kulesza told the South Fort Myers News-Press in one of the many media stories about the incident, Antsy Tot, 3, Gets Family Kicked Off AirTran Plane. "The attendant motioned to a seat and asked if we'd purchased it for her." The Kuleszas had paid for the seat, but Elly could not be persuaded to get in it.

The airline's version is slightly different.

"[Elly] was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat," said Judy Graham-Weaver, a spokeswoman for AirTran. Since Elly was older than the 2-year-old limit when passengers must be buckled into their own seat, the flight attendant instructed her parents to get the child in control and in her seat. "The flight was already delayed 15 minutes, and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane the crew made an operational decision to remove the family."

I figure it's a case of "extreme parenting" when one toddler is too much for her parents, a flight crew and 112 passengers to handle. Good thing the Kuleszas didn't have twins -- the National Guard might have been called in.

I am all for adults being empathetic to children. But there is a line. When over 100 people have been waiting for 15 minutes for their plane to take off, a little discipline is required. Forget consoling, bargaining, threatening or bribing. Forget getting the child to stop crying. A recalcitrant three-year-old should be placed in her seat and her belt buckled -- and she should be physically prevented from unbuckling herself, for her own safety, no matter how loudly she howls, hits or kicks (all things my three children have done on airplanes and elsewhere). Teaching a child that, at certain times, her needs do not outweigh others' needs is a critical part of responsible parenting.

Now matter whether we work or stay home, my friends with children are always debating how much independence to give our children, how much we expect from them, how to teach them to be say please, thank you, I'm sorry, are you okay. It is hard to be an empathetic, loving parent and a disciplinarian -- whether you are doling out the discipline on the playground or over the phone from work. But we have to teach the simple lesson that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one -- and that behaving well is best for you in the long run too. Whatever "humiliation" the Kulesza family reports suffering is far more traumatic to their child than the fury she might have felt if forced to sit properly and safely in her airplane seat.

My friend Patricia, who has two very polite sons ages 9 and 12, puts it this way: "I am not my sons' friend. I'm their parent and it is my job to make the unpopular decisions. We can be friends when they are all grown up ... or not." You can bet her boys buckle themselves into airplane seats without being asked by anyone.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  January 29, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Raising Great Kids
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Comments

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First. ha ha.

Fly Southwest - not AirTran (aka ValueJet)

Posted by: Dorkman | January 29, 2007 7:10 AM

Poor Elly. I feel sorry for her and her parents.

Unlike Patricia, my kids are my friends, the best one they will ever have.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 7:46 AM

I agree with what Leslie says, although I think the truth to this story lies somewhere in the middle. I've flown with my children many times and haven't had to deal with this particular problem, but my children would be unceremoniously buckled in and allowed to holler (while buckled) if such a situation arose.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 29, 2007 7:48 AM

Good article. As I'm sure many parents will agree, some people shouldn't be parents or need to learn how to do it properly. It's not that difficult. In fact it's pretty evident. The adults are (or should be) in charge, not a 3 year old. I applaud Air Tran for kicking them off the plane, though I don't see why they rewarded them with a refund and free tickets. Maybe good PR, but it sends the wrong message.

Posted by: Steven Green | January 29, 2007 7:48 AM

Wow, quite a story. My wife and I have flown numerous times with our son when he ranged in age from 2 weeks old to 10 years old. He never lost it like that.

I do recall the looks on our fellow passengers face's when they arrived at their seats and realized they had a baby on board. Thankfully, he was well behaved the entire trip - usually from BWI to San Diego, CA and back. In fact, the last hour our so our fellow passengers were playing with him 'cause he laughed so much. Many people have told us he was the best child they had ever flown with.

What's the secret? Lots of love, but well defined lines that are not crossed. Kids learn quick, but you have to define realistic actions that are expected of them and realistic consequences if they do not behave. Talking to a three year old is no differenet than to a adult - just be patient and use smaller words. (Sort of like talking to government employees. LOL)

Maybe little Elly's parents need to decide who is going to be in charge in that family - them, or little Elly.

We all know who is running the show right now.

Posted by: SoMD | January 29, 2007 7:49 AM

I agree with Leslie that the parents should have been able to exert better control over their 3 year old. I mean come on, the kid is much smaller than you---put the kid in her seat and buckle the belt.

But on the other hand, flying is very stressful for families. I am fortunate that I have 2 very well behaved children but even for them it was tough. And put this together with the very family unfriendly airlines (ever try to change a diaper on an airplane?) and it is a lot to handle. When my kids were babies/toddlers, I found the airline personnel to be very unsympathetic and nasty. I think airlines have a long way to go in accomodating families.

And lastly, while I do think that if a family is behaving as badly as the airlines say, then asking them to get off may have been the right thing. However, it doesn't make for good publicity. The whole situation could have been handled better by both the family and the airline.

Posted by: working mother | January 29, 2007 7:51 AM

I'm with Leslie's friend. Kids have lots of friends, they only have one mom and dad.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 7:52 AM

from the article: "But Julie Kulesza said: "We weren't given an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything."

what the heck was the first 15 minutes the flight was delayed?! Not to mention the time between prebording and takeoff.

Posted by: ruby | January 29, 2007 7:54 AM

Father of 4

"Unlike Patricia, my kids are my friends, the best one they will ever have"

Then, why does your Annoying Son hit you so much?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 7:59 AM

Kudos to Airtran for holding the line against screaming kids. Parents need to keep their kids civil in public settings, PARTICULARLY on planes where the other passengers have no escape.

The humiliation of being removed from the plane was an entirely appropriate consequence for bad behavior.

Posted by: andrew | January 29, 2007 8:01 AM

I have to say I sympathize with the family although i think it was right to remove them from the plane. My toddler gave trouble to strap into his carseat every day for a period of six months. The issue wasn't whether I was willing or strong enough to overcome him. It was how to overcome him without injuring him. When a determined little body is doing the spaghetti wriggle, sometimes the geometry can be quite challenging. And I speak as a person who has literally hauled my kid through airports upside down and over my shoulder when he was uncooperative.

Posted by: m | January 29, 2007 8:01 AM

I saw Elly and her mother on TV. Elly looked and acted like a spoiled, coddled, pampered brat (with almost Bad Seed/Damien eyes) and her mother seemed to be in fear/awe of this kid.

Fast forward 10 years and imagine Elly as a teenager calling the shots in her house. Not a pretty picture.

Posted by: DZ | January 29, 2007 8:03 AM

Kudos to Airtran for holding the line against screaming kids. Parents need to keep their kids civil in public settings, PARTICULARLY on planes where the other passengers have no escape.

The humiliation of being removed from the plane was an entirely appropriate consequence for bad behavior - for parent and child alike.

Posted by: andrew | January 29, 2007 8:05 AM

Andrew, I bet you don't have kids, at least not a 3 year old.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 8:08 AM

Couldn't agree more with the column. As the parent of 3, there are times when you simply need to exert control. Yes, sometimes, you need a minute to do that, but it sounds like here, the parents just didn't do that and to blame the airline for their own issues is just awful and unfair. I'm tired of parents blaming others for their own problems. Of course, we're also the parents who watch "Supernanny" just to make us feel superior, so who are we to judge?

Posted by: Paul | January 29, 2007 8:09 AM

Bravo for AirTran. As a long time "road warrior," I have felt that for many years there has been an FAA requirement that the doors cannot be closed until and unless there is at least one crying child on board. This rule is emphasized on late night flights.
Somewhere along the line in America, we have tilted much too strongly away from making decisions based on what is best for the most people.

Posted by: Grandfather Bubba | January 29, 2007 8:14 AM

I bet they would not have given free tickets to an adult who arrived drunk and was unruly.

Posted by: DC lurker | January 29, 2007 8:14 AM

It was entirely appropriate, imo, for this family to be removed from the flight. This is not simply a matter of the kid crying or yelling. She would not buckle up into her seat and her parents did nothing to get her to do so. Bargain? Console? PIck the kid up and put her into the seat if you have to. Making 100+ other passengers wait and possibly miss connections while waiting for these parents to exert some control over their child is not reasonable. While I have some sympathy for parents whose children are unruly on flights, I am far likely to be more sympathetic when I see that they are at least trying to deal with the child and have some concern for the others around them. This was not the case -based only on what I've read- here.


Plus, let's be clear. They were not kicked off w/o any apology. They were given, I think, THREE free tickets to use at a later date. I don't think they were even entitled to that but it was a nice thing for the airline to do (something I don't say often).

And, before anyone asks, I've flown with children.

Posted by: JS | January 29, 2007 8:17 AM

"One of the hidden benefits of parenthood is that most of us become far more sympathetic towards crying children (and their parents)"

Really? Have you ever sat behind/with a screaming toddler on a 15-hour international flight? How the hell do kids get SO much energy to just yell? I dunno, but kids on long flights are just such great ads for birth control...

Posted by: technophobicgeek | January 29, 2007 8:21 AM

Here's what the airline gave to the parents of this mini-diva:

The carrier reimbursed the family $595.80, the cost of the three tickets. They also were offered three round-trip tickets anywhere the airline flies.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 8:22 AM

Amen

Posted by: a parent | January 29, 2007 8:22 AM


Once on an international flight, I watched as a man was harrassed by a toddler next to him and one from behind. Neither set of parents did anything on this 8+ hour flight to stop their children and at one point they began having a competition over who could scream the loudest. Is it too much to ask these parents to disipline their children as to avoid keeping a section of a plane awake due to their children. And that poor man who got hit and kick by bad toddlers.

Posted by: Hannah | January 29, 2007 8:23 AM

It seems that Hannah could use a little more "disipline" herself, that is spelling discipline.

Posted by: Wise Cracker | January 29, 2007 8:34 AM

Most everybody with kids has been in the Kuleszas' position, although luckily mine never chose to freak out on an airplane. (Grocery store parking lots, doctors' offices, perfume counters, but not airplanes.) But a three-year-old in the middle of a tantrum is not somebody you have to reason with. Put her in her seat, buckle her in, and let her yell--it's inconsiderate of the parents to expect 112 other passengers to be held hostage on the tarmac by their inability to realize that little Elly doesn't always come first. Then, of course, the parents would have to deal with the dirty looks for having a kid screaming all the way from Fort Myers to Boston, as well as the frazzled aftermath of getting her to stay put. Sometimes you can't catch a break.

Posted by: mamie | January 29, 2007 8:37 AM

Bravo for Air Trans! I always try to avoid young children when traveling or dining out. Not that I am unsympathetic but I just want a bit of peace.

Posted by: the original anon | January 29, 2007 8:37 AM

I agree that it is imperative for parents to teach their children what is - and is NOT - appropriate behavior (in public and private) and that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. If they don't learn now, when will they learn? I once sat through a funeral for a cherished friend as a 4-5 year-old in front of me proceeded to turn around and pretend to shoot a gun at me - the entire duration! After I gave him a "death stare" he turned to his mother and said "That girl doesn't like me." To which his mother replied "Just ignore her."

I am ever so thankful that my parents raised me to have and demonstrate respect for others...

Posted by: hounds not kids | January 29, 2007 8:37 AM

When I first read this I thought the airlines were at fault, not letting the child sit on the parents's lap. But the more I think about it, the more I agree with Leslie, parents need to be in control. I have a 16-month old, so I'm fully aware of uncontrolled tantrums, but I am the parent.

My son hates his car seat, and arches his back and screams when we get in the car. But it's my job to make sure he's buckled in tight in the car seat before we go anywhere. Ditto on an airplane.

Posted by: mfd | January 29, 2007 8:40 AM

We have three young kids anf fly with them often, sometimes great distances and overnight. We try to prepare as best as possible in advance and bring lots of different things for them to do. We are sympathetic to the needs of other passengers and as a long-time business traveller myslef, I remember the days before I had children where a quiet flight was a wonderful respite.

That said, there are many times where one of more of the kids can be difficult. We had an instance once where our then two-year old didn't like her seat and wanted to sit in mommy's lap. The flight attendant on US Airways was totally untrained and unhelpful and actually identified and called over the federal marshall to threaten removal if she did not sit in her seat asap. (Yes, these are your security tax dollars being spent to federalize parental-child disciple issues!). In this case, another passenger volunteered a seat swap which resolved the problem. So often, a small deft move by a flight attendant or other airline personnel could resolve a problem like this quickly. But they are not trained well if at all. In our case (and in at least two other US Airways cases that I personally witnesses involving other families) the flight attendants exascerbated problems with threats and raised voices rather than thinking about resolution. They absolutely did not know what to do.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 8:41 AM

I agree that AirTran did the right thing by removing the family from the plane (although the vouchers really do send the wrong message).

In general, I do feel bad for parents when their kids act up on a flight. I mean, they really have so little control over their kids' moods. One flight your kid could sleep the entire time, and the next it could be up screaming for hours because of pressure in it's ears, or lack of a nap, or hunger. It just seems like such a crap shoot to take kids on a plane. I think that realization helps most people on a flight ignore the screaming children.

My two worst experiences: In high school, I flew to Italy on a class trip. I sat with three girls from my class. They were absolute terrors. They would constantly press the flight attendant button to call over the cute Italian flight attendant (poor guy). They would ask for all kinds of things, and then cat call him as he walked away! They would sing at the top of their lungs and throw food. I was so embarassed. There was only so much our teachers could do from another section of the plane.

The other time, a woman in the row in front of me changed her baby's diaper in her seat. Right there, next to a horrified business traveller. The smell was overwhelming. We didn't say anything (obviously she thought it was fine to do that!) but we were secretly cursing her the rest of the trip. It was disgusting.

Posted by: Meesh | January 29, 2007 8:43 AM

Here's where I stand: The parents should've buckled the kid in; I assume they were physically able to do so. The airline did the right thing by having them leave after allowing them a reasonable amount of time to get under control.
Also, I find it hard to believe that the flight was delayed 15 minutes because of the kid. The flight was going to be delayed anyway (for probably a hundred different reasons), and the kid situation gave the airline a convenient excuse for the delay.

Posted by: mart | January 29, 2007 8:43 AM

"Whatever "humiliation" the Kulesza family reports suffering is far more traumatic to their child than the fury she might have felt if forced to sit properly and safely in her airplane seat."

Amen to that. Had they acted decisively and forcefully the incident would've blown over and been forgotten by the time they deplaned at their destination.

The infamy that resulted from their inability to control their own child will haunt them/her for years.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 29, 2007 8:46 AM

I remember a flight to SF where a 7 or 8 year old sat behind me and kicked my seat constantly. When I asked the parent to ask him to stop they told me that is was basically my problem and that as long as he was quiet they weren't going to do anything. I figure he was old enough to be reasoned with. It was a miserable 5 hours. Maybe the inconvenienced travelers should get the free tickets.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 8:47 AM

I'm with you, DZ! I saw that same TV interview, and you're right -- that kid was all over the place and not once did the parents even try to get her to sit or something. I know little kids can get out of hand once in a while, but it appeared those parents had absolutely no control.

Posted by: ilc | January 29, 2007 8:48 AM

I don't think we've heard the whole story here so I don't think we should make judgments- I have questions about AirTran's version in particular.

The flight was delayed 15 minutes already- but they don't say why. I really doubt this was because of the kid- it was probably AirTran's fault, as it usually is with airlines. (slow ground crew, whatever) Blaming the 3 year old for their own delay is pretty crummy.

What would have been the big problem with letting the kid sit on her mom's lap? A 3 year old can wiggle out of an airplane seat belt pretty easily, and it's a lot easier to physically restrain a child when you're holding her than from an adjacent seat (especially if you have to hold her for an extended period of time- taxiing, the wait for the runway, etc). I know there is an FAA regulation issue, but in this case, the lap would have been safer.

I recently flew on AirTran, so my experience colors my comments- the flight attendants were much more interested in reading their magazines than helping the passengers- and I suspect that no practical help was offered to this family, either.

Posted by: randommom | January 29, 2007 8:51 AM

There does seem a general lack of discipline by parents on their children. I also see little control that children need to sit and stay still for part of their time. We are not in a toy store, we are in adult situations.

While I do not want to hurt the child's feelings, a once ask, twice, firmly, three talk to the flight attendent is probably the best approach.

Posted by: Steven | January 29, 2007 8:51 AM

One things that is missing from Leslie's story that was in every other account of this melee, is the fact that this toddler had recently had ear surgery. If you've ever flown, you know the pain it causes your ears. How is that for irresponsible parenting? There is no reason in the world why this girl should have been on a plane in the first place. Her head probably hurt so bad she had a total meltdown. I think Air Tran is nuts for rewarding two imbeciles for endangering their own child.

Posted by: dc fem | January 29, 2007 8:52 AM

We recently flew back at Christmas and a mother with two 3-4 year old boys who weren't goign to have any of this seatbelt business or sit still business managed to grab each kid (she sat between them) shove them into a seat, put a seatbelt onto their screaming writhing bodies, put a hand over each seatbelt (I believe the stewardess did hers for her) and held them into their seats with an arm around each with the statement I CAN and WILL do this for YOUR PROTECTION because I LOVE you as long as this takes. And she did. Once the plane was eventually moving they got sleepy and settled in enough that they were trustable with toys, but she was unwilling to compromise their safety for their happiness. I can't fathom why two parents couldn't do that with one child.

Posted by: ljb | January 29, 2007 8:56 AM

"If you've ever flown, you know the pain it causes your ears."

Right, and the father is an EMT in nursing school.

Why are so many people defending these airhead parents?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 8:57 AM

WHY was this child sitting in FRONT of her parents? Obviously, they wanted to get away from her too! She should have been in the window seat, parent next to her, other parent in the seat in front. It's obvious from the follow up stories in the news that this kid has been out of control for years, not just one flight. A meltdown on a plane is not the time to teach your kids that you are the parent, and that they will do what you say to do, and they will respect other adults. Three is not too young to be taught this lesson. Yes--it's true. Traveling with toddlers can be tough. That's why you have new toys, extra food, juice, whatever it takes to get them to sit down quietly. I have travelled all over the US with a toddler. She was not allowed to act like that brat.

Posted by: WDC | January 29, 2007 8:58 AM

I agree that little Elly should have been forced to sit in her seat, but for those who complain about screaming children - what exactly do you suggest that parents do about that? When the distractions i.e. toys, stories, pleading, portable DVD players, walking around an in-flight plane going shh shh, etc. just don't work, what should a parent do? Slap the child? Duct tape their mouth? Stay at home? Children of a certain age can't be reasoned with and are incapable of empathy. They are adorable self-centered little monsters.

What should a parent do to stop screaming?

Posted by: ffxSAHM | January 29, 2007 8:59 AM

p.s. My mother used say (frequently) that it was a good thing for the human race that babies and young children were so cute, otherwise no one in their right minds would have them.

Posted by: ffxSAHM | January 29, 2007 9:01 AM

Unless poor Little Ellie [/sarcasm] weighs 200 lbs, her parents should have just put her in the seat and buckled the belt. I'm sorry, but one rotten little two-year-old's feelings aren't more important than 100 other people's plans. Okay, I'm not really sorry at all. Little Ellie's mom and dad need to get together and grow a spine.

Little Ellie and her parents should have been kicked off without a refund or free tickets. An unruly adult passenger would have been arrested for behaving in such a manner. Arrested, not just kicked off the plane. It's a federal offense to disrupt the operations of a flight or disobey the flight crew.

Perhaps this lesson is enough to cause her parents to rethink their parenting strategies, though when the "punishment" for bad behavior is more than $1,000 in refunds and free tickets, I doubt it.

I hope that more airlines adopt the Air Trans policy.

Posted by: Single and denied | January 29, 2007 9:01 AM

To the person who asked Air Tran to ignore the FAA regulations - I dont' know the penalty or the fine, but would you risk your business because parents can't get their child under control? Also, god forbid there had been an incident on the flight and the child wasn't buckled in per regulations - guess who would get sued?

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | January 29, 2007 9:05 AM

To ljb...

You know, if Poor Little Ellie had melted down mid-flight, I might buy the ear pain, but they HADN'T EVEN TAKEN OFF YET. There were no air pressure changes to hurt her ears while the plane was still sitting on the ground.

Why can't she sit in their laps? Because it is DANGEROUS. Adults are injured all the time during unexpected turbulence if they aren't buckled in and sometimes if they are buckled into a seat. What do you think would happen to an unbuckled toddler? There's a reason kids can't sit in a parent's lap in a car--the force of a sudden stop exceeds the ability of an adult to restrain a child. The same goes for planes and turbulence. It's dangerous for other passengers who might be struck by a child who gets tossed about the cabin during turbulence.

Posted by: Single and denied | January 29, 2007 9:09 AM

"They are adorable self-centered little monsters"

No, they are not adorable. They are obnoxious little monsters with airhead parents. This kid is 3 years old. There is no reason she can't be taught basic manners. The grandparents (who weren't on the plane) are defending this brat. I'll wager $100.00 that this kid will be in hadcuffs before she is 18.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 9:10 AM

Wow!

I am a responsible adult/parent and expect my children to behave in public with no exceptions...but I also know that as hard as you try sometimes things don't go as planned...forget this particular instance with AirTran; this is discouraging. Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out. Talk about putting your needs above the needs of everyone else.

Posted by: mom of toddler | January 29, 2007 9:10 AM

Years ago I used to travel frequently for work and occasionally would have to deal with unruly children on a flight. After the first couple of times I realized that a kind word to the parents and few minutes engaging with the upset child served me better than sitting in my seat fuming about lousy parenting.

Now I have a strong-willed 22 month-old who generally manages to hold it together when we've flown. On the couple of occasions that she has cried on flights, I've been lucky enough to have seat mates and crews that were patient and kind. Of course I've always done my part by not allowing the situation to spiral out of control, but a moment of indulgence from strangers seems to be the thing that has carried the day when I've been on both sides of this issue.

Posted by: KJ | January 29, 2007 9:10 AM

Every kid is different and I'll obey my little rule and shy away from criticizing other parent's. The airline in this case applied their rules and then gave a refund and free tickets. What more could you ask?

Nobody was hurt, traumatized or damaged. Well done IMHO Airtrans.

Sounds much better than the experience we had with rude passengers slamming a seat back into my son (resulting in anguished prolonged screaming) or a AA attendant refusing to pick up broken glass which spilled back into coach from the business class pantry (my wife had two toddlers with her at the time and the BC attendant refused to help as the glass was in coach). Anyway we flew back then all the time, trust me the kids werent being loud, annoying etc. Nice bump on the head - big A-hole in the row in front. An for those who are going to say keep the kids buckeld in for the full 8hr transatlantic flight.

a. you dont yourself
b. you arent a good parent
c. you thrive on teling others what to do when you couldnt do it yourself

moving on...

First plane trip for youngest daughter was a much anticipated and coached event. She oohed and aahhed at the bustle and big jets taking off around us. Sitting in a window seat, all buckled in next to my son - and she was having a grand time, until the wheels left the ground and we begain to gain altitude. "Waaaaaaaah. I wanna go back down!" Thankfully everybody on the plane laughed and my son was a total sweetie to her. The first thing he did was close the window blind and put her blanky over both their heads. Good future father in-training. He handled her in landing too.

The flight home she sat in the aisle seat as DW read her favorite books. Distraction, attention, entertainment.

She still remembers the events on the flight and points to a plane flying high overhead and smugly notes that she doesnt cry anymore when way up in the sky on a big airplane.

I was ** this close to a physical altercation with the jerk who bumped my kid, but my wife talked me back from the cliff.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 29, 2007 9:12 AM

Hooray for AirTran. It's about time someone did something about unruly kids and the adults who can't/won't discipline them. I'm tired of getting on full flights, sitting in my cramped seat, often after a long vacation or business trip and then having to endure the crying/screaming of children next to or very near my seat. Enough! I paid good money for the seat; let me fly in relative peace and quiet. If the kids won't behave, leave them at home!

Posted by: Wayne Witherell | January 29, 2007 9:16 AM

I have taken AirTrans in the past and had nothing but praise for the flight and cabin crew. I think that AirTrans did the right thing in this case. They handled the situation the same way would have given an adult who might have had too much to drink before the flight. "Sorry, not today, but you can ride tomorrow." Giving them tickets for the next day was enough compensation in my mind. The need for three more tickets to be used for another flight was not.

As I read the article and the comments, I kept asking myself "WHY was she in front of her parents." There are two parents (adults), why did one not just take the front seat so the child could sit with the other parent.

Yes, she needs more discipline, or more to the point the parents need discipline to be able to teach their child right from wrong and appropriate behavior. Let us also remember at 3 years old, air plane are big, noisy "things" and to a small child can be very overwhelming and scary.

Lessons to take from this: 1) Be the parent and do not let your child run the situation. 2) As a small child anything bigger then you and above your eye level has the potential to be very scary. Parents think ahead and think of your child too, not just yourself and wanting couple time on an airplane ride home..

Posted by: JC | January 29, 2007 9:18 AM

Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out.

No one is saying that! What people are saying is if your child is infringing on the rights of other people, a respectful parent will remove the child from the situation until such a time as the child is pacified.

Posted by: the original anon | January 29, 2007 9:18 AM

Bravo to Air Tran for tossing the brat and her weak as water enablers off the flight. Jeers to Air Tran for turing around and reimbursing the family for the cost of the flight. Parents need to learn that those of us subjected to their childs tantrums don't think it's cute and we certainly don't want to be forced to listen to them wailing, screeming and kicking while they call time out. Smack the brat, strap in in and shove a sock in her yap. Or, better yet, parents with small children should just drive.

Posted by: pjinrockville | January 29, 2007 9:19 AM

Good for AirTran. I am sick and tired of parents who believe that their little wonder should be able to throw tamper tantrums whenever they feel like it, and impose them on the rest of the public. If these parents want to raise odious little tyrants, let them stay home!

Posted by: Devil's Advocate | January 29, 2007 9:19 AM

ffxSAHM asked: what exactly do you suggest that parents do about that? When the distractions i.e. toys, stories, pleading, portable DVD players, walking around an in-flight plane going shh shh, etc. just don't work, what should a parent do?

Benedryl works wonders...

Posted by: no kids, little sympathy | January 29, 2007 9:20 AM

I saw the little girl on television with her parents. It seemed that her child could not keep still and focus (been there, still there to a certain degree, having just dealt with the morning defiance). So it's not surprising that she would refuse to be buckled in her seat. But she should have been anyway, because she doesn't get to choose whether she may be buckled in or not.

I sympathize with Elly and her parents. But I also agree that parents have to set the boundaries for their children. It can be difficult to play with them and engage in activities one minute, then become firm the next minute to instill discipline. But that's what child-rearing is about. And heaven knows it ain't a cake-walk. Yes, I am a parent and not a friend, but I don't want to be an enemy either.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 29, 2007 9:20 AM

"No one is saying that!"

OK, let me rephrase, most posters are not saying that!

Posted by: the original anon | January 29, 2007 9:22 AM

mom of toddler
I have no problem with children in restaurants, etc as long as they are behaving. It isn't all about me but why should the meal that I have paid for be ruined by someone else. If an adult was too loud or drunk at a table next to you wouldn't you ask to be moved or ask the person to be quiet? Why is it different with a child?

Posted by: DC lurker | January 29, 2007 9:23 AM

mom of toddler - You don't forfeit your right to travel or go out as a parent, but you are obligated to give your child a chance to succeed in a tough situation. My wife and I do things like make sure we travel first thing in the morning while our baby is well-rested and happy and making sure we have snacks, juice, toys, etc. to distract her if she starts getting upset.
When we're going out to dinner we go out *early* so our kid isn't out past her bedtime in an unfamiliar place. Is it a little bit of a pain to go out to eat at 5pm instead of 7 or 8? Sure, but I'd much rather have a pleasant meal at 5 than a meltdown/nightmare scenario where we flee the restaurant with hastily packed up, half-eaten dinners at 8.

Posted by: KJ | January 29, 2007 9:23 AM

Mom of toddler, nearly every single person commenting here is a parent and has flown with a toddler. If my daughter had EVER behaved like that at all, let alone on a flight, she'd STILL be grounded at age 13 in addtion to whatever I did back then.

At age three, I'd have put her in the seat beside me, made my spouse sit in front of me and forcibly buckled her in and held her there. If her screaming continued, I'd have probably gotten off the plane voluntarily because that is far more humiliating than leaving the plane. I'd be mortified to let anyone know that at age 26, I couldn't control a three-year-old. I'd be completely embarrassed to be seen as such a failure of a parent, because those parents are exactly that if they can't exert some sort of authority over their child.

"Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out. Talk about putting your needs above the needs of everyone else."

No, based on the comments here, parents are expected to actually PARENT their children, not indulge them at the expense of 112 other people who also paid good money for their flight. A parent's indulging three-year-old's tantrum is NOT more important than the rights of 112 passengers. The only people putting anything ahead of anyone else are Poor Little Ellie's parents. They were putting their selfish indulgence of a toddler ahead of 112 other people's right to the on-time departure for which they paid.

Posted by: Single and denied | January 29, 2007 9:27 AM

"Benedryl works wonders..."

Now THERE is a great idea! :) I think I actually have done that in the past . . . to relieve ear pressure of course.

"Smack the brat, strap in in and shove a sock in her yap."

Just one example of the hatred shown today for the smallest, most vulnerable members of our society. I'm just appalled.

Posted by: ffxSAHM | January 29, 2007 9:28 AM

About fracking time that society, or at least persons in authority, take a stand about a child's actions when parents are unable/unwilling to make the hard choices. And before I get flamed for this post...I have a little girl who will be 4 months old this Friday and I pray that I will have the wisdom and strength to be a good/strong parent to make the tough decisions so that society/persons in authority don't have to for me.

Chris R.

Posted by: Being A Strong Parent | January 29, 2007 9:30 AM

Speaking as a parent of a 2-year-old, I'd rather be bumped to another flight than try to ride out a temper tantrum on a plane. Subjecting other passengers to that is just cruel, and unless you're in a dire emergency, the place you're going will still be there when the next flight comes. But I've been lucky to have a good traveler, and my wife and I really do try to get him excited about flying on the airplane and going places. He seems to like it.

Posted by: 23112 | January 29, 2007 9:31 AM

mom of toddler wote: "Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out. Talk about putting your needs above the needs of everyone else."

So the whole world should revolve around misbehaved toddlers and their parents? I have had 2 toddlers, neither of which would sit in a cart at the grocery store and one that threw fits about getting in her car seat - it was frustrating, annoying and MY problem. There were numerous times either me or my husband (or a grandparent) had to take a toddler outside at a restarant or store because of bad behavior so as not to disturb other paying customers. Now when we hear whining, crying misbehaved toddlers/kids at stores that go ON and ON - mostly because their parents will not take control of the situation - my kids ask "why aren't the parents doing something?"

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 9:32 AM

Wow. Just wow.

I completely agree with the airline because being buckled in is not optional. I think the parents should have changed their seating arrangement and yes, held her in.

Also I agree that one can set one child's up for success or failure... to a point.

But for people who think that toddlers should be removed from flights for being noisy or upset, I think you are crazy. Or else you were blessed with kids who were mature for their age at 2 or 3.

A restaurant, sure - there are lots of other options for meals and I think that's a good teaching tool for an out of control kid. Also there are lots of places toddlers don't belong, like live music performances. But a flight??? What if the family's rushing to visit a dying relative or some other obligation?

The thing is that no one has the right not to be inconvenienced or upset. Socially we negotiate these things - as I said, a nice restaurant is not a place for a screaming toddler. But a plane is something else. Once you're in the air there's nowhere to go; getting off a flight can mean huge delays which just make it WORSE for the child later.

Some day some of you judgmental people will be old and slow, or using a cane, or unable to hear well and speaking too loudly, or whatever, and you will inconvenience people. That's life. It's part of society to put up with a bit of annoyance because people are imperfect and go through various stages of life.

Posted by: Shandra | January 29, 2007 9:34 AM

I'm with the majority here who feel that Elly's parents should have exercised some control over the child BUT I will add that most flight attendants are grouchy, overly territorial and clueless individuals who love to crow on their heap. I say this without malice because I spent almost 10 years as a flight attendant and am now a road warrior who flies at least twice a week on business. When you're a flight attendant, you've got an entire planeful of people at your mercy and believe me, that's a major power trip for some of them.

Posted by: Righto | January 29, 2007 9:37 AM

Amen Shandra!

Posted by: ffxSAHM | January 29, 2007 9:38 AM

Seems like people aren't distinguishing between screaming kids and kids that won't stay in the seat. One is awfully annoying and the other is dangerous and against the rules. I feel sorry for parents whose kids are having meltdowns, and mad at parents whowon't strap the kids in.
And yes, I have flown at verious stages with a baby, a toddler, and two kids (preschooler and baby). We try to schedule flights for the highest probability of good behavior and keep new toys, videos on hand, but you can't control screaming. You can control where the child is.

Actuallly, what I want to know is does Airtran have pre-boarding? Many airlines have gotten rid of pre-boarding for families with small children and that is such a mistake for everyone. If I can get one and get my luggage put away and my kids in their seats with quiet toys before there are 100 strangers we have to move around and climb over, life is SO much better for everyone. If I'm last to board, it's awful on all of us and tantrums are much more likely.

Posted by: inBoston | January 29, 2007 9:40 AM

I agree with KJ's comments that you set your children up for success. A mother I knew gave me told me that they usually chose a big lunch over a dinner when dining with their girls in a more formal setting. It was more in line with their peak good behavior time and "set them up for a successful outing."

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | January 29, 2007 9:41 AM

A child's ear problems might well have caused him/her to carry on once the plane was airborne. But this child threw her tantrums while the plane was still on the ground. And I assume she was not so precocious a 3-year-old that she was acting out in anticipattion of the pressurization in the cabin.

Posted by: catlady | January 29, 2007 9:41 AM

Having traveled with a toddler and been on many many flights with others' kids, I am still in the no-sympathy camp. These parents don't have any control -- this situation just brought it to worldwide attention. Park the kid in the seat and if she wants to wail about it, give her a clear choice between pulling herself together or consequences she doesn't want. You don't have to 'reason' with toddlers -- but they know their own self interest well enough to make the right choice when it's starkly put.

Posted by: VAtoddlerMom | January 29, 2007 9:42 AM

Mom of toddler -
Of course you don't forfeiture your right to travel or dine out. However, when your family prevents others from enjoying their right to travel, you should suffer the consequences, not them. I have three kids and have traveled via car, plane and ship multiple times. One child was the type who had a difficult time sitting still. We therefore planned travel after a long day of activities. As a result - sleepy kid. Know your kids and know what works best for them to make everybody comfortable. It's called responsible parenting.

Posted by: arlington | January 29, 2007 9:45 AM

From the articles I've read, it appears that the parents were sitting next to each other and their daughter was in the seat in front of them, next to a stranger. What's up with that? Why on earth didn't they sit next to their daughter? Were they planning to enjoy some quiet couple time??

These parents seem both clueless and shameless (after all, they are the ones who brought this to national attention, thinking they were entirely the wronged party).

Posted by: Anon this time | January 29, 2007 9:47 AM

benedryl alert: It does make most children go to sleep, however about 10% of kids that take it get very antsy and agitated. We learned the hard way - if you want to use it for a plane ride (or whatever) - test it first to see how your kids will react.

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 9:47 AM

KLB SS Md-- I think you would have totally been in your rights to tell the parents that if they didn't get their kid under control and stop kicking you, you will call over the flight attendant. Tell the flight attendant your back is really hurting from all the kicking (if that were the case) and state that would like to file a complaint with the relevant authorities because the 8 year old is purposefully assaulting you on the plane. Make sure the parents hear you say that. You can ask the flight attendant if he or she knows whether a child or the parents are held criminally and monetarily responsible for the action of the child during a flight. I wish I could think of a less heavy handed way of grabbing the attention of the parents as I'm sure you wouldn't really want to press criminal charges against a child. Hope someone else has a suggestion that is just as effective but not as obnoxious.

I am the mother of a toddler and the first time he did that kicking thing to someone in front of him, I said please don't do that, you are going to hurt that person. When he did it again I said "how would like it if someone did that to you?" and I said it in a much harsher tone. The third time I said STOP IT! and forced his legs down and held them down. he may have cried, I don't know. When I could feel his legs relax, I praised him and offered him some treat of some sort so that we could quickly move on to something else. I would do the same thing if he were 8, but I'm sure hoping it won't be an issue!

Posted by: Cal Girl | January 29, 2007 9:52 AM

Wouldn't work for everyone - but most times I 'post'- board with my child, since it cuts down on the amount of time they have to get bored and freaked out before takeoff. I've found that being one of the last ones on board actually ended up working better for us than preboarding. Just a thought.

Posted by: smf | January 29, 2007 9:55 AM

Idiot flight attendants. Even while most kids are throwing a temper tantrum, usually an unfamiliar adult talking to the kid can calm him or her down. It triggers that shyness--and a little fear--that all kids have of people biger than them. I have seen so many flight attendants work this magic. I am a parent, too, and I know this magic. AirTran is a crappy airline in all regards, so I am not surprised. They have set the new standards for bad service in all areas.

Posted by: bkp | January 29, 2007 9:56 AM

To random mom, a kid shouldn't sit in your lap on a plane for the same reason in a car. It is dangerous. And just because you are allowed to have an under 2 year old in your lap, doesn't mean it is safe. People just don't want to pay full fare fro an infant, and a seat represents the same amount of revenue so an airline won't sell it discounted. If there is an aborted takeoff (not uncommon) your kid can fly out of your lap and slap against the bulkhead. I have also seen 150 pound flight attendants hit the ceiling in unexpected turbulence mid-flight, what would that do to a 30 pound kid? Why would you risk that?

Posted by: Frequent Traveler | January 29, 2007 9:59 AM

Cal Girl, It didn't hurt but was just enough to be really annoying. I didn't want to make a scene (was much younger then) but now I would totally get him to stop somehow.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 9:59 AM

mom of toddler - I don't think anyone is saying that toddlers should not travel, only that extremely poorly behaved kids that parents can't even control to buckle a seatbelt on a plane.

Can you hear the parents on that Air Tran plane: "Oh, puhleeeezze, sweetie, could woo pwetty pwease sit in your wittle seat?"

blech. Shame on Air Tran for giving them their money back AND free tickets. Maybe I should goose my kids to throw a tantrum next time to get the goodies.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | January 29, 2007 10:01 AM

I agree that Airtran did the right thing, 100%. I do not have children but I've been a nanny and travelled with children (including an autistic boy). Be prepared. Do not fly during nap times or other times when your kid is really active.

Do people not recall how your parents wouldn't take this kind of behavior, whether it's a restaurant, road trip, plane ride, etc.? Kids aren't being told "NO" these days and that's why I can't take a plane ride without a whiney, misbehaving kid on board or dining at a restaurant with one?

Please be the parent & don't make excuses!

Posted by: Rockville | January 29, 2007 10:02 AM

mom of toddler wote: "Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out. Talk about putting your needs above the needs of everyone else."

I choose to dine out and travel late specifically because I enjoy the peace and quiet of being surrounded by other adults. I NEVER blame the children who are whining and crying at the downtown restaurants at which I dine. I blame the PARENTS. My parents included the cost of a babysitter in their going-out plans. The people who are dining at the same establishments as me can DEFINITELY afford to pay for a babysitter.

As far as travel, I have been the recipient of kicks to the back of my chair, screaming that penetrates my earphones and once even hair-pulling. The best I could do was turn around and kindly address the PARENTS to instruct their child to stop the behavior. Even if I wanted to wring the kid's neck a simple smile and a "I'm trying to sleep/ do work/ not go crazy, and your child is kicking me, would you please speak to him?" went a much longer way than giving the death stare.

