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'Bye, Bye, Plane'

Apparently, some airline attendants don't have much patience for toddlers acting their age. At least that's the impression some airline workers are giving.

Kate Penland and her 19-month-old son, Garron, were kicked off a Continental Express flight at a stop in Houston last month because Garron was talking too much. According to Penland, Garron repeatedly said "bye, bye, plane" as the plane was taxiing in Houston on its way to Oklahoma, much to the chagrin of a flight attendant giving the safety spiel. "At the end of her speech, she leaned over the gentleman beside me and said, 'It's not funny anymore. You need to shut your baby up,' " Penland told WSB-TV in Atlanta. The flight attendant then told Penland to give the baby Benadryl, which Penland declined to do.

This isn't the first time in the past year that a toddler has been kicked off a plane. In January, three-year-old Elly Kulesza and her parents were asked to leave an AirTran flight before takeoff because Elly was throwing a tantrum and refusing to sit in her seat. After the family was off the plane, an airline employee proceeded to lecture the parents about how to discipline their child. AirTran eventually apologized and refunded Elly's parents for the cost of their tickets.

Last fall, Emily Gillette and her husband were told to exit a plane when she refused to cover up while breast-feeding their 22-month-old daughter. The family has since filed a lawsuit against the airlines involved, Freedom and Delta.

Here's an idea: Maybe an airline should step up to the plate and offer family-friendly service. Court us rather than kick us off planes. Recognize that it's not always practical to get from point A to point B in a car or on a train. Remember that parents are paying customers and most are working hard to keep their kids from bothering all the adults around them. And maybe we parents should start publicly rating airlines for how they treat our kids on flights.

How do you think airlines should treat families? Have you had any particularly good -- or bad -- flying experiences?

11:40 a.m. Update: Post reporter Del Quentin Wilber has sent over a query that's tangentially related to this. He's seeking information from parents who have sent their children on flights alone this summer. If you're willing to share any type of experience good or bad -- airline employees who helped out a lot; delays suffered on tarmacs; children stranded in other cities -- and be quoted in a Post story, e-mail him at wilberd@washpost.com.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 13, 2007; 9:30 AM ET  | Category:  Preschoolers
Previous: Milestones Gone By the Wayside | Next: Manners -- Are They Really Forgotten?

Comments


Well, there is a big difference from the bye bye plane incident and the brat not sitting down incident. In the first, the flight attendant was waaay out of line and seriously needs to be fired. In the second, the RULES are that EVERYONE has to be seated and buckled in before the flight can take off, and the "parents" refused to step up to the plate and make their kid sit down.
As far as the breastfeeding incident, again that was absurd - people need to get over themselves.

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't know enough about the specifics of the "bye, bye, plane" incident to comment, but after reading about AirTran kicking the 3 year old off the plane earlier this year, I made sure we flew AirTran for our next vacation. If I remember properly, the parents would not seat Elly in her own seat as is required by FAA regulations. I like knowing that flight attendants are trying to follow the rules designed to make all passengers safe. That said, and as a parent of a very small child who must fly to see grandparents, I think we all need to be more polite and aware of our co-passengers - many parents need to expect better behavior from their kids (not that a 2 year old should be expected to act like a 22 year old at all times, but there is no reason why a child should be able to kick the person's chair ahead of them, and when asked politely to redirect their child's energy, a parent should reply 'Whaddaya want me to do about it?'). Boorish/drunk passengers should also be kicked off more frequently when they make flights unpleasant.

Posted by: SAF | July 13, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Including the AirTran incident in with the other two is totally wrong. From everything I heard about that, the flight attendants did the right thing and the parents were totally in the wrong.

I've flown with my kids (now 5 and 4) quite a bit since they were babies and fortunately I've never had a bad experience. The airline personnel have always been very helpful and accomodating.

Posted by: Dennis | July 13, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

A flight attendant kicked off a happy, babbling toddler? With the phrase "shut your baby up"? That's plain evil. Dollars to donuts, she's fired by Monday. As it should be.

Posted by: WDC | July 13, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with "Me". Too little detail in your story to know what really happened. But flight attendents can't change FAA regs.
Parents of young children should fly Southwest, if a recent experience I had on that airline is typical. They don't assign seats, and people tend to wait on line before the plane starts boarding to get a seat of their choice. A few minutes before boarding we were all settled in, all window and aisle seats taken, most of us business travellers who'd already gotten laptops and work out of our bags and ready to start after takeoff. A young family came in with 2 kids under 4 just before departure time. They looked around and the (very young) mother started to cry. The flight attendants started asking people to move so the family could stay together. The mother apparently didn't want them to be split up 2 and 2, so she kept crying until 3 people had given up their seat (thereby having to pack up and move to middle seats). I felt sorry for all involved, I understood the mom (though not the crying--please)and I know I would have been very resentful to have to move. Result: I've vowed not to fly SW again until they start assigning seats, and I'll recommend it to parents who travel with kids!

Posted by: Arlington | July 13, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

There's a huge difference between the 19 month old babbling and the three year old not sitting down -- both in terms of safety and and in terms of how the parents behaved.

The flight attendant who couldn't handle the "bye, bye, plane" sounds like someone who just hates children and abused her power as a flight attendant to kick the family off. They should sue the pants off that airline and that flight attendant in particular.

Posted by: Ryan | July 13, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree with all the commenters saying hte child not sitting down is VERY different than the child babbling. Granted, I'll admit that I hate flying near children. I seem to be a magnet for the kid behind me kicking my seat, but I realize that kids are kids, and they talk a lot - its how they learn the art of speech.

But the safety issue is another thing. The plane couldn't take off until everyone was belted in. I mean, if these same parents were driving around with a child not belted in, people would call it child abuse - even if they said they just couldn't get her to sit down in the seat.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everyone else. The bratty toddler and her parents should have been kicked off, no question. I applaud Air Tran for that decision and it makes me more likely to fly with them. But this new incident is pretty outrageous - give your kid meds to shut him up? Geez. Toddlers talking non-stop can be annoying, but it's much more palatable than having a kid screaming the whole time. The breastfeeding incident I also agree with. I have no problem with doing it in public, but why do some women feel free to let everyone see their breasts? It's not hard to cover with a blanket - I feel as though when a lot of people have kids they think they can do whatever they want, and that they come first. Sorry, you don't. Having kids doesn't give you an excuse to act like a jerk or like you're entitled. And just because you think your toddler running around being rude and screaming is adorable doesn't mean everyone else does.

Posted by: Laney | July 13, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

We have always flown to our vacation destination & have always purchased separate seats for our children and only had one bad episode. Several years ago when my daughter was very little & still in a car seat, we got on a plane. We put buckled her car seat in & put her in it, as we'd do in our car and as we'd done on other flights. The flight attendant told us that the car seat wasn't "FAA approved" and that we couldn't use it. She told us that we'd have to hold her on our laps & she'd stow the car seat. I argued that that was not safe and that we had paid for the seat. She would not back down, and though I was fuming, I complied and did not fight it further. At our layover, we were told that the attendant was wrong, that there was no such thing as an FAA approval for car seats (I have no idea if that's changed now), and they upgraded us to first class for the last leg of our flight.

Posted by: M.A. | July 13, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

fr Laney:

>...And just because you think your toddler running around being rude and screaming is adorable doesn't mean everyone else does.

Oh, SO true. I was flying back to CA fr PA from a family funeral, and the lovely little "darling" aged 3 was poking, pushing, and shoving me while she was seated between her "mother" and me. She also woke me up from a much-needed NAP (which "mommy" said she hadn't had TIME for that day"). Lovely little darling darn near got told to go play outside. I'm pretty relaxed, but this went beyond the pale.

Posted by: Alex | July 13, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Even a 19 month old can understand that we need to be quiet and listen while the flight attendant tells us the safety rules.

I've been a relatively easy going parent to my now teenagers, however toddlers do need to know when their behavior is inappropriate for a situation. There are times to say "You may not" and times to pick up a child and put him/her in a car seat.

Posted by: North Carolina | July 13, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Children need to be disciplined to fly, plane and simple! Your child is allllllllllllllllllll your problem. End of story. Control your children at all times, and when on aircraft. It is not the other persons problem. ITS YOURS!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

M.A., there is FAA approval for carseats. If a seat is approved there will be a sticker on it. This has been the case since at least 2002 when I first started flying with my kids. The flight attendants always checked for the sticker when I brought the carseat on.

Posted by: Dennis | July 13, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of some sort of family-friendly package or even area for flights. Traveling familes are a large part of the consumer base (espcially in the summer). I think the arlines would find it to their advantage to accomodate families - to their benefit and that of other passengers. As a parent of small children, I know I never want my kids to cause others discomfort. I am not sure what they can do to accomodate this - a section of the plane that is served juice and shown kids movies? A lot of parents travel with that stuff anyway, but kids seated together and getting to know one another is easier than mixing everyone up in the general population.

Posted by: Former NoVa mom | July 13, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey, the tantruming toddler was dismissed from the flight rightfully so as the other passengers would not have been able to take off until EVERYONE was seated. The lastest attendant was way out of line with her choice of words, but not unreasonable in her request to ask that the toddler be quiet. It just should have been done in a better way.

Far often these days parents seem to think that their children are above the rules. Parents take too much stock in the wants of their children over general common courtesy to others. Most often, this is the bottom line.

Posted by: ResponsibleAdult | July 13, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

No, a 19-month old can not understand when to be quiet, and is not going to have the first clue why the lady at the front of the plane is talking. Saying "bye-bye plane" is exactly what a child that age thinks is the right thing to do. My 19-month old son says "bye-bye" to EVERYTHING, and that's fine with me.

Posted by: Justin | July 13, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I will wait til I hear the other side of this story from the flight attendant. I have been on many flights where parents do nothing to stop their children from talking over the rules and regulations that are required by law. The attendants and the rest of the flight crew are in charge and people who refuse to follow their orders need to get off the planes.

Posted by: S.P. | July 13, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm not particularly fond of children, either on or off airplanes, but even *I* think this most recent flight attendant was out of line.

The accounts I have read say that the child was talking in a normal voice, not screaming or wailing loudly. I imagine that there were adults talking on that flight, too. Should they all have been thrown off the plane?

I agree, though, that the child who wouldn't sit down is a whole 'nother story. The flight attendant doesn't make the rules, but s/he has to enforce them.

Posted by: mccxxiii | July 13, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

My incident would have happened around 1997 or so - my daughter was born in '96. I can only go by the information we had at the time. There was clearly a discrepancy with what the attendant believed and what the airline officials at our layover told us.

Posted by: re: car seats | July 13, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Most parents do a decent job of controlling--or trying to control--their children's behavior on planes. And I get that planes are boring, uncomfortable places for small children. They are for us all. But for those parents who don't try, wake up! Your child needs you to provide the entertainment, and your fellow passengers shouldn't have to suffer when you don't. I once flew on a plane with a small child (age 2 or 3) who not only fussed and squalled, but climbed all over the plane and got in the way of the flight attendants as they were trying to provide beverage service. Toward the end of the flight, the mother looked at the person across the aisle and said, nodding at the toddler, "She's so tired. She was up late all week, playing with her cousins." Now there's a problem that extends far beyond the plane. This woman wouldn't enforce bedtime, so everyone around her has to accommodate her. That isn't the child's fault. It's the parents.

Again, most parents seem to do a decent job of keeping their kids' behavior in line. And sometimes there's nothing you can do. But don't expect that the other passengers will be happy about it. So if you can't get your child to settle down, at least be obvious in your efforts to do so.

Posted by: Kate | July 13, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Why don't airlines start making "kid-free" options for the rest of us (and possibly for flight attendants who aren't kiddie friendly)? I understand that folks need to travel with kids. However, while I see options to pay more to upgrade my seat to an exit row, I would pay real money to not have a young child anywhere near me on a long flight, kicking my seat from the back, screaming, bored, etc.

Posted by: wah? | July 13, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'll have to agree with the airlines. Out of control kids are a nuisance and shouldn't be on the airplane. I've been on planes with squalling babies and kids who continually kick the back of my seat and the parents ignore them. Really not a pleasant experience. If you can't control them, you shouldn't have them.

One instance an out of control toddler was running amuck, up and down the aisles, getting in the way and annoying the other passengers. When we approached for a landing the stew. told the mother, who was blythely ignoring the kid, to get him strapped in the seat because we were preparing the land. The mother replied "I'm trying to but he won't let me." Scares me to think a two-year-old was controlling the mother.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane

Annoyed yet?

bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane bye bye plane

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I fly a lot from BWI or DCA to and from Seattle on business. I have found it essential to have my MP3 player, plus noise-reducing headphones for these flights, not just for screaming or loud kids, but just to reduce outside noise in general. Then, if the kid is screaming, just smile and listen to your music. I agree that parents should be completely responsible for their kids, but I also recognize that kids don't always act the way we would like them to act at the appropriate times. Having said that, I have also seen some immaculately behaved kids who are a pleasure to fly with.

Posted by: Tim O | July 13, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The worse experience I ever had flying was when I flew with a bunch of young (probably 18-19ys) Marines. Gak. As far as kids, as long as they are not kicking my seat or smacking me in the head, they tend not to bother me much. If they get loud, well that's why God invented headphones...and alcohol ;-)

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

This week my husband and I flew home from our vacation (on NWA). The attendants couldn't have been more fawning over the fraternal 3 year old twins sitting just behind us. Which amused no one sitting in the directly adjoining rows.

The little boy of the pair had no concept of "inside voices". About every five minutes, he would let out a nerve-grating shout of joy while playing with his toys at a volume level high enough to make people in the row in front of us take off their huge, ear-covering headphones and turn around. Not to mention everyone who was napping within a three row radius (this was a 7 am flight) kept starting awake. And the mother made little to no effort to make him stop this behaviour.

The little girl was better noise-wise, but kept throwing her plastic toys across the aisle to her father, *with* his encouragement. Her aim was less than impeccable, much to the annoyance of the rows in front and behind the father who kept getting hit with the toys.

Oh, and our seats were kicked continuously throughout the flight. When my husband, myself, or the lady sharing our row each politely asked the mother to keep them from kicking the seats (and I was sitting in the middle with the mother behind me - the kicks were lateral as well as straight), she kept insisting in an offended and defensive tone that her children were NOT kicking the seats.