Posted by: not yet | January 29, 2007 10:03 AM

Bravo for Leslie's friend. I've been saying the same thing about my son for years! He can make his own friends. When he's on his own he'll be glad he had a parent and not another "best friend". As for little Elly, I have to side with the airline on this one. Strap her down and keep her there. It isn't safe for her to wander around the cabin, not to mention extremely inconsiderate to the other passengers. The Kulezas are entirely in the wrong. It looks like they would rather be their daughter's friend than her parent. The airline was correct. I took a redeye flight across the country once that was filled with crying babies from takeoff to landing - it was a miserable experience - but there was nothing to complain about because their parents had control of them and they were all safe. All airlines should be as gutsy about such issues as AirTran. Parents should have to be PARENTS!

Posted by: CommonSense | January 29, 2007 10:05 AM

Bravo for Leslie's friend. I've been saying the same thing about my son for years! He can make his own friends. When he's on his own he'll be glad he had a parent and not another "best friend". As for little Elly, I have to side with the airline on this one. Strap her down and keep her there. It isn't safe for her to wander around the cabin, not to mention extremely inconsiderate to the other passengers. The Kulezas are entirely in the wrong. It looks like they would rather be their daughter's friend than her parent. The airline was correct. I took a redeye flight across the country once that was filled with crying babies from takeoff to landing - it was a miserable experience - but there was nothing to complain about because their parents had control of them and they were all safe. All airlines should be as gutsy about such issues as AirTran. Parents should have to be PARENTS!

Posted by: CommonSense | January 29, 2007 10:05 AM

I always find the friend/parent thing to be in shades of gray - not quite so black and white as 'you can't be your child's friend.' I understand that fully and see the delinination between parent/role model/mentor/caregiver and friend. I wish there was a word for this parent/child relationship we could go to. I feel the goal of the parent/child relationship is something different from friend, something bigger and better than friend! If it weren't Monday morning I would try to come up with the word for that goal. Any ideas?

Posted by: bethesda | January 29, 2007 10:06 AM

Being a good parent and being a good friend are far from mutually exclusive. It's entirely possible to be both, and for me, the it enhances the enjoyment of the parenting experience.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 10:17 AM

Bethesda, how about mentor type of relationship? Shows respect but a commonness of purpose.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 10:18 AM

Bethesda- perhaps role model is the word you are looking for? I have a healthy adult relationship with my mother who was definitely not my friend (especially when I was 15! LOL) growing up. But she was a model for how to behave, treat others, etc.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | January 29, 2007 10:20 AM

Our daughter was flying by the time she was 6 weeks old. Around age 2, in mid-flight, she decided that she wanted to stand up in her seat and not be buckled in. My husband explained why it was important, for safety reasons, to be seated and buckled. Now she checks our seat belts. She also knows that if she kicks the seat in front of her, it is like kicking the person in front of her, so she doesn't do that. Briefing kids about the rules, in advance, works wonders.

What perplexes me about screaming kids on flights is how many parents seem to be genuinely clueless about handling ear pressure issues. It is very simple: your kid needs to be eating or drinking on ascent and descent. If that means bringing a special treat they don't normally get, do it--you need something that is going to be attractive on descent even if their ears are starting to hurt a bit. That, plus a small new toy or coloring book (or portable DVD player/DVD in a computer) works wonders for keeping kids quiet and happy.

Posted by: Herndonmom | January 29, 2007 10:23 AM

"Being a good parent and being a good friend are far from mutually exclusive. It's entirely possible to be both, and for me, the it enhances the enjoyment of the parenting experience."

GAG

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:23 AM

My mother says the only way they ever made it through traveling with us kids was the magic of dramamine or cough syrup (aka, knocking us out to avoid all of this hassle in the first place). Sounds like a great idea to me.

Flying from Ft. Meyers at the beginning of January, I was appalled while sitting in a cafe to listen to an exchange between an approximately 4 year kid throwing a tantrum and his mother. Apparently, something had been taken from the child at security and he was throwing a fit about it

Kid: This airport is full of bad BAD, MEAN people!
Mother: I know
Kid: We should be allowed to take whatever we want on airplanes! There shouldn't be any rules!
Mother: We should be able to take whatever we want. I know. Do you want me to buy you a chocolate bar?

I wanted to take this woman by the shoulders and shake her into sense. Doesn't she realize that she is creating another "ME ME ME" monster who thinks that they should always have THIER way regardless of the consequences to themselves and others?

Posted by: K8 | January 29, 2007 10:25 AM

You can be a parent and still have fun with your kids. It isn't an either/or situation. Children need and want boundaries because they make them feel secure. Now about this three year old terror. I can't seem to drum up a whole lot of sympathy for the family. I flew from a tiny island in the Pacific to a somewhat larger island in the Pacific to L.A. then to Chicago with a two year old and a 2 month old without my DH. Was it hard? Yes, especially because I had paid for a basinet but it was broken, so I had to hold my baby the whole time. That meant very little sleep for me. My two year old was in her car seat most of the time. Why didn't those parents bring a car seat for her? I imagine they would be getting into a vehicle of some sort when they arrived at their destination. Wouldn't they need one then? For those of you who are uninitiated into the world of car seats, they aren't just for babies. Kids under a certain weight/age limit have to be in one. My own kids were in one well past age three.

Posted by: jane | January 29, 2007 10:26 AM

Overwhelmingly I think the primary issue here is poor parenting. To claim that they are now faced with embarassment, and I am sure a lawsuit is soon to follow, only emphasizes the point. When we travel with our kids, and I have a 3 and 4 year old, we make pre-flight plans. We have toys and other items to keep them occupied, and when push comes to shove our kids know their absolute limits. A secondary issue is our patience as people. I cannot help but notice the looks I get when I travel with my kids. some folks have asked for another seat as soon as they realize kids are near them. It is sad to see how intolerant some adults are towards kids. My kids have never acted up anywhere near this type incident on a airplane, a grocery store, in a restaurant, etc.

Posted by: RobGreg | January 29, 2007 10:26 AM

10:23... why would you say GAG to the good parent/good friend comment? I think that's the goal... to try to combine both to make this relationship work. Sure, sometimes the ideal feels repulsive, esp when you're overwhelmed and overworked and your kid isn't quite 'living up to his potential' (gag), but I can't see much wrong with articulating and ideal, let alone expressing positive feelings when reaching the ideal.

Posted by: Bethesda | January 29, 2007 10:27 AM

I feel like we are asking our children to do too many adult activities in our two-career, 21st Century lives. When I was a child in the 1960's, the farthest I had to travel was the 2.5 hour drive to my grandmother's house. Now I see children spending way too much of their lives strapped into carseats, airplane seats, etc., accompanying their parents on the parents' activities. It's exhausting for the children - and the rest of us who have to listen to their understandable protests. Just SLOW DOWN and our children will calm down. You really don't have to take them on all those trips.

Posted by: Magothy96 | January 29, 2007 10:27 AM

I was once on a flight where a woman turned around and slapped a kid (not her kid) that was kicking the back of her seat. It was pretty funny.

I was also once on an international flight where a (very large) woman was flying with her (enormous) not quite 2 year old (but had to be very close) and didn't purchase a seat for the baby and was inflamed and screaming at flight attendants for not being given a bulkhead row where they have these cardboard box type things that you can snap into the wall on an international flight. She was rolling her eye and waving the kid in the air most of the flight, because she wanted everyone to know she was not provided with the extra consideration of having the bulkhead row since she was too cheap to buy her giant kid a seat.

Posted by: Frequent Traveler | January 29, 2007 10:29 AM

In one of the accounts I read, the child was actually hitting her parents - would you ever allow this?

There is a difference between kids misbehaving (which often happens), and kids misbehaving and the parents not doing anything about it. My child is not always an angel in restaurants/planes/etc, but it is important to addres the issue when it happens in order to avoid it in the future, show that you are in control, and also I think it buys patience from other people that would annoyed at the behavior. Kids are kids, but parents should also parent.

If this child had surgery recently on her ears they should have never been flying in the first place. Also, a three year old is small enough to forcefully place into the seat for take off (may be screaming bloody murder for 20-30 minutes), but at least they would have made the point that you do not get your way with tantrums. Never give into them is the best advice I have ever received!

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 10:29 AM

"Being a good parent and being a good friend are far from mutually exclusive"

Father of 4 You're not a good parent or a good friend to your kids, so how would you know?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:30 AM

Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out. Talk about putting your needs above the needs of everyone else."

To some degree - YES! If you have a child who cannot behave appropriately then yes you should forfeit those activities. I have two children (4 and 6) who are pretty well behaved but we DO NOT take them to fancy restaurants because they cannot behave as an adult would which is the expectation in such an establishment. Instead we choose to go to family establishments where they can still learn how to behave, but their missteps aren't outstanding. I always try to remember when I am out with my children that they are not nearly as adorable to others as they are to me, the couple at the next table may be on their first child free outing in 4 months and don't need my kids to ruin it and finally, we are not the only people in the world and everyone should not be expected to accomodate my choice to have children.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 10:30 AM

A couple of thoughts.

1. Good lord, stop negotiating with toddlers. It's great to reason with them. If that doesn't work, you're a PARENT. Your kid needs to know that there are lines that don't get crossed.

2. If you're another passenger, and you're suffering because of a misbehaving child, don't take it. Halfway to France, trying to sleep and having my seat repeatedly kicked by the kid behind me, I leaned over and said (nicely!) "Could you please not kick my seat? I know it's really crowded, but we all have to be careful so everybody can be comfortable." The kid stopped; the parents shot me a death glare (which I returned).

The next step (I've done this once) is to turn to the parents and say (politely) "If you cannot get your child under control, I'm going to have to call a flight attendant, and I don't think either of us wants that.")

3. When I got to France, I discovered that the French are good parents. I never saw so many well-behaved children - on Metro, in restaurants, everywhere in public. I was told later that in French culture, children are taught early about proper public behavior. Can we bring a bunch of French people over to teach Americans how to be parents, please?

4. Worst kid on a plane experience: on another international flight, coming home from Spain, across the aisle, a mom sat with her toddler - who was eating cereal out of a box and throwing it in the air around the plane. Mom said, "Oh honey, don't do that!" (My mom, who took us on some international flights, would have said something stronger - and we would have stopped.)

An hour or so from our destination, the same Mom changed the kids diaper in her seat. (We noticed because suddenly the whole cabin smelled like poop.) Then she asked the flight attendant to take the dirty diaper.

He said, "No." She said, "What??" He said, "We handle food. I can't touch that. You can dispose of it in the RESTROOM where the CHANGING TABLE IS."

Idiotic, self-centered behavior may not be genetic, but I suspect it's inherited.

AirTran not only did the right thing, but I think they got good publicity from it. If my usual airline did what they did, I'd write them a note of thanks - but would have suggested that they not offer free tickets in the future.

The parents are customers they don't need.

Posted by: John | January 29, 2007 10:30 AM

The first airline that offers child free flights will get all my business till the end of time. Do you hear that all you bankrupt carriers-ban the kids and I'll pay whatever you want to fly in peace, quiet, and calm. Hell, I might even _sleep_ on the red-eye.

Posted by: 20902 | January 29, 2007 10:33 AM

Everyone in this country, and around the world no doubt, knew when they saw the parents complaining on television about their treatment by Air Tran that the parents are the reason this little girl is a brat. She has a self-centered, excuse-making, undisciplined mother and a weak father. That mother will continue to lie to her child about the way things are until the girl learns the hard way. Way to set your kid up for failure, Mom and Dad.

Posted by: mcleangirl | January 29, 2007 10:33 AM

I agree that if a three-year-old won't sit in her seat and be buckled in, she needs to get off the plane for everyone's safety.

But that she chose this particular moment to throw a fearsome tantrum isn't enough evidence for bad parenting. So many people forget that along the road to those beautifully well-behaved nine- and twelve-year-olds, or whatever, there are going to be an awful lot of tantrums. It's how you deal with them that matters.

And, as for physically keeping her buckled in? Hah. I may weight four times as much as my four-year-old, but if she is determined not to be buckled into a seat, I could not physically keep her there without a display of force that could elicit a call to CPS.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | January 29, 2007 10:34 AM

RobGreg, perhaps your kids are great on the plane. But other see kids and they remember their experiences with a maybe not so great kid next to them on the plane. Kicking, screaming, spilling apple juice all over, pulling hair....and they want to move just in case your kid is an Elly. You can't always judge how a kid is going to behave by looking at them or the parents, but if I were the person sitting next to Elly on the plane and she was screaming, hitting her parents, and it looked as if I were going to be alone in the row with someone else's kid, I would ask for a seat change as well.

Posted by: Frequent Traveler | January 29, 2007 10:35 AM

sorry about the double post

Posted by: jane | January 29, 2007 10:35 AM

A crying child? No problem. We've all been on planes with some real screaming brats. That's why they make noise-canceling earphones. But crying isn't a safety issue. A squirming, wiggly, disruptive child is. All passengers over age two MUST be in a seat at takeoff, period.

I can only imagine how hard it must be to make your child cry. I don't have children, but it's probably not easy to strap them in when you'd rather hold and comfort them. Still...a parent's job is to keep a kid safe, right?

I pointed this out last week, so please excuse its redundancy: most airlines allow families with small children priority in boarding, and most flights board half an hour before takeoff. This flight was late, so they may have had less time than that, but they still probably had a substantial amount of time to calm the child down if they pre-boarded. Why weren't they playing with her, distracting her, and explaining the NON-NEGOTIABLE rules of flight?

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 10:36 AM

I agree with 20902!!! There should be an option to fly no-children flights - I'd pay extra.

Posted by: Magothy96 | January 29, 2007 10:37 AM

Magothy96 - I agree whole heartedly! So many people are so busy proving that they aren't going to let children change them and their lifestyle that they are dragged everywhere (don't even get me started on overscheduling).

Secondly, when I witness good behavior by children, be it on the plane, in a restaurant or in a store, I always make a point of telling that child and parent that I noticed, appreciated and am impressed by the nice behavior - a little positive reinforcement goes a long way.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 10:37 AM

AirTran never should have rewarded these people with free tickets and refunds. Young children should be banned from planes or at least drugged into unconsciousness when flying.

Posted by: chris | January 29, 2007 10:40 AM

I would also pay extra (double?) for a no-child flight.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:41 AM

AirTran never should have rewarded these people with free tickets and refunds. Young children should be banned from planes or at least drugged into unconsciousness when flying.

Posted by: chris | January 29, 2007 10:41 AM

AirTran never should have rewarded these people with free tickets and refunds. Young children should be banned from planes or at least drugged into unconsciousness when flying.

Posted by: chris | January 29, 2007 10:42 AM

For the posters who think parents have a great deal of control over their kids IN FLIGHT -- think again. Strange noises, strange movements, confined spaces, long periods of time in a seat -- none of which are conducive for well-mannered toddlers.

Granted, within the US a lot of the families with young kids you see on planes could conceiveably drive. But on transoceanic flights? There aren't as many overseas bases these days, but back when I was growing up, almost every kid you saw on an international US-flagged flight was probably a government dependent. Their parents, like mine, were putting their butts on the line so you could enjoy your "peace and quiet." Think about that.

I took my first flight (Asmara to Philly, 4 separate planes with another stopover in Ireland) when I was one. Back then, travelers seemed a lot less self-important than you guys. When I was 4, my Matchbox cars scattered all over JFK. Everybody stopped and helped my parents and me pick them up. I can just imagine the outraged howls today ....

Posted by: Appalled | January 29, 2007 10:43 AM

I'll throw Airtran a little of my money this summer, as a thank you for doing the right thing. Well, they did the right thing until they also gave the parents perks for their trouble. Those parents deserved nothing and that kid deserves parents who know their roles.

Posted by: Jen | January 29, 2007 10:43 AM

"The flight attendant on US Airways was totally untrained and unhelpful and actually identified and called over the federal marshall to threaten removal if she did not sit in her seat asap."

Why should the flight attendant help you restrain your child?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:43 AM

Returning from Hawaii via a 10:00 pm flight a few years ago, my wife and I were asked by a family if we could change seats with them. They had two on the outside and their young daughter had one of the middle ones next to us, and she was starting to cry.

We switched seats gladly (I finally fell asleep against the window), and they got to comfort their child. The attendants never batted an eye at the switch either, which kind of surprised me.

Last night I was in a restaurant and next to me were two tables, one for adults and one for children (looked like 10 years and younger). The kids after they finished eating began horsing around, standing in chairs, running around, etc,. Not until one of the dads warned them repeatedly, then finally escorted three of them outside (it was cold too!) and put the last one with the adults did they settle down.

Posted by: John | January 29, 2007 10:43 AM

Hopefully this doesn't need to be said, but just in case...PLEASE don't medicate your children if they don't actually, physically need the medication. Drugging brats is not helpful.

If you do decide to take this unhealthy course of action, please don't let them think making a habit of taking medication for off label uses is a good practice.

Posted by: Seriously? | January 29, 2007 10:44 AM

I am very supportive of the airline having removed this family from the plane. The other passengers have a right not to be held hostage by a three year old child and her helpless parents.

As for me, I have four children--grown now, all of whom presented challenges in public. However, they learned immediately and often to respect others.

Interestingly, all four have turned out to be successful professionals and parents. Their kids are learning the same lessons as all children must.

Finally, my kids always introduce me, their father, as their Dad and their friend. Each has taken the time to express their thanks for how they were raised and what that has meant in their lives.

Contrary to what has been suggested in several of these postings, you can indeed have it all. Just remember that you're the adult, they are the child, and exercise your parental duties accordingly and with love. It will all turn out just fine.

Posted by: Jon | January 29, 2007 10:44 AM

"Young children should be banned from planes or at least drugged into unconsciousness when flying."

Or, there should be Kid Valium, the way there is Cat Valium from the vet.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:47 AM

Moxiemom,

Keep on doing it. I am happy to say that I have been on the receiving end of kind remarks by others when I was dining out with my kids. We don't get them anymore because they are over ten--good behavior at that age is expected! But one time we were having dinner and when the people next to us got up to leave, they came over and told us how nice it was to see a family with kids talking and enjoying themselves. Our kids were 6 and 8 I think. That is rather sad, I think, that they were impressed that we were talking to our kids! But before I bring bad karma down on myself, we have had meals out where the kids are engrossed in the placemat and crayons and we are just talking to each other!! Once your kids are over 4yo, it just seems to be so much easier. My second child was a dream--but even she was a rather tiresome three year old at times. Whiney.

Posted by: jane | January 29, 2007 10:49 AM

I don't think half of a xanax or valium would harm a child

Posted by: chris | January 29, 2007 10:49 AM

AirTran should have given everyone who had to endure the obnoxious child free vouchers and left the family on the tarmac.

The family needs to get over whatever it is that makes them feel entitled to set back everyone else's schedules and make them late to get home to their own families. Their time is not more important than everyone else's.

The simple act of breeding does not, contrary to popular belief, give you a free pass to behave as though others do not exist. News flash -- nobody thinks your screaming kid is cute; nobody thinks its fun to be late; and people probably cheered when you were escorted off the plane, as you should have been much earlier.

Public humiliation is the perfect remedy for this type of behavior, and airlines, buses, trains, restaurants, etc., should engage in it more often. Natalists must be shown that however sweet they think Junior is, Junior and his safety is their responsibility and nobody elses. Further, unless Junior is going to grow up with the same chip on his shoulder, he needs to learn that there are certain rules that must be followed from an early age.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 10:49 AM

A parent better be a little of both a friend and disciplinarian. At 3, who is your kids most frequent playmate but you. And who will yell, scream and spank him or her when he does wrong like run in the street, parking lot, etc. Kids grow by leaps and bounds based on their relationship with their parents. this kid learned that she could do this with her parents and was oblivous to the world around her.

Posted by: Spank v. Time Out | January 29, 2007 10:51 AM

"Drugging brats is not helpful."

I could take this seriously if you did not refer to children as "brats."

If someone addressed me with the adult version of the b-word, there would be a serious problem. If someone addressed my children as "brats", there would likewise be a serious problem.

BTW, no one has ever had any occasion to give me a death stare because of my children's behavior - they are both very well-mannered. Not that I can take credit for all of this, I believe that nature is almost even with nurture in regards to children's behavior. Some of us are just lucky. I appreciate the fact that I fall into that category!

Posted by: ffxSAHM | January 29, 2007 10:51 AM

I had fly alone with my son when he was 3 years old, and it was an ordeal, but I kept him from troubling other passengers, and I'm certain that my fellow passengers appreciated it. That said, if there was an airline that didn't accept passengers under 12 years old, I'd pay a little extra to fly on that airline. I have limited patience for misbehaving children and none at all for clueless parents. All children misbehave, but it's how you react to it that matters. "My child is only 3 years old!" Is no defense for your lack of parenting skills. Maybe we could lobby for good restaurants that don't allow children under 12 as well. Bad parenting is becoming more common these days.

Posted by: CommonSense | January 29, 2007 10:52 AM

"Hopefully this doesn't need to be said, but just in case...PLEASE don't medicate your children if they don't actually, physically need the medication. Drugging brats is not helpful.

If you do decide to take this unhealthy course of action, please don't let them think making a habit of taking medication for off label uses is a good practice.

Posted by: Seriously? | January 29, 2007 10:44 AM"

Thanks for the advice but I trust parents to make medication decisions for their children, and no - it did not have to be said. I tried the Benedryl on the advise of my SIL, who is a nurse.

Nice touch with the "drugging brats."

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 10:53 AM

Good grief, Catmommy, there you go making references to "breeding". Remind me again if your mother referred to you as "spawn" and also please tell me why I shouldn't picture you as a cat-obsessed middle-aged spinster who was bitterly disappointed in love and life?

Posted by: Righto | January 29, 2007 10:54 AM

I have been on the received end of compliments on my childs good behavior (church, planes, restaurants, etc) by strangers. It is nice for my child to get this positive reinforcement from others as a reward and I hope that it will encourage her to behave well in future circumstances. It is one of the ways that the "village" helps to raise the child.

As for drugging a kid, my gets terrible motion sick and when I try benadryl gets totally hyper... makes for a challenge when traveling. Valium does work on little kids but imagine trying to get your Dr to write a perscription...

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 10:54 AM

Mona, your question "Why weren't they playing with her"..

As I understand it, Elly had a seat away from her parents, which makes it impossible for the parents to keep her buckled in.

No wunder Elly was throwing a tantrum. It's called seperation anxiety and peaks around 3 years old. Whoever made the decision For the parents to sit next to each other and have the child sit next to strangers is clearly the one to blame.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 10:55 AM

The airline was right in kicking the family off. But, it is possible there's nothing more the mom and dad could do. It would be very hard to buckle in a determined, screaming, thrashing 3-year-old, and keep her sitting in her seat. Seats don't come with five-point harnesses like car seats and strollers do, and most toddlers are magicians at squirming their way out of simple lap buckles. So it's possible the only solution, sometimes, is for parents to get off the plane.

Posted by: chicagomom | January 29, 2007 10:55 AM

I've got 2 boys, and have flown with my (almost 3-year-old) son dozens of times since our first cross-country trip at 3 months (without mommy!). We've taken him on 5-hour flights to Hawaii, even a 3-leg, 12-hour trip out of the country (he had gold status on AA before he turned 1). The ONLY problem we ever had was crying for an hour, and that was once. I've gotten that "oh, no" look as we board (especially in 1st!) -- but often get a comment of "that's the best-behaved kid I've ever flown with" as we get off.

* I PREPARE for flights. I pack snacks, a few new distracting gizmos, books, binkys, blankies, drinks, Tylenol, Baby Einstein & Elmo videos, oh, yeah, and diapers & wipes. ;-) I try to get him a window seat with me in the middle so he doesn't bother others. Bulkhead seats are ideal. (Benedryl - we swore 'never' - but after the hour-long wailing-jag, with 4 hours and another flight to go, we relented, on the advice of a mother of 4 working for the airline. Our pediatrician said it was fine, on occasion, never mind what Dear Abby said.)

* When he fusses about sitting or his belt, I politely but FIRMLY "help" him keep his belt buckled. Asking him if he wants a present, a toy, or a "special treat", as a distraction, often makes him forget what he's protesting. Toddlers have the attention span of a squirrel on meth -- it's only fair to use that to YOUR advantage, too! ;-)

* Whether you're your kids' "friend" is quibbling -- you ARE their PARENT. They NEED firm, clear, consistent limits, and expectations -- delivered with respect and love.

These parents clearly failed, and should be feeling ashamed -- and worried about how their little princess is going to turn out -- not rewarded with tickets and 15 minutes of fame.

What lesson do you suppose that taught their daughter about her behavior?

Posted by: At-Home Dad - WG'92 | January 29, 2007 10:56 AM

I have 5 kids under age 8 and we travel and eat out frequently. They are far from perfect but they know what behavior is expected of them and are generally cooperative. We are often complimented on their behavior when we are out. IMO if these parents were unable to get their child into her seat then AirTran did the right thing. The issue is one of safety and there is no reason why her mother or father couldn't put her in the seat and hold her there until she calmed down. 3 year olds are going to test limits-it's inevitable, but after being informed of the rules and having their crying go ignored they will stop and occupy themselves another way. It has happened to us once with each of our first 4 children and within 5 minutes they were settled and content to play. My relationship with my children is one of love and respect and the way to show that is to PARENT! They may not like it in the moment but they will thank you for it later.

Posted by: momof5 | January 29, 2007 10:57 AM

"Finally, my kids always introduce me, their father, as their Dad and their friend. Each has taken the time to express their thanks for how they were raised and what that has meant in their lives.

Contrary to what has been suggested in several of these postings, you can indeed have it all. Just remember that you're the adult, they are the child, and exercise your parental duties accordingly and with love. It will all turn out just fine."

Perhaps you are introduced as a "friend" in adulthood, after you had been their "parent" during their childhood. Being a friend to your child can be dicey, you give up a certain amount of authority. If you become friends in later life - then all is well, but I doubt you introduced your child as "my son and friend" when they were growing up.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:58 AM

>

I find some of the comments on here just amazing and sort of naive. I took my 18 mo old on an 8 hour international flight, to see grandparents. What with the fact that flights are limited to certain times of day, the requirement to arrive a couple hours early, plus standing in line at immigration for an hour or more, how is one supposed to schedule flights for a time when the child is neither napping nor active?

>

That's not an appropriate comparison. If you compared my toddler, however unruly, to an adult with the capacity for reason and (who should have) the maturity to choose whether or not to drink to excess, in front of my face, I would make sure to do absolutely nothing to stop his screaming (once he was safely strapped in, Of Course) so that your flight was as miserable as possible. You're welcome, jerk.

Posted by: m | January 29, 2007 10:58 AM

Wow, a lot of child haters on board.
On the AirTran issue, it does not sound to me like the airline was out of bounds. The child was having a meltdown, so they accomodated the family by allowing them to fly at a different time. Sounds good to me.

But man, the vitriol of the people who cannot tolerate children just appalls me. Someone thought that she was amused by seeing someone slap a child not their own. I personally would have pressed criminal charges. People are quick to insult children as if they had never been children themselves. They think they were all angels when they were kids. Guess what folks. All kids act up. And when they do, as parents, we try to curb the behavior. Sometimes, it is more challenging than others. Sometimes we have to get off the plane leave the restaurant. But I also think that as society, we should try to be a little tolerant of children. That does not mean we have to put up with egregiously bad behavior. I think it is fine to firmly ask your four year old neighbor to stop throwing cheerios at you, if the parent has not intervened. But I don't think it's okay to slap him.

I used to live in an apartment building where apparently, the neighbors were not getting along due to noise related issues. Management sent us a very wise letter, asking for us balance consideration and tolerance. It's not all that hard, frankly.

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 10:59 AM

I think F04 is simply defining being a good parent differently than we would. He defines it as being part friend, part parent, no doubt when each is appropriate.

Some of the rest of us would just define our selves as parents, with the understanding that "friend" behavior is exhibited under the umbrella of "parent," also when appropriate.

However, the real issue isn't "friend/not friend", but "limits verus no limits"

Children read this as "you care about me and what I do" (ie, parent provides limits and consequences to bad behavior) versus "you don't care about me and I can do anything I want -- secretly, that scares me!".

This applies whether your child is toddler or teen!

Posted by: Rebecca | January 29, 2007 10:59 AM

Chris you are recommending serious drugs to children so you can read your book in quiet? According to the warnings (I just double checked on on the web) Xanax isn't supposed to be given to anyone under 18. Chris if I saw someone give a drug like that to a child to keep them from crying I would be calling CPS.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | January 29, 2007 10:59 AM

I have read several posts on here about children sitting on laps and children in car sets on the plane.

As a mother, who has a SIL as a flight attendant, and a good friend who is paramedic, I would always pay the extra amount for a seat of their own for their car seat. Most children understand their car seat rules, better then lap belt rules, and are more comfortable in their own car seats. The other reason, as my paramedic friend always says, "a child on your lap is nothing more then an air bag." Sorry to be graphic but it is true.

Posted by: JC | January 29, 2007 11:00 AM

It won't, but it needs to be given by someone who is authorized--not taking half of mom's. My dentist always gave me a prescription for valium for my daughter before she had any dental work done (She had a root canal because a fall when she was 8 killed the root). It just chilled her out enough to endure the procedure. Personally, I would like to have one to endure my commute!

Posted by: Chris | January 29, 2007 11:00 AM

You mentioned "be glad it wasn't twins."
On a Delta flight from Ft. Lauderdale to
New York, a woman accompanied by her mother
and her twins boarded the plane. Two little girls, two adults, two car seats.
They wrestled one of the girls into her
carseat screaming, but the second was of
firmer character...screaming, hitting, stiff body. The flight was delayed at
least 15 minutes and finally two attendants
said, "Enough, you'll have to leave the
plane." A loud argument ensued, but the
mother, in great ire gathered up her
recalcitrant twins, carseats, double
stroller, the grandmother, and left.

The whole plane cheered, applauded and
complimented the captain and attendants.
Good for Delta and Air Tran. Next time
I'm kicked from behind will try the hint
of summoning the flight attendant, rather
than (1) suffering in silence, (2) glaring
(3) politely asking the parents to be
parents and control their little monster.

Posted by: Selden, NY | January 29, 2007 11:00 AM

You mentioned "be glad it wasn't twins."
On a Delta flight from Ft. Lauderdale to
New York, a woman accompanied by her mother
and her twins boarded the plane. Two little girls, two adults, two car seats.
They wrestled one of the girls into her
carseat screaming, but the second was of
firmer character...screaming, hitting, stiff body. The flight was delayed at
least 15 minutes and finally two attendants
said, "Enough, you'll have to leave the
plane." A loud argument ensued, but the
mother, in great ire gathered up her
recalcitrant twins, carseats, double
stroller, the grandmother, and left.

The whole plane cheered, applauded and
complimented the captain and attendants.
Good for Delta and Air Tran. Next time
I'm kicked from behind will try the hint
of summoning the flight attendant, rather
than (1) suffering in silence, (2) glaring
(3) politely asking the parents to be
parents and control their little monster.

Posted by: Selden, NY | January 29, 2007 11:00 AM

My wife and I travel by air - usually internationally - once or twice a year with our two daughters, currently ages 5 and 2.

I think we all agree that the parents should have
1) Done better preparing the child for the flight and
2) Grown a bit of backbone and just buckled the child in.

I think every parent has been in a situation where their child had to be removed because of poor behavior. In a restaurant this easy. In a plane over the Atlantic it's problematic.

We have found that by and large people are sympathetic and allow some leeway for our daughters. But the airlines have not always been so considerate.

On our last flight - despite confirmed seat reservations - they had us sitting in two seats together, and then two single seats in two different parts of the airplane (so should the 2 year old or five year old sit by themselves?). The flight crew offered no help to sort things out, but other passengers did.

And when we arrived at our destination we had to walk down a narrow staircase to the tarmac in the snow. We did okay, but another single mom travelling managed her child, his car seat, and carry on baggage only because of fellow passengers, not because of the oblivious flight crew.

I won't list other examples, but I did want to say thank-you to fellow travelers who both grant a little bit of leeway to travelling parents and who also offer polite reasonable reminders if our children are bothering them so we can correct the situation.

Posted by: Rob in Austin | January 29, 2007 11:01 AM

I fully support Air Tran on this one. People keep saying that the airline should give consideration to families. What about consideration to the 100 other folks on that plane who had somewhere to be, connections to make? It's ridiculous to coddle one family at the expense of many others. I can't stand flying with children on planes -- they kick my seat, pull on my hair when they climb the seats and generally make life miserable. They run up and down the aisles and I can just see the parents wondering why everyone else doesn't think it's adorable. Control your children people -- it's not our job to accomodate them.

Posted by: Anne | January 29, 2007 11:01 AM

I fully support Air Tran on this one. People keep saying that the airline should give consideration to families. What about consideration to the 100 other folks on that plane who had somewhere to be, connections to make? It's ridiculous to coddle one family at the expense of many others. I can't stand flying with children on planes -- they kick my seat, pull on my hair when they climb the seats and generally make life miserable. They run up and down the aisles and I can just see the parents wondering why everyone else doesn't think it's adorable. Control your children people -- it's not our job to accomodate them.

Posted by: Anne | January 29, 2007 11:01 AM

'You really don't have to take them on all those trips.'

Magothy96 - Sometimes the children are the reason you're travelling. We're fortunate enough to live close to my family (my parents and sister are in Alexandria and we're on the Hill), but my wife is from the MidWest. We want our child to know her family, her *whole* family, so we usually make one or two trips to North Dakota or Texas each year.

Your point about slowing down is right on the mark, though. There are times when I sometimes have to skip practice or miss games because my kid needs me more than my team does. Thankfully my 'mates are some of the guys who taught me to put my family first. I'm eternally grateful that I have a peer group where being an involved, loving, and active Father is what's 'cool'.

Posted by: KJ | January 29, 2007 11:03 AM

I have no problems with the reimbursement offered by AirTran to the family that they asked to leave the flight. As long as the parents did not violate terms of their ticket policy (and in spite of the difficulties buckling the child into her seat, it doesn't appear they did), the airline is obligated to compensate them for the involuntary change of their travel plans.

Posted by: a parent | January 29, 2007 11:04 AM

My suggestions for making flying with kids easier:

1. Special snacks they don't get at home (for example, gummy bears, which are useful for takeoff and landing to help little ears adjust to cabin pressure changes). Just watch the sugar intake or you're going to have a hyper kid on your hands!

2. A new small toy or book for every hour on the plane. If you're more organized than me, you can put some "old" toys away a few months before the trip and then re-introduce them on the trip.

3. A laptop computer and DVDs, especially if it's one they haven't seen before.

4. Crayons, coloring books, and blank paper. Lightweight and easy to toss if necessary.

5. Paper cups and water for pouring. Don't know why, but this fascinates a certain age group for quite a length of time. (Just don't put a lot of water in the cup!)

6. Giving them half a dose of Tylenol before we take off seems to make them more tolerant.

Finally, if your child is misbehaving, apologize (profusely if necessary) to those around you. If your child is abusing a passenger (kicking, hitting, demanding attention from, etc.), MAKE YOUR CHILD STOP. Immediately. Repeat the apologies.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 29, 2007 11:04 AM

As a parent who has two kids and one horrible experience of air travel with each (try flying half-way across the world with a 2-year-old you've just adopted from an orphanage -- a headstrong kid with no self discipline and who doesn't understand your language) I have more than average sympathy for people travling with small kids. I try to find a zen place when I'm on a plane with a screaming kid.

I am sometimes amazed when I see this type of situation and the parent doesn't seem to care what everyone else has to deal with. At least I had the decency to be mortified.

Posted by: soccermom | January 29, 2007 11:04 AM

"For the posters who think parents have a great deal of control over their kids IN FLIGHT -- think again. Strange noises, strange movements, confined spaces, long periods of time in a seat -- none of which are conducive for well-mannered toddlers."

All of which can be dealt with IF a parent actually teaches their child how to behave. This was a three-year-old, not a three-month-old. By this point in time, she should be proficient in the basics of manners (please, thank you, you're welcome) and good behavior (not hitting people including her parents, not screaming like a banshee, sitting when told). We're not talking rocket science here. Her parents should know by now what it takes to distract her or make such journeys tolerable. With my daugher it was a sufficient amount of cheerios, apple juice, her blanket, coloring supplies and books for me to read to her.

These are not complicated concepts and the average three-year-old gets them if they are taught them. Poor Little Elly's bad behavior is her parents' fault and now the world knows what a couple of incompetent parents they are. To give in to a three-year-old's tantrums rather than look out for her own well-being? To put their daughter's spoiled, rotten, self-indulgent wants over the rights and welfare of 112 people? That sends a lousy message to the child.

I can tolerate the occasional cries of an unappy child if the parent is at least trying. I won't put up with the welfare of the child and others being jeaopardized because the parents lack the spine to actually discipline their child, especially if MY child is one of those being endangered.

My father would rip me up one side and down the other if I let my daughter behave that way. He'd have been on television telling Air Tran to take their money back. My mother would have been hiding in embarrassment from my behavior.

Posted by: Single and denied | January 29, 2007 11:05 AM

As for the folks saying parents should not fly with their kids anywhere, what about seeing far-off family? Crap, the only way I got to see my elderly, only-living grandparent when I was a kid was to fly across the Pacific. And you can bet my parents made sure I behaved, since they paid the cost of a small car for those tickets. I still recall sitting in that seat, doing my coloring. They also requested the bulkhead, which also helped.

Now, my kids, to see their paternal grandparents, must fly. And, by the way, we've been taking them on these god-awful long 30+ hours door-to-door treks (including 14 hours over the Pacific), and every time, we've gotten compliments from fellow passengers on how well they behaved. They're now 4 and 6, and they were each 1 when we started doing this! It is possible to fly with kids and not create a public nuisance!

Travel with kids is fine if the parents are prepared, the kids are disciplined, and the parent is being a parent. Trouble is, there are too many parents, on planes and on the ground, who are not being parents.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | January 29, 2007 11:06 AM

Finally, a blog post by Leslie that I completely agree with. I have great sympathy for the difficulty faced by parents with small children while flying. However, this is a basic rule imposed by the FAA: Everyone must be buckled in for takeoff. Why? For everyone's own safety, including the 3 year old's. If 15 minutes was not enough time to force the 3 year old into the seat, how long was going to be enough? 30 minutes? an hour?

Certainly, the parents could have simply held the child in the seat for the 20 minutes or so until the pilot said that you could unbuckle your seat belt. How ridiculous for these parents to be so incompetent at being parents.

Posted by: Ryan | January 29, 2007 11:06 AM

As a mom living away from my home country, I fly home to the U.S. with my toddler about twice a year. For those of you who say kids do not need to be taken on trips involving air travel-- the only way I can get my child to elderly relatives and give my child a dose of the other culture (we are a dual-cultural family) is to get on a plane.

My child (so far) hs always been good on the planes. However I have some sympathy because it isn't always easy travelling with a child. For example, I used to always have drinks ready for my child-- now you can't bring those drinks onto the plans and sometimes flight attendants will not give you any until after you are in the air. Drinking can help some children with ear pain/popping. The bathrooms are teeny-tiny and not always easy to negotiate with a child-- the changing tables are teeny tiny.

As kids get older-- why, why don't more airports have play areas for children to run around and play during layovers? I would even be willing to pay for the privilege. It takes 12 hours of flying, plus layovers (assuming no delays) to get to my hometown-- so if my child gets a little quirmy, I can't really blame them.

Posted by: American mom abroad | January 29, 2007 11:07 AM

That was not from Chris, but to Chris. About the Valium.

Posted by: jane | January 29, 2007 11:08 AM

Of course the official recommendations say not to give xanax to children, but 1/2 a pill will work wonders as it puts them out for a few hours.

Posted by: alexandria | January 29, 2007 11:09 AM

To Mom of Toddler: You wrote "talk about putting your needs ahead of someone else". Isn't choosing to have children and then assuming life will go on as normal putting your needs ahead of someone else? Yes, if you have kids, you ought to stop eating out unless you can control them. Or eat out/fly when they most likely won't act out. YOU had the kid. YOU make the sacrifice. Those of us who didn't make that choice shouldn't be penalized for yours.

Posted by: AEW | January 29, 2007 11:10 AM

Parent v. friend thing

I have some pals I met in the first grade and we have been friends for over almost 40 years. I have done and would do a great many things for them and vice versa, but there are some things I would only do for my kids (and not even for my DH or siblings). Most people have some kind of criteria for this sort of thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:11 AM

Our parents gave my siblings and me the benefit of a consistent disciplinary policy, always adhered to if we chose to behave in an unacceptable manner: The child was (1) asked to stop, and the reason was explained. If the behavior continued, the child was (2) TOLD to stop. If the child was sufficiently silly to continue, then (3) the child was soundly spanked, thus achieving immediate compliance, and--assuming the child was not an idiot--ensuring that said child would think twice before repeating the performance. The spankings were only on the behind--we were never struck anywhere else--and were painful, not damaging.

The result was children who grew into adulthood with an awareness of parameters that MUST be observed, like them or not. We also had the advantage of learning these lessons at a very young age ... not later in life while going through the court system and being jailed.

We were also educated at schools that used the same principles ... yes, we were caned if we didn't observe the rules.

People who abuse children should be locked up for a long time. Parents who discipline children should be applauded.

Posted by: Raice | January 29, 2007 11:15 AM

I say put all the bitter childless people who hate children in one place when they grow old and can't take care of themselves anymore. Let them fend for themselves without the benefit of the children that other people have raised.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:16 AM

"ever try to change a diaper on an airplane?"

I've wondered this myself, after a long nonstop behind a stinky toddler. Beyond the smell, though, there is the hygiene factor; it can't be healthy for a child to just marinate in it throughout the flight. There has to be a way to fit a slide-out changing table into those teeny tiny little lavatories.

"When I first read this I thought the airlines were at fault, not letting the child sit on the parents' lap."

The airlines don't make the rules; they follow them. Had AirTran not enforced the regulation, it would have been subject to severe penalties. I wouldn't want to pay a fine and possibly lose my license just because someone ELSE wouldn't follow the rules.

"Some day some of you judgmental people will be old and slow, or using a cane, or unable to hear well and speaking too loudly, or whatever, and you will inconvenience people."

But will we do it while spitting, cursing, screaming, and throwing things? There's a big difference between driving down the highway with our left blinker on for five miles and causing a flight to be delayed, making 100+ people possibly miss connections, and violating FAA regulations.

"3. When I got to France, I discovered that the French are good parents. I never saw so many well-behaved children - on Metro, in restaurants, everywhere in public. I was told later that in French culture, children are taught early about proper public behavior. Can we bring a bunch of French people over to teach Americans how to be parents, please?"

I had this same experience in every single place I went in France. Late at night, early in the morning, it didn't matter. The kids were there, and they were all well-behaved. I didn't see one temper tantrum. (I don't know if this matters or not, but I also saw people bringing really well-behaved dogs and cats to restaurants, and the pet would just chill there during the meal.) Maybe it's the relaxed pace of the French. It's rare to see any of them running around like decapitated chickens like we Americans are so fond of doing.

All things said...I'm still not looking forward to flying with two cats in June. But they WILL be contained, will most likely not cry, and the airlines will be told ahead of time to avoid flying with allergic people.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 11:17 AM

Re: the free tickets.

If they choose to fly on AirTran again, everyone who works there will see their name in the system. Not sure I'd fly, knowing my notoriety after trying to act like the airline was in the wrong...

Posted by: kate | January 29, 2007 11:17 AM

Being childless, I try to take a reasonable and objective perspective when I'm on a flight with small children. Babies, after all, have no other way of expressing themselves than by crying, and sometimes when I'm on a plane, I want to scream too. :) So I've invested in noise-canceling headphones and have a much more pleasant experience. A three year old, on the other hand, is probably old enough to understand at least the minimum standards of public behavior. That said, I also know full well that if a child is well into his or her tantrum, there's often very little a parent can do to cut it off, so while I might be annoyed that the parent didn't stop the tantrum before it started, but there's no point in being irritated that it's still going on. My shows of disapproval are only going to add to the parents' tension and make them less able to deal with the tantrum effectively.

So a little deep breathing, a pair of noise-canceling headphones, and a little remembering that I was a toddler once too go a long way toward making my flights more comfortable.

Posted by: Tiffany | January 29, 2007 11:19 AM

"and the airlines will be told ahead of time to avoid flying with allergic people."

How on earth are they going to make that happen and why should all the people with allergies have to accommodate your need to have your two cats in the cabin? Why can't you let them fly underneath?

I fly all the time and have never, ever been asked if I have allergies.

Posted by: to Mona | January 29, 2007 11:20 AM

Actually, some old people cause very deadly traffic accidents because they are too impaired to drive, but for some reason, the state does not want to humiliate them by taking their license away.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:20 AM

Well, if France is so wonderful as cited today and Europe being cited as so wonderful last week, why do you just move there?

Posted by: the original anon | January 29, 2007 11:20 AM

John, You Spanish toddler story reminded me of probably the worst flight I was ever on filled with not toddlers, but teenagers. The flight left the East Coast at 10:00 pm on time so it was an all night to Madrid. There were over 30 Spanish teenagers coming back from a field trip of sorts. They were awake and jumping up and down in the aisles all night. Really they were jumping up and down and singing. A bottle of liquor was confiscated from a couple of them. I also witnessed very inappropriate public sexual behavior from a few of them, to the point where 2 kids were actually having sex in their seat (I swear I am not making this up). People were complaining to the flight attendants, there really wasn't much they could do. When they would bring the carts out, they would slam them into the kids in the aisle on purpose. They had maybe 2 chaperones with them, and when brought to the chaperones attention, they said they were no longing working as chaperones, there job was done for now and it was the flight attendants problem.
So all of you in favor of flights for only those over 12....over 30 16 year olds can be a disaster!

Posted by: Frequent Traveler | January 29, 2007 11:21 AM

Actually, some old people cause very deadly traffic accidents because they are too impaired to drive, but for some reason, the state does not want to humiliate them by taking their license away.

Make SURE that you give up your license at 55!

Posted by: to Jan 29 | January 29, 2007 11:22 AM

I don't think air Trans should have done anything more than rebook them on another flight. the free tickets for a future flight reward the parents and i think parents who would rather sit away from their own two year old child should not be rewarded. we had a situation flying recently where our seating got messed up and our child was seated away from us-- and of course the company allowed us to switch so that at least one parent was sitting next to our child. That's what these parents should have done-- I can't imagine just leaving my child alone to sit with other people.

Posted by: Cal girl | January 29, 2007 11:22 AM

To all the people suggesting Xanax or Valium for your kids - I just can't see saying to my pediatrician "we are going on a flight next week and because my toddler might misbehave please give me a prescription for serious medications, for an off label use to keep them quiet". Over the counter medications is one thing - but perscription medications? I guess the idea of pumping unnecessary medications into my child just to make my life easier (no crying) strikes me a selfish. Most children can make it through a flight - yes it takes work and planning, including effort on being a good parent from day one and yes they may throw a tantrum, but major drugs? And giving a medication to allow for surgery is quite different than hey maybe my child won't behave so I will pump them full of prescription medication.
Sorry I can't agree with the idea knock your kids out with off label uses for prescription medicine because they might misbehave and you won't be able to control them. Frankly if you are trully trying - games, food, distrations, holding their legs down so they don't kick, etc. It is the other people who are being unreasonable. I agree with AirTran because the parents didn't parent (you can hold a 3 year-old in a seat), but what you are asking is different, medicate your child so I can have quiet.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | January 29, 2007 11:24 AM

Whatever happened to the old saw that "children should be seen but not heard". I came to my first child late in life (50+). From the first day I taught him the fun voice and the stop voice. He is ten now and I can say he is a well mannered young man. Too many people put off the training until it's to late and the child has won. Start early and be consistant and never ever give in. Just an aside, in all these years I have never had to raise my hand to my son. It seems to me that todays parents are just lazy and always looking for the easy way out e.g. dvd's, treats and even medication to get the little darling to obey. its sickening to watch. Get a backbone and do your job.

Posted by: ease99 | January 29, 2007 11:25 AM

Last I checked, three-year-olds aren't that big. Last I checked, two adult parents are both larger than the child and outnumber it. What is the problem bucking it up? If I recall correctly, airplane seatbelts are sometimes complicated to operate, at least too complicated for a three-year-old to unfasten. Why didn't this family buckle up the kid?

Oh, and to "Righto": I'm not a spinster or disappointed with anything. I just like cats (not in a wierd way) and haven't had real children yet. I can't figure out how I could with my job, that's why I've been reading this blog -- to see how other people do it.

But after a few weeks of reading, I've discovered most people on this blog are not the type of parent I would be anyway. When I was a kid, children behaved. Period. At least in my family -- I can't vouch for others. I do not have any sense of entitlement. I realize that if I CHOOSE to have children, I will have the RESPONSIBILITY of raising them, keeping them under control, teaching them manners, etc. I don't think the entire world should have to make sacrifices for my own choice.

And yes, one way to refer to procreation is "breeding." Animals do it, humans do it, it is not a pejorative term, and neither is spawn.

In fact, I went to a baby shower a few months ago where the cake said "Congratulations on your upcoming spawn!" They happy could got a kick out of it. They are about to have their second child.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 11:25 AM

"Wow, a lot of child haters on board."

Not really. We also hate people who fart on planes. And people who lean their seats all the way back, and people who kick the backs of our seats, and people whose bodies take up two seats but they only pay for one, and climbing over the other two people in your row to go to the lavatory.../sarcasm

I don't think anyone here is objecting to a child being a child, or a child whining, screaming, and being a nuisance, as children are wont to do. I think the issue here is safety, obeying the law, and being parents instead of doormats. There were a few "ban all children" shouters, but there were also plenty of people who had helpful tips and opinions to make flying more enjoyable for everyone.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 11:29 AM

Single and Denied, I can help you off your soap box. I just bought a 30 foot ladder from Home Depot yesterday.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 11:30 AM

I hear a lot of people say "when I was a kid . . . [life was wonderful because _______]. Misbehaving children are not a new feature of our planet.

And Catmommy, your sense of entitlement literally drips off the screen when I read your posts. You feel you are entitled to not be annoyed by children or by those who chose to have them. You feel this way even though I'm sure you're aware that you are or were someone's child once and that in order for existence to continue, people must "breed".

Posted by: Righto | January 29, 2007 11:31 AM

Child haters? Someone wants to have a safe and relatively quiet flight and when they are concerned or annoyed that an unruly child will prevent that from happening, they are automatically child haters? People who want to enjoy a dinner (that they are paying for) in peace are child haters? Parenting may be a lot tougher than people expected it would be but taking care of the children is NO ONE else's responsibility but the parents. What has happened to personal responsibility? The attendants and crew are responsible for the safety of everyone on a flight. Thank you, AirTran, for making the right decision. I am so relieved that most posts here seem to agree with their decision as well, even if "can you really control/reason/bribe/drug a child in these situations?" debate is raging on.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:31 AM

YA know, it's the parents that are to blame for simply allowing that behavior to happen.

Children (I have one) should not be allowed to be disrespectful to their parents. These parents who allow it, even once without punishment, are condoning that behavior for the rest of this kids life.

Is this family on the no-fly list now?

Good for the AirTrans crew, they made the right decision.

Posted by: jev | January 29, 2007 11:35 AM

The parent vs. friend issue:

Why is it that so many people feel like "just being a parent" to their children is a bad thing? A parent is supposed to be an authoritative figure, a mentor, a role model, a source of love and affection. They can be someone you have fun with and enjoy hanging out with, someone you go to for counsel and advice. But, they are not a "friend." They are MORE than and DISTINCT from a friend.

My mother passed away when I was 28. I didn't lose my "friend." Losing a friend would have been difficult, but I lost my MOM. No one else can ever come close to providing me with everything she did -- she was one of my closest confidantes and one of the people I enjoyed most in the world, but she was so much more.

I think parents shouldn't belittle the relationship they have with their children by labeling it a "friendship." The role of a parent is so much more important than that.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:37 AM

I don't feel entitled to not be bothered by obnoxious children. There are a lot of obnoxious things in life that just have to be dealt with. Stuff happens. Cars break down, planes are late, people run into you, etc., etc. But all the same, everyone is responsible for their own undertakings.

The family here was responsible for protecting and controlling their child, just like AirTran was responsible for the safety and convenienve of ALL of its passengers. The only difference is, the family didn't carry out their responsibility, while the airline did. This family needs to get over it, and I hope for the child's sake, they get it together, or the child will turn into an awful teenager and awful adult of allowed to continue behaving in this manner.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 11:39 AM

"How on earth are they going to make that happen and why should all the people with allergies have to accommodate your need to have your two cats in the cabin? Why can't you let them fly underneath?"

I don't actually know how airlines orchestrate this, but I do know that they require advance notification of pets on board so that they can put me on a different flight than someone with allergies. This, of course, depends on the cooperation of the allergic person, who would also have to notify the airline of his or her condition. I will never, ever put a pet in a cargo hold. There is no climate control, for one thing, flight crews could easily be careless with their carriers, thus blocking air vents or crushing them under heavy bags, and in addition, I am under the impression that the cargo hold is not pressurized. Would you trust someone to put your kids in cargo? For. Get. It.

Pets fly on board all the time; in many cases, the other passengers are unaware of it. Trust me, I do not like the idea of taking my cats on board an aircraft; it is something I plan on doing only once. I wish I didn't have to do it. But if it takes a little effort, inconvenience and expense, it is worth it to me to keep my pets just as safe as any of us would want our kids to be.

P.S. I know many scientists who refer to their children as spawn. Big deal. They also refer to them as offspring, F1 generation, zygotes, etc. My mom used to refer to me as "tax deduction number two." I highly doubt it permanently damaged me, and I do not have an unhealthy obsession with taxes or numbers.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 11:39 AM

"just don't work, what should a parent do? Slap the child? Duct tape their mouth? Stay at home? Children of a certain age can't be reasoned with and are incapable of empathy. They are adorable self-centered little monsters.

What should a parent do to stop screaming?"

Dramamine, Unisom, Ritalin or Whiskey will all do nicely.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:40 AM

This family was probably coming from Disney which is a cesspool of uneducated, overwieight parents indulging their kids love of plastic crap with Princesses on it and people who took out home equity loans to wait in line. These are the same people who buy the adult Disney wear (the giant Pooh shirt - eyeech) Can we really be surprised at the behavior?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:41 AM

Catmommy, perhaps you need a little help off your soap box too. Have a few kids, and then maybe your words will gain a little clout.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 11:42 AM

Those parent's should have worn that kid's arse out over that. If you can't get a 3YO to sit down, you need to seriously question your parenting skills in other areas.

That, and frankly, I would have removed my family from the plane long before the airline did, and we'd be doing whatever the child finds most unpleasant in life. We'd get caught up on immunizations and have asparagus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Posted by: Analyst | January 29, 2007 11:45 AM

I can see 2 psychological issues with people in this discussion:
1. fear
people are afraid of each other and each others (and their own) children
2. OCD
they try to be perfect and get upset when others don't even try

You have limited control over your environment (earphones, switch seats, buy business class), but you can control your feelings about it. Lighten up. Nobody can upset you if you are in control of your emotions. And nobody gets stuck in the airport for the rest of their lives. It too shall pass.

Posted by: Cat | January 29, 2007 11:45 AM

When I fly with my son, I request a bulkhead seat so that my tending to the needs of my son will not physically impact anyone in front of me. This also negates any chance that he will kick the seat in front of him since there isn't one. Granted, I can't always get bulkhead seats, but I try to plan far enough in advance so that I do get them the majority of the time.

When it comes to my son, I have to admit that I'm "one of those" that wants it all, but I am definitely the parent first and friend second. I think AirTran did the right thing in having the Kuleszas removed from the plane, and I think that the Kuleszas should have been allowed to complete their travel on another flight. Very young children cannot necessarily control their emotions and often cannot adequately express what is wrong. I do not think that AirTran should have reimbursed the Kuleszas, and definitely should not have given them an additional 3 tickets for future travel.

As for behavior, I have to say that we take our son with us pretty much everywhere, and have since he was a few months old. He's known from the beginning that church and quiet restaurants are places to be quiet, and he is most of the time. Whenever possible, we have always indulged his curiosity, taking him over to see and touch (if possible) whatever catches his fancy. We try to make sure that he doesn't have time to get bored. When he gets noisy, we remove him from the situation until he calms down. Most of the time, people don't even know he's around unless they've seen him. IMHO, consistency is the key.

Posted by: MAY | January 29, 2007 11:46 AM

FO4, Were that MO4 weren't around - I'd marry you in a heartbeat!

Posted by: ffxSAHM | January 29, 2007 11:49 AM

Was the child having a tantrum or was the child terrified of the impending plane trip and hiding under the seat in fear of being restrained? Planes can be very scary for childen and perhaps we are being too quick to judge the childs behavior. I agree the air line did the right thing in removing the family, but perhaps we should withhold judgement on the family.

Posted by: NC | January 29, 2007 11:49 AM

"Well, if France is so wonderful as cited today and Europe being cited as so wonderful last week, why do you just move there?"

The French require you to retire at a certain age. I plan to work well into my old age, and as much as I adored Paris, I don't want to be forced into what I consider early retirement.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 11:50 AM

Here, here to 11:37 a.m. anonymous. The goal of a parent shouldn't be to be their child's friend. There are times when you have to lay down the law and your kid isn't going to like you for it. Are you going to be more concerned about your "friend being mad at you" or about a raising a decent human being?

And wanting children to be well-behaved and disciplined at least 85% of the time is not child-hate. I have flown on a flight with a 4 month who cried on ascent and descent but was an angel the rest of the flight. You know what? I lived with it. I felt sorry for the parents and certainly didn't send them death stares because of something that was out of their control. However, a kicking, screaming, disruptive three year old is within a parent's control and I would expect that child to be disciplined and admittedly have no tolerance and active dislike for parents who take no action to discipline said child.

Posted by: Oh please | January 29, 2007 11:53 AM

The family was returning from visiting the brat's grandparents in Fort Myers where she apparently was spoiled more then usual.

BTW, this demon spawn's flight TO Fort Myers was without incident.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:54 AM

Mona says "Would you trust someone to put your kids in cargo? For. Get. It."

Yes, but we are talking about you putting your CATS into cargo, not your children. I realize I'm stating the obvious here but Animals are NOT people and don't have the same constitutional rights.

Not that I want to enter into this argument again, which I see as completely fruitless. Let's face it, the law backs me up and not the animal lovers who want their pets afforded the same considerations as human beings. Until animals can pay taxes -- scratch that, until animals can FILE and pay taxes on their own, they're lower on the food chain than us and will continue to be eaten and should fly as cargo!!!

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 11:54 AM

I flew from Tokyo to Atlanta on a non-stop flight a few years back and there was an infant that had been screaming about 4 of the 14 hour flight. Nothing the parents did would console the child. It was awful for the rest of us, especially since the family was sitting in the front of the cabin and facing the child to the rear while he was screaming. As a new parent, I'm dreading flying, but at the same time, I'm positive that our son will not act up. If anything, he'll cry just a little at first from being in a crowd of people he doesn't know, and maybe because of the pressure change in the cabin, but i'm sure that after a few minutes he'll be out as he usually does when he's in the car.

I would expect any airline to take a hardline stance such as the one that Airtran did. As for the parents, keeping your kids under control is your responsibility, not anyone else's. I'd fully expect the same to happen to me and my family if my child acted in the same manner.

Posted by: Chris | January 29, 2007 11:54 AM

I flew every other weekend for two years with a five/six year old. We never had trouble. I realize that three is younger, but here is the drill:
Never, ever get on a plane with a young child without a car seat. They are used to sitting in them in the car and the fact that the car doesn't move until they are strapped in. It solved a lot of problems
Never, ever get on a plane without a snack and a juice box. The more small pieces the snack involves the better. Pepperidge Farm goldfish are perfect.
Always have crayons, paper and workbooks. In an emergency, we've decorated many an airline sickness bag. They make perfect hand puppets.
While I normally frown on bribery, go to the dimestore beforehand and secure several cheap trinkets the child has never seen before. Reveal these throughout the flight as needed.
My daughter and I flew so often that she eventually earned a pass for a year of free flights along with me. We never had major meltdowns. They same tactics have kept her younger twin sisters happy and safe during six hour flights. They work.

Posted by: lifermom | January 29, 2007 11:58 AM

"Let's face it, the law backs me up and not the animal lovers who want their pets afforded the same considerations as human beings."

Maybe so in many cases, but the law backs ME up in my right to fly with cats. It's not going to be easy or pleasant or fun, but it will be done. And while pets are not people, they are also not suitcases, and I will not endanger their health and safety by putting them in cargo. I hope you're not on the flight my cats will be on, since your opinions are so strong about this. Luckily, we can agree to disagree, and if you ever have to fly with a pet, I hope the animal has a relatively pleasant experience.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 11:58 AM

"Single and Denied, I can help you off your soap box. I just bought a 30 foot ladder from Home Depot yesterday."

I'm sure the stockholders are happy with your purchase. Got to keep revenues up. It's good for the economy too.

Having children does not mean that the rest of the world has to tolerate bad behavior. Parents who fail to parent are why some restaurants are refusing service to people with children now and why so many people loathe traveling anywhere near children.

Besides which, do you want one of your family members to be on the receiving in of a 30-lb. projectile, which is what an unrestrained toddler on a rough flight? The toddler is dead and so might be your family member.

That's not a sacrifice I'm willing to make just so some couple can sit away from their kid and force some stranger to be responsible for their ill-behaved child. They didn't even have task another passenger to change seats. One of them coul have swapped with the child. Their behavior is abhorent.

If Air Tran flew to El Paso, my next flight would be on their airline.

Posted by: single and denied | January 29, 2007 11:58 AM

So many comments. I almost hate to add my 2 cents. I have no problem whatsoever with them being tossed off the flight. I wish more airlines would do it. I have had a child crawl under the seat in front of me and pop up between my legs. After escorting him into the aisle by the ear, the irate mother gave me an ear full. (Yes, I gave it back.) Once I had a kid continuously kick the back of my seat for about 30 minutes until I exploded on him. Again, I got another ear full from the mother. On another flight I had to sit next to a mother and infant who screamed bloody murder for the entire flight. I thought my head would explode and blood would come out of my nose. When the mother needed to go to the toilet she asked if I would hold her baby. "Sorry. No." Needless to say, she was ticked and had to ask the flight attendant to hold it.

I'm sorry, but why should I have to suffer with other people's brats? If my kids had ever acted like that they would have had trouble sitting down for a while.

Posted by: Mikie | January 29, 2007 12:01 PM

To clarify -- I believe that the child on the AirTran flight was sitting on the floor in front of her parents while having a tantrum and not in the row in front of her parents. The wording of the article has led some people to believe that the child's seat was meant to be in the row in front of the parents. I am quite certain that's not the case and that the family had three seats together. If someone has seen definitively a statement that says otherwise, can you please let us know?

When my family flies, there are 5 of us. We've had some flights where we've had to fall on the mercy of passengers so that each child sits next to an adult. If I can't book 5 seats together or 2 and 3 seats together, I get as many aisle seats as possible and then prepare to beg. We also give free drink coupons. One family I saw gave $5 Starbucks gift cards to try to accomodate their crowd of 6. I thought that was pretty savvy.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 29, 2007 12:04 PM

I am sorry that referring to recalcitrant children as brats was hurtful. However, if a parent feels they only way they can control their child is by knocking them out with drugs then maybe their child is problematic.

I don't include of course those who were advised or prescribed the medication. There is a difference between anxiety and obnoxiousness.

I made the plea for caution quite seriously. I love children and work in a health field. I have heard some appalling myths about health that people have applied to children. I intended to caution parents. Recently, it has been found that some antidepressants can cause suicidal tendencies in teens. This is all getting quite away from the initial subject but it was my thinking when I made the comment.

Posted by: Seriously? | January 29, 2007 12:06 PM

I can't believe some people think it's okay to change a child IN their seat. That's unsanitary and disgusting. The thought that I'm stuck sitting for hours at and eating off a tray table where a dirty diaper has been...

Posted by: disgusted | January 29, 2007 12:07 PM

If flying is so hard on children (they get scared, scream, cry, etc.) why do parents take them on planes?! If the child's happiness and comfort are the parent's concern, then why put the child through such an uncomfortable situation? This isn't as much about the comfort of other people as it is for the comfort of the child. Maybe I don't understand because I wasn't allowed to fly until I was in 6th grade. Maybe more parents could hold off on flying until it doesn't scare the child half to death.

Posted by: curious nonmother. | January 29, 2007 12:09 PM

So because I don't buy into the militant mommy/natalist agenda I am somehow on a soapbox? Please.

If my kid were doing that I would personally escort my family off the plane. A lot of people who travel are doing it for business and need to be on time and in many cases get work done while en route. I don't expect that everyone is going to visit granny and can afford to be late and/or distracted.

Planes are often late due to reasons other than miscreant children, and, I get no less irritated when it is the airline's fault. However, in this case, the airline was right to the extend they booted the family, but wrong to the extent they rewarded bad behavior with vouchers. Still, some airlines just let children run around and screech, and that is not acceptable. It is dangerous and rude.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 12:10 PM

Given that half the time I can't trust the baggage handlers to treat my luggage well, I'm damn sure not going to trust them to handle a live animal. I've never heard of an animal dying in the cabin, but they have in cargo.

Posted by: To Um... | January 29, 2007 12:10 PM

Mona, I've flown twice with my 130 pound St. Bernard/Border Collie mix. Because she's so big, she actually counts as freight. We've never had any problems. Both times she was sedated for the flight. I have heard rumors of pets dying en route, and while I believe that there's a small percentage that do die (though I've never seen the figures backed up by a source I'd consider without skepticism), the overwhelming majority come through without a problem.

I don't understand why you'd put your pets before the comfort and health of other people. What if the person who sits next to you has allergies to cats and has an asthma attack and DIES because you insist on carting your cats on the plane? How do you feel then?

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 12:11 PM

A screaming is neither "acting up" nor a "brat."

Babies scream. It's how they communicate.

That said, I think I'm going to have a pocketful of gift cards next time we have to fly.

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | January 29, 2007 12:12 PM

A screaming INFANT is neither "acting up" nor a "brat."

Posted by: Two kids in the Midwest | January 29, 2007 12:13 PM

Disgusted - let me tell you about the time my 2 year old had an explosive poop on descent that literally soaked her car seat - now THAT's disgusting. Although you probably eat off a tray table where some nasty person went to the bathroom and didn't wash their hands - same thing.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 12:14 PM

Having a child
The new entitlement

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:14 PM

I'm sure every single one of the adults who posted here today were the most well-behaved children who never cried, screamed or threw a tantrum for their parents.

And even more certainly, IF you had flown on a plane before the age of 5 you were all on your best, most agreeable behavior.

Posted by: God | January 29, 2007 12:16 PM

Mickie, your statement " my kids had ever acted like that they would have had trouble sitting down for a
while."

So how often did you administer your kids a public beating?

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 12:17 PM

I don't think flight attendants need to be trained in calming down unruly kids. That's the parents' or guardians' responsibility. Flight personnel need to focus on safety issues.

When I'm traveling without children I barely notice when kids are screaming on flights or kicking my seat. I am too exhausted from my own kids. I just stick in some earplugs and have a nice long nap.

But I have noticed other passengers quietly ask the flight attendent if they could move. If there are open seats, this is a good solution.

Posted by: Leslie | January 29, 2007 12:18 PM

One time when I was traveling from the US to the UK I sat next to a parent with a young child and across the aisle from a family with two small children who happened to have an empty seat next to them.

The child next to me got sick so I asked the family with the small children if they minded if I sat in the empty seat next to them so that the other child could stretch out next to her mother. They didn't mind and I switched seats leaving my carry on bag across the aisle under my previous seat. The poor child that was feeling ill proceeded to barf all over my bag for the rest of the flight while her mother tried to dam the tide. The reality is sometimes things just go badly and they can't be helped. I know people, for the most part, are talking about unbridled bad behavior but I ask those without children to please also have some patience.

Moral of this story: Febreeze does not get the barf smell out of nylon and canvas. :)

Posted by: Not fun | January 29, 2007 12:18 PM

I think the airline should have made the parents sign a waiver/release and let the kid hurl around the cabin during takeoff. Maybe then the parents would think harder about how to get the child in the seat and buckled up.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:18 PM

Chris said "As a new parent, I'm dreading flying, but at the same time, I'm positive that our son will not act up. If anything, he'll cry just a little at first from being in a crowd of people he doesn't know, and maybe because of the pressure change in the cabin, but i'm sure that after a few minutes he'll be out as he usually does when he's in the car."

Seriously, you're positive? Positive? My experience with my children is that they have an unlimited ability to surprise me. Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes not. You might want to re-think your expectations. Maybe you can be positive that if you were in the same situation as those AirTrans parents that you would have acted differently. But you might want to think through a back-up plan just in case your son doesn't respond to a plane ride the same way he responds to a car ride.

Posted by: a reader | January 29, 2007 12:19 PM

"So how often did you administer your kids a public beating?"

Father of 4 How often do you hit Annoying Son in private?


Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:20 PM

Sorry but I just have to comment on the benadryl thing and drugging toddlers. I just read an article on WEBMD this morning:

"Giving cough and cold medications to children under 2 years old can be dangerous, even deadly, according to a new investigation conducted by the CDC.

Three infants, all aged 6 months or younger, died in the U.S. in 2005 after receiving cough and cold medicines, according to the report, published in the Jan. 12 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

All three had what appeared to be high levels of a nasal decongestant in their bloodstream.

In addition, 1,519 children 2 years old and under were taken to U.S. emergency departments during 2004-2005 for side effects associated with cough and cold medications, including overdoses."

PLEASE do not drug your child with ANYTHING without talking to a DOCTOR first. I would hate for people to think that benadryl was a "magic cure" and kill their child on an airplane.

Posted by: Emmy | January 29, 2007 12:20 PM

Two things:

1) For shorter trips, under 600 miles or so, parents with young children might consider taking Amtrak if time is not an urgent factor. The seats are bigger with no seatbelts, there are fewer security hassles, more room to move around, better scenery, and full meals, not just peanuts. You can even rent a private "family bedroom" that sleeps several people in comfort, and VCR players pre-loaded with recent movies and music. Also, no problems with stuffed-up ears from changes in pressure! The AutoTrain is great if you're going to Disney World.

2) In my grandparents' time, the primary child-raising dictum was "Children should be seen and not heard." But we Boomers and post-Boomers have treated our own children like the center of the universe, with predictable results.

Posted by: Scott | January 29, 2007 12:20 PM

She was a not a baby!!! She is 3 years old! They were lousy parents who let their kid run the house, which is becoming all too common.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:22 PM

"I don't understand why you'd put your pets before the comfort and health of other people. What if the person who sits next to you has allergies to cats and has an asthma attack and DIES because you insist on carting your cats on the plane? How do you feel then?"

Wow. You certainly didn't read my previous posts, did you? You know, the one where I mentioned that airlines require people flying with pets to notify them in advance? So that they can arrange for them to fly on planes without those with severe allergies? Didja miss all that?

People fly with allergens all the time. If someone has allergies so severe that sitting next to a cat will cause them to die, they probably are aware of that (since animals are a part of our environment), and carry around emergency steroids. In addition, if they are THAT severely allergic, they probably would die sitting next to me without a cat, since I am invariably covered in cat hair from head to toe. And no, I don't normally roll myself over with one of those sticky roller thingies before boarding a plane, and no one has died from sitting next to me yet. I think you may be getting a bit hysterical. What do you have against animals, anyway?

I don't plan on infringing on anyone else's health or safety. Any expense and inconvenience will be incurred by me and no one else (well, okay, by my boyfriend as well, since he will be coming along to help me with them). As I've said, people fly with animals all the time, and I have never heard of anyone dying from it. People are deathly allergic to peanuts too, and you know what? The airlines make accommodations for them! They do the same for those who are allergic to pets as well.

I'm very happy to hear that your dog has made it through flights with no problems. It's probably a bit of a difference between a huge crated dog and a tiny cat in a plastic carrier. It's a lot easier to toss a cat carrier in cargo and then throw a bunch of luggage on top of it. I'm with "to Um"; I don't trust the flight crew with my checked luggage, and a living animal means way more to me than my shoes and clothing.

If there are no airlines that can accommodate me (which I highly doubt), I'll take the train. But, OH NO! Oh my god! There may be someone who's allergic and they'll DIE! :gasp:

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 12:23 PM

Since cough and cold medicine is so dangerous, maybe parents should go back to the old fashioned method of keeping kids quiet -- putting a bit of liquor in their bottles.

This has worked for hundreds of years.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:26 PM

Personally, I would pay more as a parent to fly on a family-friendly airline where I didn't have to bother with childless adults throwing dirty looks at the parents for not having "perfect" children.

Newsflash - children aren't perfect.

How do you all like waiting in a security line for 45 minutes, being patted down, having things you don't like taken away, having the plane delayed for undisclosed reasons, and then getting on a crowded plane with strangers? Oh, wait, let me guess?! You love it, that's why you're all so well behaved when planes get delayed and new regulations go into effect, right?!

Come on people, children are children, they scream, they kick, they get frustrated, they are only just learning appropriate behavior.

I'm not saying that boundaries shouldn't be set and there should not be firm consequences for behavior, I am saying, be realistic and a little sympathetic because I'd bet that 9times out of 10, the parents are trying their best in a situation that is not set up to be easy for anybody to navigate. Of course, security trumps all, as it should.

But my daughter and I have clocked about 50,000 in airmiles in the past 4 years, and I've flown air tran about 10,000 of those,and I know enough myself to say confidently that Air Tran crew are the least sympathetic I've known

Posted by: Mom in SS | January 29, 2007 12:27 PM

Thanks for your post. Benadryl is not a decongestant, it is an antihistamine. There is a substance, PPD or something like that, that has been a no-no for children for several years, that is common in over-the-counter cold remedies. Of course parents should be informed before giving their child any medication.

Posted by: to Emmy | January 29, 2007 12:27 PM

Agree with Emmy - people can and do die from non prescription medicines. Just because you don't need a prescription to get it does not mean that it is safe to use willy nilly. Please be especially cautious with your kids - sometimes parents give meds that do the same thing w/o knowing it e.g., Zyrtec and Dimetap.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 12:28 PM

"If flying is so hard on children (they get scared, scream, cry, etc.) why do parents take them on planes?! If the child's happiness and comfort are the parent's concern, then why put the child through such an uncomfortable situation? This isn't as much about the comfort of other people as it is for the comfort of the child. Maybe I don't understand because I wasn't allowed to fly until I was in 6th grade. Maybe more parents could hold off on flying until it doesn't scare the child half to death."

Maybe we consider it essential to encourage our children to develop close relationships with family members who live more than 8 hours drive away from our residence? Maybe we are communicating our values to our children by considering close relationships with their grandparents and cousins to be more important than any temporary discomfort?

The average child isn't fond of the length of the average church service either, but we're going to continue to attend church. or maybe many of these posters also believe children should be left in the nursery until they're in 6th grade.

Neither of our children ever cried or disobeyed us on flights. Yes, we're firm, but also know how to settle our kids. No, we'd not have tried to have either of our children sit in a different row from one or both of us. For the most part, we were lucky rather than smarter than every other parent in the universe.

All told, today's responses reveal an amazing quantity of miserable, bratty grown-ups, including a sizable portion of the childless and entitled to never be bothered. I wish for all of you that your next, and all subsequent plane flights, place you immediately adjacent to the guy who chatters incessantly and loudly on his cell phone during every permitted moment of the boarding, flight, and de-boarding process.

Get some perspective, please, on true misery from someone with a life-threatening illness, someone who is homeless, someone whose adult child has severe mental health problems. Then perhaps the fact that a parent is raising his child in a manner of which you don't approve will be restored to its proper perspective.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:30 PM

Wow, I'm amazed at some of the vitriol here today ...

I think there is a BIG difference between a parent who lets their kid run around like a loose cannon in a restaurant or a store, and a parent who is travelling with an overtired kid and can't calm them down despite their best efforts. In the former, the parents deserve to be smacked. In the latter, can we show a little compassion, folks? Let's be clear: the problem on AirTran was NOT that Elly was screaming and was apparently a spoiled kid (which BTW is her parents' fault, NOT HERS) - the problem was that she was not buckled in and her parents wouldn't/couldn't do it.

Posted by: StudentMom | January 29, 2007 12:30 PM

There is nothing wrong with an airline running a tight ship. When I fly, I truly appreciate a plan that leaves on time. One screaming child with deadbeat parents can delay several flights, not just one.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:32 PM

Please leave the new found love of my life alone! His son really is annoying, but never beaten!

Fo4, love you! Call me!

Posted by: to Fo4 hater | January 29, 2007 12:34 PM

When my family moved across country, our two cats handled the flight just fine. I happened to mention this to a colleague in conversation one time, and he remarked that his experience was much different:

"When we flew, my cats were so nervous I had to seduce 'em."

He didn't realize the Freudian slip, and I barely held back from laughing. Personally, I'd never considered that approach, and obviously it's not much help with a toddler.

Posted by: Tom T. | January 29, 2007 12:38 PM

Just out of curiosity, what do you "children aren't perfect" people suggest an airline do when a child is both bothering other customers and refusing to buckle up in accordance with regulations? What is your soluation?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:44 PM

Gotta say I agree with AirTran's handling of this case, but I have also read one detail differently than a lot of other posters: I don't think Poor Little Elly was in a different row than her parents. The mother said the kid was "in front of [their] seat", and to me this is not the same as the seat in front of the parents' seats. If she was in fact in a different row, no wonder she melted down, but if she was in the same row and the two adults she's supposed to respect couldn't control her, we know who was at fault.

Strangest child-related incident encountered on a plane: I was travelling by myself from Jordan to New York, on the Jordanian state airline, and was one of the first to board. I settled into my middle-of-the-middle seat (plane was a 747) and was going for my book when an older Arab gentleman *plopped a two-year-old in my lap and stated that he needed to find a flight attendant*. Didn't ask me to hold or watch the kid, just literally dumped her on me and hurried off. Now, despite being a woman, I'm not a child person: don't especially like 'em, don't want 'em, don't know what to do with 'em. I'm honestly not sure who was more startled and scared, me or the little girl. I will be forever grateful that the poor thing was too shocked to start crying at the sight of a stranger, and even more grateful that another woman came along a minute later and sat down next to me, and was able to distract the baby from an incipient screaming fit. Not that it would have been the baby's fault at all. Apparently the man who left her with me was her grandfather, and he was flying alone with her, and wanted a flight attendant so he could switch seats and/or get an infant cot. Eight years later my mind still boggles at this event.

Also, to anybody who might have been on my flight from LAX to Sydney in the summer of 1988 -- you'd remember, we were a group of 85 teenagers with only maybe 4 chaperones -- you have my sincere apologies for our behavior. That many teenagers just should not be allowed to travel together on a flight of that duration without better supervision.