Even though a) I heard her tell them right after they sat down to stop kicking the seats so she knew they'd been doing it to start, and b) if we looked between the seats behind us, you could see them both actively kicking! I guess she thought that we thought we had special vibrating seats.

But every time the flight attendants passed the row (except during beverage service), they would stop and talk to the kids and tell the parents how just adorable their children were, and hold extended conversations and bring them little kid-friendly things. Which would then contribute to the kids yelling greetings to the attendants (no "thank you's", though) for a few minutes after their departure each and every time.

So please don't talk to me about family-friendly service right now. The flight crew couldn't have been nicer to that family, while not caring about the comfort of the customers who were being disturbed. Or perhaps, with all this screaming about "family friendly" flights, they didn't want to open up the airline to law suits by asking the parents to keep their children under a modicum of control.

Kids are unpredictable, sure. Seat kicking is almost to be expected, as well as the occasional outburst. And I get that having twin 3 year olds can't be easy, but how hard is it on a 2 hour flight to not encourage your children to throw toys and have them *consistently* keep their voices down?

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 13, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Parents are responsible for their children at all times. Period. Yes, babies get fussy and sometimes there's nothing you can do. But before claiming that they can't help it, parents should make sure that their kids are well-rested, well-fed, and entertained before and during the flight. Go to the dollar store and buy 10 new cheap toys. Unveil them one by one. Pack a few treats that the child normally doesn't get (cookies, a lollipop to help their ears pop). If they're doing something that might be annoying to someone else tell them to knock it off, or if they are too young to understand that they are being annoying, the parents should distract them.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I've never had a problem with airlines and my kids. I've had one or two flights when my baby was crying and, I'm sure annoying other people, and I felt terrible about it. But we did our best, and ultimately he tired out and fell asleep. Even then, I had no problem with the airline. Maybe I've just been lucky.

I can't think of any one airline that has been better than others. I typically fly USair and Southwest with the kids, and never have a problem. Even security takes pity on me and is helpful, or at least not impatient or rude.

Posted by: Cliff | July 13, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Breast feeding at 22 months?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I fly a lot of for work, and generally, I have no problems with kids/babies on flights, recognizing that someday I will likely be in the situation of the parents and would like some grace from my fellow passengers when the kids act like, well, kids. I did gripe when an on an overnight flight from Dulles to Austria I was subjected to a bratty little boy sitting behind me, who kept me up the entire night with intermittent kicks to my seat, constant chatter and/or whining. I kept asking him and his mother to please stop and quiet down, but I'd get an apology along with the continued behavior. With about an hour left in the flight and almost no sleep, I decided to just deal with it, and opened my window to get some sunlight to start adjusting my body clock. By that point, the little boy had finally fallen asleep, and the flight attendant actually had the nerve to come up, reach past me, and shut my window, saying that the light would wake the boy up, so I had to keep it closed. I was so stunned, I didn't know what to say -- where was she when this boy was acting up for the past 8 hours? For the most, I find that flight attendants and passengers are very accommodating to families (even overly so, as in my case), so these few exceptions where a hard line is taken should hardly be considered the rule.

Posted by: Luv the 13th | July 13, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

To start off I LOVE KIDS, I work with kids, but I hate bad kids and the parents that dont raise them. I have flown many many times where kids young and old, small and not so small, have kicked my seat, sung out loud for hours, sung loudly, played with my clothes or bags or seating area or just crawled all over me, and 97% of the time the parents think its either "cute" or that its expected and I shouldn't be upset, and when I have said something they get this horrified look on thier face like "How dare you suggest my child is being annoying". I'm not even going into the kids who scream or cry the entire flight.

I think there should be "child and parent flights" since these parents arent bothered by this behavior I think we should have flights just for them so they wont be stressed about what others are thinking and the rest of us who dont want to be traumatized for our 3hr plus flights can fly in peace.

PS
Awful flight attendants shoud be forced to work these child and parent flights as punishment.
:)

Posted by: Berto | July 13, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I do try to keep my kids under control when we fly but I'm not always successful. We had one bad experience with each as babies. My youngest is not one to sit still for hours even with a gameboy and an ipod but we do certainly do try and do keep an eye out for the kicking the seat.

But some people here need to chill out and buy themselves a good pair of headphones. I don't find children as annoying as drunks or loud adults who think that everyone cares what they have to say, especially while they one their phones pretending like they're closing some million dollar deal. Yeah, sure.

Posted by: free bird | July 13, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I admit, if I were on a plane, the kid repeating "bye bye plane" would have annoyed the Hell out of me, but I'd put on headphones and order a drink, I DON'T think it's grounds to be kicked off the plane.

The toddler who wouldn't stay in her seat is a different case entirely, that's a safety issue, not an "annoying the other passengers" issue.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of a pile-on...

The parents are obligated to *try their best* to control their young children. They can control the child's gross physical condition, such as whether or not they are sitting in a seat or kicking or hitting people around them. However, everyone here who has ever parented a small child should know that you do not have absolute control over the noises they choose to emit. You can try really, really hard. You can use all the right parenting skills from all the trendiest parenting books. You can try to have your kid napped and well-fed. But in the end, if your kid decides they're going to scream in a public space, there's little literal control you have. So for all of you smug people who have had perfect control of your toddlers, that's great. You're probably great parents. But you also had pretty good kids. Some kids--neurologically different ones especially, such as ones with ADHD (like mine), ODD, Asperger's, Autism, etc., don't cooperate so easily. They don't respond like the well-brushed kids in all the parenting books. So maybe the next time you see what you think is some out-of-control little brat, maybe some sympathy for the parent, or even assistance, might be more in order.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

As the parent of an 18-month-old, even though she is well-behaved for her age, the thing that worries me most about flying isn't hauling her plus her car seat plus our junk through the airport - it's the fear that she will annoy other passengers. I bring so much with us in the way of food, toys, books, ANYTHING that could possibly interest and amuse her. I want fellow passengers to get off our flight saying "Wow - that wasn't as bad as I thought!" instead of saying "Ban kids from planes!"

If parents are doing their best to try to contain the inevitable mayhem of their kids and to entertain and distract their kids through the trip - and if they don't ask more of their kids than they are able to give for their age, a big key - hopefully most other reasonable people will understand if there's some noise. The clueless, I-can't-make-them-behave parents make it hard on us trying-really-hard parents, too!

Posted by: E | July 13, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The only occasion I have to fly these days is when I go to visit my parents - retirees living in Florida - which means I fly between Philadelphia and Orlando. I would dearly love it if USAir or Southwest would offer adult-only flights in and out of Orlando!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most of my flights out of Orlando have not been too bad, but I did have one nightmare flight. The plane was packed (mostly families returning from Disney), so there was no chance of changing seats. I was in the second to the last row, with a child sitting behind me who proceeded to kick the back of my seat the entire two hours we were in the air. The girl's mother was sitting right next to her and did NOTHING to discourage her daughter from engaging in this extremely annoying behavior. Not a peep out of her. Quite frankly, I blame the mother more than the daughter. The girl probably didn't know any better, but the mother should have. To make matters worse, there where thunderstorms in Philly, so it was a bumpier than usual landing. You guessed it! Not only did I have the kicking kid behind me, but on landing I also had a planeful of screaming kids.