Posted by: BxNY | January 29, 2007 12:44 PM

I guess it would just make things easier and less ambiguous if car seats were REQUIRED on airplanes for children of the same age/weight restrictions as in a car. That way young children would be safe and in a known environment AND the airlines would have to think more sanely about seating arrangements, etc. For children older than 2 that are forced to have their own paid for seats, I can't see why a car seat wouldn't be utilized , as it was pointed out earlier that it is easier to restrain children that way in a non-threatening way.

Posted by: Trisana's Mama | January 29, 2007 12:44 PM

I don't have time to read all the comments, so perhaps somebody has already noted this and twenty people have already disagreed, but I tend to see this story of further evidence of how stressful it has become to travel with young children -- or travel, period. Going through security with a baby or toddler is generally a nightmare, and it's rare to get help or special treatment from Homeland Security. (I use "special treatment" here with the understanding that people with disabilities, young children, etc. require extra help -- when I travel alone on business, I don't need or want help or special treatment.) By the time you get to your seat, you've already asked a lot from your kids and you're strung out. I also find that airline personnel these days are not, in general, helpful.

Some people seem to jump on this as further evidence for the conservative narrative that parents these days are too permissive. Well, maybe some are, and this may in fact be the story of permissive parents. I don't know; I wasn't there. But I think it can also be read as evidence of a culture that has become increasingly hostile to the reality of children (also a conservative storyline). It seems to me that people in general have fewer kids and have less in experience with kids, and so are not likely to be tolerant when they see kids being kids. Maybe the parents just needed a few more minutes.

Again, I don't know. I wasn't there. But those are my thoughts...

Posted by: http://daddy-dialectic.blogspot.com/ | January 29, 2007 12:44 PM

This reminds me of attending my then 8 year old son's Cub Scout Pack Meetings. Just watching which kids behaved and which kids totally ignored their parent's pleas to come here and sit down made very easy individual observations in parental choices for child control..."that one's been spanked..that one too..spanked, him too, oops, definitely never been spanked"
When my child was 3 he was found hitting his mother,who preferred "time outs". It wasn't working. In front of my then 1 year old daughter, it was over in less than 5 seconds...that was the last time I ever had to use that method for either. They both understood the envelope, and were happy to know someone who loved them was in charge and keep them safe from harm.

Posted by: Father of 2 | January 29, 2007 12:45 PM

French children are indeed well-behaved but warning Air France isn't always child friendly. If you gate check a stroller (understandable that you would want to keep it with you until the last moment), they won't bring it up from the belly of the plane at the other end. I saw them tell a fellow passenger on DC to Paris with a connection on to South Africa and sat next to a DC area woman who connected in Paris on her way home from Athens with 2 and 4 year old boys.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | January 29, 2007 12:47 PM

Mona, don't let the haters get you down. I have kids and I understand why you would be so concerned about your cats. I have learned not to trust people who don't like kids or animals - there is something lacking in their soul.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 12:48 PM

Perspective? If you're apologetic for the irrational behavior of parents who won't take responsibility for the safety and bad behavior of their children, YOU are the one who needs perspective. We are all well aware that children don't always behave, and that they are often irrational, and tantrums happen. The difference is that it is the responsibility of the PARENT to control their children, and I don't think that anyone here would look down on the parent of a misbehaving child as long as they were making an active effort to deal with the child's bad behavior. As a PARENT it is your responsibility to teach your child manners and deal with these embarassing situations. It is also a parent's responsibility to be considerate of others, whether on a plane, in a church service, in a restaurant, or other public venue and correct the behavior of your child. I will exclude infants from this; infants cry and that often can't be helped. A two or three year old has to have boundaries and active parents, for their own protection if nothing else. I don't care if the apologists for poor parenting call me a child hater - but the ones who need perspective are those that shrug their shoulders and say "that's the way kids act". I don't blame bad behavior on children; I blame parents, and I'm well within my rights to do so. THAT is perspective!

Posted by: CommonSense | January 29, 2007 12:48 PM

Tom T., thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm really nervous about flying with them, and I really wish I didn't have to do it. I don't plan on sedating them (their doc said it's only suggested if the cats are really nervous, and it can be dangerous to do so), and I'll jump through all the necessary hoops to make it a calm and safe trip for everyone involved, but I'm not looking forward to it. I hope all goes well. My cats are well-behaved and have traveled before, and I'm sure everything will be fine, but I really wish I could just drive with them instead of flying. Did you fly with them in the cabin? Did you use a soft carrier and put them under the seat? Did you leash them? I heard from someone who leashed his so he could take them out of the carrier to use the bathroom mid-flight, but I know mine will be too nervous to do so. I will leash them though, just in case I have to take them out of the carriers to go through security.

Okay, this is the end of my talking about cats on planes. I feel bad enough about hijacking a thread last week; I don't want to do it again. Back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 12:48 PM

The other day a woman at a coffee shop asked me to watch her kid, who was sleeping on the bench-style seats, while she went to the bathroom. I had never met her before, and she is asking me to watch her kid? Specifically, she asked me to make sure nobody snatched him. First, how did she know I wouldn't snatch him? After all, I was a complete stranger. For all she knew, I could be a kidnapper instead of a grad student. Second, if someone did try to snatch him, what would I do about it? I'm not going to chase a kidnapper or anything. I'd call the police, but by the time they arrived, the kid would be long gone.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 12:49 PM

"Also, to anybody who might have been on my flight from LAX to Sydney in the summer of 1988 -- you'd remember, we were a group of 85 teenagers with only maybe 4 chaperones -- you have my sincere apologies for our behavior."

You're forgiven. Now, if I can get a hold of that wacky senior group on my last flight, I'd like to give 'em a piece of my mind. Isn't there some kind of law about men (and women) wearing socks & sandals at the same time?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:50 PM

I've flown numerous times with my young children and fully back the airline's decision to boot the uncooperative family from the plane. Even when our kids were as young as the one in this story, we let them know ahead of time exactly what we expected from them on a flight -- kicking the back of the seat of the passenger in front of us, playing with the food tray/phone system and peaking over the headrest at the passenger behind us were simply not allowed. Entertaining my kids on a flight is MY responsibility, not that of a hapless nearby passenger who just happens to make eye contact with them at the wrong time!

Posted by: LD | January 29, 2007 12:50 PM

Trisana's Mama, what with the two item restriction, there's no way we could go anywhere if we also had to lug along two car seats for our 4 and 6 year olds. Geez. Car seats for a child under 2? check. Car seats for all children required to have them under a mish-mash of state laws? Gimmeabreak.

Realistically, if the plane goes down, a car seat isn't going to make any difference at all in my child's survival. In a car, on the other hand, a car seat for the child is a life or death choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:50 PM

Going through securty is the worst part of traveling, the homeland security people are a nightmare, and are not at all nice to people traveling with young children. I cannot tell you how many times I had to wake a sleeping baby from her bjorn to go through security, and have her scream during the get my shoes back on, stuff on the conveyer, and her back into the carrier stage with a line of people giving me death rays... never wake a sleeping baby should be rule one...

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 12:51 PM

While I agree with Air Trans decision in this case, I can't help but notice the extreme animosity being shown toward children on this board today. Can't we agree that the PARENTS apparently didn't do a good job of PARENTING without flinging hateful remarks toward their child and in some comments, all children? I don't need you to parent my child or even like him but I do expect a non-hateful attitude towards him. Some of the remarks here are scary.

Posted by: nc mom | January 29, 2007 12:51 PM

FO4 -
I'm glad you are a friend to your kids. I understand that being a parent and being a friend are not mutually exclusive. I feel sorry for parents who think that they can't be friends to their children. Of course you have to lay down the law sometimes, but it is easier to do that when your kids love as well as respect you. It sounds like you are a great parent. Don't let the turkeys get you down.

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 12:53 PM

Where are people reading that the girl was not seated in the same row with her parents? I can't find that anywhere, and I went all the way back to the start, which was Diane Williamson's Jan. 21 column in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. (Yes, I'm home sick and have nothing better to do.)

They don't sound like poor parents. They sound like people who got caught in the gears of a three-year-old and an airline policy that is not well known and was poorly handled. Their removal and subsequent fare refund seem pretty reasonable based on the original information.

Posted by: Molly | January 29, 2007 12:56 PM

A set of plastic handcuffs to restrain the kid, a pair of socks to gag the kid, a couple of people willing to use the cuffs and socks on the kid, and we are ready for takeoff! No problem!

Posted by: Mister Methane | January 29, 2007 12:56 PM

A set of plastic handcuffs to restrain the kid, a pair of socks to gag the kid, a couple of people willing to use the cuffs and socks on the kid, and we are ready for takeoff! No problem!

Posted by: Mister Methane | January 29, 2007 12:57 PM

Someone earlier mentioned Supernanny. I've only watched the show once and it was half way over when i started. the presumably "new and improved" mom was doing bedtime routine which included impassively picking up her 5 (?) year old son by one arm and dragging him into bed whenever he left his bed after she had told him to stay in bed. I get that kids should stay in bed when you've told them "this is bedtime, stay in bed" but I was seriously concerned that her child's shoulder would be dislocated by what she was doing. I guess I'm hardly one to talk because I stay in my child's room until he is asleep which I imagine Supernanny must think is a terrible thing to do, but I don't mind it much and he does sleep the entire night in his bed-- I figure in time he won't need his dad or I there. ANyone else think dragging a kid back into their bed is dangerous? Granted, it did seem to work-- she probably didn't need to do it more than a few times. If I'm told it's perfectly OK, I guess I may consider it an option if I ever get to that point.

Posted by: Cal girl | January 29, 2007 12:58 PM

"Realistically, if the plane goes down, a car seat isn't going to make any difference at all in my child's survival."

No, but in heavy turbulence, it could make a big difference regarding your child's comfort and safety.

"Also, to anybody who might have been on my flight from LAX to Sydney in the summer of 1988 -- you'd remember, we were a group of 85 teenagers with only maybe 4 chaperones -- you have my sincere apologies for our behavior."

The loudest flight I was ever on was a red-eye from Dulles to Zurich and, other than Husband and me, appeared to be peopled exclusively by raucous diplomats from the Baltic states. Man, could they party. We went along with it and had a great time and slept on the plane from Zurich to Vienna.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 29, 2007 12:58 PM

Emily and FO4 - I'll only speak for myself, but when I hear that a parent is a child's friend I think about the friend parents around when I was a kid, the "cool" parents. The ones who let their kids smoke, let them have their boy/girl friend sleep over and have sex, the ones who let all us kids drink at their house when we were 15 years old. So, when I say a parent shouldn't be a friend, that's what I mean - maybe I should say that a parent shouldn't be a peer? I think parents should be friendly, available, understanding, forgiving and open with their children but they should also set limits and provide consequences - things that sometimes get in the way of the "friendship". Hope that helps clarify where I am coming from.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 29, 2007 12:58 PM

I agree with Leslie here, but the whole incident made me think a lot about how airlines will need to enforce rules regarding children but the difficulty of doing so. Recently I was in Disney's Magic Kingdom and a child in line in front of me, a boy approx. 10 years old, was screaming and crying because he thought he would not get a seat on the train that was pulling in. All adults could see that the child would definitely get a seat, the line was not long at all and he was near the front. I smiled sympathetically at the grandmother who was escorting him and trying to console him. She said quietly, "He's autistic." Having a disabled sibling, I understood immediately. Knowing how many autistic children are out there now with behavior problems that can't easily be solved by parents just enforcing "discipline", I worry that we're going to have more of these situations in the future. How should the airlines handle it? Should parents of children who are difficult to control realize that they may be removed from the plane if the child acts out and won't follow the rules?

Posted by: Renee | January 29, 2007 12:58 PM

I agree with a previous poster who alluded to what is pretty much a rogue's gallery of flyers: the screaming baby, the out-of-control toddler, the boisterous teenagers, the mile-high clubbers, the stinkies, the loud-mouths, the silent-but-deadly "gassers," the self-entitled, the flirts, the annoyed, the bores, and last but not least, the drunks.

Now, once you take all these people off the plane, is there any one left? LOL

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 29, 2007 12:58 PM

If only there were some remedy for children who act up after the plane is already in the air... Parachutes? Fining the parents monetarily? Giving a rebate to people traveling with children whose children behave as a reward? Creating a "no-no" mat on the plane ala Nanny 911?

I'll work on that. Ideas are welcome.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:59 PM

There have been a few comments today expressing shock and disgust at parents changing diapers in the seats. I agree with that wholeheartedly if the airplanes have changing tables. But I flew a few weeks ago with my 14 month old and neither flight had a changing table in the bathroom. I put her on the closed toilet, which then had her head hanging down to the area beside the actual seat, a drop of about 3-4 inches. This worked so-so with her being a good sport. But I can't imagine how I could change her like this if she were bigger.

If there is no changing table in the bathroom, where do you change the diaper? Serious question here, as I don't want the smell around my seat either, even if it is my kid.

Posted by: diaper changes | January 29, 2007 1:00 PM

"Realistically, if the plane goes down, a car seat isn't going to make any difference at all in my child's survival."

No, but in heavy turbulence, it could make a big difference regarding your child's comfort and safety.

"Also, to anybody who might have been on my flight from LAX to Sydney in the summer of 1988 -- you'd remember, we were a group of 85 teenagers with only maybe 4 chaperones -- you have my sincere apologies for our behavior."

The loudest flight I was ever on was a red-eye from Dulles to Zurich and, other than Husband and me, appeared to be peopled exclusively by raucous diplomats from the Baltic states. Man, could they party. We went along with it and had a great time and slept on the plane from Zurich to Vienna.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 29, 2007 1:00 PM

I'd like to hear from anyone who has ever been asked if they have allergies in preparation for a flight. My office mates and I are curious. We fly a lot and have never been asked. One of them women has severe allergies to cats and carries an inhaler at all times but was not allowed for several months to take it with her in the cabin until just last week.

She tells me that all major airlines are considering banning animals in the cabin, by the way, so your days of flying with pampered pets may soon be over.

And Mona, if you can make fun of someone dying because you insisted on carting your cats onto a plane with you, you're pretty warped.

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 1:01 PM

To WorkingMomX:

Thanks for sharing the Starbucks gift card and snagging the aisle seats for trade on the plane ideas. Great tools that I'll add to my "bag" for coping with travelling with a kid.

Posted by: MAY | January 29, 2007 1:03 PM

Has anyone seen the movie "Fearless" with Rosie Perez and Beau Bridges? Basically, the plane crashes and her son dies. She had him in her lap. Beau Bridges took her out in a car and had her hold a tool box as hard as she could then drove the car into a wall to prove that no matter how hard she tried she couldn't have held on to the baby.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 1:03 PM

Father of 4 - I hope I never fly on the same plane with your family. I have given a seat I selected to let a mom with a baby have her kiddo right next to her. I helped raise our 2 girls and we did make several flights with them at various ages including as infants and during early childhood. Not once did we allow our children to disrupt passengers around us and they did not have to be restrained, drugged or threatened. In fact at about age 10 & 12 we flew cross country and let were able to let them sit *by themselves* because we knew they understood what is expected of people in such situations. Your claim to be your childs *friend* is downright frightening, and it is one of the reasons that has caused young people to lose repect for authority and disregard common principles of civility. Adult freedoms and rights do not automatically apply to everyone simply because they are a living breathing being, that is why we have laws the limit the right to vote, drink etc. to people who have attained a certain physical age. You can find examples of those who are mentally mature younger than the legal ages but those laws are generally reasonable. You on the other hand seem to lack an understanding of the responsibilities of parenting and I feel sorry for your neighbors and *friends.*

Posted by: GScott | January 29, 2007 1:04 PM

Mona, my experience was back in the '80s. The cats flew in the cargo hold, if only because no one thought much about such things back then. I'm not sure whether in-cabin pets were even allowed back then. I only offered the story because my friend's unintentionally funny comment stuck in my mind.

I was on a plane recently in the aisle seat, and I thought the woman in the passenger seat was talking to herself throughout the flight. Only at the end did I discover that she had a tiny and apparently silent dog in a carrier under the seat.

Posted by: Tom T. | January 29, 2007 1:04 PM

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 10:59 AM

Emily, just how many times have you had to get off a plane or leave a restaurant?

I would think, just once.... Twice would be irresponsible on your part.

You should never allow yourself to be in a repeat position.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:07 PM

theoriginalmomof2, don't forget the chick who sleeps with her mouth wide open, snoring, head bobbing over so that her dragon-breath is wafting in your direction...ooops, I just kicked myself off the plane.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 1:07 PM

"FO4 -
I'm glad you are a friend to your kids"

You shouldn't be glad and I'm surprised at how many people are taken in by this former bad boy. In many ways, FO4 is replicating the crappy/dysfuctional parental style of his folks. The cycle of abuse and ignorance goes on and on and on.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:08 PM

The article makes it sound like the parents were seated in one area, the child in front. Why on earth would they have booked their seats that way? If the parents were seated together, why didn't one of them move so the child could be with one parent?

I've flown with my children many, many times, from the time they were infants. We always had their car seat, they always had a ticket, and we always made sure that at least one parent was next to them.

Given what little I know of the situation, I think AirTran did what they had to do in making them get off (but they should have stopped short of offering the free tickets - just the refund would have been sufficient).

Posted by: M.A. | January 29, 2007 1:08 PM

I say pass the MDMD pills -- Ecstacy should replace fluoride in our water supply. We're ALL way too wound up.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:09 PM

Hi Mona,

We flew our two cats to San Diego and back. On the way out, they flew in cargo. They survived (obviously), but I wouldn't do it again. Too many unknowns. Moving back from San Diego, we brought them in the cabin. They didn't love it, but they were fine. They meowed a lot, but once the noise of the plane started, noone could hear them. We did not take them out of their carriers -- I don't know if we'd be able to get them back in! We used soft sided carriers that look like duffel bags. Most people never even noticed them. Good luck!

Posted by: Frequent Flier Cats | January 29, 2007 1:10 PM

Renee, just wanted to thank you for your post. As I was reading it, the first question that popped into my head was, "Is he disabled?" I have a son who is. It's good you were sympathetic.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 29, 2007 1:12 PM

There have been a few comments today expressing shock and disgust at parents changing diapers in the seats. I agree with that wholeheartedly if the airplanes have changing tables. But I flew a few weeks ago with my 14 month old and neither flight had a changing table in the bathroom. I put her on the closed toilet, which then had her head hanging down to the area beside the actual seat, a drop of about 3-4 inches. This worked so-so with her being a good sport. But I can't imagine how I could change her like this if she were bigger.

If there is no changing table in the bathroom, where do you change the diaper? Serious question here, as I don't want the smell around my seat either, even if it is my kid.

Posted by: diaper changes | January 29, 2007 1:12 PM

Just for this:

"Until animals can pay taxes -- scratch that, until animals can FILE and pay taxes on their own, they're lower on the food chain than us and will continue to be eaten and should fly as cargo!!!"

I had to enter this fight. And based on your criteria, kids are also lower on the food chain. Shall we chuck them into the cargo space?

Traveling with animals is the easiest thing: Animal carriers fit just fine under the seats and you're allowed to drug them (actually, this is preferred). I know, I know, there's the whole allergies thing, but I don't know what to tell you -- people here at work have to forgo any form of public transportation.

Posted by: to Um, in defense of Mona | January 29, 2007 1:12 PM

I agree with NC Mom. The intenet can be a great place where people exchange ideas. It can also be an anonymous forum where people do nothing more than cast stones.

Posted by: Joe | January 29, 2007 1:13 PM

Workinmomx and others, great suggestions for flying with kids. Another one I could add is to always prep your child for flying and make it fun. All three of my sons adore airplanes and have never had a problem, even when we've been delayed or had to sit on the tarmac. Children will follow your lead -- if you lead.

Posted by: Vivi | January 29, 2007 1:13 PM

Some people would probably never be happy with children, be them indoors or outdoors.

A few weeks ago I was walking my child home from school, and she is a bit of a screatcher/screamer and I was teaching her about inside/outside voices. So, while we were outside I was telling her to scream to make sure that she gets them all out before we went inside. Well, there was this lady that gave us the look of death that I would allow a child to scream on the street corner of DC... I told her to scream again after the look and the woman crossed the street before the sign said so.

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 1:14 PM

I was on a flight last year with a duck.

Posted by: pastryqueen | January 29, 2007 1:14 PM

Frequent flier cats, thanks for the info. And thanks to you, Um, for letting me know about the possible upcoming animal ban. I'll need to know that so that I can cancel my flight and make other arrangements.

:-)

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 1:14 PM

Ever go to a restaurant and have to put up with someone else's screeming child? Ever ride on a bus, go to a movie, sit in a doctor's office, or any other place for that matter and have to put up with someone else's screaming child??? My children are grown and when they were young, knew to behave or else they did not go out. I was not their "friend", I was their parent. If I am out and a child is misbehaving, I will either get someone to speak to and/or remove the family or if necessary, remove myself. I do not go out for the purpose of hearing children carrying on and parents unable to deal with these children. If you cannot control them, you shouldn't be a parent.

Posted by: Debbie | January 29, 2007 1:15 PM

The child was NOT in a separate row from the parents. Everyone got that?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:15 PM

I once took my small dog with me on a flight to Phoenix. No way was I letting her fly cargo. Unfortunately, the poor little critter was old and flatulent at that time, and boy was it a stinky trip. I kind of felt bad, but not bad enough to let her fly in cargo.

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 1:16 PM

single mom - I never woke up a sleeping baby - but going through security is not just an inconvenience to you and your baby, it a security measure for everyone boarding your plane. Say what you will about the TSA, I wouldn't put it past a terrorist to use a baby to board a bomb, or bomb making material on to an airplane. Drug-runners have used babies and puppies to smuggle their wares for decades.

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 1:18 PM

theoriginalmomof2, don't forget the chick who sleeps with her mouth wide open, snoring, head bobbing over so that her dragon-breath is wafting in your direction...ooops, I just kicked myself off the plane.

Haha! I haven't flown in years, so I'm not even sure where I fit in the rogue's gallery. But the gallery member I remember most is the drunk who had to be escorted off our plane and delayed our flight. He apparently couldn't wait to get back to the U.S. to get into the Jamaican Rum. I think his expulsion and the reasons for it were announced on loudspeaker!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:18 PM

Catmommy wrote

>I don't actually know how airlines orchestrate >this, but I do know that they require advance >notification of pets on board so that they can put >me on a different flight than someone with >allergies. This, of course, depends on the >cooperation of the allergic person, who would also >have to notify the airline of his or her condition.

Wow, I have severe asthma attacks when cats are present. I would have never anticipated that health hazard on an airline flight. It would have never occurred to me to notify an airline --- my attacks only happen on the rare occasions I visit someone's home only to learn by my symptoms they have cats there, then to quickly leave.

Putting such a virulent allergen in an enclosed compartment, with recirculated air and no possible escape --- yikes, it really seems reckless. At least the cat's in a hard plastic crate without the accumulated dander all over the house/furniture, but still . . .

Posted by: KB | January 29, 2007 1:19 PM

The 1:18 post was mine. Oops.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 29, 2007 1:19 PM

The airline was right to kick them off. The passengers did not deserve to be delayed forther for the sake of the kid. And a three year old cannot be safely put on a lap during takeoff or landing, as has been pointed out, in case of a crash, said toddler then becomes an unguided missile, who can kill or hurt others when flying across a cabin.

They should have been booked on another flight, but not compensated in any way. It was not the airline's fault. They have the obligation to ensure safety, which means compliance with government regs on seat belts. They also have to take off and land in a timely manner if they want people to do business with them.

Posted by: Gary | January 29, 2007 1:20 PM

This kid needs one thing before her next flight: sedation! I suggest Dramamine or Benadryl.

Posted by: shelley | January 29, 2007 1:20 PM

What about charging more for children's seats?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:21 PM

Emily--the canned air in planes probably smells worse than the doggy farts. I'm sure there was no problem. My little cat lets some stinkers loose from time to time, but that's only when she's really relaxed, which I doubt she will be. And they're not as far-reaching as human flatulence. My guess is that they'll both huddle into the comfort of their carriers and stare at everyone passing by the entire time.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 1:21 PM

Nice selfish move Emily!!! That's why you only have a dog.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:21 PM

MONA -- Warning to you. I traveled with my cats in June 2006. TSA made me take them out of their carriers and CARRY them through security. Could not carry the carriers through. So if your cats are jumpers or may scramble to get away, I'd sedate them. I sedated mine (thank god) and they stayed fairly docile while I walked them through LaGuardia. Good luck!

Posted by: Cat Person | January 29, 2007 1:21 PM

This is an issue of parents with poor parenting skills letting their children take control. At one of my daughter's recent dance classes, another mother told me that she hopes the costume is better this year for the recital because last year her daughter refused to wear it. Her daughter was 3 last year! I must have expressed my surprise on my face because the mother reverted and said, "Oh, she didn't tell her teacher, she told me and I had to tell the teacher." The teacher changed the costume. So, just because a 3-year-old refused to wear a costume, the whole class was forced to change!

Now, I was not raised that I had that much power over other children and adults nor do I raise my children that way. This is the same situation as the Air Tran flight. The child needs to know that the parent is the boss and that rules are made for his/her benefit and the benefit of others as well.

Posted by: Mom of 2 in PA | January 29, 2007 1:22 PM

"going through security is not just an inconvenience to you and your baby, it a security measure for everyone boarding your plane. Say what you will about the TSA, I wouldn't put it past a terrorist to use a baby to board a bomb, or bomb making material on to an airplane. Drug-runners have used babies and puppies to smuggle their wares for decades."

Everyone who feels safer because of TSA's myriad post-9/11 rules, raise your hands. anyone other than cmac? anyone? anyone? I didn't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:22 PM

I think they did the right thing, asking the family to take a different flight.

One overtired, overstimulated, possibly under-parented 3 yo is either going to be buckled into the seat, or the family is going to be removed. It's about the safety of ALL the passengers.

Of course, my kids were told for the first 5 years of their lives that:

a) cars don't start unless EVERYONE is buckled up

b) any child who unbuckled themself during the ride would be subject to losing some cherished item for two days--minimum (this is FOREVER when you are 4!)

c) any child who threw any object in the car would be subject to me pushing "the button". That is to say, a completely non-functional button on the dash that they thought was hooked up to an eject button.

Certainly does minimize the sibling squabbling.

Listen, I am my kids mother, not their best friend. As a parent it is my job to deal out some hard facts of life. We can learn to be friends when they are adults. I want their respect, not their friendship. And currently we are all on friendly terms, but I have the final say-so on many things, and sometimes I neither want nor need their input.

Posted by: MdMother | January 29, 2007 1:23 PM

Thinking back about the time I traveled with my newly adopted daughter. She had the most awful fit before boarding and I was getting looks from just about everyone. How could they not notice!

Well, it turned out to be the flight from h*** but my daughter saved the day. We took off a in horrible storm and endured more than an hour of turbulence. I passed out almost all of our baby wipes to passengers who were getting puked on by their neighbors.

Our flight ended before our final destination and we were dumped in a motel out in the middle of nowhere with no stores and no car and no baby wipes.

BTW: I've also flown with cats and puppies under the seat. I'd rather put a kid in cargo than a cat or dog.

Posted by: soccermom | January 29, 2007 1:26 PM

All comments that suggest, nay demand, that families with young children should just not fly until the kids are older are ridiculous. We no longer live in 1950's America where most of us settle down in the same towns we grew up in, with our parents, siblings, grandparents and other relations in all the same area code. If my little family didn't fly with our 4 month old, we wouldn't ever see my parents (TN) my brother and SIL (MO) and my large extended family in NE, MN, NC, SC, FL, CA, etc. We've flown with her twice during her 3rd month over the recent holidays, and she slept the whole time. That lucky coincidence will not be repeated once she's even a few months older, I'm sure. And when she does yell/cry/act up, it will be our responsibility as parents to ensure that she's not kicking or hitting anyone, that she doesn't delay the flight (yes we will force her into the seat, strap her in and hold her down) But you can't control a child's vocalizations. And I'm not willing to deny my parents access to their own grandchild just so some strangers don't have to *possibly* endure the crying of an infant or child. Grow the h*ll up people. Babies cry, toddlers cry and scream, kindergartners argue. Perhaps you should invest in some noise cancelling headphones if the noise is that unbearable to you. Or perhaps take some of the ADULT Rx meds for sleep or relaxation that have been so cavalierly recommended for children on this blog today.

Posted by: purely asinine, folks. | January 29, 2007 1:27 PM

Nice selfish move Emily!!! That's why you only have a dog.

Actually, I also have a very cute 7 year old son who is far less stinky than my dog, and an adorable and sexy husband who is only stinky on the rare occasion.

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 1:28 PM

"She tells me that all major airlines are considering banning animals in the cabin"

And Um, ask her for a cite. I haven't heard this from ANY airline. Considering that airlines now are *required* to publish how pets were treated as cargo, (and whether they died) I'd think they'd prefer in the cabin as it's less risk to the airline.

And to Mona...are you flying out of BWI? If so, you'll have to take the cats out at security and carry them through the metal detector, so leashes are a good idea. As for taking them out of the carrier...it's not allowed on the plane and I think it's frowned upon in airports.

Posted by: AG | January 29, 2007 1:28 PM

">I don't actually know how airlines orchestrate >this, but I do know that they require advance >notification of pets on board so that they can put >me on a different flight than someone with >allergies. This, of course, depends on the >cooperation of the allergic person, who would also >have to notify the airline of his or her condition."

I wrote that, not catmommy. I'm glad you've never had a bad experience on a flight with a pet. I would never tread on another person's health--my best friend is highly allergic to my cats, and it makes me sad that I can't entertain her in my home, but I would certainly never put her in harm's way, or anyone else, for that matter. That's why I'm willing to go through anything to make sure the flight is safe and healthy for EVERYONE, not just me and the cats. But like I said, I can't do everything. I remember being on a few flights where peanut products were banned. That required notification by the allergic person. How else would the rest of us have known that a passenger was allergic? I am very glad you have never experienced an allergy attack on a plane; you have been fortunate, because as you can see from the board, people fly with pets often.

In no way do I mean to imply that my pets are more important than someone else. I want what's best for everyone. If that cannot be achieved, I will take the train. It will take days and days, and I just hope I can figure out a way to let them use the litter box and eat, but I'm sure it can be done. Hopefully it can be done on a five hour flight rather than a four-day train ride, but we'll see, won't we?

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 1:30 PM

I don't like screaming kids on a plane...I admit, I roll my eyes, and I'd be lining up for the no-kids airline. But I also understand that toddlers (I'm thinking 3 and under) will fuss/cry/scream. Flying is uncomfortable, and if you're little it's scary and loud and your ears hurt. I think the problem here is not that the girl was screaming/crying, but that she wouldn't sit in the seat and be buckled in, which is, I'm pretty sure, an FAA regulation. I saw this recently on a flight where a mother resisted making her child sit down and buckle up for take-off because the child "didn't want to." That's my problem with the parents...they should put her in the seat, buckle her in, and if she screams, so be it. Yes, it really, really sucks for the other passengers, but she will stop eventually. I think Air Tran was 100% right, and should have stuck by the decision rather than giving them vouchers and free tickets.

Posted by: No kids in DC | January 29, 2007 1:30 PM

To diaper changes, here's hoping I won't get laughed around the block for suggesting this:

Since your child can (I guess) sit up and stand up, go in the bathroom and take the diaper off while the child is standing, then sit him/her on the toilet and hold him/her with one hand (or tell your child to hold on to you) and clean with the other, just as if your child went to the bathroom on the toilet. If you're really coordinated, take the diaper off while the child is sitting on the toilet. With some coordination, this can work, but with the older babies, of course.

For the younger babies, you can carry an extra receiving blanket, lay it on the floor of the bathroom, then lay the pad down and then the child.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 29, 2007 1:30 PM

To anon @ 12:44:

"Just out of curiosity, what do you "children aren't perfect" people suggest an airline do when a child is both bothering other customers and refusing to buckle up in accordance with regulations? What is your soluation?"

1) If the child is bothering other customers, hopefully the other customers are ADULTS and thus more able to manage their own temper/crying/whining than an overtired baby. 2) If the child is refusing to stay buckled in as per FAA regulations, then sure, they should be removed from the plane for everyone's safety.

Posted by: StudentMom | January 29, 2007 1:31 PM

Nice selfish move Emily!!! That's why you only have a dog.

Posted by: | January 29, 2007 01:21 PM

Emily also has manners and courtesy which you, sadly, lack. But just so we don't miss out on the point of your comment: Emily only has a dog . . . as opposed to also having a turtle or a pegleg or a million dollars? What's your point, anon?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:31 PM

FWIW, here are my tips on flying with a toddler. I always book myself in the last or next to last row of the plane. That puts us closer to the bathroom, and it also tends to be less crowded back there. Both are helpful. I like to put her on the window seat, and then me in the middle, and that helps to "contain" her.

She's a great kid and reasonably well behaved for her age, but it's still such a long day for everyone when we fly -- my family lives a plane ride with a connection away. We work hard to make it fun, but I never understood how hard it was until I lived it.

I try very hard to be respectful of others. One time our seatmate was clearly unhappy about his assignment. It turned out, though, that the only empty seat on the entire plane was next to us, and my daughter was on very good behavior -- he told me at the end of the flight he enjoyed riding with us. Success!

Now when we see other families with young kids, we always try to be helpful. Plus, there is definately a community of parents at the airports -- we give one another the knowing nod as we pass on the moving sidewalks. :)

Finally, airports like Minneapolis with kids play areas are SO helpful. I just wish there was somewhere to buy whole milk once you got past security. That's a real problem now that you can't take more than a few ounces with you.

Posted by: VAMom | January 29, 2007 1:32 PM

As to allergens on flights, what about people with those super-sonic nut allergies. Some people go into anaphylaxis if someeone within 50 feet of them eats a candy bar!

I just don't think it is the airline's job to keep track of everyone's allergies. Plus, people may bring things on board that the airline has no way of knowing about.

People with allergies already deal with them day-to-day. Flying is no different. You can't expect others to look out for you, especially when it's not their job.

Posted by: allergic | January 29, 2007 1:32 PM

"Everyone who feels safer because of TSA's myriad post-9/11 rules, raise your hands. anyone other than cmac? anyone? anyone? I didn't think so.

Posted by: | January 29, 2007 01:22 PM"

Did I say I felt safer? I think TSA has many problems, but if you don't want to wake your baby up to board a plane you won't get on. I think strip searching grannies is silly but babies have a lot of baggage, diaper bags, car seats, etc. and asking someone to search their baby carrier or sling is not such an inconvenience. I guess the other option is to let everyone go through without searching bags, emptying pockets, taking off shoes. Yes, let's go back to that, metal detectors are highly over rated. A thank you note from the terrorists will be forthcoming.

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 1:34 PM

"If my little family didn't fly with our 4 month old, we wouldn't ever see my parents (TN) my brother and SIL (MO) and my large extended family"

You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your kid, so please don't ask for special treatment.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:34 PM

on the theme of personal responsibility...

if I were an adult with a life threatening allergy I just might contact the airline myself rather than expecting the airline to ask me the right question first.

Posted by: to um | January 29, 2007 1:34 PM

nc mom: It's not surprising. People in this country are very hostile to kids. In other cultures people are more relaxed and happy to share time and experiences with children and seem to be very well adapted to handle screaming and some misbehaviour in public places. I guess it explains why there are so many cases of child abuse in this country. In my opinion is the legacy of Victorian attitudes towards children.

Posted by: ogs | January 29, 2007 1:34 PM

TO: a reader | January 29, 2007 12:19 PM

I think that Chris can be "positive" that any toddler of his will not misbehave on an airline.

It is called proactive parenting. It is simple. Teach your child social skills/manners, discipline them and know your child's behaviors and limits. You don't wake up one day with a "spoiled brat"; it is a learned behavior (Re. parents).

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:35 PM

What is your position on guide dogs on airplanes?

Posted by: to um | January 29, 2007 1:36 PM

As the mother of 3 children and having taken care of other peoples' children for more than 40 years, I am not the least bit sympathetic to Ellie and her family having gotten "the boot." I have dealt with children in the throws of tantrums and after giving it my best shot, if I can't calm them, I do not force that behavior on others, I remove them from the situation. This couple, for whatever reason, feel that the world owes them a shoulder to cry on because they have turned the sweet baby they bore into a spoiled brat. The dad may have missed work, but I didn't hear an apology to the 112 other passengers who may have missed a connection that cost them an even greater loss. These self centered, spoiled parents begat a spoiled uncontrollable brat. This combination does not bode well for the next 15 years this family has to spend together. This incident will pale in comparision to what lies ahead for them.

Posted by: Old-fashioned parent | January 29, 2007 1:37 PM

AG and Cat Person, thanks for the tips. I am trying to avoid BWI as I HATE HATE HATE that airport; hopefully there will be some direct flights from Dulles. I will be leashing the cats in their carriers in case I have to take them out to go through security. They're not climbers/jumpers/runners; in strange situations they are wusses and just cuddle in next to me or go hide, but they'll be leashed anyway just in case. Once through security, I'll take the leashes off, but they'll stay in the carriers for the rest of the flight. Last thing I want is to dig a cat from underneath someone's seat where she has taken refuge.

I'd also like to see some sources on Um's friend's assertion that pets may be banned. I have called a few of my favorite airlines and they all said they've heard of no such thing, and I figure they'd know before anyone, right?

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 1:37 PM

People with allergies should not fly if they can't be exposed to a little cat dander or a candy bar a few aisles away. They should stay home with the screaming children. Fat people should not fly. They should stay home with the screaming children. Blind people with guide dogs should not fly. They should stay home with the screaming children.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:39 PM

To theoriginalmomof2, thanks for the idea of actually using the toilet as, well, a toilet. Not sure why I didn't think of that, other than that we're still pretty far away from toilet training. I can definitely see that working.

Posted by: diaper changes | January 29, 2007 1:41 PM

No, sir or madam, YOU don't get it. There is no constitutional right to absolute silence on an airplane! I can't stand loud groups of teenagers on Metro, but I don't expect that they shouldn't be allowed to ride just because it bothers me! Explain to me why you think that you as an adult flying on a plane without children have rights that mean that parents should either tape their childrens' mouths shut or give them Valium and get arrested for child abuse, or simply not be allowed to travel freely? Are parents and small children not American citizens just like you? Should we all be forced into 'camps' and forbidden to travel anywhere until the kids are 8 years old just so YOU don't have to hear some noise??

Posted by: To anon @ 01:34 PM | January 29, 2007 1:44 PM

I agree with Airtran. Frankly, I woudn't have offered them any freebies or a refund. They would have just been rebooked to a later flight. With that said, how many of you ever had to buckle a resisting toddler into a carseat, stroller, or highchair? Those little bodies might be small, but pound for pound, it's like they have the strength of a grown bodybuilder. When my 2 yr old is feeling antsy and doesn't want to sit in her highchair for meals, it sometimes takes me and my spouse to hold her down and buckle her in. And this is a girl who was formerly a 28 wk preemie who's still small for her age.

Posted by: lee | January 29, 2007 1:44 PM

Father of 4 does not sound like a great parent. He shares a family bed, lets his kids get away with everything then complains about them, personally insults anyone who disagrees with him, and believes his children should be the center of your universe. He sounds like a jerk.

Posted by: Quinn Lefkowitz | January 29, 2007 1:44 PM

I think it's worth repeating: an allergic person will probably be exposed to more flying kitty fur from my clothing than he or she would be by my enclosed cat stowed under a seat.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 1:44 PM

Even if I inform the airline of a serious allergy, and even if the airline asks other to please not bring peanuts, for example, I can't seriously expect that everyone will remember or listen, and there is not really any way to enforce this.

Pet allergies, however, are not *generally* as serious as food allergies. They may be uncomfortable, but I've never met someone who went into anaphylactic shock when a dog walked by.

Posted by: Allergic | January 29, 2007 1:45 PM

Re Pets on Airplanes.

I think everytime I go into the "you've broken my luggage yet again" area (which seems to be nearly 20% of the time I fly on any given airline there is some person hysterical that their dog/cat is lost in the airline system. My mom's dog was lost for over a day and finally they had to drag her through the warehouse screaming her dog's name because they lost her and no one thought twice about putting a live animal up on a shelf. Live creatures need to be in the cabin with their owners so nothing terrible happens to them. I'm tired of seeing sobbbing hysterical people at lost bags.

Posted by: ljb | January 29, 2007 1:45 PM

A thank you note from the terrorists will be forthcoming.

The terrorists thank us every day nonverbally for thinking that adding a federal agency and imposing a plethora of rules enforced by ill-trained government employees are real solutions to our security problems. Terrorists are not having any problems getting around our silly rules. It's only a matter of time before there's another incident. Until we get serious and hire a couple of consultants from El Al, we're kidding ourselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:45 PM

"You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your kid, so please don't ask for special treatment."

To anon at 1:34 - wow. You really make me want to go out of my way to accomodate you when you talk about me and my child like that. Flies and vinegar, anyone?

Posted by: StudentMom | January 29, 2007 1:45 PM

"what with the two item restriction, there's no way we could go anywhere if we also had to lug along two car seats for our 4 and 6 year olds".
-car seats are excluded from two item restrictions
"Realistically, if the plane goes down, a car seat isn't going to make any difference at all in my child's survival."
- it could make a big difference in severe turbulence or an aborted take off.

Posted by: frequent traveler | January 29, 2007 1:47 PM

On the whole being a "friend" or a "parent" thing, I think we all have very different preconceived notions on what being a "friend" to our children are. I've thought of my mom as my best friend since I was about 14. She was the one I told all of my secrets to, she was the one I called first when I had good news, and the one I called first when my boyfriend broke up with me. She was my friend because I trusted her the most with my thoughts and feelings and knew she would never judge me. It does not mean that as my friend she bought me alcohol when I was underage (wouldn't have happened in a million years.) She wasn't one of the "cool" parents. She never dressed like a teenager, she was just there for me like no one else was. I don't think being a parent means you can't be your child's friend. I would rather my child turn to me for guidance than one of their "friends" because mom thinks that her only job is to "parent."

Posted by: Emmy | January 29, 2007 1:49 PM

Cute, Quinn. Feel better?

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 1:49 PM

Yes, anyone with a severe cat allergy should carry a lint brush and epi pen, because if they sit next to me they will likely not feel well for the duration of the flight.

I am a neat freak and I make every effort to clean up fur in my house and keep it off my clothing, but all the same, the fur gets everywhere.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 1:51 PM

I'm confused by comments like this: "If my little family didn't fly with our 4 month old, we wouldn't ever see my parents (TN) my brother and SIL (MO) and my large extended family in NE, MN, NC, SC, FL, CA, etc." Are your parents invalids? Why can't they come to see YOU? If they are invalids, then I'm sorry and I get why you fly, but if not, why wouldn't you EVER (emphasis added) see them if you didn't get on a plane?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:52 PM

Here's a website with some information (albeit not the names of the airlines) regarding pets banned from flights.

http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_pets/cabin_pets/

As for guide dogs, of course they should be allowed. There's a huge difference between a dog that assists a disabled person to live a good life and a pet whose owner refers to itself as "mommy".

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 1:52 PM

I agree with Leslie. Although the airline could have shown more tact, the fact is that this single child was delaying a plane full of passengers. (Not to mention disturbing the heck out of them.) This has a cascade effect, as the airlines run on tight schedules. Pick her up. Put her in a seat. Buckle it. Attempt to quiet screaming. If you can't handle her when she's 3, what are these parents going to do when she's 13?

Posted by: Lyria | January 29, 2007 1:53 PM

"We no longer live in 1950's America where most of us settle down in the same towns we grew up in, with our parents, siblings, grandparents and other relations in all the same area code."

The problem is, the airlines mostly still operate as if we WERE still in the 1950s. Airlines weren't established to shuttle families from state to state to visit each other. In the early years of air travel, it was basically adults only because most people couldn't afford to fly their kids all over the place, especially overseas, and they mostly didn't need to. (All those places Asinine listed were states he/she could drive to rather than fly, so flying to them is merely convenience and time-saving.)

Air travel today is a hassle for all but the wealthy, and even business and first class isn't so great although it sure makes long fights easier to bear. If you're very wealthy, you can fly on your own jet or a charter, at least. As far as I'm concerned, the Osama won because he's reduced us to having to take off our shoes and put all of our toiletries in a tiny plastic bag just to get on a plane. Soon I hope they develop express security lines for those who are willing to walk through with no baggage whatsoever and completely naked. Seems to be the way we are headed.

Posted by: Tom Terrific | January 29, 2007 1:54 PM

"You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your kid, so please don't ask for special treatment.

Posted by: | January 29, 2007 01:34 PM

You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your cell phone conversation, so please turn it off before I know everything there is to know about your pending business deal, your management problems, your boredom, and your marriage.

Here's the deal, anon at 1:34. Living in a civil society doesn't require that we all care about each other. It does require mutual civility and consideration. I hope you exhibit more of both qualities when you're not in the realm of safe anonymity afforded by the Internet.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:54 PM

Car seats do not count against your carry-on baggage limit because they are actually placed on the seat, not in storage (below or above). We have 4 kids, 3 of whom are in car seats, and we've always carried on their car seats - till they get to a booster, which you shouldn't have on planes because they are meant to help kids with shoulder belts, not lap belts. Anyway, if you've bought a seat for your kids, they are entitled to bring along one carry-on, one personal item, and a car seat. It might pose an issue through the schlepping through the airport crap, but the airlines love for your kids to be in car seats. Kids are generally better behaved and there is less airline liability.

Posted by: To anon at 12:50 | January 29, 2007 1:54 PM

TSA = Totally Stupid A**H***S

Posted by: the original anon | January 29, 2007 1:55 PM

Thank you for you opinion about guide dogs, but they actually CANNOT be banned from placed of public accommodation. But I'm glad you're willing to allow blind people to have the assistance they depend on.

Posted by: to Um | January 29, 2007 1:55 PM

"If my little family didn't fly with our 4 month old, we wouldn't ever see my parents (TN) my brother and SIL (MO) and my large extended family in NE, MN, NC, SC, FL, CA, etc"

Why is it necessary that you go to see them, but they can't visit you? Grandparents visiting grandchildren are less likely to be traveling with infants and toddlers. Also, I have driven to NC, SC, FL, and NY from MD to see relatives. I find that driving with my children is actually easier than flying once you allow for the time it takes for early airport arrival, TSA screening, checking luggage, and baggage pickup and car rental at the other end. The children are more comfortable in the car than on a plane, we are able to stop and stretch, go to the bathroom, eat or explore along the way.

Parents, when your children are growing and thinking about their future careers, you might want to remind them that an exciting job/career that takes them far from home may impact interactions with extended family once they have children. while not all jobs are available everywhere, the entire picture should be considered, not just the career. For example, I believe that there are lawyers in every state in this country, not just DC (not a state, I know :). The other lawyer firms may not be as prestigious or pay as well, but being close to extended family may outweigh the leve of prestige of your job.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:56 PM

"The terrorists thank us every day nonverbally for thinking that adding a federal agency and imposing a plethora of rules enforced by ill-trained government employees are real solutions to our security problems. Terrorists are not having any problems getting around our silly rules. It's only a matter of time before there's another incident. Until we get serious and hire a couple of consultants from El Al, we're kidding ourselves."

Good God - we are arguing the same point! The problem is that people don't want to be inconvenienced but want absolute protection - as in "don't wake my baby." Well, sorry - those are the rules. Believe me - El Al would wake up your baby and want a birth certificate to prove it is yours. As a matter of fact, waking up the baby would be the least of your worries - El Al wants travel plans, itineraries, 2 forms of ID, so much MORE then we require to fly. If we had been listening to the Israeli's prior to 9/11 on flying protocol it may never have happened. Political correctness keeps us from being safe.

However - I will disagree with you that terrorists are not having problems getting around our rules. There hasn't been another attack, it may be luck - but some terrorists plans have been thwarted. Yes, there will be another attack and wouldn't it be horrible if it was someone with bomb in a baby carrier that was not checked?

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 1:56 PM

"You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your kid, so please don't ask for special treatment."

Anon - You've really claimed the moral high ground with this argument. We parents aren't asking for special treatment, just a little consideration from others. In the same way I hold a door in my apartment building for someone who's hands are full or help little old ladies get their bags in the overhead compartment in the plane; is it really so much to ask for a smile instead of a scowl for a curious little traveler?

Posted by: KJ | January 29, 2007 1:57 PM

I fly at least twice a week and have done so for years and years, always have to go to baggage claim, and have never yet seen a single person hysterical over the loss of a pet in the airline system. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's not that frequent, people.

Where are the stats posted about how frequently pets put below (a) get lost (b)experience severe problems or (c) die? I really, really want to know.

Posted by: Righto | January 29, 2007 1:57 PM

"You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your kid, so please don't ask for special treatment.

Posted by: | January 29, 2007 01:34 PM

You just don't get it. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN about you or your cell phone conversation, so please turn it off before I know everything there is to know about your pending business deal, your management problems, your boredom, and your marriage.

Here's the deal, anon at 1:34. Living in a civil society doesn't require that we all care about each other. It does require mutual civility and consideration. I hope you exhibit more of both qualities when you're not in the realm of safe anonymity afforded by the Internet.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:57 PM

To the 1:55 poster, can you read? I never said anything about banning guide dogs from anywhere.

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 1:59 PM

Posted by: purely asinine, folks. | January 29, 2007 01:27 PM

To: purely asinine, folks. | January 29, 2007 01:27 PM

"I'm not willing to deny my parents access to their own grandchild just so some strangers don't have to *possibly* endure the crying of an infant or child. Grow the h*ll up people. Babies cry, toddlers cry and scream, kindergartners argue. Perhaps you should invest in some noise cancelling headphones if the noise is that unbearable to you."

Better yet, forget the Starbucks gift cards... all "parents" with crying/screaming/misbehaving children should pass out FREE noise cancelling headphones.

Maybe if they had to pay for their poor parenting skills/theories they would maybe learn from their mistakes?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:59 PM

Marcie, are you on this blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:04 PM

Why don't airlines just make a widely published code of conduct for EVERYONE who flies. It can address drunkenness, obnoxiously loud cell phone conversations, bratty children, and anything else that significantly disturbs others or, more particularly, endangers the safety of others.

Since everyone would be aware of the code of conduct before boarding the plane, nobody would be able to say they didn't know the rules or consequences.

Consequences could include a monetary fine or a "demerit" that the airlines could track to monitor and address repeat offenders, and adjust their airfares accordingly.

In business there is a "pain in the a**" factor that often goes into pricing, particularly in businesses dealing directly with the public -- contractors, decorators, etc. If you are a pain, and put people out, you will often pay more for personal services than your well-behaved contemporaries.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 2:05 PM

"I agree with Airtran. Frankly, I woudn't have offered them any freebies or a refund. They would have just been rebooked to a later flight."

Note that the family could not be rebooked later that day because there is a regulation stating that if you are removed from a flight you can't fly again for 24 hours. Don't know if that means same airline or not, but the airline couldn't simply book them on a later flight.

Seems many people are missing the gist of the story. The child was crying, yes, but also refused to get in her seat and the parents putting her in her seat and buckling her in. Maybe they tried for 15 mins. and she was too uncontrollable, at that point the airline had to assert its rules in order to take off and not cause further delay. I'm sorry for the family that their child got so upset and they couldn't control her, but in the end, it is THEIR problem. I don't think they are bad parents or the child is a "brat". She was having a bad reaction and got out of hand. This happens. The point is that the airline enforced the rules and lots parents out there are saying "Oh, a crying child was thrown off a plane" when that is NOT the story at all.

Posted by: Seline | January 29, 2007 2:08 PM

Yes, Emmy, you said it best so far.

You can tell if you are a good friend to your child when you are the first one they go to when they get themselves in a fix.

If you are one of those parents that has to control or motivate your children through punitive consequences, expect to make the bottom of your child's list when they need help.

I would rather be my kid's friend from the get go. It makes parenting much easier, enjoyable, and last, but not least, fun.
your children will be motivated

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 29, 2007 2:09 PM

I admit I do not like children and try to avoid places that are "child infested". I know I was once was a child but don't blame me blame my catholic parents who seemed to have problems counting. Anyway I was never taken to restaurants or on planes as a toddler and any tantrums resulted in being smacked.
If any of your "precious darlings" end of taking care of me, as I grow older it will because they are doing it for money.
I am hoping that by the time I need a nursing home assisted suicide will be an option in this country.
I will more places would remove "out of control" children. After all I am paying good money to relax not being around little rug rats.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:10 PM

All children cry. It's part of their job description.

Why not rage against the setting of the sun? At least you'll see daily results.

Posted by: Wildreiss | January 29, 2007 2:10 PM

I'm a pediatrician and I want to clarify the issue with "nasal decongestants." the worrisome ones are pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine...not the antihistamines (such as benadryl, which is diphenhydramine) or many others. Someone already pointed out the occasional paradoxical response to antihistamines, where a person might become hyper, but 9 out of 10 of us will become very drowsy on these really very safe medications. I've used it on my kids (works on one, fails on the other).

Posted by: seattlemom | January 29, 2007 2:11 PM

All children cry. It's part of their job description.

Why not rage against the setting of the sun? At least you'll see daily results.

Posted by: Wildreiss | January 29, 2007 2:13 PM

Mona,

I found the best way to keep my cat quiet on the 28+ hour 'U-Haul ride from Hades' when I moved from Florida to Arkansas. She was put in her harness, and deposited in her crate. I did this about 30 minutes before I had to put her in the van (mainly because I didn't want her getting squashed while moving things around, but it turned out well). After a few minutes of howling like I was killing her, she quieted down and I didn't hear another peep until I made the mistake of taking her harness off in a hotel room at our halfway point. She got so loud I thought we were going to be asked to leave! Put the harness back on, she's silent again. I think it embarasses them so much they try to blend into the carpet. Whatever works!

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | January 29, 2007 2:13 PM

From what I've read, I don't understand what the parents are complaining about. Any embarrassment is a result of their seeking out the media. I wasn't there, I don't know if they could have gotten their daughter in her seat, but if they weren't willing to do what it took, getting off the plane is the only reasonable alternative. Expecting everyone to wait (probably missing connecting flights) while a three year old worked through her feelings is unreasonable.

I think it's awful that these parents are humiliating their daughter by going after all this publicity. This news story will follow her the rest of her life, thanks to google.

There's no way to completely avoid temper tantrums, but we practice the same behavior at home that I expect in public. Some of my friends have very low expectations of their kids at home, and turn around and expect them to behave completely differently when they take them out. It doesn't work that way-- self-control takes practice (and so does parenting).

FWIW, I wouldn't say that I try to be my kids' friend, but I do try to have a relationship of mutual respect.

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM... | January 29, 2007 2:14 PM

So the airline has lost the family's business. Well, their tact, reason, and good judgment has me looking into flying with them. I've flown many times with my two toddlers, and have no sympathy for these people. Buckle her up and move on with your life.

Posted by: New Customer | January 29, 2007 2:16 PM

My cats get terribly upset by travel. In the short car ride to the vet they meow constantly. I can't board them at the kennel when I'm gone because they won't eat or drink, and that results in vet bills in addition to the boarding. All I can do with them is have someone come over to my house to feed and play with them when I travel. Otherwise they make themselves sick and hysterical.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 2:19 PM

To anon at 12:30: such sarcasm should at least come with a name. If asking parents to consider the comfort of the child makes me miserable or bratty to you, I would suggest you look in the mirror.

Posted by: curious nonmother | January 29, 2007 2:22 PM

Can we send this blog to the folks? maybe hindsight will become 20/20 for them. They are probably not bad people but obviously are overwhelmed by it all.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 2:24 PM

Yes. All children cry. Even normally well behaved children. We get it. What makes it intolerable is the reaction of the parents. Why can't YOU get THAT? Don't just shrug and say children cry. Be a parent and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! That will get you a lot of sympathy from me, as well as others. BE A PARENT. That's where little Elly's mother and father failed. (Note: I didn't call them parents!) Courtesy to others isn't too much to ask for, and it's got nothing to do with the child crying. HAVE YOU FIGURED THAT OUT YET?

Posted by: CommonSense | January 29, 2007 2:25 PM

Can we send this blog to the folks? maybe hindsight will become 20/20 for them. They are probably not bad people but obviously are overwhelmed by it all.
PS - what is wrong with the Post - barely able to read or submit this pm.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 2:25 PM

I would rather be my kid's friend from the get go. It makes parenting much easier, enjoyable, and last, but not least, fun.
your children will be motivated

Posted by: Father of 4 |

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't FO4 the father of a child whom he dislikes, refers to in a derogatory fashion AND this child strikes him (Fo4, that is)?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:26 PM

Sorry for the misattribution, Mona.

I see the bind you're in, needing to transport your cats, but I see the solution as inherently flawed. I just don't think most people would anticipate encountering cats on an airline trip . . . so why should notifying the airlines of a cat allergy occur to them? I would never have connected the two situations before this discussion . . . cats rarely pop up in my day-to-day life, I'd say my unexpected indoor exposures to cats occur about once every 5 years, and the existence of cats is easily forgotten in between . . . so there are likely a lot of cat allergic folks traveling with false assurance that they're in a normal environment(which to them is cat-free, like most public accommodation), and a lot of cat owners traveling with the false assurance that all precautions have been taken . . . . it's an incident waiting to happen . . .

When I led backpacking trips in college, we always carried anakits in case someone had an unanticipated allergic reaction to bee sting --- being a day away from emergency help, we needed to be prepared. We all fly so often we forget that it's an exceptional experience with no safety net . . .

Mona wrote,

">I don't actually know how airlines orchestrate >this, but I do know that they require advance >notification of pets on board so that they can put >me on a different flight than someone with >allergies. This, of course, depends on the >cooperation of the allergic person, who would also >have to notify the airline of his or her condition."

I wrote that, not catmommy. I'm glad you've never had a bad experience on a flight with a pet. I would never tread on another person's health--my best friend is highly allergic to my cats, and it makes me sad that I can't entertain her in my home, but I would certainly never put her in harm's way, or anyone else, for that matter.

Posted by: KB | January 29, 2007 2:26 PM

Can we send this blog to the folks? maybe hindsight will become 20/20 for them. They are probably not bad people but obviously are overwhelmed by it all.
PS - what is wrong with the Post - barely able to read or submit this pm.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 2:27 PM

Good God, we are, cmac!

The problem is not that people don't want to be inconvenienced, nor do they want absolute protection - as in "don't wake my baby." What flight passengers want is some reasonable connection between the inconvenience of the current TSA system and some small amount of incrementally, additional protection. All we have now is the inconvenience part and none of the protection - forget absolute.

Sure, the rules are the rules. It's not unpatriotic, nor is it aiding and abetting the enemy, to comment that the rules are useless bulls**t, contribute to the increasing ill-humor (evidenced here in spades) of all travelers, and increase the amount of administrative baloney small children go through before they ever get on a plane. Your tax dollars at work, ma'am.

We may be stuck with the rules but we don't have to act like we've been lobotomized.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:29 PM

Why don't airlines just make a widely published code of conduct for EVERYONE who flies. It can address drunkenness, obnoxiously loud cell phone conversations, bratty children, and anything else that significantly disturbs others or, more particularly, endangers the safety of others.

Why don't people simply apply the same rules that apply in a car, bus, train or boat to air travel?

If you are too drunk to drive, you are probably too drunk to offer to pilot a plane. And pawing at the flight attendants and passengers will lead to charges.

Toking up on a boat will STILL lead to your arrest. Ditto for an airplane.

If your kid isn't BUCKLED into a safety seat in a car, you are subject to a fine AND I truly hope you do not subject your child to a physics lesson via an ambulance ride.

I'm sorry they were inconvenienced. They could have avoided it by either acknowledging defeat and asking to get off the airplane 14 minutes in, or strapping Elly down and wishing themselves into a hole like all the rest of us have had to do from time-to-time with our kids.

I still cringe when I remember the time my youngest had a meltdown in a grocery store. But I took my kid and my pride OUT the door, after grabbing the manager and telling her that I had to abandon my cart at this time--I had made a STUPID DECISION to take the kid grocery shopping when he was too tired.

Posted by: MdMother | January 29, 2007 2:33 PM

'"I am not my sons' friend. I'm their parent and it is my job to make the unpopular decisions. We can be friends when they are all grown up ... or not." '

I posted something about this, but apparently it didn't go through.

For once, I absolutely agree with Leslie. If you are a parent and you think it is your job to be their friend, you are making a huge mistake. Every child I have met that has been raised this way has been a total nightmare and has caused nothing but grief for their parents.
You may say that I don't have children, and that they are just so cute and cuddly that I couldn't resist being their 'friend', you are sorely mistaken. Anyone who raises their children this way needs to seriously reevaluate what they are doing. Your job is to be in control of your children when they are in a public place. I have to be with my dogs - I expect and would do the same with children.
Children are not the decision-makers in a family - they may have an opinion and may express it, but ultimately, the decision-making lies with the adults - who of course, in the column today, are acting like children. Apparently they were raised exactly as they are raising their daughter. Shame on them - and shame on AirTran for rewarding them for the incident.

Posted by: WAMC | January 29, 2007 2:38 PM

Ok, I cannot read all 348, but I am doubly horrified at this. I heard last week about this and thought it was just a case of parents not being able to stand up to their own child. But she was in a separate ROW? At THREE? That is just horrifying. That's not just a parent who is afraid to discipline because he/she wants to be "nice" and a "friend" -- that's a parent who is telling his/her child "go away and don't bother me" in what is probably a terrifying situation for the child (left by herself in a strange place, surrounded by strange people, with strange rules she probably doesn't understand). Of COURSE the child is going to pitch a fit and want to stay with mommy -- good Lord, they couldn't have set her up for failure more effectively if they'd tried! That is a complete abdication of parental duties, both to the child and to the rest of the passengers.

Posted by: Laura | January 29, 2007 2:38 PM

Good God, we are, cmac!

The problem is not that people don't want to be inconvenienced, nor do they want absolute protection - as in "don't wake my baby." What flight passengers want is some reasonable connection between the inconvenience of the current TSA system and some small amount of incrementally, additional protection. All we have now is the inconvenience part and none of the protection - forget absolute.

Sure, the rules are the rules. It's not unpatriotic, nor is it aiding and abetting the enemy, to comment that the rules are useless bulls**t, contribute to the increasing ill-humor (evidenced here in spades) of all travelers, and increase the amount of administrative baloney small children go through before they ever get on a plane. Your tax dollars at work, ma'am.

We may be stuck with the rules but we don't have to act like we've been lobotomized.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:39 PM

I like the comment in the paper today (or yesterday?):

When the parents told the Air Tran execs that they wouldn't fly their airline ever again, they should have told the parents: Please, can I have that in writing?

Posted by: atlmom | January 29, 2007 2:39 PM

Feedback on Comment:
"Mona, don't let the haters get you down. I have kids and I understand why you would be so concerned about your cats. I have learned not to trust people who don't like kids or animals - there is something lacking in their soul. "

I'm sorry - that comment is way off. People are raised and live in different ways; and just because some are not "animal lovers" doesn't mean there is something lacking in their souls. I know people who love their animals more than their spouses and children; to me - that is something lacking in the soul. And if it is thought I am an insensitive person about pets.. last week I cried with my son after spending almost $400 to save his cats life last week from leukemia and blood clots. I respect not everyone are pet enthusiasts.

Posted by: C.W. | January 29, 2007 2:40 PM

So they couldn't have been rebooked on a flight because they were removed from the flight and couldn't fly for 24 hours? Well, I am sure that they were given plenty of opportunities to voluntarily leave the flight before the airline lowered the boom. At some point, common sense must reign, and I applaud the airline's on the spot people. I don't applaud the customer service people who offered the three babies the moon in terms of refunds and free tickets. They should have stood by the people who had to make the on the spot judgment, and in my thoughts made the judgment correctly

Posted by: Gary | January 29, 2007 2:40 PM

Good God, we are, cmac!

The problem is not that people don't want to be inconvenienced, nor do they want absolute protection - as in "don't wake my baby." What flight passengers want is some reasonable connection between the inconvenience of the current TSA system and some small amount of incrementally, additional protection. All we have now is the inconvenience part and none of the protection - forget absolute.

Sure, the rules are the rules. It's not unpatriotic, nor is it aiding and abetting the enemy, to comment that the rules are useless bulls**t, contribute to the increasing ill-humor (evidenced here in spades) of all travelers, and increase the amount of administrative baloney small children go through before they ever get on a plane. Your tax dollars at work, ma'am.

We may be stuck with the rules but we don't have to act like we've been lobotomized.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:43 PM

Mona, a question -- are you flying by yourself with two cats? If I recall correctly from my years working for the airlines, it's a one cat per passenger deal. Just wondering if that's changed or if you're flying with someone.

Posted by: Righto | January 29, 2007 2:44 PM

I've had more problems with adults on flights than I have ever had with kids!! I have a 3 yr old who is, miraculously, pretty much a dream on flights (well, thanks to snacks, new toys/books, and a portable DVD player).

Our problems are the adults that ruin it for us! The tipsy idiot across the aisle who insisted on screaming to another friend and waking our little one up from her nap! Or the woman who thrust her seat (not just reclined, but SLAMMED, her seat) into my child's legs and caused her to scream, who was already crammed in there because there is NO ROOM for their legs if they're safely buckled in a car seat. Or the passenger who repeatedly knocked (thankfully he was yelled at my a stewardess)on the door of the bathroom as I tried to change her diaper AND pee myself, as I was traveling alone. For those who have never had to hold a baby w/ one arm, try to wrestle your pants off and pee, pull them up again and button them all in a TINY bathroom trying not to drop your 3 month old, you just don't get it! The sneers of adults as i was FEEDING my child- from my boobs, yes- but completely covered!

Maybe it's the "grown ups" that are the problem. I'd rather have a crying baby on a flight than the self centered "adults" who think they rule the world.


It's funny- I bet the same people criticizing that little girl as a self centered brat were EXACTLY like that as kids! The world doesn't reveolve around her- but it doesn't revolve around you either!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:48 PM

I am a former flight attendant, and I was once working a flight with 3 siblings flying alone. They were 4, 6, and 7. They went from Seattle to New Hampshire with one connection and I had the misfortune of working both flights. At the time the airline had a rule that 5 year olds could fly alone if there were no connections. I asked the youngest how old she was and she said four, so the parents obviously lied about the kid's age. They got around the connection thing because the flight had the same #, so it wasn't considered a "connecting flight" although the flight had two different aircraft, the kids had to disembark, be babysat by child-hating gate agent, who had quite a few (inappropriate) words to describe these children has he was handing them over to me (holding the youngest by the arm in the handoff) These kids screamed, fought, through orange juice at another passenger, tried to climb in the open beverage cart and take off with it like a skate board, and on the second leg of the trip there was actually a seeing eye dog on the plane which the middle child tried to ride like a horse. If someone were to leave there 4, 6, and 7 year old children alone or put them on a bus unaccompanied, they would be charged with neglect but for some reason it is ok to put them on a plane alone with no supervision.

Posted by: former flight attendant | January 29, 2007 2:48 PM

Thanks to Um's great reference, I've learned that the ability to fly with cats is at the discretion of the airline, and that there are some airlines that ban pets. Wonderful! That way people with pets can travel, and people who are allergic to pets can travel.

Two people so far have said that they have extreme allergies but do not check to see whether pets will be present in their day-to-day activities. I don't have any severe medical conditions, so I don't know, but it seems to me that if I did, I'd make sure there would be no triggers present anytime I was a captive audience. I guess it just seems strange to me. Maybe it's because I have pets that it strikes me as odd that people don't realize people travel with pets. Just the same way I don't realize how difficult it can be to travel with toddlers, I guess.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 2:49 PM

I have long thought that if you cannot successfully train a dog to obey simple commands and be house-broken, then you are not up to the task of raising a child from birth to age 5.

What do my dogs learn in their first year? To relieve themselves outside, to come when called (damn right I provide them with wonderful rewards for it too) no matter HOW tempting that evil squirrel may be, or bunny, or whatEVER, to walk with me on a lead, to heel, to sit, to lay down, to stay, go to your bed; I even throw in a few tricks (left paw, right paw; left high-five, right high-five; spin left/right, walk the plank, roll over, jump, bottom, go table, go tunnel, tilt).

Seems to me that the parents of the little girl could have done worse than trained a dog to pass its Canine Good Citizenship test.

At the very least, they could have prepared her for flight by discussing what would happen and what was expected of her.

And yes, I have kids. A 13 yo and a 9 yo. No, I haven't had endless problems with them either and yes, sometimes they DO argue with me and I wish they would keep their room tidier..!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:50 PM

C.W., I hope your son's cat is alright. Not everyone equates humans and pets. Some do. Who cares, as long as everyone is happy and treated well.

Righto, I'd thought of that already. My boyfriend is flying out from CA to help me make the trip. He will be handling one cat while I take care of the other. I'd do that even if it weren't required; two is just too much for me to handle.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 2:53 PM

But your suggestion is also flawed - see the guide dogs point (and the points about cat hair transported on clothing, etc.). These are cats kept in carriers, not freely allowed to roam the plane. If the allergy is severe the adult with the allergy is responsible for ensuring that they carry necessary meds. I guess the lack of viligence you are talking about is tied to the fact that pet allergies are not as severe as peanut allergies?

p.s. I am not a cat owner - but I do think that living creatures are somewhat higher on the totem pole than suitcases & it might not be unreasonable to make some accomodation for their safety & well-being when possible

Posted by: to KB | January 29, 2007 2:54 PM

For the drugs.... try dramamine (sp?) We didn't fly much as kids, but there were 4 of us and we would drive 2-3 times a year to Florida (a 16 hr trip straight through). My folks tried to time it to coincide with our bedtimes, but didn't always work that way. Our pediatrician recommended dramamine, and there are children's versions now. Worked wonders to keep the bickering down! ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 2:55 PM

"What flight passengers want is some reasonable connection between the inconvenience of the current TSA system and some small amount of incrementally, additional protection. All we have now is the inconvenience part and none of the protection - forget absolute."

We aren't going to have any protection unless the rules get much more stringent, a la El Al. You think people complain now? If the federal gov't ever got "serious" about airline safety you'd have people from every walk of life howling about their "constitutional rights being violated" - there is no consitutional right to take a commercial flight! That is what I mean about political correctness, or shall I say lack of political will on the part of our leaders to actually provide safety to the people of this country.

People better used to inconvenience - after the next attack the fed gov't might take terrorism seriously.

Posted by: cmac | January 29, 2007 2:55 PM

Mona. To state the obvious. Pets are not allowed in most public places. (Guide animals are the obvious exception.) This is pretty much universal in the United States. Name one place other than PetSmart and the random "pet friendly" businesses (an extremely small minority) where you could bring your cats if you felt like taking them with you.

So explain, please, why people with allergies should always have to assume that pets will be present? And should in fact change travel plans because you want to drag your pampered cats across the country under your seat instead of putting them in cargo where they belong? I know people who drove across country to avoid having to fly with cats. Why can't you be one of those people?

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 2:56 PM

"I fly at least twice a week and have done so for years and years, always have to go to baggage claim, and have never yet seen a single person hysterical over the loss of a pet in the airline system."

- I have, more than once

Posted by: former flight attendant | January 29, 2007 2:57 PM

"Maybe it's because I have pets that it strikes me as odd that people don't realize people travel with pets."

I do have pets, but I don't travel with them. I think it is odd that people travel with pets. I board them, or leave them with family or friends, or have family or friends come in to feed and exercise them.

Posted by: to mona | January 29, 2007 2:58 PM

I like the comment in the paper today (or yesterday?):

When the parents told the Air Tran execs that they wouldn't fly their airline ever again, they should have told the parents: Please, can I have that in writing?

Posted by: atlmom | January 29, 2007 3:00 PM

Just went to Um's link and it confirmed what I thought: there are no plans for a COMPLETE ban on pets on ALL airlines. It's an airline by airline decision. I know Southwest doesn't allow them, for example. Interestingly, the FAA's advice to people who are allergic? Ask the airline if there are pets on the flight, or fly a carrier that doesn't allow pets.

Righto - I'll do some digging. I know about 2? years ago the FAA began requiring airlines to report how many animals per month were lost/killed while in cargo. It was reported the same time they reported on-time percentage per month. I do remember it wasn't a lot per month - 1-6, maybe? For me, it was still too much risk. YMMV.

Posted by: AG | January 29, 2007 3:03 PM

"I fly at least twice a week and have done so for years and years, always have to go to baggage claim, and have never yet seen a single person hysterical over the loss of a pet in the airline system."

- I have, more than once

Posted by: former flight attendant | January 29, 2007 3:05 PM

Um, I don't know about other people's cats, but I know mine would be so uncomfortable taking a several-days-long trip that they would not eat or use the bathroom. Without going into gruesome detail, it would be very unhealthy for them. I choose not to be one of "those people," and according to the policy of the airline I will be patronizing, I am well within my rights to take my cats with me. I mentioned earlier that I was done arguing the subject. You choose to put your dog in a cargo hold, I choose to take my cats on board with me. While I sympathize with people with allergies, and I WOULD make sure there were no allergic people on my flight if it were humanly possible, alas, it is not, so I'm going to have to share the burden with those it will affect. The bottom line is that neither of us will be able to change the other's mind, so let's just agree to disagree, okay?

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 3:06 PM

And the mother of the brat is 4 months pregnant with another demon spawn....

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 3:06 PM

Um: You don't like cats, we all get it. You think they're second class citizens that deserve to be dumped in cargo -- we get that also.

Why don't YOU just make an effort to call the airlines ahead of time, and if there's a cat onboard, why don't YOU drive cross country? That little "suggestion" works both ways.

Secondly, you are blowing this whole thing out of proportion. People with sever allergies know it and deal with it everyday. I don't know anyone who's severly allergic to cats/dogs, and if they are, they're screwed anyone due to all of the pet dander on people's clothing.

I've traveled with cats before, and it is, honestly, NO BIG DEAL. Fixate on something else.

Posted by: ilc | January 29, 2007 3:09 PM

Um: You don't like cats, we all get it. You think they're second class citizens that deserve to be dumped in cargo -- we get that also.

Why don't YOU just make an effort to call the airlines ahead of time, and if there's a cat onboard, why don't YOU drive cross country? That little "suggestion" works both ways.

Secondly, you are blowing this whole thing out of proportion. People with sever allergies know it and deal with it everyday. I don't know anyone who's severly allergic to cats/dogs, and if they are, they're screwed anyone due to all of the pet dander on people's clothing.

I've traveled with cats before, and it is, honestly, NO BIG DEAL. Fixate on something else.

Posted by: ilc | January 29, 2007 3:09 PM

Um: You don't like cats, we all get it. You think they're second class citizens that deserve to be dumped in cargo -- we get that also.

Why don't YOU just make an effort to call the airlines ahead of time, and if there's a cat onboard, why don't YOU drive cross country? That little "suggestion" works both ways.

Secondly, you are blowing this whole thing out of proportion. People with sever allergies know it and deal with it everyday. I don't know anyone who's severly allergic to cats/dogs, and if they are, they're screwed anyhow due to all of the pet dander on people's clothing.

I've traveled with cats before, and it is, honestly, NO BIG DEAL. Fixate on something else.

Posted by: ilc | January 29, 2007 3:09 PM

"there is no consitutional right to take a commercial flight!"

But there is a part in the constitution about probable cause and warrantless search and seizure. This is what people like me are thinking about when we feel that our constitional rights are being denied. I have very strong objections to being searched because I am random number 232 of the day. The federal gov't has lagged behind in proposed programs to identify travelers who represent no hazard to airline safety. Maybe if the gov't would do this instead of searching everyone, the TSA would have time to look for the real terrorists not just 80 year old women or veterans who had never been manhandled by the army the way that the TSA does.

Posted by: the original anon | January 29, 2007 3:09 PM

great article. yes, i'm the guy sitting next to you rolling his eyes when your kid is out of control on the plane.

i sympathize with your plight, but surely you understand how incredibly annoying it is to sit next to a fussy child for 3 hrs on a plane after paying $450 for the ticket.

i've often joked that there should be a 'family class' section of the plane where all of the loud families can sit together kicking the backs of each others seats.

Posted by: single guy | January 29, 2007 3:10 PM

Um, I don't know about other people's cats, but I know mine would be so uncomfortable taking a several-days-long trip that they would not eat or use the bathroom. Without going into gruesome detail, it would be very unhealthy for them. I choose not to be one of "those people," and according to the policy of the airline I will be patronizing, I am well within my rights to take my cats with me. I mentioned earlier that I was done arguing the subject. You choose to put your dog in a cargo hold, I choose to take my cats on board with me. While I sympathize with people with allergies, and I WOULD make sure there were no allergic people on my flight if it were humanly possible, alas, it is not, so I'm going to have to share the burden with those it will affect. The bottom line is that neither of us will be able to change the other's mind, so let's just agree to disagree, okay?

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 3:11 PM

"You think they're second class citizens that deserve to be dumped in cargo -- we get that also."

Cats are not citizens... so they cannot even be second class, I think that perhaps some people may think that children are second class citizens but cats - they should be with cargo! Or a full fare ticket should be purchased.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 3:13 PM

News reports said that 3 year old Elly was in front of her parents on the floor. Same row. Her seat was in the same row as her parents. They did not put her in the row in front.

Although I did once fly sitting in a row with two young boys whose father was sitting up in first class. They were total brats and he didn't come back once to check on them. But he wasn't kicked off the plane...

Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Leslie | January 29, 2007 3:19 PM

I have to say that I am just glad it wasn't me. My DD has never thrown a public tantrum (age 3) but I am sure it will be coming one day. Although I agree with Leslie, in an issue of safety and the thoughtfulness of all the passengers, Elly should have been made to be buckled up in her own seat. I don't understand why the parents wouldn't just let her scream. Now as far as a screaming kid, I really don't think parents can do a lot. I mean seriously. What are you going to do, hit the kid? I mean that is silly to even consider because if her parents swatted her, there would be 50% of the population cheering and the other 50% ready to call the cops on the parents. And what silly people really think you are going to arrest a 3 year old for having a temper tantrum. Just as the parents should have belted her in, the public has to deal with screaming kids. I deal with nasty adults on the road every day. But no one tries to arrest them. Some unpleasant things in life you just have to deal with and thank god it isn't you that has to go home to that kid.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 29, 2007 3:22 PM

"I do have pets, but I don't travel with them. I think it is odd that people travel with pets. I board them, or leave them with family or friends, or have family or friends come in to feed and exercise them.

Posted by: to mona | January 29, 2007 02:58 PM "

To mona, I would LOVE to leave the cats at home. When I travel, that's exactly what I do, and my roommate takes good care of them. I only have to fly with them because I am MOVING to the West Coast. Trust me, I would not do this if I didn't have to. I've racked my brain for alternatives, and flying is really the best way.

My boyfriend loves Southwest. Me, I'm not so crazy about them. I don't like having unassigned seats, the lavatories always seem smellier than other airlines, and the service is not great even by airline standards. On the other hand, they are extremely punctual, and I've always arrived ahead of schedule, which is great. But they won't be getting my business, since I have to fly with the cats. Oh well. They made their rules, and it's their right to do so.