Like I said, the airlines would be doing their adult customers a huge favor by offering adult-only flights.

Posted by: Murphy | July 13, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Back in the middle 90's, I took my only red eye back from California to NY (foolishly thinking I could save a whole day in the office by flying[and sleeping]at night). The plane was full and directly behind me was a 4 or 5 year-old who upon sitting down began to kick the back of my chair. His mother did nothing to stop him. I asked him to stop. He did not. I asked his mother to stop him. She didn't. After 5 requests that went unheeded, I got out a small roll of duct tape from my briefcase (All things can be fixed with either WD-40 or duct tape...if it moves and shouldn't-duct tape it, if it should move and doesn't-WD-40) and Quietly said to him, "If you don't stop kicking my chair, I will duct tape your feet and hands to the chair...and if you make any noise, I'll include your mouth. I'm not related to you...I don't care if you live or die!"

Four businessmen nearby stood up in their seats and slowly, quietly clapped and sat down. The "child" did not kick my chair again. As I left the plane, one of the attendants asked if she could use that line...I said, "sure, but keep cotton on hand so the duct tape doesn't leave marks."

Over the years I've come to the conclusion that the death penalty is appropriate only for 4 offenses: Failure to say, "Excuse me", "I'm sorry", "Please", and "Thank you."

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Since dereguation of the airlines, and the airlines trying to compete, prices have dropped drastically. This leaves people who have no business on a plane other than the price was so low they had to go and see grandma in Topeka. Look at Southwest, Jet Blue, etc. a bunch of hillbillys jamming the planes, and bringing normal travlers to tears. It's the airlines own fault lowering the prices

Posted by: Lucky dog. | July 13, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"So maybe the next time you see what you think is some out-of-control little brat, maybe some sympathy for the parent, or even assistance, might be more in order."

I agree, provided the parent is actually making an effort. Sometimes it's pretty clear that the parent is just ignoring the child's behavior.

It's all a matter of respect. People without kids need to respect that children have a right to fly. Parents need to respect that other people don't think their kids are the cutest things on the planet so they need to do their best to keep their kids from bothering other passengers.

Posted by: Joe | July 13, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Seems as if there must be more to this story-- either that, or the flight attendant is insane and needs to be fired immediately.

Most of the parents I see who travel with young children do seem to try very hard to keep them quiet and well-behaved. I did spend one very long flight with the kid behind me kicking my seat and playing a loud video game. The parents ignored my requests for him to stop kicking the seat, but the flight attendant made him put the video game away.

I usually fly Southwest and I always choose a seat as far as possible from young kids.

Posted by: Rockville | July 13, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Any airline that bans babies, toddlers and misbehaving kids is going to be my airline of choice.

Then there's the time I witnessed an clueless mother changing a poopy diaper on the plane. There were two businessmen-types sitting right in front of her, reading their Wall Street Journals. They couldn't see what was going on but I could because I was across the aisle. The mother laid the baby on the seat and proceeded to remove the offending diaper, leave the baby laying bare-a** on the seat while she rummaged for a clean one, his little weeny jiggling all the while. One man sniffed the air, looking disgusted, went back to reading, then did more sniffing around his seat mate. The other started sniffing the air too, both looking very suspicious of the other. It was funny as hell. I could hardly keep from breaking up.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

In fairness to the mother changing her baby on the seat, on a lot of airplanes there is no room to do it in the bathrooms. The newer planes are much better about having changing tables in them, but on some of the older planes, it's impossible to change a diaper in the bathroom.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I see nothing in the Bill of Rights of the United States of America that says annoying children have to fly places in order to vacation/see Gamma-PopPop/visit Mommy/Daddy.

Parents need to keep their spawn in their own cars when they travel.

Posted by: Phillyfilly | July 13, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Joe, my comment came because of the pain I experienced for most of my kid's earlier years because my efforts to get him to conform to social norms were often quite futile. When he was six we could finally get him medication which helped sometimes. I know he must have been annoying the heck out of the people around us because he was annoying the heck out of me.

Now at age twelve, he has grown up. Somewhat. Despite my efforts, I cannot take credit for this. God/Ram/whoever decided to let the nervous system in his frontal lobes grow in a little. I feel extremely grateful.

With a kid like that, you have to pick your battles or things can get worse. Hence many others may have thought we weren't trying at all. I suppose maybe we should have just isolated the child from the rest of humanity for the first nine years of his life, but then he never would have learned any social skills, and we would have become abusive.

This is the effect of moderate ADHD. There's a lot of that out there, and a lot worse. I should know, I've seen it. I'm a teacher.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Breast feeding at 22 months?"

There are some that go on much longer than that...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Unless someone comes forward and corroborates the flight attendant's story, I'm betting she'll be out of a job. From what we're hearing so far, it sounds like she was in a seriously pissy mood and took it out on a young child and the mother.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 13, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"So maybe the next time you see what you think is some out-of-control little brat, maybe some sympathy for the parent, or even assistance, might be more in order."

Why should I give a damn? You had the little spawn, you raise 'em!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, Viking!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

We've only heard the "Mom's" story. And no mom ever admitted to over the top behaviour of their little darling. The flight attendant is innocent until proven guilty...and the odds are at least even that if the press story was the whole story, that attendant would be looking for a new job even as we write. Since there has been no comment from the airline, I think the jury is still out on this one.

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It is narcissism to think that your children are the center of the universe.

It is no less narcissism to be so childish as to be unable to tolerate any manifestation of childishness from an actual child.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why are people spewing such vitriol on this blog? I've been on both ends of this argument, both as a business traveler and as a mom traveling with my daughter (we have flown with her several times a year since she was two months old). While I of course agree that parents should control their children (and I have done so with my daughter), I don't understand the borderline hatred that some have against babies and toddlers. We were all a child once!

My husband and I are flying with our daughter (who is almost three) to Europe in less than two weeks, and my in-laws graciously upgraded us to first class (the trip was present to us). Now I'm getting nervous about having her up front in the plane!

Posted by: PLS | July 13, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Viking,

You should give a damn because this spawn may be running your country someday. Or your nursing home. Or wiping your backside in said nursing home.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Some of you are just idiots. During flight attendants' safety warnings before the flight begins, approximately 90% of the people on board aren't paying attention and many of them are talking. Why in the world should a single 19 month old be expected to be quiet when all you people can't shut up?

Also, those of you who think a 19 month old can be told to be quiet (and think that said 19 month old will comply) are incredibly stupid.

Posted by: Ryan | July 13, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

There's all sort of annoying things on planes. Self absorbed businessmen who think the plane is a second office? The fat person who splills over onto your seat? The drunk couple who mistake the plane for a bedroom? The list goes on and on. So, why pick on kids? Flying is a carnival. Get over it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Seriously people, if you haven't gotten in the habit of taking earplugs with you whenever you travel then you're not livin'!

Posted by: Rosslyn | July 13, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

PLS - Some here may just hate kids, but I think most of the vitriol is or should be directed at the parents who just don't care what their kids do. Kids, after all, are kids.

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Viking, I didn't mean to address my last comment to you. I meant it for the unnamed person just before the "Bravo Viking" post.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

One issue is that the changing air pressure on planes can really hurt a kid's ears, especially if they are developing an ear infection. I was seated near a mom who was cradling her baby in her lap while the baby kept screaming! I suggested that she hold the baby upright. The child stopped crying. Something to try...