Wow, 3:13, way to take things literally. Is there even such a thing as a second-class citizen at all? Because I took it to be a figure of speech. Lighten up already.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 3:24 PM

LOL, ILC. Since when is a cat a citizen of any class? Thank you for proving my point that there's a certain kind of person out there (and in numbers on this board, clearly) that thinks pets should be treated as people and that people who either don't like, are allergic to, or just plain don't feel like flying next to animals should just have to suck it up.

Posted by: Um | January 29, 2007 3:29 PM

"News reports said that 3 year old Elly was in front of her parents on the floor. Same row. Her seat was in the same row as her parents. They did not put her in the row in front."

Then they should have been PARENTAL and either buckled her up and endured (along with the 112 other passengers) OR asked to get off the plane.

Does anyone know if the other passengers missed connecting flights? Job interviews? Making it to a dying loved one's bedside in time to say good bye (I've had to get a bereavement flight before--you pay through the nose but sometimes it IS worth it)?

I'm sorry Elly had a rough day, but her parents made a piss-poor decision and have compounded it by whining and snivelling to the media.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 3:31 PM

foamgnome, maybe they dressed Elly in a sage green sweater and she just couldn't take it any more.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 29, 2007 3:34 PM

"I've had more problems with adults on flights than I have ever had with kids!! I have a 3 yr old who is, miraculously, pretty much a dream on flights (well, thanks to snacks, new toys/books, and a portable DVD player).

Our problems are the adults that ruin it for us! The tipsy idiot across the aisle who insisted on screaming to another friend and waking our little one up from her nap! Or the woman who thrust her seat (not just reclined, but SLAMMED, her seat) into my child's legs and caused her to scream, who was already crammed in there because there is NO ROOM for their legs if they're safely buckled in a car seat. Or the passenger who repeatedly knocked (thankfully he was yelled at my a stewardess)on the door of the bathroom as I tried to change her diaper AND pee myself, as I was traveling alone. For those who have never had to hold a baby w/ one arm, try to wrestle your pants off and pee, pull them up again and button them all in a TINY bathroom trying not to drop your 3 month old, you just don't get it! The sneers of adults as i was FEEDING my child- from my boobs, yes- but completely covered!

Maybe it's the "grown ups" that are the problem. I'd rather have a crying baby on a flight than the self centered "adults" who think they rule the world.


It's funny- I bet the same people criticizing that little girl as a self centered brat were EXACTLY like that as kids! The world doesn't reveolve around her- but it doesn't revolve around you either!!!"

Posted by: | January 29, 2007 02:48 PM


Alright anon 2:48!!!

I feel the same way. THe hatred that gets thrown at me and my daughter for just baording the plane is awful. My daughter now knows what heavy sighing and eye rolling mean- why should she feel sad just by BEING in a certain place? It's just sad- sad that she has to feel awful about herself because of discriminating ignorant people, sad that people feel that way in the first place about a CHILD.

Maybe people wouldn't be so p*ssed of all the time if we had a little more space. It's kind of hard to have a nice flight when there's a crying baby, 300 lb woman, or teenager with their iPod going at highest volume right next to you. even a few inches would make me feel more comfy.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 3:37 PM

I want to make a comment and tell a story. First the comment for the cat travelers: I hope you don't fly with me. I am highly allergic to cats and would be hugely miserable if I were forced to share a seat with cats. Would trade 1 cat for 16 screaming babies any day.

Next a story: Was returning from England with my daughter (grown) in 2005. We went through security with a family with five young children all probably under the age of 10. Apparently they had left the keys to the car in the hotel and were now arguing fiercely about who was to blame and who was going to solve the problem and how. My daughter wispered to me, "I hope they're not on our flight." Of course, they were on our flight and they were seated next to and behind us. The kids were stretched across the middle row and the parents were seated behind us. The argument continued all the way across the ocean and the obnoxious father did everything he could do to be rude to everyone around him. (Stockinged foot proped on my armrest.) Flight attendants asked him to move his feet from the aisle repeatedly. I think you could say he was having an extended temper tantrum. Kids, however, remained totaly above the fray and occupied each other quietly and with much more dignity than their parents.

Just an example of how adults can be worse children than their children.

Posted by: Sneezer | January 29, 2007 3:37 PM

I think that the airline should have offered them parenting classes rather than tickets... hey, we all have bad days, so do kids but it is all in how we manage it (angry adults should learn anger management, and children should learn discipline).

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 3:38 PM

Almost everything has been said already, but I can't help but throw my two cents in.

First, there is no "right to travel" (at least not in this sense; you only have a right to travel in the sense that states generally cannot put restrictions on your ability to travel to or move to that state) or "right to dine out." You only get to enjoy these privileges of a free market society to the same extent that everyone else does; meaning, you have to obey the rules of that establishment. Having a child does not entitle you nor I to any exceptions unless the establishment chooses to grant them. It certainly does not entitle us to an exception from FAA rules. Airlines allow a lot of inconveniences (loud children, loud adults, extremely overweight passengers, passengers with colds or the flu, passengers who are smelly, etc.). They do this because it makes economic sense, not because any of these people have a right to be on the plane.

Just to clarify, I am a single mom and have very rarely been congratulated on the behavior of my two toddlers. They are strong-willed and can be brats (yes, I said it, "brats") when tired or hungry or just in a bad mood. There have been numerous times when I have had to remove them from restaurants because they will not behave and I am not willing to spoil others' evenings. Because I do not have perfect little angels, I do not attempt to take them to movies that are not for children. If I want to go out to a really nice restaurant, or a 7:30pm movie with a friend, I get a babysitter. I do these things because having a child did not eliminate my desire to be courteous of other people. I mean, I don't get people who really hate children or expect children to be silent at all times, but neither do I understand why so many parents seem to think that the choice to have children entitles them to special treatment.

As for allergies: just wanted to share that one of my best friends is severely allergic to cats and dogs. As in, after 15 minutes her eyes swell shut; after an hour, her throat will follow suit. When making reservations, she always calls the airline to make sure she is on an animal-free flight. She said it's no big deal, and the airlines are fully prepared to make sure that she is on a flight without animals. I think that, while those who do not have severe allergies may not consider whether there would be an animal on a flight, those who have the severe allergies are always considering the possibility of animals.

Posted by: Bored | January 29, 2007 3:43 PM

I'm asking in all sincerity, what do people on the side of Poor Little Elly and her parents think the airline should have done? And then, what should they have done for the 109 other people who might have missed a connecting flight or been hit by a 40 lb child flying through the air?

I really don't get how anyone could think no matter what parenting style you follow (although, honestly I roll my eyes at the "friends first, parent second" school. Friendship is a part of being a parent but should not be the sole goal.) that there was any other option that was fair to everyone involved. The parents had at least 15 minutes if not the three years to teach this child proper plane etiquette. The other passengers endured WITHOUT COMPLAINT. What else could have been done?

Posted by: A question | January 29, 2007 3:47 PM

To Um and anybody else who does not want to fly with pets, it is up to you to choose an airline that does not permit this. Those of us that choose to fly with our small animals must adhere to the airline's policy about this. In my case, I had to have a veterinary certificate indicating that my dog had her shots and was in good health. I also had to pay a fee to carry my pet on board the flight. I complied with all the airline rules. If you have a problem with the airline rules, find yourself another airline. It does not take a genius to figure that one one.

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 3:49 PM

Sneezer, fly Southwest. They don't allow pets of any kind anywhere on the craft. Hopefully, you won't get a flight with a blind person, since guide dogs aren't pets. Which brings me to an honest question I have: what is the difference between cat dander and any other type of animal fur? Some are allergic to dogs, some cats, some all, and some a combination of animals. What's the difference?

And to be honest, the only people I really feel sorry for on flights are tall people. There's nothing that can be done to make them feel comfortable. And then they have to wait behind all of us short people while we struggle to get our bags out of the overhead bins.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 3:50 PM

I agree that there is a distinction between (a) not getting in the seat and buckling up and (b) screaming during the flight. The first time I flew, I flew as a child by myself. My ears hurt incredibly throughout the whole flight, and I was umprepared for it and had no idea what to do. Luckily, I was old enough to "take it" and not scream. So I always sympathize with small children who scream during the flight, especially the very small ones, even though I have found it a great inconvenience at times. With the very small, it may not be possible for the parents to make them be quiet, if their ears hurt badly enough.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | January 29, 2007 3:50 PM

To those who hate the breeders and their spawn, or those who hate animals, or drunks, or inconvenience and noise, etc:

Next time you fly, bring along a couple of $50 Starbucks cards and see if you can get the parents to check their kid as baggage. It might cost you some money, but you'd have a kid free and noise free flight. Oh, except for those who bring cats and dogs in carriers on board. You'd probably have to negotiate a little with them because they tend to think their pets are more important (or at least worth more) than people. So maybe you'd need to bring along a couple of $100 gift cards. But don't forget that there will be loud drunks on board, especially if you're heading to or from Vegas, so maybe you could buy each drunk a drink and mickey it up so they'll sleep the whole trip. Except there will be snoring, so you could bring some portable cpap machines to alleviate that noise. But then there might be people who are farting. I personally think your best bet is to stand up and yell "Alright, who farted?" but you may have other ways of dealing with it.

What a bunch of prima donnas. If you all hate people so much, do the rest of us a favor and don't leave home. I tell you what, when I read this board, I'm not surprised that people like Michael Richards have all this hate and anger pent up inside them. It's all there inside of YOU, too.

Posted by: Here's an idea | January 29, 2007 3:53 PM

I just cannot understand all of the controversy about this. Seriously, people, I do not get it.

A child, for WHATEVER REASON, would not sit down and fasten her seatbelt so a plane filled with people could safely take off.

In order to achieve passenger safety and stay on schedule, the airline asked the family to get off the plane.

What is the big deal? If the plane can't take off until everyonoe is buckled, passengers have two options: buckle up or get off. No doubt these parents would be suing the airline if their daughter were injured when the plane took off while she was pouting on the floor. The airline obviously did what they needed to do to keep everyone safe and keep on schedule.

Can anyone explain what the big deal is? Nobody seems to be saying the airline was wrong. This blog has errupted into a war and nobody knows what it is about.

For those arriving late, here is a summary:

Viewpoint one: Children should be silent at all times, and possibly physically restrained.

Viewpoint two: Children should be able to run amok if they want to. After all, what can parents do about it?

Viewpoint three: Sometimes kids act up, and it's the parents job to keep them under control. That being said, the airline was right to ask the family to get off the plane if they refused to comply with the rules.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 29, 2007 3:57 PM

Slightly off topic - I am an INFREQUENT flyer. I would really like to hear the safety instructions that are given by the flight attendants, but I cannot hear over the conversations and settling in noises of the other passengers. Even if you know exactly what to do in case of emergency, please be quiet during the presentation for the sake of those of us who are not airway warriors. Thank you.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 3:58 PM

Now, if only Southwest would define children as pets....

Posted by: anon | January 29, 2007 3:59 PM

the problem is that there is not really a problem because everyone agrees that the family should have been booted off the flight - it just really seems strange that the family would even take a non-issue like this to the media.

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 4:00 PM

I don't have kids, but, having had two, I do know parents. They were never my friends while I was growing up, and am I glad. We didn't live on a deserted island, I had plenty of friends. What I, and I suspect all children, needed was guidance. What I've seen over time is parents refusing to parent. Some years back, I worked at Toys R Us. A little boy rode behind his mom on a store tricyle. A big sign posted at the bike/trike area said not to ride out of a certain area, and he was well out of that area. I bent over and said, "Excuse me, that's my trike. You can only ride it over there." The mother said, "See Bobby, I told you that you couldn't take the trike out of that area." Come on! He's 3, and she can't manage him? At 13 she's really going to have problems. Another time, at Best Buy, I saw a child of about 5 walking up those stair type ladders that reach to the top of the shelves. I was in a line for Customer Service. The child's father was behind me, and every now and then would say, "Johnny, you're climbing too high." I kept glancing at the kid - obviously more frequently than dad - figuring I'd be a witness in a court case when the kid took a header. A manager came up to me and asked me if the child was mine. I pointed to the father. The manager asked him to get the child off of the ladder. The father said, "It wouldn't be happening if this line would just move faster." I see so much of this sort of thing, that I can't help thinking that Air Tran was at fault - for giving these folks free tickets. Until some folks learn parenting and self-discipline, these folks should be kept in cages with the other untrained animals.

Posted by: Alice | January 29, 2007 4:01 PM

nc lawyer:
there you are! What a game for your team the other day. amazing.
I can't believe all this vitriol over an out of control child. It doesn't matter to me whether it is a child, a drunk, or whatever...if you aren't in your seat when the flight attendant tells you...after 15 minutes...you're gone. Air Trans did the right thing. Safety rules are there for a reason. These people embarass themselves. nuff said.

Posted by: dotted | January 29, 2007 4:01 PM

A question about animals on flights.
If you have a bigger dog (like an English Bulldog) it has to ride in the cargo hold right? Why can't it ride in the cabin with you like the smaller cats and dogs? Is it cause the dog won't fit under the seat? That seems slightly unfair and may be why the airlines are getting rid of the animals-in-cabin thing.
(Not trying to be snarky, I'm just curious about this.)

Posted by: Melissa | January 29, 2007 4:01 PM

I love kids but I believe that in today's society we have forgotten all about how to discipline a child. Who hasn't been on a plane, in store or at party where the children control the parents not the parent control the children. My parent where very loving parents who knew how to parent. I can assure you we never ran about in the store, at a party or misbehaved on a plane. I'm sorry if the parents where embarrassed that they where asked to leave the plane. They should have been embarrassed that they had no control over their child's actions! AirTran, thank you.

Posted by: Caroline | January 29, 2007 4:03 PM

to A question at 3:47, I can't claim to have read carefully every comment, but I don't recall anyone purporting to be "on the side of Poor Little Elly and her parents". The real debate here today has been generated by several intolerant, even hateful, comments lodged by the members of the crowd who consider "brat" a term to be applied to essentially every child ever conceived whether or not the child's behavior merits that denigrating term. The level of nastiness has exceeded even this blog's high standard.

it must be time for a beer.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:03 PM

Melissa, my understanding is that it's because they won't fit under the seat. I think airlines should allow a hard carrier that will fit in the overhead bins, but that's not their policy. I wouldn't want to put an animal in cargo (if I had to, I'd drive or take the rail instead), but to me, it's a lot safer in cargo for a large dog in a heavy crate than a small animal in a small, soft or plastic crate. One, sturdiness/structural integrity, and two, visibility.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 4:07 PM

"it just really seems strange that the family would even take a non-issue like this to the media."

I seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. It's obvious where this little girl learned her bad behavior.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 4:09 PM

I would pay extra for a flight without:
1. screaming children
2. cell phones
3. people reclining their seats so I can't sit properly (it's not MY fault you are tall)
4. No smelly food brought on board (how many times have you sat next to someone eating icky taco bell? YUCK)
5. Travelers with way more than the alloted carry-ons, so I have to stand and wait while they shove their bags into the overhead bins because they are too lazy to wait at the claim
6. While we're at it, no groups of anyone under 18
7. Mildly pleasant flight attendants

Until then, I generally appreciate everyone loosening up a bit. Because #8 is the biggie: No eye rolling and heavy sighing.

And for every time I've flown with a disaster of a baby/toddler, there's been a time when I've flown and barely known one was in the seat behind me. Kudos to those parents. You are doing a great job, and better you than me.


Posted by: 48109 | January 29, 2007 4:14 PM

dotted, I think we're all on the same page with respect to the original story, but some of the comments are pretttty ugly . . . (off-topic, my wonderful boss is a very, very depressed Clemson fan :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 29, 2007 4:14 PM

what's up with all these people with these weird severe allergies - its crazy. Kids can't bring peanut butter sandwiches to school because some kid might die by being in the room. I can't wear perfume to my office, because an office mate has multiple chemical sensitivty disorder (whatever). People can't travel with cats and dogs because of allergies. Which disability trumps when you have a blind person and a person who is allergic to dogs or do they arm wrestle. Seems like things are waaayy out of control. Nobody ever had this stuff when I was growing up - now its everywhere and I'm getting tired of it!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:15 PM

But then there might be people who are farting. I personally think your best bet is to stand up and yell "Alright, who farted?" but you may have other ways of dealing with it.

Not unless the yeller was the one who farted and is just trying to throw everyone else off the scent.

Tee-hee!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 29, 2007 4:16 PM

I'm a new parent, 8 month old girl. I don't have any sympathy for parents who allow, yes allow, their children to get away with anything the parents don't want to happen. I understand that things can get trying, but pick the kid up, force her into the seat, buckle her down, and let her cry herself to sleep. When she is more calm, explain in no uncertain terms, that mom and dad are in charge, as usual, and that she must obey in these circumstances. Maybe it's naive, but it's basically the "I'll turn the car around" stint.

Posted by: new parent | January 29, 2007 4:18 PM

Did somebody say beer? As a baby I was given beer in a baby bottle to get me to chill out on long train rides.... until I shook the bottle.

Full bell curve today, cat haters, child haters, airline haters, flight attendant haters, permisive parent haters, TSA haters, Fo4 haters, medicated america haters, rude chair slamin passenger haters, hater haters... Krikey!

the French? Invite the rudest people on the F'ing planet to teach Americans how to raise their kids? YGTBFKM! I surrender!

So as I walk down the street an I see a SUV, a Saturn and a Prius...

flame on!

Posted by: Fo3 | January 29, 2007 4:19 PM

I agree with the airline's decision to remove the family and, frankly, if it were my child having a meltdown like that I'd probably be very happy to get off the plane and try again later. That said, I do have sympathy for the situation and it really isn't that easy to just buckle a screaming, writhing toddler into an airline seat. Airline seats just aren't designed for small kids.

I travel once a year with my 2 children, now 2 and 3. We have always bought seats for them and brought their carseats. Yes, it's a hassle, esp. since I'm usually alone with them on one part of the trip (we go see my family for 2-3 weeks every summer and since husband can't take that much vacation he meets us there later), but I have learned that it's worth every bit of hassle. One time, when DS was 2 and DD was 9 mos I thought I could manage with just the baby's carseat. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER! My 2 year old was very excited by the plane and I could not get him to sit. And there was a lot of turbulence so he HAD to sit. That seatbelt cannot be tightened enough to contain a child that small. The only way to keep him in the seat was to stand over him and hold him down. Unfortunately that would mean I'm not in my seat. 30 miserable minutes later he ended up in the baby's carseat and I held the baby for the rest of the 5 hour flight. I was a bundle of nerves for the rest of the flight since I think it's dangerous and irresponsible to fly with a "lap baby". But at that point we were stuck on the plane with no other options.

I'm sort of looking forward to our next flight because we recently bought the new FAA approved 5-point harness for airplane seats (http://www.kidsflysafe.com/). We got two and a friend has borrowed it and said it worked great. It will be so nice to not have to haul those 2 carseats on board. Also, it will hopefully cut down on my kids kicking the seat in front of them -- the downside of carseats on planes is that with the mere inches of legroom most planes now have it's practically impossible for my kids to not hit the seats in front of them when they are sitting in their carseats.

And, for the poster who is "positive" that her child will never scream on a flight...the only way to be positive of that is to never go on an airplane. And, really, if I'd ever had to endure a flight where my baby screamed for 4 hours I think I'd just swear off air travel until the kids were at least 6. Fortunately, it's never been that bad. I've had flights I found extremely stressful because I felt the kids were noisy but then been complimented by fellow passengers about how good they'd been. I guess I'm just hyper-sensitive about them not disturbing others.

A helpful flight crew can make a huge difference. Best ever for us has been Jet Blue -- I will fly them whenever possible, even if it costs significantly more. And, I HATE United.

Posted by: Suzanne | January 29, 2007 4:21 PM

I have often thought that it should be against the rules for children under 2 to fly as a lap child. If the plane hits severe turbulence, that child could easily be killed and/or becomes a projectile which could injure or kill another passenger. I feel the same about pets who fly in the cabin. I don't understand why it's allowed. It's not that I don't love animals -- I do -- but I don't understand the reason for the decision.

A plane I was on years ago experienced a sudden drop of about a thousand feet. One woman was knocked unconscious and was bleeding from her head as a result of hitting the ceiling. Thank God there were no lap children on that flight or they might have been killed. Things like this happen. Why aren't the airlines protecting themselves from the inevitable lawsuits?

Posted by: Vivi | January 29, 2007 4:21 PM

Thanks, FO4, for your usual common sense. Any small child who behaves perfectly at all times is not a human child at all but a robot. If maintaining absolutely perfect control over toddlers and preventing tantrums from ever happening were a prerequisite for parenthood, then there would be no parents and the species would quickly die out.
Also, to Bored, who said air travel is not a right, I would quibble. Freedom to travel, including to travel by air, is indeed considered a right of citizenship (see many, many legal cases) and sometimes commercial air travel is the only practical way for that travel to take place (see some of those same legal cases). For the most part, the right to air travel is ceded only in criminal cases, as a term of bail or probation for example, and even then it is not usually a blanket restriction but a restriction on certain destinations.
From a practical standpoint, it is unreasonable to expect a family in Hawaii or Alaska or some relatively remote place to depend on surface transportation. So, yes, there is a right to air travel, even for families with unruly kids.
(side note: I have to travel a lot over long distances, often with kids. Air travel just sucks all around, period, but I've noticed that in general, kids handle the misery and indignities better than adults do. Many seem to still view flying as an adventure, despite the long lines, the poor service, the security headaches, the airport drunks, the horrible bathrooms and so forth.)

Posted by: anonymous one | January 29, 2007 4:22 PM

"Nobody ever had this stuff when I was growing up - now its everywhere and I'm getting tired of it!"

anon at 4:15, dear God, we'd hate to inconvenience you with our pesky life-threatening imperfections. What say you develop a perfection test for any new potential friends or colleagues so that you will cease to be further inconvenienced.

Will everyone out there making up bogus allergies just to annoy Ms. Anon just please quit it?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:22 PM

To 48109: I'd also pay extra money to be on a flight without an obese person sitting next to me... I hate it that they feel that since they are large and I am small they can use the space in my seat that I am not using... buy two, and get out of my space!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:22 PM

"I don't have any sympathy for parents who allow, yes allow, their children to get away with anything the parents don't want to happen."

ahahahahahahahahah

I was a control freak too, then I had kids.

Give it a couple months you may find you'll want some sympathy tips, advice, friendly help instead of nasty stares and univited discipline from the "children should be seen and not heard" cult which you can see is on the warpath on this blog today.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 29, 2007 4:29 PM

"I feel the same about pets who fly in the cabin."

I would agree with you, were animals allowed to be on laps. They are not. They are required to be under the seat in front of you for the duration of the flight. They're no more a hazard than the backpack/briefcase/purse you stow when you fly.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 4:29 PM

Mona, do you have a bad case of lastworditis?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:31 PM

Fred, are you here today? Update on anniversary gift?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 4:33 PM

Here's a topic for lively debate. I remember reading an article about the cause of serious allergies -- the type where children die if there is a peanut in the room. The article hypothesized that those food allergies had to do with a mother's diet while she was breastfeeding. Apparently eating or not eating certain foods while BFing may actually cause those allergies.

I was a forumla baby, so I don't have any food allergies. I just have normal hay fever-type allergies, which sometimes make me feel like I'm dying and sometimes don't bother me at all. Interestingly, I'm not actually allergic to animals. I was raised around them. The only problem is that sometimes outside animals bring in allergens. But the animals themselves if kept clean don't bother me.

Posted by: Allergic | January 29, 2007 4:37 PM

A few points to add:

The little girl *did* fly successfully from Boston to Florida, so parent and child did get it to work out well at least once.

Additionally, the little girl's mother said that they were not given a chance to console the child. This sounds as if she felt quite rushed. Perhaps, to give the mom the benefit of the doubt, the parents did not know how long the plane's takeoff would be delayed and were allowing Elly not to be in her seat until the last minute, and then the need to buckle her in came abruptly (from her point of view).

Finally, the article Leslie cited noted that each parent had to miss a day of work because of their late return to Boston, so they did in fact incur a cost because of their daughter's behavior.

Posted by: counterpoints | January 29, 2007 4:38 PM

Fred, are you here today? Any update on anniversary gift? How about a couples massage with pedicure and manicure then lunch/movie?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 4:38 PM

4:31, I think it's clear that I do. It's a terrible habit. ::slaps self on hand::

See? I just did it again. :-(

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 4:40 PM

A few points to add:

The little girl *did* fly successfully from Boston to Florida, so parent and child did get it to work out well at least once.

Additionally, the little girl's mother said that they were not given a chance to console the child. This sounds as if she felt quite rushed. Perhaps, to give the mom the benefit of the doubt, the parents did not know how long the plane's takeoff would be delayed and were allowing Elly not to be in her seat until the last minute, and then the need to buckle her in came abruptly (from her point of view).

Finally, the article Leslie cited noted that each parent had to miss a day of work because of their late return to Boston, so they did in fact incur a cost because of their daughter's behavior.

Posted by: counterpoints | January 29, 2007 4:41 PM

Is Southwest still charging obese people for two seats? I remember they started to, then there was backlash, but don't know whether they kept it up.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 29, 2007 4:41 PM

As in everything, it is not black and white. It is shades of gray.

First. I have 2 kids. Educated the same. The first one is like a gentleman. He sits there behaving better than a lot of world travellers. The second one is super active, has a hard time sitting still and can become unruly fast. It is up to me to control them and make them behave. Period. What I am trying to say is that no 2 kids are the same. You cannot generalize. But it is our responsibility to do so.

Second. The airline is also exagerating. Why? Because kicking those 3 out of the plane probably took at least 20 minutes more. Why? Go and find their bags in the middle of the plane's belly. You know that your bags cannot fly without you! Security guidleines. I have sat in the Tarmac for a long time waiting for bags to be removed. The airline could have wasted less time if the parents were given 5-10 minutes to settle down. Believe me, my kid just needs time to transition.

I fly frequently and I am appalled of the lack of training these attendants have and how unfriendly the airplanes are for families. We are flying whether you like it or not, so why not make it simple? Try reserving a part of the plane for families (maybe the back) so people with children are with people with children. On top of being more sympathethic to each other, parents help each other and children feel more at ease when watching other kids travelling. Make it easy to change a diaper! Make it posible to grab empty seats so they can move a bit. Have some activities (coloring books, crayons) get the attendants to understand more how to deal with this. Most of them have no little children so they do not know what to do.

Finally, if the parent is really trying, a compastionate smile can help like nothing else!

Posted by: S in Miami | January 29, 2007 4:43 PM

"what's up with all these people with these weird severe allergies - its crazy. Kids can't bring peanut butter sandwiches to school because some kid might die by being in the room. I can't wear perfume to my office, because an office mate has multiple chemical sensitivty disorder (whatever). . .Seems like things are waaayy out of control. Nobody ever had this stuff when I was growing up - now its everywhere and I'm getting tired of it!"
If you think that there is more accomodation to people with allergies than when you were growing up, you're right. If you think that there are more people claiming to have serious allergies than when you were growing up, you are right.
That's because more people, especially kids, DO have serious allergies! And yes, these allergies can be severe enough to kill, though not usually.
The existence of these allergies is a medical fact. And it remains a medical mystery. But one prominent theory is that the battery of immunizations that children undergo these days -- many more than when we were growing up, and for the most part a very beneficial development -- have the unfortunate side effect in some individuals of overstimulating immune systems, meaning there are severe physical reactions (i.e., and explosion of white blood cell production and, if serious, the resulting anaphylactic shock) when the body encounters certain elements (which become allergins to those individuals). Peanut allergies are among the most common, and most severe, but also common and severe are allergies to shellfish and bee stings.
Accomodating these allergies, which are absolutely much more numerous and much more severe than when you and I were young, is not a sign of being overly PC or wimpy or anything. It's just good medical practice. And people with these allergies can't just overcome them through will power.
If you're tired of dealing with other people's allergies, consider this: when somebody with a severe allergy starts going into shock, the common treatment is an epi shot. That usually works fine, but a common byproduct from an epi shot is profuse vomiting. So, which would be more tiring to you, foregoing peanuts or perfume, or sitting around a bunch of people who are projectile vomiting?
In short, anaphylaxis ain't pretty, even for bystanders!

Posted by: ER vet | January 29, 2007 4:43 PM

Let's see. I instruct my child to act bratty for until the airline kicks me off the plane. Then I shake them down for a refund and some free tickets. Sounds like a plan.

We have a unruly passenger interfering with a flight crew. Send the brat to Camp Juvee Fed for awhile.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:45 PM

None of the comments are mentioning that the family was banned from flying for 24 hours, so they had to get a hotel room. Not that I disagree with that decision: just as it gives a drunk time to sober up or an obviously ill person time to recover, it gave the family time to get a grip. If they'd just been bumped to the next flight, it seems likely that they would have spent the time working themselves up even more. If they'd just been banned from AirTran, they'd have become another carrier's problem.

I do feel sorry for Elly, though. Think of it--she's 3 years old, and the most powerful person in her life. It must be very scary for her.

Posted by: GJ | January 29, 2007 4:46 PM

"what's up with all these people with these weird severe allergies - its crazy. Kids can't bring peanut butter sandwiches to school because some kid might die by being in the room. I can't wear perfume to my office, because an office mate has multiple chemical sensitivty disorder (whatever). People can't travel with cats and dogs because of allergies. Which disability trumps when you have a blind person and a person who is allergic to dogs or do they arm wrestle. Seems like things are waaayy out of control. Nobody ever had this stuff when I was growing up - now its everywhere and I'm getting tired of it!"

I quoted because you didn't put your name on it. Allergies are rampant these days - they weren't back in the 70's etc. There is debate amongst Doctors as to what causes the problem. But, if you don't have any severe allergies, and you lack empathy, you have no idea what you are talking about.
I'm sick of: having to hold my breath going into doctor's offices and hospitals because they allow smoking near the front door; I'm sick of getting ill because someone else can't tell when too much perfume is too much; I'm sick of not going to restaurants/bars because of the toxic (yes, toxic) smoke; If you or a loved one could DIE from being exposed to peanut butter, you'd have a better understanding. If you had to hold your breath and dash through the perfume section of all major department stores, you might have a better understanding. But, you don't need to suffer to have understanding - you just need to read up on allergies and the way people suffer, (suffer is the right word), daily with them. And you could grow up a little bit - not everyone is as good as you.

Posted by: Allergic Michael | January 29, 2007 4:51 PM

Yeah, this has all the classic signs of a shakedown. These are probably the same type of people who demand their whole meal free when their salad has the wrong dressing. The daughter no doubt throws food in restaurants when they tote her along when she should be at home with a sitter.

Posted by: to anon at 4:45 | January 29, 2007 4:52 PM

Can you imagine how embarassed these people were when they got back home and returned to work? Esp now that it is all over the news vs saying - "oh, we got bumped".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 29, 2007 4:56 PM

Allergic said:
"Here's a topic for lively debate. I remember reading an article about the cause of serious allergies -- the type where children die if there is a peanut in the room. The article hypothesized that those food allergies had to do with a mother's diet while she was breastfeeding. Apparently eating or not eating certain foods while BFing may actually cause those allergies.

I was a formula baby, so I don't have any food allergies. I just have normal hay fever-type allergies, which sometimes make me feel like I'm dying and sometimes don't bother me at all. Interestingly, I'm not actually allergic to animals. I was raised around them. The only problem is that sometimes outside animals bring in allergens. But the animals themselves if kept clean don't bother me."

Hey, allergic, I hate to tell you this, but I was a formula baby too and I am deathly allergic to all tree nuts (esp. brazil and walnut), and mildly allergic to peanuts and cats.

I don't think anyone really knows what causes allergies yet. I highly doubt it's breastfeeding since breastfeeding is hardly a new phenomenon.

Posted by: Emmy | January 29, 2007 4:57 PM

Thank God. When I saw the webpage headline for today's article, I was sure you were going to offer some lame, pathetic excuse for why 115 people should have understood that the universe revolved around the miscreant child. I'm so glad that instead it was an article of reason.

Posted by: Colorado Kool-Aid | January 29, 2007 4:57 PM

I would certainly think twice about employing people like this. If they can't buckle in a 3-year-old, I'd be concerned about them doing their jobs. I'll bet they are trying to con their employers into not using their vacation days for the delay.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:58 PM

To anonymous at 1:52 and 1:56, to be clear, we now live in Houston, TX, not the DC area any longer. So driving to East TN or North Carolina or Kansas City or Nebraska or California are all at least 2 day drives. Not much of an option for us. Second, yes, due to health issues of several family members that I won't get into, AND the fact that I am now a SAHM and have free time to travel while other family members would need to take vacation time to come see us, it's simpler for me to go to them.

But all of that still doesn't matter when my original point is this - there's no absolute right to silence on an airplane. Common courtesy and good parenting dictate that your child not throw things/kick others/run around freely, etc. And I realize that many parents don't practice common courtesy. But even the ones that do practice it CAN'T make their child be SILENT the entire flight. You can't duct tape any child's mouth shut just to ensure that he/she is mute. And the fact that parents can't do that doesn't mean that they and their children have no right to fly. As another poster noted, people with IPods at full volume, loud talkers, drunks, etc all make noise and yet those groups haven't raised the ire of the 'silence police' like kids have.

I'm in 100% agreement that the MA couple and their tantrum-throwing daughter should have been removed from this plane if they weren't willing to strap her in to allow for a timely takeoff. I'm not defending the MA parents. Decent people (myself included) will do their best to keep their kids as quiet and well behaved as is humanely possible, but families have every right to travel, even with loud children in tow. Get over it.

Posted by: asinine still... | January 29, 2007 5:02 PM

Do you think that we may be a little hard on the family that may have been having a bad parenting day? We have all had them... or does this hit to the core of a mass pet peeve that is why everyone is so adament in their reponses?

Posted by: single mom | January 29, 2007 5:03 PM

"I don't think anyone really knows what causes allergies yet. I highly doubt it's breastfeeding since breastfeeding is hardly a new phenomenon."

Probably has something to do with the relatively new obsession with germs and cleanliness in general.


Posted by: Doc | January 29, 2007 5:04 PM

I really have begun to believe that the airlines should reserve the back of the planes for families (parents and kids under, say, 13). Why not? They allow them to get on first anyway, so just put them all in back -- near the bathrooms, one of which should have a small changing table -- and get the kids settled and the carryon stuff stowed while the other travelers who need less assistance are getting on.

Would that really be such a bad idea? Businessmen and solo/couple travelers would be happier because the kids would be somewhat isolated away from them, and they'd be able to get off the plane faster.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:06 PM

"what's up with all these people with these weird severe allergies - its crazy. . . . Nobody ever had this stuff when I was growing up - now its everywhere and I'm getting tired of it!"

Hmmm, or maybe they did have it and died because someone brought a peanut butter sandwich to school. Easy to argue this stuff didn't exist when people who suffered from this in the past aren't around to argue their side.

Or maybe they were around and you just didn't see them. I was severely allergic to animals and cigarette smoke, so I didn't go to restaurants much (pre-smoking bans), or visit friends/family who had pets or smoked (on the plus side, my allergies basically caused almost all my relatives to stop smoking, so likely saved a few lives there).

On a happier note, very relieved to hear the family was actually all in the same row -- bad enough that they couldn't just buckle her in, but at least they weren't leaving her alone in her own row.

Posted by: Laura | January 29, 2007 5:07 PM

Thank you Mona for getting back to me. Most appriciated. I know you're right (and it does make sense).
As for the child-on-airplane thing. I am an Army Brat. I flew on air planes many a time growing up. (And looooong flights too, not little puddle jumpers. We're talking Colorado to England, Germany to U.S. Fun trips.) When my siblings and I were super little (todler age) my parents would try to book a night flight so we'd sleep the whole way or if they couldn't do that (sometimes you gotta go when the Army tells you) they would dope us up with Benadryl. Worked wonders! When we got older (elementary school age) we were expected to behave and treat the others around us with respect. If we were rude or kicked a seat repeatedly we got the stare of death from Mom.
I have to say though, one of the coolest things about flying was when the attendents would take the kids up into the cabin before the plane took off to meet the pilot and see how the plane worked. I wish they could bring that back(I know they can't cause of 9/11) becuase I think that would calm a lot of kids' nerves. It would at least make flying a fun adventure for them.

Posted by: Melissa | January 29, 2007 5:07 PM

I just read a lenghty quote from a woman who witnessed the family in the boarding area prior to getting on the plane. In brief, she said the child was running the show and acting way out of line for nearly 30 minutes prir to boarding. Maybe the parents should have taken a Trailways bus or left the child at home. Is that cruel or just simply being polite to others!

Posted by: TKD | January 29, 2007 5:08 PM

I just read a lenghty quote from a woman who witnessed the family in the boarding area prior to getting on the plane. In brief, she said the child was running the show and acting way out of line for nearly 30 minutes prir to boarding. Maybe the parents should have taken a Trailways bus or left the child at home. Is that cruel or just simply being polite to others!

Posted by: TKD | January 29, 2007 5:09 PM

I just read a lenghty quote from a woman who witnessed the family in the boarding area prior to getting on the plane. In brief, she said the child was running the show and acting way out of line for nearly 30 minutes prir to boarding. Maybe the parents should have taken a Trailways bus or left the child at home. Is that cruel or just simply being polite to others!

Posted by: TKD | January 29, 2007 5:11 PM

All I was saying, Asinine, is that flying is not your ONLY option for traveling to visit your family. You can drive to all of those states, even if it takes two days (my family used to make a two-day trip to Florida each year when I was a kid). Ok, flying is more convenient and doesn't take up so much of your time just traveling. But it's not as if, taking away the option of flying, your children would NEVER have the chance to see their relatives, which is what you at first were saying.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:12 PM

What is the world coming to if kids can't have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch?

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 5:14 PM

Maybe we can have one flight for all the people without any special allergies or needs. We'd only need one since it seems like everybody has got something that needs accomodating these days. What happened to suck it up.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:15 PM

To single mom-

A bad parenting day is when the child continues to scream and flail after being strapped into her seat.

This was a no-parenting day.

Posted by: Bad | January 29, 2007 5:16 PM

I have to say I am offended by the references to good old fashioned spanking as a necessary tool of responsible parents. There are some, probably many, children that time outs do not work for. If you have one of those I am sure that there is some consequence (the loss of some privilege) that will work. The point is to teach that consequences for bad behavior will occur and apply them consistently.

I have a two year-old and have never spanked her and she is very well behaved. She has flown on average every two months since she was born. I have received nothing but compliments on her behavior. She is not perfect, but we are prepared.

I have two nephews, 10 and 15 who have never been spanked. They are very well behaved boys and they absolutely respect and adore their parents, always have. I believe the secret is consistency, not brutality.

On a separate note, car seats do not count towards your limit of either carry-on on or checked luggage. Caveat, with some airlines (I know AA) if you check them at the curb they will count towards the luggage limit, so you need to take them inside.

For the record, my experience with flight attendants and flying with a baby and subsequently toddler have all been positive, with the exception of the time the ticketing agent did not think it was a problem that I did not have a seat next to my 18 month old. That was sorted out at the gate.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:17 PM

At least the family has gotten what's coming to them. They may have gotten a couple of free vouchers, but they are the laughingstock of multiple blogs. There are T-shirts making fun of them. I don't watch late-night TV, but I would bet there are jokes about them. They will never live this petty episode down. At best they've been called flaky and at worst terrible parents. I just hope in the future they try harder to manage their daughter and keep her out of harm's way, and to set a better example through their own conduct.

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 5:19 PM

"Smack the brat, strap in [sic] in and shove a sock in her yap. Or, better yet, parents with small children should just drive."

pjinrockville, is that how your parents handled you? It would help explain your pathetic, addled notion of discipline.