Posted by: VABreeze | July 13, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

PLS, I have read every posting to date and have seen no vitriol against children...but I have noted a lot of anger against parents who put themselves and their children ahead of everyone else.

When I was growing up, my parents drove to Florida instead of flying because they felt that my brother and I were too young (5 and 3) to "inflict" on other people in a confined space. In that era, you considered others and how you would want to be treated in their place...there was tremendous value in being "considerate."

Most people today who have "problem" children know it...and put their interests above those around them. The attitude is, "tough. Endure it...I and mine come first."

And the proof of this is the lack of apology from those who inflict this on their fellow travelers.

Sure, stuff happens. But an ernest, "I'm really sorry about this" goes a long way to giving parents (and their children) a break. And if a parent won't train their children or won't correct them, its about time someone taught them that "Freedom of choice is NOT freedom from consequences."

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I see nothing in the Bill of Rights of the United States of America that says annoying children have to fly places in order to vacation/see Gamma-PopPop/visit Mommy/Daddy.

Parents need to keep their spawn in their own cars when they travel.

Posted by: Phillyfilly | July 13, 2007 11:37 AM

Yay! I can drive to England to visit my inlaws!

Posted by: Tara | July 13, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Deli, no offense taken...and what you said sure could apply to all of us...

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Tara, have you considered swimming...(LOL)

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's true that we were all children once. On the other hand, when I was growing up, my father drove the family across country so we could visit the extended family. I had my first plane ride when I was 12, by which point I was old enough to know how to behave myself.

Posted by: Murphy | July 13, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Deli

"You should give a damn because this spawn may be running your country someday. Or your nursing home. Or wiping your backside in said nursing home."

Is there a global population shortage?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Viking,

Your parents sound like wise people, and my parents did the same thing back in the day.

However my parents are across the country and my husband's parents live overseas. Unfortunately driving often wasn't an option, and the alternative, even with our problem child, would have been never seeing his grandparents, which ultimately would have been worse.

Hence we were often left with the one recourse you mentioned...apologizing early and often.

That being said, my husband's family is from Turkey. We fly Turkish Airlines as often as possible, because the attitude of the other passengers towards children is much more relaxed and tolerant. Oddly enough, and maybe this is just my personal illusion, but my kid seemed to behave a little better in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"Is there a global population shortage?"

Mr./Ms.___,

So, are you saying that no one should reproduce ever again, starting now?

Yes, I agree that population needs to decline. That's why I thought long and hard about having one, single kid. (I thought long and hard after, as well, but that's another story!)

However, I don't think that rigidity and intolerance will do much to solve the problems of pollution, global warming, overfishing, etc. Quite the opposite.

Posted by: Deli Korkmaz | July 13, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Deli, appreciate the background,...and I think you are probably right. I'd be the first to acknowledge that there are exceptions to all rules.

Unfortunately there is probably no absolute right or wrong here, other than everyone at all times trying to act in a civilized and considerate way. And it seems most of the comments here go directly to that point...or lack of it.

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

When I heard about the little girl who was throwing a tantrum on the plane, I was fussing at the television the whole time saying, "They should have kicked her and her parent(s) off the plane. Nobody else should have to suffer that kind of noise and bad behavior." It's apparent by the incident that her parent(s) are the kind who let her make up her own mind about how she will behave, and that is not acceptable to most humans. I don't know of anyone who would want to suffer through a child's temper tantrum, especially in such a closed space where there is no walking away or shutting out the noise. The airlines definitely did the right thing. And I would've asked them not to fly with our airline again! As for the breastfeeding incident, I have an issue with that. What harm would it have been to cover up her breast while she was breastfeeding the child? I have no problem with a mother breastfeeding her child in public, but I do have a problem with having to look at her exposed breast. To me (as a mother who breastfed), it's a personal matter. I would just as soon go to a quiet corner away from everyone and breastfeed when possible. Even then I would put something over my breast to cover it. Going to someplace quiet and private on the plane was not possible, but she could've covered it up. As for the "bye, bye plane" sweetie, the flight attendant should have dismissed on the spot and put off at the next airport. (Do they have parachutes for immediate exit?) She should've been given an injection of Benadryl herself -- Miss Meanie.

Posted by: luv2laff11 | July 13, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Well...I guess we know what to do now. Case closed. (LOL)

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Is there a global population shortage?
------

YES! jeez, look it up. Population declining in Europe and Japan. Please will people STOP spreading that 1970s line about a "population explosion" it's such false logic.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Pardon the pun but you need to suck it up about your breastfeeding issues. How would you like it if someone put a blanket over your face while you were eating. Don't you think you might fuss? And you have the ability to reason like an adult. A 2 year old does not. Covering the face of a nursing toddler never goes well. And you're just going to have to get over it, because women are allowed by law to breastfeed everywhere, and the airline is going to pay big bucks for their mistake.

Posted by: to Luv2laff | July 13, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Is there a global population shortage?
------

YES! jeez, look it up. Population declining in Europe and Japan. Please will people STOP spreading that 1970s line about a "population explosion" it's such false logic."

Enough that there won't be anyone around to wipe my a$s in the nursing home?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

to Luv2laff

"Pardon the pun but you need to suck it up about your breastfeeding issues. How would you like it if someone put a blanket over your face while you were eating."

Gosh, mothers have been covering breast feeding babies' faces for thousands of years. Dunno why yor kid gets special treatment.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Covering the face of a nursing toddler never goes well. And you're just going to have to get over it, because women are allowed by law to breastfeed everywhere, and the airline is going to pay big bucks for their mistake."

So be it. It's still disgusting and no law is going to make me give a damn about you and your squalling brats!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I see nothing in the Bill of Rights of the United States of America that says annoying children have to fly places in order to vacation/see Gamma-PopPop/visit Mommy/Daddy.

Parents need to keep their spawn in their own cars when they travel.

Posted by: Phillyfilly | July 13, 2007 11:37 AM


Well, I don't see anything in there about childless, nasty, people either, so I can assume that both you and the kids are safe.

Maybe you shouldn't fly either since you hate people.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, mothers have been covering breast feeding babies' faces for thousands of years. Dunno why yor kid gets special treatment.

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 12:47 PM

Ummm...if you don't like it..how about not looking???

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

So be it. It's still disgusting and no law is going to make me give a damn about you and your squalling brats!


HA HA HA HA!! There's nothing you can do about it anyway!! May you have a fat nursing woman with a fully exposed breast nursing a squeamish toddler next to you on a full flight for the next several years.

Posted by: to Luv2laff | July 13, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, I wish you all luck with your travel during the rest of the month. My autistic 15-y-o will be visiting his aunt and uncle. Traveling cross-country alone for the first time.

I won't name the airlines, but one gave me a much better feeling for his "unaccompanied minor" status. The other's customer service had *obviously* been outsourced, but at least the gate personnel and flight attendants haven't been yet, so I'm hoping that the little conversation we're going to have while I wait for him to board will have the desired effects.

Anyway, while he's a sweet, gentle person, my son does make noise, and I hope whoever is seated near him remembers their headphones, or really likes Star Wars and Star Trek - full episodes with all the dialog and sound effects.