By the way, can you recommend a car that I can drive across the ocean when I take my three kids to visit their grandparents?

Posted by: fat_barney | January 29, 2007 5:24 PM

Oh, I enjoyed that story greatly and applaud the airline. The parents are complete idiots. I have always been amused by a large person being unable to make a small person do as it is told. A three year old is not a baby; a three year old is plenty old enough to behave. My two sons are now adults and I never enjoyed forcing them to do things they didn't want to do, but I did it. That being said, I see many families traveling with babies and young children where no one seems to be having fun. We recently returned from Hawaii and I wondered why these young parents felt it necessary to take the children with them on vacation. Parents could have relaxed and kids could have been comfortable at home with grandma or some other trusted caregiver. You can ask too much of a child and many traveling families do just that. But Elly's parents? They are just idiots.

Posted by: Suzy | January 29, 2007 5:28 PM

Anon at 5:12 said:
"All I was saying, Asinine, is that flying is not your ONLY option for traveling to visit your family. You can drive to all of those states, even if it takes two days (my family used to make a two-day trip to Florida each year when I was a kid). Ok, flying is more convenient and doesn't take up so much of your time just traveling. But it's not as if, taking away the option of flying, your children would NEVER have the chance to see their relatives, which is what you at first were saying."


You're stretching your argument to the point of absurdity, 5:12. It's as if you're somehow desparate to prove you're still really, really right, even though the additional information she's provided makes you not only wrong but an idiot.

Flying isn't merely convenient when you're talking about a 2 day drive one-way. That distance means flying is the only way to see her family over a weekend, or any time other than over the summer or during track-out breaks from anon-traditional calendar. You seriously take the position that she and her kids should forego all family weddings and other events 'til the end of time?

asinine still, you're my hero.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:29 PM

Maybe Grandma lives in Hawaii.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:31 PM

"Parents could have relaxed and kids could have been comfortable at home with grandma or some other trusted caregiver"

Ha ha! Thanks for the laugh! Let's see -- leave kids at home with grandma, who may be infirm and herself several time zones away? Oh yeah, there's the useful advice to find a trusted caregiver who's available to take care of babies and children for days on end. . .such caregivers are so plentiful they're a dime a dozen, right?

Posted by: responding to an irrational post | January 29, 2007 5:38 PM

No 5:29, I'm not saying any such thing. But when someone says that their children would NEVER get to see relatives unless they fly, and they all live in the contiguous U.S., then THEY are the ones exaggerating to make their point. I don't care if they drive or fly, I think it's just silly that parents today get this attitude that flying is the only way to take a couple of toddlers to visit relatives who live within a 10-hour drive. Sometimes I think they need to sit down and figure out just how much time they are actually saving by taking a flight over just getting in the car and driving.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:39 PM

Good for AirTran! I am glad they did this. I am tired of children beating on the back of my seat during an entire flight. I only wish other industries would do a better job of removing disruptive children and their parents. It certainly would make going out to dinner and to movies more enjoyable.

Posted by: Jerry | January 29, 2007 5:45 PM

Who spends hundreds of dollars to take a baby to visit Grandma for a "weekend"? Assuming you mean leaving on Friday morning and coming home on Sunday night. Most people wait until they have several days off, if the journey is that far. Not everyone lives within 20 miles of a major airport, and many people have to make at least one transfer during flight.

Why not actually enjoy TRAVELING with your child once in a while? What I see today is parents who buy the SUV with the DVD and videogame player in the back of the seats because little Suzie and Johnny can't sit still or quiet for more than 20 minutes without that distraction. You're not doing your kids any favors by never attempting to teach them to be quiet, still, patient, and obey rules. Besides, how are they ever going to learn to focus their attention on anything that isn't pure entertainment if every time they threaten to be a little unruly, a parent "distracts" them with a movie or videogame or treat?

Ever heard of actually driving and TALKING to your kids? It's not unheard of.

So many parents these days don't seem to really think about what is best for their children, only what's easier on them.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:46 PM

Anonymous one: there is a fundamental right to travel. There is no fundamental right to travel using a specific form of transportation, or traveling at a specific time. In other words, government entities cannot unreasonably (please don't ask me to get into what "unreasonably" means) enact laws or regs that acutally or are intended to prevent a person or class of persons from freely moving among the states. But they can enact laws or regs that may qualify certain types of transportation (restrictions on drivers' licenses, certain transportation taxes, and compliance with FAA regulations are examples). The right to travel is also protected against private entities though, again, it has to actually or be intended to prevent free movement. This has pretty much only come up in cases where pro-life groups have taken steps to prevent individuals or groups of individuals from leaving the state in order to obtain abortions that for whatever reason are not allowed in the individual's home state. In any event, if an airline were to remove a passenger or prevent a passenger from flying on reasonable grounds (and pretty much any rationale, provided it's not race, gender, or national origin would be considered reasonable if the airline claimed it was for the safety or comfort of its other passengers), it would not violate the right to travel because that person would have other methods of traveling available, including later airplanes, other airlines, boats, trains, cars, etc. This would apply even if the person were in Hawaii.

Posted by: Lawprofmommy | January 29, 2007 5:48 PM

In a couple of years, little Elly will learn to use computers. As does everyone using Google for the first time, she will Google herself. I hope her parents have a ready explanation for why they publicly humiliated themselves and her in a very public forum. They basically pimped her out for 15 minutes of fame. It backfired. The response is overwhelmingly pro-airline on ALL of the blogs addressing this event.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:50 PM

ohhhh, a column on those parents who let their kids watch t.v. in the car ALL THE TIME and/or have a Gameboy anywhere else they go would be fab. God forbid people interact with their kids or go to the trouble of teaching them to use their imagination and learn to wait.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 5:55 PM

In reading all the comments about how the parents should have just forced the three-year old into her seat, I had a flashback of me when I was about four or five.

I will admit out the outset that I could be an unholy terror at that age, but I will deny under the rack that my parents were bad parents.

I had a severe aversion of doctors, and would pitch a fit whenever I knew I was going to one. One night (I think it was Xmas Eve), I broke out in hives, and my parents attempted to take me to the emergency room, so I pitched a fit. I ran away from them, and when finally caught, kicked, screamed, wriggled, and held on to everything I could (Furniture, door jams, etc.) to prevent my dad from forcibly carrying me out of the house. In the melee that ensued, I remember my grandmother suggesting a shot of benadryl (or was it brandy?) to treat the hives. I think it must have worked because I don't remember going to the emergency room that night. My older cousins, who were visiting, still remember my fit. In fact, the oldest one kids me about it to this day and says that I displayed the strength of the incredible hulk that night.

The point is that it is not always possible to forcibly make a child sit down or anything else, especially if the child is on a mission. I do agree that with AirTran, it was appropriate for the family to take another flight when the child was feeling better.

I have a seven year old who used to pitch an occasional tantrum. If I could not get him to calm down immediately, I would always take him right home when it happened. I always just told him that if he was feeling so bad, we had to go home. Once, he missed a birthday party for that reason, and as he began to make the connection between doing something fun or having a tantrum, he of course became better at controlling the outbursts. I am lucky that he has never been as much of a challenge as I seem to have been.

As to the posts on administering a good spanking, I think that spankings are useless. They only relieve the parents' pent up frustrations. Being a parent is tough. It is a lot tougher to administer consistent, non-violent discipline than it is to haul off and smack the kid. I have found with my son that a weekend without nintendo or a missed party or social event can be a very effective reminder to behave. I will be forever grateful to my parents for not smacking me, even in my worst moments. Their gentle and loving examples on how to guide and discipline a child is the best gift they ever gave me.

Posted by: Emily | January 29, 2007 5:58 PM

Lawprofmom, I get your point about there not being a fundamental right to travel on a specific air carrier or a specific flight, but, barring some extraordinary circumstance --way, way more extraordinary than a tantrum-throwing toddler -- it is unconstitutional to impose a blanket ban on air travel, and even unconstitutional to make said travel unreasonably difficult. (yes, yes, unreasonable is in the eye of the beholder, but still. . .) For reference, see the interesting case concerning the superintendent of the Bering Strait School District, a totally respectable and well-behaved person who, for some reason not disclosed to him, was put on a no-fly list. Goverment response? He could use surface travel to move around from his hometown of Unalakleet, Alaska. Plaintiff response? Yeah, if you mean dogsled or snowmobile. Not a reasonable option.

Posted by: anonymous one | January 29, 2007 6:04 PM

I'd wait until we were about 26,000 up and then push the little brat out without a parachute.
This reminds me of the story of the 2-year-old boy running amuck and terrorizing passengers in a trans-Atlantic flight. The flight attendant told the mother to strap him in because we were approaching the airport. The mother just said "I'm trying but he won't let me." Who is the parent here? Obviously, if you can't control them, you shouldn't have them.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 6:08 PM

What is the world coming to if kids can't have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch?

Posted by: catmommy | January 29, 2007 05:14 PM

Yeah. kids are ENTITLED to eat peanut butter sandwiches. Who cares if someone else in the school has to go to emergency care because it's all about you and your real or imagined kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 6:08 PM

I would pay extra for an airline that BANNED CHILDREN SITTING ON LAPS. That this is allowed in economy class is an abomination. Parents should be required to buy their child a separate seat, regardless of age, and bring a car seat if needed. It is simply inconsiderate to other passengers to have to sit next to a child on a parent's lap.

Posted by: andrew | January 29, 2007 6:10 PM

Lawgirl -- This is why it's a big deal, a big media story:

Parenting styles in the US have changed radically within the last two generations. Parents today are polarized over the issue of whether to be a disciplinarian or your child's best pal. So an incident like this where the conflict between discipline and indulgence is crystal clear makes for a juicy story.

Posted by: Leslie | January 29, 2007 6:19 PM

"Say what you will about the TSA, I wouldn't put it past a terrorist to use a baby to board a bomb, or bomb making material on to an airplane. Drug-runners have used babies and puppies to smuggle their wares for decades."
Those of you complaining about old people and children being forced to go through security, these types are the types that are chosen as drug runners and suicide bombers because most people feel the way you do. Yes, it is a pain but I personally do not want to lose more friends and family to terrorists.

Posted by: GO CMAC | January 29, 2007 6:20 PM

GO CMAC, If you are convinced that our current TSA regulations will prevent the loss of more friends and family to terrorists, then I'm glad you're able to sleep well.

shhhhhhhhh! don't anyone tell GO CMAC that we're not any less exposed than we were pre-9/11.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 6:26 PM

The emotion of shame came to an end in this society some time ago.

No matter what you did, the greater the media exposure, the greater your celebrity status. Except, of course, crime. Not that O.J. doesn't have plenty of people who want to be in his foursome.

T.V. programs prove this everyday.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky are living proof.

Posted by: True Observer | January 29, 2007 6:28 PM

Bringing carseats on the plane definitely does help with child containment, but one downside is the kicking the seat problem. The child's feet stick out the end and because there is no room these days between seats, the feet touch the back of the seat in front of them. What to do? I remove the shoes, stop the obvious kicking, etc., but dirty looks continue. When the person then puts the seat back, that really helps matters.

I think it is safe to assume that the majority of parents do not want their children crying, screaming, throwing tantrums, etc. on the plane and are doing their best to keep the children quiet. Do you think I want to listen to a screaming child even if it is my beloved? No. So, I bring tons of food, toys, DVDs, etc. and look like a pack mule as I try to make my way through security with three carseats, 2 strollers, and several carry-on bags. I bribe, cajole, and beg for good behavior and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. Of course, if the parents had held down the child in the seat they would have gotten dirty looks for making the girl cry.

Posted by: 1+2 mom | January 29, 2007 6:50 PM

"if you can't control them, you shouldn't have them."

Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. People who lack control are more likely to have them.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | January 29, 2007 6:52 PM

This has nothing to do with balance. All this did was cause a fight between three groups of people. People who: have kids, hate kids and people who have animals.

Really, you should have known better.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 6:56 PM

@ 5:39 and 5:46

None of the places that she mentioned are within a 10 hour drive from Houston. Also, you can't seriously tell me that a 2-day drive is "easer" on anyone than a 5-hour door to door plane trip. She can fly if she wants to, regardless of reasoning or justification. It's as simple as that.

It's like beer in Mexico - all you need is cash and a desire to partake. Air travel is the same, for good reason.

I submit that people without children and business travelers ride bikes or take grayhound busses everywhere they need to go. I mean, it's a valid form of transportation, and would provide valuable networking opportunities where you can develop synergy and engage in forward thinking.

News to nobody: Life and people in it can be irritating. Nobody is guaranteed that things won't be irritating. I suggest finding something else to be irritated about that you can act upon. It will make you healthier later - especially when I block the aisle with my kid on purpose or otherwise irritate you just to see how mad I can get you before you have a stroke and cash out of your otherwise shallow and worthless existence. Be a cat lover or care about the environment or something.

The meek won't inherit the Earth. The people who have boatloads of kids will. I hope all those kids fly at every opportunity they get.

Posted by: Analyst | January 29, 2007 7:10 PM

Diane, Baltimore:

There is not any excuse for parents lacking control over their children - not ever. AS far as PEOPLE (i.e., adults) who lack control being more likely to have children, perhaps that is true, but then the cycle just starts all over again and there are just more irresponsible people than there are now.
There isn't one situation where it is acceptable for parents to not be in control - or to not take control. Kids should know better and parents simply need to EXPECT more. High expectations reap high rewards.

As far spanking is concerned, I am surprised Leslie hasn't written a column yet on the California assemblywoman who has introduced legislation to ban the spanking of any child under the age of 3. Completely ridiculous. No one should be able to tell me how to raise my child, and that goes for telling me whether or not I can spank. My mother spanked me a few times as a child, and I will tell you, there isn't anything that got my attention more than that did. I didn't live in fear of it because it didn't happen very often, but there were times I deserved it. Now, there is a point where hitting becomes abuse - and therein lies the problem. It is just like breastfeeding or having a drink or two during playtime - we all have our own opinions and are entitled to them, but what we all need to do is realize that we all have our own needs and beliefs and lives and to just leave each other alone. We all need to stop being so judgmental. Then again, this wouldn't be so much fun if we weren't just that. It is a shame, though. Live and let live.

Posted by: WAMC | January 29, 2007 7:12 PM

Andrew:

I agree - I never have figured why people don't buy seats for their kids - I couldn't imagine holding a kid on my lap for any length of a trip - no matter how small. How can someone actually hold the kid and manage toys and all of the stuff that goes into keeping a kid happy?

From a safety perspective, I wouldn't ever let the kid sit in my lap - of course, it doesn't really matter if it is a crash, because it is unlikely anyone is going to survive regardless of how they are restrained. But for landing? No way.

Posted by: WAMC | January 29, 2007 7:17 PM

Those of you who are tired of dealing with severe allergies/chemical sensitivities should STOP USING CHEMICALS on everything. Our great grandparents ate organic food, didn't wear any highly-scented hygiene products, didn't ingest flame retardant in their mothers' milk, and didn't have chemical sensitivities. They got polio and smallpox, but I think we can have the best of both worlds if we get the mercury out of our vaccines.

As to Elly and her parents, the reason AirTran gave them a refund was because an AirTran supervisor berated the parents after they'd gotten off the plane. AirTran did the right thing in getting them off the plane, but they handled a bad situation badly. Read the Worcester T&G article.

Posted by: Molly | January 29, 2007 7:19 PM

How often do you need to relive that story? You've told it before, just as annoyed. Deal with it, please!

Posted by: to F03 | January 29, 2007 7:30 PM

I'm a mother of two school-aged children and I also travel for my job. I can appreciate traveling with and without my children. NEVER have I experienced anything like this with my own two kids when they were smaller because my husband and I worked very hard to prep them for plane trips because we did not want to disturb other passengers. Preparation involves firm yet loving discipline as well as encouragement and rewarding good behavior. My grandmother calls it "home training" and I would argue that many of today's parents don't know how to teach it. Children as young as three can be taught to act appropriately in public. It just takes time and patience. If they don't learn early, when will they learn? And if parents don't teach them, who will?

Posted by: jules | January 29, 2007 7:30 PM

Mona, if you are still here, I traveled overseas with cats before 9/11. It was not great fun but there are some things to make it easier.
The airline allowed up to 2 cats per flight as long as there was a person accompanying each. Not all airline employees knew this.They thought only one was allowed. Fortunately we had the full names and times of everyone we had talked to.
Harnesses and leases are a must for security. The carriers have to be x-rayed.
We lightly sedated our cats. It can also help with nausea. Our vet also recommended restrictions on food and water pre flight but I forgot the time limit. Our vet was very helpful in getting ready to travel.
Be sure you check on the kind of carriers allowed. We originally thought we could use soft sided ones but it turned out only hard sided carriers less than 11 inches high were allowed. it's probably different for domestic flights and may vary from airline to airline. We put incontinence pads in the carrier just in case and had gentle shampoo ready to go if there was an accident but didn't need either.

Onto the subject at hand I don't mind kids flying (and yes I was one) but I really appreciate parents who do all they can to make the flight bearable for everyone. I also wish people would use the word hate less.

Posted by: lifelong traveller | January 29, 2007 7:53 PM

I was cringing that this article would be an endorsement for the parents, but I'm very happy to see that it was dealt with neutrally.

My opinion is that the family was more than compensated for their failure to obey a well-known federal law, and should be embarrassed for their 15 minutes of fame. Air Tran has one less crying child and two less whiny parents.

Posted by: Rebecca | January 29, 2007 8:03 PM

"I also find that airline personnel these days are not, in general, helpful. "

This is probably because they are now being expected to do a lot more than simply serve drinks and provide barf bags. Flight attendants are now being expected to:
* help parents entertain and control their children
* subdue unruly drunks
* move luggage around for people who are too important to waste 15 minutes at the luggage carousel and therefore fill up the overhead bins with oversized "carry-ons"
* devise plans for overpowering boxcutter-wielding terrorists
* reseat child-hating, allergy-ridden passengers on a flight that is, more than likely, completely full
* all kinds of other tasks that overbearing, overly-indulged adults AND children now perceive to be within their rights to demand.

There used to be a sense that those who work in service industries deserve as much respect as those of us who are receiving the service. I fly 2x per week about 36 weeks out of the year, and I've heard people talk to flight attendants, ticket agents, and gate agents in ways that suggest these poor people are somehow less than human. It horrifies me - these are the people responsible for keeping me safe and providing some minimal level of comfort. The least I can do is be courteous & respectful, even in difficult situations...this may be the reason I managed to score 3 free tickets and countless free upgrades in the last couple of years.

We all need to learn how to get along and make accommodations for other peoples' shortcomings (at 5 feet tall, I literally CAN'T hoist my rolling bag into an overhead bin and would seriously injur myself or someone around me if I tried...therefore, I check my bag and take my chances that it won't arrive at my destination...I'd rather have to go shopping than send someone to the ER with a head injury).

Another suggestion for parents of small children...DON'T use the Internet to book flights. Use it for research and then CALL the airlines...ask a few basic questions about your desired flight and be prepared to adjust your plans a bit...the agents on the phone can be really helpful with info such as:
* is the flight(s) I want usually overbooked or full? Taking a flight that is less full increases your chances of being able to get exactly the seat groupings that work best for your family.
* what other flights are available that day? the airlines are not responsible for accommodating you if you miss your flight (or get kicked off!) but if you know you're running late, a call to the airline BEFORE your booked flight takes off can get you on a later flight.
* Don't travel on routes or at times frequented by business travelers...early Monday or Tuesday or after 4 PM Thursday/Friday is prime business-travel time. Flights are packed, and biz travelers less tolerant of your little darlings. Bonus: off-hour flights are usually less $$ anyway.

Posted by: KidzOnAPlane | January 29, 2007 8:09 PM

Leslie,

How about a blog on discipline - to spank, or not to spank?

Also, how should an adult address a problem with a child such as screaming, kicking seats, throwing food, etc? Is it best to say something to the parent, or directly to the child?

As a parent, I would appreciate the offended party speaking to me and not to my child. And please, don't wait until you are fed up and angry - let me know right away if there is a problem. While in a family-style restaurant on vacation with my children when they were 3 and 7, my older daughter was swinging her feet which resulted in annoyance to the woman on the other side of the booth. Her back was to my daughter's back. The woman held in her annoyance until she couldn't stand it anymore and then yelled at my entire family. She was upset that my husband and I hadn't stopped the behavior, but, honestly, we were not even aware that it was happening. Had the woman said something in the beginning, we would have stopped the behavior or changed seating. Instead, the evening ended with dinner being ruined for both tables.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2007 8:29 PM

"I block the aisle with my kid on purpose or otherwise irritate you just to see how mad I can get you before you have a stroke and cash out of your otherwise shallow and worthless existence."

Well, that's mature. I never thought parents were doing stuff like that on purpose, but now I wonder...


Lifelong traveller, thanks for the tips! I really appreciate it.

Posted by: Mona | January 29, 2007 9:30 PM

hey, hey, hey, let's get this puppy over 500 posts!

Posted by: experienced mom | January 29, 2007 10:01 PM

Do I get a prize if I go over 500?

Posted by: Billy | January 29, 2007 10:15 PM

"Parenting styles in the US have changed radically within the last two generations. Parents today are polarized over the issue of whether to be a disciplinarian or your child's best pal. So an incident like this where the conflict between discipline and indulgence is crystal clear makes for a juicy story."

I would agree with you on that, except for the fact that everyone agrees in this situation the airline was essentially correct. There is no real issue on this blog today except how families and the childless can peacefully coexist.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 29, 2007 10:29 PM

Here's my contribution to the 500 posts!

Posted by: StudentMom | January 29, 2007 10:33 PM

we are so close to 500, let's go for it!

Posted by: experienced mom | January 30, 2007 7:12 AM

just need one more!

Posted by: experienced mom | January 30, 2007 8:04 AM

500

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 8:06 AM

Dont have audio at work so I'll stick with yesterday's topic:

http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070121/COLUMN01/701210459/1008/NEWS02

Interview with the parents in Worcester Telegram probably close to source material:

1. The ear issue wasnt on this flight, Ellie possibly was remembering discomfort from previous flight.
2. parents had all the accoutrements the perfect parenting advocates mention on this blog: DVD player, coloring books , snacks etc
3. timing between you need to control your child to, you need to leave the plane, to being told how to control child after being summarily ejected seems to lean towards mom and dad - since I have not heard Airtran dispute that no warning was given prior to ejection.

http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070125/COLUMN01/701250403/1008/NEWS02

nice follow up article. Author seems to read on balance.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 8:34 AM

When I was a boy back in the '60s (yeah, yeah, "before the turn of the century") parents actually cared about how their children behaved in public. Fewer parents care now, and we're all paying the price -- at nice restaurants, at movies (where some parents even bring their toddlers to films rated R!), and now on airline flights.

My wife and I are tired of disciplining your kids. We raised four of our own, and they all knew how to behave in public. And now so does our 3-year-old granddaughter.

And to "Mom of Toddler," who worried that we're telling parents of small children they "forfeit [the] right to travel or dine out," no, that's not it. I'm just saying your right to bring your kids doesn't trump my right to enjoy a meal, a movie, or a flight in peace.

Posted by: Bill in Columbia | January 30, 2007 8:55 AM

?As far spanking is concerned, I am surprised Leslie hasn't written a column yet on the California assemblywoman who has introduced legislation to ban the spanking of any child under the age of 3. Completely ridiculous. No one should be able to tell me how to raise my child, and that goes for telling me whether or not I can spank."

We may possibly be able to debate the appropriateness of spanking as a disciplinary tactic for children 5 and up. But with respect to a child under 3? Yes, we get to tell you how to raise your child if your tendencies and judgment lead you to conclude that assault on a child under 3 is an appropriate way to shape behavior. You desparately need to expand your arsenal of parenting options and get that big a** chip off your insecure shoulder - particularly in light of the numerous studies that show spanking doesn't teach anything other than to avoid getting caught.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 9:05 AM

my two cents--this is for the people with allergies. Unless you live in a bubble, you are going to come into contact with animal dander, hair, peanut butter, wheat, dust, eggs, etc. My sister had horrible allergies to peanut butter, nuts, animals, as a child. She still gets sick if she has any kind of nut oil on her skin--her kids make their own pb and j's. She does, however, have pets, allows nuts and eggs in her houses, because she knows that the only person she can control is herself. She can't trust people to know that she has allergies when she walks out her front door! She takes allergy medication and has an epi-pen strapped to her thigh with emergency instructions tattooed on her forehead! Well, not really, but she is used to dealing and deals. Like any other chronic ailment, it is the persons responsibility to do the best they can with the tools they have. And fwiw, kids can still eat peanut butter in school. My kids take it every day.

Also, fwiw, I fly Southwest almost exclusively. I love that airline! When my two kids were about 4 and 6, we were returning from a visit to my said sisters house, and they were bereft at the thought of leaving their cousins. My oldest was sobbing (not quietly) for the entire pre-board time, and once we got on, my youngest joined her. Their sadness was evident, and most people seemed to have only empathy for me. I saw a few people wipe their eyes!! Once we took off they calmed down, but there was just nothing more I could do. Funny memory. Anyway, I have never noticed people rolling their eyes or sighing when I got on with my two when they were babies. I was too busy trying to get situated with car seats, etc. Then again, I always pre-boarded when possible.

Posted by: jane | January 30, 2007 9:13 AM

My wife and I are tired of disciplining your kids. We raised four of our own, and they all knew how to behave in public. And now so does our 3-year-old granddaughter.


Maybe she acts good and well behaved according to your standards, I could think she was a total brat.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 9:49 AM

"I'd wait until we were about 26,000 up and then push the little brat out without a parachute. "

This wasn't removed by the editors - WHY????

Posted by: SAHM | January 30, 2007 10:05 AM

Here's a tip for parents on dining out. If the restaurant does not have booster seats visible when you walk in, children should be left with a sitter. Most restaurants have them, but if they are kept in a closet and it takes the hostess three minutes to go get it, that's a hint that it is a grown-ups only establishment.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 30, 2007 10:14 AM

As far as pets in the cargo hold, here is an articles with stats.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/lifestyle/294064_pettravel30.html

In short, a small percentage die. However, they die from lack of oxygen, exposure to high or low temperatures, or simply stress--in other words, not a mistake but luck of the draw. So basically, if you put your pet in cargo, you have to accept that it might die.

Personally, I will never take that chance with my dogs. I have two 50-pound dogs, so there is no chance they're riding in the cabin. Greyhound and Amtrak do not accept pets, and neither to cruises. So it looks like I'll be driving. It's worth it to me.

Posted by: Meesh | January 30, 2007 10:14 AM

And to "Um" (you know you've been a jerk when someone can pick your comments out of over 500), an animal is not a child, obviously. But an animal is a living creature. It depends on people to care for it. Hopefully, if you decide to adopt another pet, you will take that responsibility seriously. If you disregard the right of an animal to live, I hope the SPCA is contacted and you can never adopt another animal again.

Posted by: Meesh | January 30, 2007 10:18 AM

"The emotion of shame came to an end in this society some time ago...Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky are living proof."

Hmmmm -- don't think so.

Lewinsky got her master's in economics and is working in London. Clinton has spent the past several years touring the globe on humanitarian missions.

These are people who are contributing to society...vs George Bush who is killing off our troops and alienating our global neighbors. Who should be ashamed?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 10:49 AM

Why do some of you have to equate wanting to protect one's animals from harm with believing animals are more important than people? I wouldn't want to see animals or people harmed if it could be avoided, as it seems that it can be in most cases.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 30, 2007 10:50 AM

Here's an honest question, not meant to inflame: Why is alcohol still served on airplanes? So many posts have mentioned "unruly drunks", so why does the airline feel the need to serve alcohol? I can barely get enough water to drink on a 2-hour flight, but some guy next to me can buy a double vodka with no problem. Ah, yes, the word is "buy", isn't it? I guess it's a good source of revenue.

If the airlines really wanted to make things better for everyone AND avoid situations with drunks, they'd stop selling alcohol. There's no "right to drink on an airline".

Posted by: Lorrie | January 30, 2007 10:52 AM

Following up on my previous comment, now that the airlines have stopped giving us meals and will only sell us boxed lunches, everyone is free to bring their own food aboard (as long as it's purchased in the departure area past security). This doesn't make flying any more pleasant and leads to even more mess and trash on airplanes. At least when you got an airline meal (and I'll admit they sure weren't that great), they were set up in a way that made cleanup easy on the flight attendants and reduced the amount trash. Now everyone brings on every sort of food (which they always could do, but now NEED to do if they want to eat) and it stinks up the cabin, makes a big mess, and adds to the overall unpleasantness of air travel. And this has nothing to do with stopping terrorism, it's just the airlines being cheap.

Posted by: Lorrie | January 30, 2007 10:59 AM

As someone who is child-free, I do try to be patient with parents with unruly children, especially those that are at least attempting to discipline their children, but the parents who seem to think their needs outweigh others simply because they have a child is where I have a problem. I can give literally hundreds of examples where I have been inconvenienced because god forbid a parent would have to discipline their child in a restuarant or in a park or at my gym. Having a woman change her baby's diaper on the bench in front on my locker at the gym instead of using the changing table. Her reason? The changing table is unclean, understandable, so now the bench where others sit is now unclean, when I explained that to her, it didn't seem to phase her. I do not hate children, what I hate are parents who think that they should have special privilages simply because they have a child. So yes, that family should have been asked to leave the plane or restuarant or anything other public place where their child is being disruptive.

Posted by: Happily Child-Free | January 30, 2007 11:10 AM

"especially when I block the aisle with my kid on purpose or otherwise irritate you just to see how mad I can get you ..."

Wow, then I hope you don't mind when I accidentally whack your kid in the head with my carry-on as I squeeze by going up the aisle. I hope you don't get so upset that you have a stroke and cash out...

Posted by: to Analyst | January 30, 2007 11:28 AM

The close-up parking spaces at the grocery store get me. My hands might be full! I might be in a hurry, too (and to get to or from work, not a soccer game)! And I'm probably wearing high-heels and not sneakers and "mom jeans"!

First come, first served is the way to go with parking spaces, except in the case of actual disabilities, which states are pretty liberal with anyhow. I know someone who got a handicapped sticker for a bunion.

Posted by: Also Happy and Child-Free | January 30, 2007 12:32 PM

My husband and I with our then 5 yo twins arrived for a flight only to find that we were seated all over the cabin - 2 seats together plus 2 single ones. The boarding agent worked like crazy - we had told her that if there were not 4 together, then 2 and 2, or 3 and 1, would work also. She finally came up with 3 in first class and one in economy. I turned to DH and told him the choice was his to make. Oh, he agonized for about 30 seconds then marched off to economy. It was a pretty good deal for me, though my daughter was a bit upset because she had to sit across the ailse from me for takeoff and landing. We got through that by holding hands across the ailse. My normally rambunctious son must have been tired out from the vacation and slept through the entire flight while my daughter and I enjoyed coloring and the superior dining of first class. Upon arrival I asked DH if he'd heard our silverware clinking 'cuz I heard the crinkling pretzel bags back in economy. Best trip I ever had with the kids. I won't tell you about the time we flew to Europe when they were not quite two!

Posted by: lindab | January 30, 2007 12:33 PM

It is the parents' responsibility to get their child under control. This incident was entirely uncalled for. In fact, in my view, the parents disrespected all other passengers by not physically restraining their child so that they plane could begin its flight. Ridiculous! I just roll my eyes and sigh deeply when I see situations like this in other public settings. These parents obviously need a quick lesson from Supernanny. They'd be great candidates for the Supernanny show. Get a grip!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 12:40 PM

momoftoddler wrote:
"Based on the majority of the comments posted here the message is if you have small children you have forfeited your right to travel or dine out. Talk about putting your needs above the needs of everyone else."
Pot. Kettle. Black. If you cannot keep your child under control, it is your responsibility as a parent to REMOVE the child from the situation -- dining, movies, whatever. If you do not, it is YOU who are putting YOUR needs above the rights of everyone else present. Innocent diners have the right to a peaceful meal, EVEN IF you want to eat out and your child misbehaves. Screaming, shouting, running, accosting strangers -- these are not behaviors that anyone who is smart enough to get a babysitter should have to endure. You are not your child's friend -- you are your child's parent. Act like it.

Posted by: poorparentinghater | January 30, 2007 12:41 PM

"What is the world coming to if kids can't have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch?"

Yes, the Republic must be crumbling if your kid can't eat a peanut butter sandwich at school! Horrors!

A peanut butter sandwich for my kid's lunch could kill him. I didn't ask for this situation.

I didn't eat peanuts or peanut products during pregnancy or breastfeeding. I'm not kooky about exposure to germs or dirt.

I don't know how it happened, and either do the doctors. I wish it wasn't so. It leaves me awake at night, looking at the ceiling and worrying about the dangers my kid faces when he's having a meal away from home. It's terrifying and devastating to worry about your kid in this way.

Please stop whining about peanut butter sandwiches.

Posted by: Mom | January 30, 2007 12:46 PM

Another point on eating out, particularly at adult restaurants. Children HATE IT! My parents used to drag me around to adult restaurants all the time. In their defense, I always had plenty of coloring books, stickers, etc., and generally was good (or so they tell me). But it was torture. Most children do not like to sit still for long. They are not adults and do not enjoy chatting with friends over dessert and bottle of champagne after an hour-and-a-half dinner. It is unreasonable to expect them to entertain themselves for a long stretch so the parents can catch up.

Do the rest of us AND your kids a favor and leave them at home or go a to kid-friendly place, where I won't be.

Posted by: Also Child-Free and Happy | January 30, 2007 12:49 PM

If my kid were allergic to peanuts, I would homeschool him. I can't expect everyone else to go out of their way on my account. Plus, all it takes is one rogue granola bar to cause a serious medical emergency. I would never take that chance. You just can't rely on others to look out for you -- a lesson well-learned early in life.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 12:56 PM

Instead of making the kids who BRING PB&J to class eat in another room, why not solve the problem and make the ALLERGIC KID eat in another room? Makes a whole lot more sense, especially since so many foods have nut products that normal people don't even know about.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 1:04 PM

our school has a peanut free table in the lunch room. the allergic kids sit there, and anyone can join them if they don't have peanuts in their lunch. not a big deal to the kids, but could save an allergic child's life. elementary students are very accepting of their friends food allergies, it's the parents who get nutty(!) about it.

Posted by: experienced mom | January 30, 2007 1:18 PM

Fo3, thanks for the link. Just as I expected, the airline can't get its act together after incurring a 15 minute delay, demands that parents slam their upset child into a seat, and when the request wasn't made within seconds, demands they get off the plane.

Then the airline blames the family for willingly inconveniencing everybody else for the delay that wasn't even the parents fault.

Business in America!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 30, 2007 1:34 PM

I don't know why I should have to homeschool my kid because of his allergies. It's not really such a big deal to ask the kids to keep their peanut butter sandwiches at home, or to have a separate table for my kid at lunch (and yes, I'm fine with a separate table for the allergic kids). I hardly think this is asking anyone to "go out of their way." For your kid, it's a peanut butter sandwich. For mine, it's a relatively normal life.

That my kid faces risks makes me worry (like any parent), but it doesn't mean I have to keep him by my side at all times. Life is full of risks, and I accept that. But for my small child, who isn't yet able to administer his own life-saving shot of medication, I don't think it's too much to ask for a few food-related rules that keep him safer and hardly shake the foundations of the republic.

Posted by: Mom | January 30, 2007 1:38 PM

"the airline can't get its act together after incurring a 15 minute delay, demands that parents slam their upset child into a seat, and when the request wasn't made within seconds, demands they get off the plane."

So what's the problem?

"Then the airline blames the family for willingly inconveniencing everybody else for the delay that wasn't even the parents fault."

Then whose fault was it?

"Business in America!"

Exactly. Business. Not let's-all-have-warm-fuzzies-because-the-child-from-the-exorcist-wants-to-scream.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 1:48 PM

hey Anon 1:48,

I find it hard to believe the child crying haters here have read the story, or have ever had to console a frightened or child in tantrum.

a. In a perfect world I guess no tantrum in justified.

b. I still dont see where the airline said, "If you dont have your child belted into her seat now, you will be kicked off this plane."

c. Good luck to you when you cannot control everything, and best wishes when you are being judged in the court of public opinion.

When I see the teltale signs that my kids are begining to fray at the edges, we try and make a graceful exit from the movie, restaurant, party whatever. That is much harder to do on a bus, train or plane.

I guess SUV's are the only solution for travel, and take out the only solution for not having to cook dinner for the parent police. God bless Grand Cherokees, Boston Market and all the helpful annoyingmous people on this blog for showing me the flaws in my parenting. Praise be.

I was gonna say something about casting first stones in glass houses or some such but couldnt get it right.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 2:00 PM

Whose fault is it?
The short conversation:
You need to put your child in her seat.
.
.
.
Not fast Enough! you're out of here! Bye!

Poor communication by the airline! Definately the airliner's fault!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 30, 2007 2:01 PM

Just as I expected, the airline can't get its act together after incurring a 15 minute delay, demands that parents slam their upset child into a seat, and when the request wasn't made within seconds, demands they get off the plane.

Then the airline blames the family for willingly inconveniencing everybody else for the delay that wasn't even the parents fault.

Business in America!

Hello--everyone complains about flight delays, missing connections, etc.

WHY does a BUSINESS and the OTHER paying clientele have to be held hostage to the incompetent parents?

Her father is an EMT and was willing to hold his kid on his lap? What kind of IDIOT would think that would be safe? Hasn't he scraped enough body parts off of roads and windshields to know that his child is subject to the laws of physics, same as the rest of us? That if she goes flying through the air if the airplane has troubles on take-off (or mid-flight, or landing) that not only could she be injured or killed, but her body could injure or kill someone else?

It is a safety issue. Physics trumps. So does business.

Elly had a melt-down. She is 3. Her parents failed her, pure and simple.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 2:04 PM

"c. Good luck to you when you cannot control everything, and best wishes when you are being judged in the court of public opinion."

Well, I can say for sure I would never go whining and snivveling to the media because my kid was acting up so badly it was delaying an entire flight of paying customers with places to go. If this happened to me, I would slink off in shame and make other arrangements, which is the appropriate response of decent parents.

Posted by: Anon 1:48 | January 30, 2007 2:13 PM

What did the family want? ANOTHER 15 minutes to let their demon-spawn bawl? Then the flight would be 30 minutes late. Obviously some of you only travel when you have no place to be. 30 minute delays happen all of the time, but when they can be avoided by booting some people off the plane for refusing to cooperate in a timely manner, after the plane already been delayed because of them -- by ALL MEANS, DO IT!

I just feel sorry for the kid who, unless the parents get it together, does not have the brightest future.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 2:18 PM

"There but for the grace of God go I. . ."
That was my reaction when I read about the airline fiasco. My kids happen to be pretty good travelers -- I'm much more likely than they are to get cranky when we're flying one one of those commercial cattle cars -- but tantrums happen. And they happen at inconvenient times and in inconvenient places. I am just thankful that, for us, they haven't happened on any airplanes.
The usual and most effective way to deal with a tantrum is to remove the kid from the premises, isolate him/her until he/she settles down, then go about your business. But that's pretty hard to do on an airplane. And, given the information I have, perhaps the only remedy available in this particular case was for the parents and kids to leave the airplane, just as they would leave a grocery store or some other scene of a tantrum, and then board a later flight. It doesn't make the mom and dad bad parents. To me, it just means they had some bad luck and bad timing.
It wasn't the first time someone had to exit the airplane before it took off. Passengers with various medical emergencies or who've been drunk or suffering from anxiety attacks have also made such early exits. To me, this was just one of those cases; it only got more publicity because the cause -- child tantrum -- was something many of us can relate to, more so than an untimely heart attack or anxiety attack.
At the ages of two to three, almost all kids, even the best-behaved angels, have occasional tantrums. It's a developmental phase, even considered a necessary developmental phase, that eventually passes as children learn better ways to express themselves.
Any parent who claims he or she can GUARANTEE that their kid won't have a tantrum in an inconvenient place and will always behave perfectly is just too smug to be real.
(addendum - it's true that there are some preventative measures that can reduce the likelihood of problems. Red-eye flights, though absolute hell on the parents, work well for small children. There's also the "new toy" strategy. And customer-friendly airlines try to group families in the same section of the plane, which is appreciated by all.)