And the only way my son is ever going to learn to be an independent adult is to practice. So, when you're sitting next to a noisy and strange teen, try to think of the example you're showing him of how adults behave. If he's my son, he's watching and learning from you.

Posted by: Sue | July 13, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Wish folks would make their kids behave in church, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I am very proud of the comments here. People are actually speaking back and up to the indulgent parents of Helio centric entitled children.

OMG people really believe that children should be seen and not heard. Children are not a status item, accessory, competitive game, they are urchins until they prove themselves worthy of respect. Just cuz you whelped doesn't mean you are god like nor is that extension of your gene pool a god.

Posted by: NYC | July 13, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Here is another way of looking at this problem. Flying is rough on kids. It hurts babies' ears; it forces active toddlers into uncomfortable confined spaces, and it causes motion sickness in susceptible youngsters. Children with autism spectrum disorders suffer horribly when confronted with a break in their normal routines. Crowded airports overstimulate them, and planes can become nightmarish cages to them. Parents who fly with very young children or with neurologically fragile children are subjecting them to unpleasant, sometimes painful, conditions. This is warranted only if the trip is for medical reasons, a move, or a family emergency.

Grandparents can fly, too. Unless they are physically unable to travel, they should make the pilgrimage to see the little ones while the latter are still too little to be comfortable on a plane. This is easier for everyone, especially the kids. Save the vacations for later; by the time the children are five or six they should be able to fly comfortably and even enjoy the trip.

Posted by: kaeberg | July 13, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

And the only way my son is ever going to learn to be an independent adult is to practice. So, when you're sitting next to a noisy and strange teen, try to think of the example you're showing him of how adults behave. If he's my son, he's watching and learning from you.

Posted by: Sue | July 13, 2007 12:54 PM

Good point....good luck to your son!

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, Sue, I'd bet from the tenor of you comments that the talk you will have with him before he boards will have the desired effect and that the inconvenience, if any, will be small. Your efforts result in better experiences for both your son and his fellow travelers.

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"HA HA HA HA!! There's nothing you can do about it anyway!! May you have a fat nursing woman with a fully exposed breast nursing a squeamish toddler next to you on a full flight for the next several years."

Don't forget the upper lip that needs to be waxed....

My deepest sympathy to any man desperate or drunk enough to mate with you. Yuck!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I am a man, you moron. Proving again your ability to leap to faulty conclusions. Well done, you.

Posted by: to Luv2laff | July 13, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Come on, people. Are we running out of vocabulary? I was taught that when you needed to call others names or use vulger language it was because you had an inadequate vocabulary...take a time out, read the dictionary and come back with some useful and entertaining comments...

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Viking

"Come on, people. Are we running out of vocabulary? I was taught that when you needed to call others names or use vulger language it was because you had an inadequate vocabulary...take a time out, read the dictionary and come back with some useful and entertaining comments..."

I don't give a damn what you were taught! Keep giving cyber orders on the Net, Goober!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Look at Southwest, Jet Blue, etc. a bunch of hillbillys jamming the planes..."

Nice. This is one hillbilly who is polite enough not to stereotype people to to call others names. I guess that shows who is civilized and who is not.

Posted by: Hillbilly | July 13, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I knew that...

And it was a request, not an order. I never give an order I can't enforce.

Posted by: Viking | July 13, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree that far too many parents do not do enough to try to control their children.

However, the flight attendant who didn't like the child saying "Bye bye plane" and asked the parents to DRUG their child to shut them up was way out of line. As long as the child was not screaming or being overly loud I don't see that their babbling the same words over and over is worthy of being kicked off a plane. Annoying yes, but not against the rules.

The child who wouldn't sit down is a different issue. The parents should've strapped the kid in their seat and endured the ensuing crying because that is an important safety rule.

With regard to the breastfeeding incident, I breastfed my son until he was a year old and he REFUSED to let me put a blanket over him. As soon as I did he would just pull it right off. On a plane you have no where else to go to breastfeed since there is no room in the bathroom and anyway I don't think they'd want you staying in the bathroom for the 20 minutes it would take to feed the child. From what I recall the mother was in the window seat with her husband on the other side, so the only one who could see her was the flight attendant and none of the other passengers complained. So that flight attendant that kicked them off the plane for that was being ridiculous. I find it so silly that as a culture it is somehow acceptable to wear clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination and even wear a thong that shows above your pants but it is offensive to get a glimpse of breast when a child is breastfeeding. When breastfeeding my son I didn't want to make anyone else uncomfortable so I would try to be as unobtrusive as possible, but I would also ask people to try to be a little more understanding and tolerant of this.

Posted by: SingingMom | July 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Look at Southwest, Jet Blue, etc. a bunch of hillbillys jamming the planes..."

Please learn how to spell before you call people names, Gomer.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Not only on planes and in church, but in restaurants, stores and any public place. Children should be lectured at home BEFORE venturing out in public on how they are to behave. Any infractions and they are to be taken home immediately. Your freedom to spawn doesn't mean your ill=behaved, annoying and fussy progeny can be foisted on innocent bystanders. The universe does not revolve around you and your kid(s), although I'm sure you truly believe it does.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I finally got to watch the video of the "bye bye plane" family (I couldn't get to it earlier).

It reminded me of an incident about 10 years ago that also concerned a somewhat presumptuous flight attendant.

My family took a Disney World Trip; as a part of that, my father bought and paid for nine round trip seats from DC to Orlando. Only two of those seats were for children - my then 6 year old nephew and 4 year old niece (who were well behaved - the kind of kids that inspired the "what great children you have" comments from nearby passengers on the plane as you're leaving).

We are big believers in checking luggage on big trips like this. So our non-purse carry-ons were a bag of "kid stuff", one shopping bag of items we simply couldn't fit in a suitcase, and a small, simple folding stroller bought specifically because was designed to be folded compactly in an overhead bin. The stroller was the *only* thing we were putting in the overhead bin.

By the time we got to our mid-plane seats in the boarding process (done from the rear of the plane with no offers to let those with small children board first - I guess that doesn't work too well in Orlando), the overhead bins for the two rows we occupied were already packed sardine tight with bags that were far too large to fit into that little "will it fit in the overhead bin" box. We had seen people from three or four rows back actually put their bags in there as we were boarding. So we put the stroller in the bin for the rows ahead of our two rows - pretty much our only option.

As the people in the front-most rows tried to board, they found their bins already filled, so the flight attendants went around to find items to gate-check. One female attendant saw the stroller, loudly and stridently asked who it belong to, and told us we had to gate check it...despite being next to a bag that was so large the bin almost wouldn't close.

My father politely pointed out that it was our only overhead bin item despite having nine seats; that it was far more compact than the majority of the luggage in the overhead bins; and we did, in fact, plan to open it up at the bottom of the jetway (as opposed to many travelers who just wanted to avoid baggage claim). So he politely told the attendant that having it gate checked was unacceptable and suggested she ask for the owners of the more oversized items in obvious view.

At that point, the woman got nasty and instead of seeing my father's logic (and his position on the situation), decided that the offending stroller was GOING to be gate checked - forget all the other over-sized bags.

She ran through various arguments, and my father would politely reply "Sorry, that's just not acceptable." (The phrase my family is infamous for using when we are arguing a customer service issue.)