Posted by: anon mom | January 30, 2007 2:20 PM

I would never go whining and snivveling to the media because my kid was acting up so badly it was delaying an entire flight of paying customers with places to go.

1. Are you a parent?
2. Do you really think we know the timeline? Sounds like the airline knows the psycho steward was on a hair trigger.
3. On lap for push back aint on lap for take -off
4. FAA rules are also that the luggage couldnt stay on the plane - but they took the luggage and the carseat to Boston.
5. My over arching point is that is this specific case - you arent justified in being harshly critical of these parents.
6. They did sulk of the plane annoyingmous 1:48. They went to a local newspaper and the story got them some satisfaction. They live with the noteriety.
7. What is your excuse?

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 2:22 PM

3. On lap for push back aint on lap for take -off

What makes you think they would have gotten her safely strapped into her seat by then?

I have a pilot's license and a driver's license. If everyone isn't buckled, the vehicle doesn't move. If they can't get her buckled, the pilot (and the flight attendants) are well within their rights to ask them to leave.

A 3 yo having an inconvenient meltdown stinks--but they certainly should have been PROactive rather than REactive and asked to get off the flight when it became apparent it was getting out of hand.

People endlessly whine and complain about flight delays due to the WEATHER, why in the world should an airplane be delayed due to a toddler's temper tantrum? It shouldn't.

I re-read the article and I agree with the earlier poster--any EMT who offers to hold a child on his (in this case) lap must not be very good at his job. Or terribly, terribly inexperienced and naive.

Posted by: MdMother | January 30, 2007 2:32 PM

Well, to try and put a positive spin on things, and ignore the haters for a moment. All parents should now know they had better have their progeny buckeld up to push back from the gate or risk being kicked off a flight and diqualified from flying for a day.

Thanks Elly. We got to learn from your mistake. Live and learn.

Well put AnonyMom. "for the grace of...

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 2:33 PM

I just think these people have a lot of nerve complaining. If it were me I would be APOLOGIZING, not trying to get attention. They should be FINED by the airline, not given free tickets. They should be PUBLICLY SCORNED -- oh wait, that's already happened.

At least they've gotten their reward. Hundreds of blogs and discussion boards saying they are terrible parents who were endangering their child and others, which is about the size of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 2:35 PM

As long as we're rating airlines, here's my endorsement/nonendorsement:
American Airlines - terrible! absoutely horrible service. We encountered openly hostile ticket agents and flight attendants, hostile not just to families but to pretty much all passengers. Maybe they're overworked, given the cutbacks.
Alaska Airlines - still great service, despite cutbacks. Highly recommend.
Air Canada - good service, too.
Northwest - mixed reviews. We've had some fantastic service and some bad service; hard to predict the future given the airline's financial woes.

Posted by: anon mom | January 30, 2007 2:35 PM

I used to be a reporter, and if these people came into my newsroom, I'd think it was a snoozer -- family refuses to buckle kid up in violation of federal regulations, airline gives them free vouchers and arranges for later flight. Where's the story? Snore.

This is a desperate cry for attention/help. I hope social services pays them a visit.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 2:40 PM

How many times have you flown and seen a passenger not strapped in for push back, in the toilet or otherwise messing about with overhead luggage during taxi?

And NOTE: Nowhere does it say that the 15min delay was solely attributable to the conduct of this family. The official notice from the airline only notes that they were 15minutes behind.

I wonder how many tantrums were on that AA flightthat sat on the tarmac in Texas for hours until the latrines overflowed?

Look, I wasnt there, and am reluctant to jump on the "I am concerned for the future of America since these parents cant disclipline their obvious devil spawn" bandwagon.

Sheesh.

Clearly we all are on notice as parents that it is required to force a crying kid into seatbelt on an airplane to push back from the gate, or be ejected without warning.

Circumstantial innuendo people. Just dont be so quick to judge.

Posted by: MdMother | January 30, 2007 2:42 PM

The airline apologized to the family, and rightfully so.

There is a good reason for that, and the airline knows it. It's the airline that didn't adequately prepare their patrons for takeoff. That's the airliner's responsibility, and they not only failed the family, but they failed everybody else on board.

And they blame a baby!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 30, 2007 2:43 PM

I don't think anyone blames the kid, they blame the parents, who should know the protocol for takeoff in advance if they are traveling with children.

Posted by: ok | January 30, 2007 2:48 PM

It's the airline that knows the protocol Hey, I've got a great motto for Air Trans:

If We Hear the Baby Cry, You Ain't Gonna Fly!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 30, 2007 2:54 PM

The same family that successfully flew with Elly once before to go see the grandparents were unfamiliar with the process?

Hardly. These were not first-timers, this is not the time to be playing the "But I didn't know!" card.

They didn't parent her, and by stating they were willing to hold her in their laps (mind you, the child wasn't in their lap at the time, now was she?) they completely overlook physics.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 2:55 PM

I don't agree with the apology, or the extra free vouchers. I do think it was acceptable for the airline to cover the later flight back.

Posted by: moo | January 30, 2007 2:57 PM

"If We Hear the Baby Cry, You Ain't Gonna Fly!"

I would fly that airline exclusively! :)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 3:06 PM

Meesh says "If you disregard the right of an animal to live, I hope the SPCA is contacted and you can never adopt another animal again."

Oh, yes, Meesh, flying with my dog in the cargo hold should be reported to the SPCA. By all means. Perhaps you would have preferred me to leave her behind at the pound when we moved overseas instead of taking her with us? I'm sure that would have been much kinder.

You have lost sight of reality.

Posted by: Um | January 30, 2007 3:09 PM

Anyone heard from any of the other passengers? Particularly those who were a row or two of the family?

I'd be interested in what they saw and heard.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 3:30 PM

When I flew back from China with my second daughter, the travel agency had somehow messed up (or maybe it was intentional and they assumed it would all work out).

When I checked in for the flight from Hong Kong to the Newark, I was told that we had three tickets on the 3:30 (or some such) flight from Newark to DC, but the fourth ticket was on the next flight. I just looked at the ticket agent and said, "Well, that's not going to work."

Posted by: single mother by choice | January 30, 2007 3:31 PM

It's time to fly.
Life is a journey, travel it well.
Fly the Friendly Skies!
Something special in the air.
Doing What We Do Best.
How do we love you? Let us count the ways . .

If you can drink, eat peanuts and get your knee caps crushed by the passenger in front of you, or share your seat with an American widebody when all about you are eating their stinky McFatty sandwiches -

If you can talk on your cell phone, eat with your mouth open, belch, flatulate without breaking an FAA regulation -

then you get to crucify the parents of any crying babe from your perch of FAA perfection!

Over the public airwaves you can watch sexually explicit, quasi r-rated horror and offensively rude conduct during televised sports and prime time TV - but that doesnt bother you, and you see no need for the public moraity and sensibility to be protected.. The parents should just turn off the TV. It is after all your GoD given American right to be crass, selfish, snide, boorish, inconsiderate, judemental, prejudiced and opinionated.

Just dont let your kid cry or carry a sippy of water on an airplane! You'll be a pariah.

Yet, I'd rather it be:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

RK

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 3:41 PM

Judemental is a Beatles term

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 3:44 PM

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

http://www.swarthmore.edu/~apreset1/docs/if.html

Posted by: Rudyard | January 30, 2007 3:50 PM

Fathers of 3 and 4:

We clearly don't know all of the details and the timing involved in booting the family from the plane, but the flight attendant does not have the authority to throw anyone off of the plane - only the captain does. So there was clearly a period of time (however short) where the situation was communicated to the captain and his response was received. The family can complain all they want, but as pilot in command, the captain can remove anyone he decides is interfering with his safely conducting the flight (FAR 91.3(a)). Clearly that includes someone violating the FAR concerning safety belts (FAR 91.107(a3)). I can kick you and yours off of my plane and he can kick you off of his.

Posted by: a pilot | January 30, 2007 4:15 PM

a pilot,

Thanks for the specific citation of chapter and verse. Your emphasis is noted and the message is clear.

I thank Ellie for making the stark reality that as a parent I can be ejected if my kid isnt strapped in for push back at the decision of the commanding officer.

Got it.

I'll be careful on our flight to Fla in March you can be sure.

Anybody want to give me advice that hasnt been given with the benefit of hindsight? That might be productive...

books, snack, hugs, full nelson application etc?

Friendly skies. HA!

- but I guess somebody will point out that Ellie wasnt in the air yet so they didnt HAVE to be friendly.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 30, 2007 4:24 PM

Fof3 typed "3. On lap for push back aint on lap for take-off"

It doesn't matter. The plane can't move until everyone is buckled in: "...each person on board a U.S.-registered civil aircraft must occupy an approved seat or berth with a safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness, properly secured about him or her during MOVEMENT ON THE SURFACE, takeoff, and landing."

Fof3 also typed: "4. FAA rules are also that the luggage couldnt stay on the plane - but they took the luggage and the carseat to Boston."

Where is that FAA rule/regulation?

Posted by: another pilot | January 30, 2007 4:34 PM

A pilot, I understand what you are saying.

However, it is the responsibility of the airline staff to effectively communicate their expectations to their patrons so the flight process can run as smooth as possible in a timely manner.

The staff failed to do this as proof by not only of the delay, but having to remove their own patrons from the flight.

then deamonizing the family for their own failure is just shameful.

Air Transe realizes this, and their training manuals and protocols will be updated to minimize future occurrances of this nature.

Us parents will continue to try our best.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 30, 2007 4:36 PM

"The airline apologized to the family, and rightfully so.

There is a good reason for that, and the airline knows it. It's the airline that didn't adequately prepare their patrons for takeoff. That's the airliner's responsibility, and they not only failed the family, but they failed everybody else on board.

And they blame a baby!"

Are you daft? The child was of an age, by regulation, that required she be buckled in. She was not only not buckled in, but not remotely close to being buckled in, with parents claiming to need "only a few more minutes" to calm her down. They failed to do so and as a result were asked to deplane.
So is your point that the airline should have taken the initiative and buckled her in for the parents (thereby risking a lawsuit)? Simply ridiculous.
I am a frequent business traveler, and I see involved and engaged parents dealing with traveling children all the time and taking responsibility for them. I also see ill-behaved children interfering with other passengers' right to a relatively peaceful and safe flight, with no parental acknowledgement of responsibility whatever. I think everyone knows the difference.
Your arguments on this topic have gotten more and more specious.

Posted by: Steve | January 30, 2007 4:38 PM

"The airline apologized to the family, and rightfully so.

There is a good reason for that, and the airline knows it. It's the airline that didn't adequately prepare their patrons for takeoff. That's the airliner's responsibility, and they not only failed the family, but they failed everybody else on board.

And they blame a baby!"

Are you daft? The child was of an age, by regulation, that required she be buckled in. She was not only not buckled in, but not remotely close to being buckled in, with parents claiming to need "only a few more minutes" to calm her down. They failed to do so and as a result were asked to deplane.
So is your point that the airline should have taken the initiative and buckled her in for the parents (thereby risking a lawsuit)? Simply ridiculous.
I am a frequent business traveler, and I see involved and engaged parents dealing with traveling children all the time and taking responsibility for them. I also see ill-behaved children interfering with other passengers' right to a relatively peaceful and safe flight, with no parental acknowledgement of responsibility whatever. I think everyone knows the difference.
Your arguments on this topic have gotten more and more specious.

Posted by: Steve | January 30, 2007 4:39 PM

The real question here is when are some parents going to learn they can't just let their brats, and I do mean brats in this case, run around and run amok?

So many posters are indignant that people give their children and them dirty looks. I am childless, but do not mind children so long as they behave appropriately, taking into account their age and the situation.

Trust me, any dirty looks from me aren't mean, they are strictly earned. If you catch me shooting you a dirty look, it's because your kid is behaving in an unacceptable manner, and you need to deal with it in whatever way works for you -- time out, spanking, taking the kid somewhere else, distracting it with toys, I don't care. Just make it be quiet or leave. Don't expect my sympathy and don't act like I'm the bad guy.

Posted by: Also Childless and Happy | January 30, 2007 5:36 PM

Most airlines post their procedures for check-in, checking luggage, take-off, landing, etc. on their Web sites, where anyone can check what they are before arriving. Anyone with special needs should do this in advance.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 5:55 PM

Childless and Happy, go around looking ugly all you want, you're dirty looks will not affect me in the least.

It's one of the benifits I get from being blind.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 30, 2007 6:01 PM

What, no posts in nearly two hours? How will we ever get to 600 posts?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2007 7:54 PM

It's funny how I grew up in the 70s and I did witness kids (my family and others) having tantrums. Also Dr. Spock and other books refer to tantrums as normal, so I presume they were in fact going on generally. But to read some comments it seems like only kids today have them.

Of course when I grew up at that time people did travel less and eat out less, overall. They also worked fewer hours as a family (and perhaps individually), many mothers were stay at home and didn't have to hit the grocery store after daycare, or with the weekend mobs... or go out to dinner. It was, in a word, different. Dads in particular were probably less likely to see tantrums since they weren't around us kids as much.

If a single income could still reasonably afford a house in my (unpretentious) neighbourhood, I bet fewer people in my area would end up juggling their kids around work and there would be fewer tantrums in the public arena.

I still want to know where people think the parents should take the child if s/he starts a tantrum on a plane in-flight. :-) I didn't read whether this plane was still at the gate or whether it was on the tarmac or whether the parents knew whether getting off was still an option.

I still think they may have made poor choices. But this whole "right to peace" idea is stumping me /on a plane/. A fancy restaurant, bar, casino - ok. But a plane? Or a grocery store? These are places families (kids, parents, the elderly and incontinent) go. You may witness unhappy people or bad parenting! Gasp! Welcome to the village.

I do have to say we do take our 17 mo old to reasonably upscale restaurants though and bring our own booster. If he flips out (he has once) we leave, right away. But that's how we are teaching him. Generally he's better behaved than my father in law.

Posted by: Shandra | January 30, 2007 8:25 PM

Shandra for pete's sake you have GOT to be kidding. More tantrums because more mothers work? Even as late night speculation goes, that is far fetched and ridiculous.

Teach children to behave for specific circumstances (restaurant) at home and THEN take them out. Why take a 17 month old to a nice restaurant and risk disturbing other people. Get a sitter or stay home. You can't do everything you want to do when you want to do it when you have children. It's not fair to teach a basic child rearing lesson in behaviour at someone else's expense. That's not about "rights" it's about common sense and courtesy.

I believe in "the village" you mentioned-but being part of the village means rearing the young villagers to consider other people's feelings and not act the fool in public.

Where to take the kid if it starts a tantrum that really can't happen at that time? Have a special phrase, death look, threat, bribe (if you do that), whatever that you pull out in emergencies to stop it in its tracks before it starts. Not hard if you know your kid.

Posted by: Oh please | January 30, 2007 10:30 PM

Well my point was there aren't necessarily more tantrums but there may be more PUBLIC tantrums because people have to drag their kids on more errands. *I* don't know; I'm not arguing that there are more tantrums.

When I take my kid to a nice restaurant as long as he's well behaved there is no expense to the rest of society. If he misbehaves, sure, we take him out. But I'm not segregating him on the basis of age alone. Once he hits two and a half we may have to make another decision, but really - the _assumption_ that he is going to misbehave is silly, and the very few minutes it might take us to remove him is, I think, fair enough.

Of course for my own sanity and our relationship with local restaurants I do usually take him at off hours. Sets up success. But I don't want to take him to junky fast food places or Chuck E. Cheese. I totally agree that if he's being noisy, he's out of there. But until he is, no.

As for the "death look", etc. I don't know. I suppose I'm too much of a neophyte, but at 17 months my son doesn't really get those yet - he's gotten reasonably good on the 'no touch' stuff but we don't have a way to force him to be quiet. He's too little for bribes or threats. Or Benadryl I think.

(I mean, sometimes a cookie might cheer him up, and we bring an arsenal of toys wherever we go and games to play, etc. But we can't promise him a pony once he gets off the plane. Not that we've had occasional to fly.)

I understand people are frustrated with being bothered but I maintain that there is no right not to be upset/bothered in society. Loads of things bother me. It's a societal contract that is in flux and I think a little bit of flexibility benefits everyone. The intolerance in this thread really saddens me. YMMV.

Posted by: Shandra | January 30, 2007 10:59 PM

Well, as a working mother, I can't say I like the way oh please worded it--more tantrums because more mothers work. But if you examine the reasons behind it, I think there is some validity to what Shandra says.

I know that in the summer when I am not working, I am more relaxed, the kids get more sleep, etc. And yes, we go grocery shopping at off peak times that are more conducive to kid's schedules, eat out less, and are generally a happier family. I don't mean to say that we are unhappy during the school year, but life is better when we get enough sleep. Since my eight year old is finally needing the amount of sleep she gets, life is more pleasant during the school year also. It is difficult to get to bed before 7:30 (and I try really hard to get them in bed by then), but 6:30 am comes around awfully early when you really needed 12 hours of sleep but only got 11. And if Mom doesn't get enough sleep, look out.

I have at times been fortunate enough to take classes at night, so the girls stayed with my parents overnight. I used to go to the grocery store at 10pm so I wouldn't have to take the girls along. I was routinely shocked by the number of children who were grocery shopping with their parents that late at night.

I have found that for myself, when I am tired, stressed, or overworked, I tend to be more irritable. I notice the same thing with my kids. I can usually hold it together and not have a tantrum, and so can my girls, but there are days . . .

The biggest problem is grocery shopping (now that I am done with school). My five year old has difficulty handling the stimulation of all the people at the store. By the time we get to the checkout, she is wired and ready to "sort the candy" in the checkout aisle. Yes, I attempt to limit her opportunity to do that, and then she has a tantrum because she is over tired (from getting up at the crack of dawn because once any light hits her eyes she is wide awake and ready to talk). Given the choice between letting her "sort the candy" and letting her have a tantrum because I won't let her wreak havoc on the candy display, I choose the tantrum. I wish I had the option of leaving her home, but it will be two and a half years before she is old enough to be left alone while I go to the store.

So yeah, my daughter has more tantrums, and more of them are public, than she would if I were not working/had a husband, and didn't have to bring her along on shopping trips and related activities.

I've heard from two parent families that their stress level went up when the second parent went back to work. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: In Shandra's defense | January 30, 2007 11:21 PM

The bottom line is : if you can't control your kids, DON'T BREED !

Posted by: Esssure | January 31, 2007 2:37 AM

I couldn't agree more that there is a line, and sometimes you have to physically restrain your kid regardless of what they want. I continually tell my kids, when they say "but I don't want to . . . " "I did not ask you what you want, I told you what you have to do." I don't think that they like it much.

With that said, I have never put my children on an airplane for one simple reason: my youngest son is autistic. I am not even willing to go into an airport with him, because crowds, close quarters, high-pitched noises, echoes, novelty, changes in pressure, and restraint are serious problems. I just can't put anybody else through that, or my son, for that matter, until his sensory integration progresses somewhat.

So to answer the unwritten question, there are children who are genuinely uncontrollable - and not because their parents are morons. My son and I get evil looks and even very rude comments in other situations when he just melts down and starts stimming uncontrollably. End of outing. But really, the only fault there is in exceeding his (variable) limits on that day with that outing. We do the very best that we can. Sometimes I can tell another child like mine, sometimes I can't (but usually they are the ones screaming with their eyes closed, ears covered, and head held at a strange angle). Sometimes it is obvious to me that a kid is just in complete control of their parents. But to the untrained eye -- I sometimes wonder what people do who HAVE to fly with an autistic child, or who can't just flee the scene and can't arrange for a sitter (yeah -- try getting a sitter for an autistic kid!!). And frankly, some of what I have to do may seem ridiculous or like gratuitously inconveniencing people. But the day is rapidly coming when I WON'T be able to physically restrain him. For everybody's sake, we have to get some ground rules laid before that.

Considering my situation, I thought I would just put in my two cents. You may THINK you know why that kid's screaming like a banshee in the grocery store line, and their mother is just calmly paying for the groceries, but sometimes you don't.

Posted by: badmommy | January 31, 2007 9:58 AM

I park in those "Reserved for Mothers" parking spaces on purpose. I'm a 43 y. o. child-free woman and I refuse to treat mothers as if they are on equal level with the handicapped. First come, first served. And why isn't it "Reserved for Parents?"

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:08 PM

Are you aware that there is a difference between parents controlling their children and children being in control?

Just because a child has temporarily lost control doesn't mean the parent isn't in control. The whole reason for disciplining children is to teach them self-discipline.

Posted by: To Esssure | January 31, 2007 12:39 PM

Father of 4 can't be serious......the airline is at fault for not preparing the family?! The airline's regulations are posted on the Internet, available over the telephone, printed on the ticket, etc.

The family had adequate means to familiarize themselves with regulations. It is not Air Tran's job to coddle them or any other passenger.

What's next? Air Tran should've packed their bags?

Posted by: brought to the point of laughter | January 31, 2007 2:01 PM

I just wanted to clarify that I said that about the tantrums because people were saying "back in the 60s you never saw all these tantrums!" and I was brainstorming ideas other than "because parents now are stupid."

I definitely didn't mean it as a slam on WOHM parents... I work from home part time and the weeks I have big deadlines I am more apt to have to run errands at "prime time" and it is more of a challenge, and - that's all.

I don't consider it damaging to anyone, just a little harder. And I do think that MAY be one reason that people PERCEIVE that there are more tantrums. 'Cause they're out in public from say 5-7 pm rather than tossing their tantrum at home. :)

I don't personally believe parents are any better or worse now than they were then, overall. I think parents almost universally want the best for their kids and do the best they can about it. (There are exceptions, but they are rare.) Ideas about what that is may shift but really I think generally speaking most kids are loved and that's the key. In case that wasn't clear. :)

Posted by: Shandra | January 31, 2007 2:30 PM

to anonymous at 12:08 pm:

Bitter much? How about trying to imagine what it might be like to be in a different situation, instead of wasting so much energy on how you are being slighted by the universe. Nice Christian attitude there.

Next time you are tempted to teach the world a lesson by inconveniencing somebody on purpose, take a deep breath. The world very, very rarely learns through such displays.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:50 PM

No, but the world learns when people refuse to play along with silly games such as "This parking space reserved for mommies." How f-ing silly! Can't you see it's just a ploy by the shopping mall to make it look as though they care about mothers and children. What about dads? Do they get yelled at because they parked in that spot? I can't wait to see a mom with two kids arguing over the spot with a mom with three kids. If you don't see that this is ridiculous and doesn't really help anyone, then get off your high horse. I'm not bitter -- I just believe in pointing out absurdities -- and making people like you froth at the mouth!

Are we at 600 posts yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:17 PM

who says anon 12:08 pm is a Christian?!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:46 PM

A few responses. . .
"The bottom line is : if you can't control your kids, DON'T BREED !"
Highly illogical comment. How are you supposed to know before your kids are born that you can't control them after they are born? And what does this person suggest -- that parents with kids who have occasional meltdowns (i.e., ALL parents, including the parents of all commenters on this blog) should go back in time and reverse the decision to "breed"?
To "badmommy," who really should be called "admirablemommy" in my opinion -- thanks for bringing up the subject of autism. Some kids, and their parents, face special challenges that outsiders don't know about or maybe couldn't understand. Outsiders shouldn't be so quick to judge, at least without knowing all the facts. I totally get you, as I grew up with a mentally retarded sibling who was, at times, a handful.
To the (ungracious) 43-year-old child-free woman who's so upset about ceding parking spaces: Yes, the signs should specify "parents" or even "caregivers," and yes, they should specify "with babies or small children." Bad signs. Still, the point is for those whose arms are free to give a bit of a break to those people who are lugging around babies and/or toddlers. Physically, it's difficult to be carrying an extra 20 pounds or so on your arm all the time (even a tiny baby can be a pretty heavy load when in an infant seat). Is the idea of chivalry and graciousness so foreign to you that you begrudge this small concession?

Posted by: anon mom | January 31, 2007 8:49 PM

Why should I concede to a parent with a child when I might also be in need of a break? That's my point. Why should a healthy mother with a child need so much help when there are people out there -- my mother for example -- who could really use the shorter walk to the Mall even though she isn't physically handicapped. She doesn't have a handicapped sticker and doesn't feel she should get one, but she has physical problems that aren't visible unless you look closely. Or what about my aunt who just had breast cancer surgery three weeks ago and is still recovering? If we're going to give a break on parking to anyone, why not the older folks among us who really NEED the extra help and shorter walk? Just because you have a child or two, it doesn't mean you really need so much help. There are plenty of people who should be allowed to park nearer the stores, not just mommies.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 2:53 PM

Ahhh...This is one of the millions of reasons I've choosen to be childfree. However, kudos to the excellent parents who try their best everyday, like several of my childed friends.
Working through college, one of my jobs was at WalMart, in the toy department. My first gray hair will come from that experience! I'd clean the aisle and a minute later it was destroyed by kids just pulling everything off the shelf. I imagine this is what occurs at home, probably with mommy or daddy picking up after the kids. The scary thing is, many of these children were way too young to be away from a watchful eye of a parent. The parents would use the toy department as a playground or babysitter. Unfortunately, some parents are quite naive, apathetic, or expect the "village" to raise their child.

Posted by: Jess | February 1, 2007 3:10 PM

"Still, the point is for those whose arms are free to give a bit of a break to those people who are lugging around babies and/or toddlers."
Exactly. Old people should be given a little deference, sick people, injured people . . . and mothers and fathers carrying around little kids. And pregnant women, for that matter. It's just common courtesy. Anyone with a bit of manners knows that.
The childless woman who's so, so overwrought about the very idea that she should be a little nice and helpful to a "perfectly healthy" mother reminds me of a teenaged snowboarder I once saw who refused to give up his seat on a crowded ski-mountain tram to a white-haired tourist. Sure, the tourist was perfectly healthy and robust, but still. . .what an inconsiderate jerk that snowboarder was!
By the way, where I live there are signs outside of various establishments that specify certain parking spaces are reserved for "elders." And at our local hospital, certain parking spaces are reserved for maternity patients and new mothers, even perfectly healthy new mothers. Oh the horror!

Posted by: anonymous | February 1, 2007 3:39 PM

I'm sorry, I'm not going to consider the fact that you have children to in some way entitle you to a better parking space. A huge majority of people have children -- so, who gets those two "specially marked" spaces? I'm not rude or inconsiderate to others, I just think it's pointless and stupid to reserve a space for mommies when there are many others out there who much more need the extra help. Get over yourself if you can't handle walking or carrying your your kids an extra 25 feet. Have you never heard of a stroller?

As for your last paragraph, I have no problem for parking spaces being reserved for "elders" and think it's a great idea. And of course "new mothers or maternity patients" can have a few up-front spaces at a HOSPITAL.

Why do you keep calling me rude and inconsiderate when all you know about me is that I'm arguing against this silly practice of reserving spots in parking malls for "Mommies"?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:14 AM

How about this: "This space reserved for anyone who is not completely 100% healthy, able-bodied, fit and rested, with no encumbrances whatsoever."

Now, that fits about 90% of us, so let's all fight over the solo parking space.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:17 AM

"I'm not rude or inconsiderate to others. ."
Yes, you absolutely are. Polite people do not quibble over verbiage on parking signs -- they get and obey the general gist of the message -- or about which group of people is more deserving of politeness. Polite people do not attack others for trying to be polite, even if they privately think the recipients of that politeness are unworthy. And polite people certainly don't try to intercept and negate others' efforts to be polite, even if those efforts might seem a little clumsy.
I'm sorry for you (assuming you're the childless woman who makes a point of parking in spaces reserved for parents with small kids). Ultimately, the anger you're carrying around is your heavy burden. Maybe you need specially reserved parking spaces for that.

Posted by: anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:49 PM

Most airlines allow parents with small children and others with special needs to board flights early. It is 1. an appreciated courtesy, and 2. smart, effective crowd management. It's a recognition that parents carrying kids, diaper bags, etc., tend to move more slowly than the average, less-encumbered customer. It's more efficent and therefore beneficial to all to give a little help to certain people carrying extra loads.
Same with these maligned parking spaces.
Yes, I agree with the argument that the term "mommy," which I have never seen on a parking sign myself, is probably not inclusive enough and also, I think, a little patronizing. But the purpose of the reserved parking is the same as that of airlines' preboarding policies. It is not to grant special status to anyone who has ever, at any time, given birth or to insult non-mommies. It is simply practical, as well as courteous, customer service.
Methinks Ms. Childfree is taking offense where none is intended and no justification exists.
It's worth noting that anyone with a temporary or permanent physical ailment limiting mobility -- such as a broken ankle, ill effects from cancer treatments or simply old age -- is entitled to a sign or sticker giving access to handicapped parking. That may be an imperfect acommocation, but it is an accomodation that already exists, nonetheless.
It's also worth noting that parking spaces are reserved for more people than the handicapped and the caregivers of small children. In my city, for example, some public buildings have parking spaces reserved exclusively for members of the press. Some parking spaces are even reserved specifically for news photographers. The assumption is that these press people, while not of a superior caste to non-press people, have a special need for quick and guaranteed access to these sites. Would Ms. Childfree take offense and purposely park in a news photographer's spot? I wonder.

Posted by: anon mom | February 2, 2007 7:49 PM

It seems as society, we spare the rod and spoil the child. Now, I'm not advocating beating a child to death. But, when I was young, back inthe 60's, if I evern uttered a word at the wrong time, I got slapped. It's embarrasing. And, my daughters grew up knowing that if they misbehaved they would be properly disciplined. On Saturday evening a friend of mine (she has 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren) and I (I have 2 of each) went out to dinner. 9:00 on Saturday evening, Olive Garden. What in the hell are all of these kids doing running around a restraurant that late? After we made our way through the throngs of kids, only to find out that the wait was at least 1.5 hours and that there were no seats at the bar (since when are minors allowed to sit at the bar??) we left a went do a differnet restaurant. I work very hard for my "spendable" income and have no intention of wasting it being gropped, thrown up on, having food thrown at me or listening to someone else's child screeming a the top of their lungs. I observed a very pregnant woman one night at a show. She had 2 other chidlren with her who were completely out of control and yet she was pregnant with another. A friend who was with me leaned over and asked me if I saw any rationale for someone to continue to breed when they could not control the ones they had. Good question. Before a child is brought into this world, we should be asking ourselves why we are doing this? Parents must make sacrifices and if they refuse to do so, then they should not have children.

Posted by: Debbie | February 5, 2007 2:50 PM

I agree with your friend. Parents need to stop trying to be their children's friend and be the parent. Raise your children! That being said...

My question is why did not one of the parents sit in the front seat and put the little girl in the seat beside the other parent??!! If the child is scared, why do you put her in a seat in front of you with a stranger instead of beside one of the "comforting" parents. In that manner, she is strapped in and her screaming, if it continued, would be endured and hopefully soothed by the parent. This shows what these parents clearly need some training.

Posted by: Desiree | February 7, 2007 9:07 AM

This was the most ridiculous crap I have ever heard of! I have two children, now grown, who have been flying (and interacting with the public) since the day they left the hospital.

When I had my first child and wanted to take her from California to Washington, DC, she was only 6 weeks old. As a new mother, I didn't know what to expect, other than I expected my new baby to act up the entire 3000 miles. I paid for a first class ticket so that we wouldn't be jammed in coach if she started to cry. I booked a non-stop flight to cut down on the amount of time that she would be in the air. I made sure she had a pacifier (she never needed one) just in case her ears got plugged. When we I got my boarding pass, I insisted that the seat next to me be empty since the plane wasn't full. Well, my brand new baby slept from SFO to DCA - never woke up the entire 5-1/2 hour flight! The only this she did do, just as we made a rough landing in DC, was to have the messiest, smelliest bowel movement that she could muster, making the whole cabin stink! Fortunately (or because of it) the flight attendants had us leave the plane first.

I had another child three years later. My late husband was in entertainment so the kids and I regularly flew to spend time with him on the road. We also made numerous trips a year home to DC. My children NEVER, EVER, EVER had a tantrum or acted inappropriately. Why? Because we didn't allow that kind of behavior at home. Or at the mall. Or at the homes of friends. I had been married four years before I had my first child and we had amassed a nice cache of crystal and porcelain collectibles. When my daughter crawling, everyone asked me if I was going to put my nice things up where she couldn't reach them. I said that I couldn't put THEIR things up when we came to visit. No, I was going to teach her NOT to touch things, if I had to wear the back of her little hands out. If she (or, later, her brother) even LOOKED like they were going to "stretch out" (throw a tantrum) either in private or public, those Huggies were heated up. By the time they were two years-old, we had them under control. All we had to do is raise an eyebrow and they knew not to act a fool.

My daughter was told since age 7 that she couldn't wear make-up of any kind before age 16. When she got to the age where young girls start wanting to put on a bit of colored lip gloss or blush, it was not even an issue in my home. When she began middle school, she would look up at any time and see me looking through the little window in her classroom door. I only had to do this a few times and she got the impression that Mom was EVERYWHERE, watching her and her brother at every moment.

My son could use the car to take his little girlfriend home when he was 16, but he'd better get that kiss and petting in at the 3 minute red light because I expected my car back in the driveway in exactly 35 minutes.

These parents were actually shocked to learn that the public did not rise up against AirTran. Apparently they believe that all children are entitled to act a fool every now and then. Anyone with an ounce of good sense could see that this was not the first time that this spoiled child "stretched out", either at home or in public. She has been allowed to control her parents by using bad behavior as a bargaining chip. And her actions are only going to get worse. She will not listen to them when she's 15 and decides that she wants to have a baby. Then at age 18, she'll be getting out of cars with her legs wide open and no panties. The next week, her parents will discover (a) she's stripping and/or hooking, (b) strung out on heroin, (c) already 4 months pregnant, (d) suffering from about three different STDs, or (e) all of the above!

You have to start disciplining children BEFORE they get so that they can out-think their parents (at about age 5). And parents have to be consistent and proactive with the discipline.

Now you may think that I have ended up with children who went out of control when they went off to college or hate their parents. NOPE!!! Both of my children are successful, confident, and well-adjusted. My husband was killed in a home-invasion robbery when they were teens and I told them that was not the time for them to act up - that their father had loved them and had taught them how to be good human beings - he would be dissappointed if they derailed just because he was no longer with us.

If those people don't teach that little girl how to act, she is going to be miserable and so are they. Fair and unabusive discipline shows children that they are loved. Children who are allowed to run (ruin?) their parents will never have any respect for themselves or others. I don't like to be around ill-mannered children and I sure wouldn't want to be 30,000 feet up when some bad ass kid decides to take off running down the aisle and grabbing the emergency exit or hitting the pilot with a GameBoy!!

But this family should not have been given anything more than a refund and made to take another airline. Or not allowed to fly again. Rent a car! Don't subject anyone else to your poor parenting skills. This was almost an act of terrorism! A brat at 30,000 feet is not cute. Give me some snakes!

Posted by: OhMyGoddess | February 8, 2007 11:25 PM

This was the most ridiculous crap I have ever heard of! I have two children, now grown, who have been flying (and interacting with the public) since the day they left the hospital.

When I had my first child and wanted to take her from California to Washington, DC, she was only 6 weeks old. As a new mother, I didn't know what to expect, other than I expected my new baby to act up the entire 3000 miles. I paid for a first class ticket so that we wouldn't be jammed in coach if she started to cry. I booked a non-stop flight to cut down on the amount of time that she would be in the air. I made sure she had a pacifier (she never needed one) just in case her ears got plugged. When we I got my boarding pass, I insisted that the seat next to me be empty since the plane wasn't full. Well, my brand new baby slept from SFO to DCA - never woke up the entire 5-1/2 hour flight! The only this she did do, just as we made a rough landing in DC, was to have the messiest, smelliest bowel movement that she could muster, making the whole cabin stink! Fortunately (or because of it) the flight attendants had us leave the plane first.

I had another child three years later. My late husband was in entertainment so the kids and I regularly flew to spend time with him on the road. We also made numerous trips a year home to DC. My children NEVER, EVER, EVER had a tantrum or acted inappropriately. Why? Because we didn't allow that kind of behavior at home. Or at the mall. Or at the homes of friends. I had been married four years before I had my first child and we had amassed a nice cache of crystal and porcelain collectibles. When my daughter crawling, everyone asked me if I was going to put my nice things up where she couldn't reach them. I said that I couldn't put THEIR things up when we came to visit. No, I was going to teach her NOT to touch things, if I had to wear the back of her little hands out. If she (or, later, her brother) even LOOKED like they were going to "stretch out" (throw a tantrum) either in private or public, those Huggies were heated up. By the time they were two years-old, we had them under control. All we had to do is raise an eyebrow and they knew not to act a fool.

My daughter was told since age 7 that she couldn't wear make-up of any kind before age 16. When she got to the age where young girls start wanting to put on a bit of colored lip gloss or blush, it was not even an issue in my home. When she began middle school, she would look up at any time and see me looking through the little window in her classroom door. I only had to do this a few times and she got the impression that Mom was EVERYWHERE, watching her and her brother at every moment.

My son could use the car to take his little girlfriend home when he was 16, but he'd better get that kiss and petting in at the 3 minute red light because I expected my car back in the driveway in exactly 35 minutes.

These parents were actually shocked to learn that the public did not rise up against AirTran. Apparently they believe that all children are entitled to act a fool every now and then. Anyone with an ounce of good sense could see that this was not the first time that this spoiled child "stretched out", either at home or in public. She has been allowed to control her parents by using bad behavior as a bargaining chip. And her actions are only going to get worse. She will not listen to them when she's 15 and decides that she wants to have a baby. Then at age 18, she'll be getting out of cars with her legs wide open and no panties. The next week, her parents will discover (a) she's stripping and/or hooking, (b) strung out on heroin, (c) already 4 months pregnant, (d) suffering from about three different STDs, or (e) all of the above!

You have to start disciplining children BEFORE they get so that they can out-think their parents (at about age 5). And parents have to be consistent and proactive with the discipline.

Now you may think that I have ended up with children who went out of control when they went off to college or hate their parents. NOPE!!! Both of my children are successful, confident, and well-adjusted. My husband was killed in a home-invasion robbery when they were teens and I told them that was not the time for them to act up - that their father had loved them and had taught them how to be good human beings - he would be dissappointed if they derailed just because he was no longer with us.

If those people don't teach that little girl how to act, she is going to be miserable and so are they. Fair and unabusive discipline shows children that they are loved. Children who are allowed to run (ruin?) their parents will never have any respect for themselves or others. I don't like to be around ill-mannered children and I sure wouldn't want to be 30,000 feet up when some bad ass kid decides to take off running down the aisle and grabbing the emergency exit or hitting the pilot with a GameBoy!!

But this family should not have been given anything more than a refund and made to take another airline. Or not allowed to fly again. Rent a car! Don't subject anyone else to your poor parenting skills. This was almost an act of terrorism! A brat at 30,000 feet is not cute. Give me some snakes!

Posted by: OhMyGoddess | February 8, 2007 11:43 PM

Jenna Jameson

Posted by: Jenna Jameson | February 13, 2007 2:13 PM

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