Finally, she got the *pilot* out to tell my father he had to gate check the stroller, and he told us that we would be in trouble for "threatening" the flight attendant.

My father told the pilot we weren't threatening the attendant at all (something many nearby passengers asserted). Also, that the issue was "not a hill to die on" (I loved that), the stroller was staying, and oh...did he know that his fly was down?

The stroller stayed. And the business woman in the rear of the plane who had FIVE carry-on luggage pieces got her stuff gate checked, as did many other people who had been toting on nearly full-sized pieces of luggage and over-sized backpacks or duffel bags.

We were a little late taking off, and the pilot had the temerity to blame it on us over the loud speaker ("We had a little difficulty with an unruly passenger, but now we're just fine"), despite the fact that other bags were being removed for gate check during and after our little kerfuffle by other flight attendants.

My Dad took down the names of the pilot and flight attendant, and wrote a letter to the airline. He made sure to note his frequent flyer number and miles (significant - he'd been flying the airline for years), and to attach copies of his receipts for the nine seats, the various checked luggage tags and a picture of the neat and compact folded stroller. He ended up getting a couple of free tickets and an apology.

Sometimes, I guess attendants have bad days at work, too - the difference is they can get you booted off the plane by presenting their side of the story to the pilot. It also shows that sometimes it's not the kids or parents or families - sometimes it's the adult travelers.

I think someone said it above - air travel is a carnival. Adults can misbehave just as much as children...the only difference is that adults should know better...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 13, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

As someone who flies over 150,000 miles per year, I have a few questions for everyone...

What about the fat lard-ass with bad breath who drapes his corpulent elbows all over my seat? Or the annoying JAP who insists on squealing into her cell phone until the plane takes off? Or the smelly drunk sales jockey in the cheap suit who feels to compelled to spread his legs as widely as possible? Or the annoying white trash/ghetto people who have never been on a plane before and feel the need to tell everyone within earshot about how they're going to visit their cousin Jethro and are real excited to be up in one of these big old flying machines?

Get rid of those idiots and I'll gladly take a cute little kid any day!

Posted by: IVY DAD | July 13, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I find it very amusing to listen to or read comments of people who refer to children as "spawn" or parents as "breeders." People, you were children once as well. If your parents had not been "breeders" you wouldn't be here. You didn't spring forth as an adult you know. You wore diapers, you annoyed the hell out of people, and you caused problems while you grew up. Whence the hatred?

In my less charitable moments I often think that it is a great pity that the parents of people like you didn't feel the same way you do about children. Then the rest of us would be spared your hatred and unkindness and sheer stupidity. But you have my sympathy. Perhaps therapy?

Posted by: Mary Graham | July 13, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What they did was inexcusable. Airlines get away with murder compared to other businesses. Can you imagine an employee of say a supermarket walking up to you and telling your baby to shut up or drug him/ They would be fired. To all of you who applaud the airline, I am sure no one EVER had to put up with your antics when YOU were a baby........

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Sue. I've heard this from some of my friends who have autistic siblings -- when I've been seated next to children or adolescents, I try to keep this in mind.

I fly pretty frequently and it never fails I'm on a flight with little children, often right in front of them or right behind them. Other posters who have mentioned earbuds or noise cancelling earphones are right. Children should be expected to behave but parents can't muzzle their kids -- this is life, this is the world, dealing with other people means having your OWN coping mechanisms instead of just expecting everyone else to accomodate you. I'm not a parent, I don't even particularly like children, but I remember what it was like flying when I was a kid (who also had frequent ear aches, so I remember the extreme pain from cabin pressure), especially if you're taking a cross Pacific or Atlantic flight, it's even more unbearable for the kid than it is for you -- believe me. Let's get real and adjust our expectations. Children are not going to be silent statues. You have every right to complain and reprimand if they are kicking your seat, won't shut up, etc, but some people seem to think they shouldn't even breathe, either. I've been on many many flights where the kid behind me was so quiet I didn't know he or she was there until the plane landed. In other cases, the baby was colicy and I got to hear it the whole time. Solution? A bit of wine and earbuds. I'm an extremely light sleeper but no screaming baby is loud enough to drown out a plane engine and noise-blocking earbuds. Learn to cope.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"not a hill to die on" - have to remember that - thanks!
My favorite - "keep your powder dry for battle you can win".

pATRICK - didn't you know, I was the world's only perfect baby? :-)

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Ivy Dad has it right (except for the slightly racist/politically incorrect stereotypes but the point is clear) So many adults are rude and annoying. I don't know how many times I've had an obnoxious or overly needy person next to me who just kept talking even when I practically put my book in front of my face trying to enjoy a little down time on the plane. Kids are US citizens and have the same right to travel as the rest of us. They aren't evil beings in need of restraint or ponies that need to be broken. Airplanes aren't the luxury cruiseships of Pan Am in the 50's, they are greyhound buses in every way shape and form these days so don't expect the first class treatment unless you pay first class because I don't know many parents who will pay 1500 for a toddler's ticket.

Posted by: AttyMom | July 13, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ivy Dad has it right (except for the slightly racist/politically incorrect stereotypes but the point is clear) So many adults are rude and annoying. I don't know how many times I've had an obnoxious or overly needy person next to me who just kept talking even when I practically put my book in front of my face trying to enjoy a little down time on the plane. Kids are US citizens and have the same right to travel as the rest of us. They aren't evil beings in need of restraint or ponies that need to be broken. Airplanes aren't the luxury cruiseships of Pan Am in the 50's, they are greyhound buses in every way shape and form these days so don't expect the first class treatment unless you pay first class because I don't know many parents who will pay 1500 for a toddler's ticket.

Posted by: AttyMom | July 13, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The airline that kicked off the nursing mother and her child will undoubtedly pay up big time, as it should. Breastfeeding is natural and legal. Once the baby's mouth is latched you don't see much anyway. I look forward to the day when you see women breast feeding publicly everywhere.

And I think it's ridiculous to drive for 3 days, when a half day's flight would do, just to avoid "inflicting" their kids on others. At least if the "inflicting" is just being loud. Loud doesn't hurt anyone. It isn't unsafe, unsanitary, nor painful. And no matter how annoying it is to hear a phrase repeated over and over, and no matter whether or not the flight attendant was giving the saftey info (which almost no one listens to anyway), if she did indeed speak to the mother that way, she should be fired.

The 3 year old who wouldn't sit down is another story. The parents are bigger. They should've picked her up, placed her in her seat, and fastened the belt. She would've kept screaming for a while (or maybe the whole flight, but that's unlikely) but the plane could've still departed.

And boy, I am so glad I don't know anyone who's as anti-child as a few of the people here.

Posted by: Alice | July 13, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I actually have had an experience like this. My 2 year old daughter was overtired and cried on the plane. I did EVERYTHING to calm her down. Nothing worked except standing in the galley and letting her play for 2 looooonnnnnggg hours. The 300lb fat piece of lard in front of me, turned around and said nastily, "why don't you just give her a f**ing cheeto?'. It took all of me not to come over the seat and punch him in the face. It is just life and it's not pleasant but the airline had NO problem taking my money for the seat. Deal with it and have some compassion

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The only problem I've had flying with my now 3 year old was not with his behovior on the plane, but with the folks at United Airlines. The one time we flew United with our two year old we were late to the gate and missed pre-board due to a 65 minute airport security lockdown that happened when we were only 10 people ahead of us in the security line. When we got on the plane (at the final boarding call) United had given our three assigned seats together to other people and said that we were out of luck. (despite our having boarding passes with seat assignements) and assigned us one seat in the front of the plane, one in the middle and said the toddler will have to sit in the last row (without Mommy or Daddy). When I said we can't put a 2 year old by himself on the plane they said we can do whatever we want and that is where the toddler will sit. You should have boarded during the pre board. Luckily a passenger in the front next to the empty seat there offered his seat and I sat in the back. So thank you to the passenger and no thanks to the United flight attendant that through seating a 2 year old without a parent was a brillant idea.

Posted by: Good Kid Bad United | July 13, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

These three incidents should NOT be lumped together. The breast-feeding incident was ridiculous. There aren't enough facts about the "bye bye plane" incident to draw a conclusion with -- if it was just a baby saying -- and not in an overly loud voice -- "bye bye plane" then the airline was nuts. But the other incident was deserving of being kicked off the plane -- and your defense of the kid/parents is inexcusable!

Posted by: colorado kool aid | July 13, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

It's telling that this very toddler was taken off camera during the mother's attempt to show the world what a charming angel her child is during Good Morning America. The child was whining, squirming, and fussing. He climbed onto the coffee table and rifled through Diane Sawyer's papers. When she offered him a toy to distract him, he threw it to the ground. He is a brat, the mom is an idiot.

Stacey, it isn't an airline's job to acommodate you at the cost of other passengers. This is one of the most self-entitled posts I've ever read. You decided to have children, so raise them. Yes, sometimes babies and toddlers have tantrums, but people appreciate at least seeing the parents TRY to control their children. I never leave for vacation with books, and iPod, and sleeping pills, and you shouldn't leave home without books, toys, treats, and yes, benadryl.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Unless someone comes forward and corroborates the flight attendant's story, I'm betting she'll be out of a job. From what we're hearing so far, it sounds like she was in a seriously pissy mood and took it out on a young child and the mother.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 13, 2007 11:45 AM


Hi WORKINGMOMX, you are right. The power these flying waitresses think they have about themselves sometimes kills me. BTW I see the troll and anons are out in force on "ON BALANCE " today. Have a nice weekend

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I just wonder what all these people who proclaim their childlessness and dislike of children are doing reading the On Parenting blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi pATRICK!!

You're absolutely right about never having to deal with someone suggesting you drug your child to shut them up in a supermarket. I really don't know why we put up with the airlines' treatment of some people. It's why I like to fly Southwest -- they seem nicer than other airlines, even though I hate general boarding.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 13, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

A few things that caught my attention from this story...
why was a communter flight delayed 11 HOURS???? That is insane! And after that, why wasn't the flight crew falling all over themselves to make the passengers comfortable, instead of acting like a bunch of harpies?

And isn't the flight attendant guilty of a criminal offense for lying to the pilot in telling him that the mother had threatened her? Isn't it illegal to falsely accuse someone of a crime?

And, finally, what are the airlines going to do about the current policty that flight attendants have carte blanche to boot anyone off a flight for virtually any reason? All that has to happen is that one FA is mentally unstable or just a jerk, and it becomes awful for the passengers and a huge liability for the airline. There should be some other way of handling this... obviously, turning the FA's into little demigods with no oversight is not working.

Posted by: reston, va | July 13, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

So, for most people who are annoyed by children, does it help if the parents are trying to calm the kid down? Are you mostly upset when the parents don't address the problem?

Children take their cues from parents - even if the child is upset, if the parent lets the child know it isn't okay, it sets up expectations for future behavior. So, for example, my son is pretty good in church but has had a few bad times and removed (once because he was getting sick and I didn't know it) but he still knew that we behave differently in a church. So by allowing the bad behavior without comment, the parents are just setting up future bad flights as well.

On another note, at what point will the WA Post enforce their rule of 'user reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacts .....will be removed from the site.' I've seen multiple posts just today that offer nothing to the discussion and are offensive.

Posted by: Boo | July 13, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"I just wonder what all these people who proclaim their childlessness and dislike of children are doing reading the On Parenting blog."

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 01:56 PM

Learning how NOT to go about parenting.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

just wonder what all these people who proclaim their childlessness and dislike of children are doing reading the On Parenting blog.

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 01:56 PM

I don't have children, but have many beloved nieces and nephews...I guess I am here to make sure it is known that not all childfree people are evil babyhaters!! Plus topics like this one in a sense apply to everyone - I can't be outraged at the flight attendant's behavior because I don't have children myself?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

what's up with all the nastiness about fat people? They are human beings, too.

Posted by: va | July 13, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

As far as I'm concerned, the parents who don't control their kids are by far the biggest problem. I get that sometimes, kids won't be quiet. They're kids. Higher-level thinking skills don't kick in at the age of 4 or 5. So crying, yelling, etc. are sometimes unavoidable.

HOWEVER.

Children should never kick a seat in front of them more than once, nor should they refuse more than once to wear their seat belt, or poke and prod the people sitting next to them after they've been told not to. That's where parenting does play a part. Even when the kid is crying, the parent should try to appease him/her. That's what most people here seem to be the most incensed about: parents who refuse to parent their kids.

Most people are not going to get upset if a kid keeps crying or even (god forbid) yelling, if the parent is trying to shut him or her up. But when the parents act like they don't care, or like the kid is doing nothing wrong, that's where you get the ire people are showing here.

Posted by: Kate | July 13, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I saw the unruly child on television and he is unruly, but that's the parents fault. The mother appeared to be very indulgent and while no one but the people on the plane can verify either side of the story...I've been around too many indulgent insensitive parents to know that they really don't care if they are disturbing other people as long as their own selfish needs are met. People like that never admit that they are selfish and hide behind a child who doesn't know any better...Isn't that what parents are supposed to do is teach their children what is appropriate behavior. Let children be children...no teach children with love and respect at any age and they will learn, especially when they are that young; they are sponges for information and it's the parents lack of educating themselves on how to communicate with their child at different stages that causes these situations. If you teach your child in a positive healthy way, you can alleviate a lot of this unbelievably bad behavior by some children.

Posted by: Like kids, dislike indulgent parents | July 13, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

what's up with all the nastiness about fat people? They are human beings, too.

No they aren't. If kids are not human beings than neither are fat people.

do you like my post better now?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

You should differentiate between babies, toddlers, tweens. Babies you have no real control over, toddlers you can generally control, tweens-no slack, they know what to do. The airlines should be much more regulated on customer's rights, 10 hour delays, imprisoning you on the plane, giving away your confirmed paid for seat.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Since my wife and I have had our twin girls, now 11, we have realized there are parents and childless couples/people. Let's face it if you are not parent and extending the value of yourself and your beliefs to children then you really are second class. Get over yourselves, parents and their children are Gods gift to the future. And as such we should have (or take) all associated benefits. I really resent single childless people who are consuming valuable resources that my twins deserves. But when it becomes necessary those without children will give up organs, food, water, housing for those of us with children. That is gods will

Posted by: Tribeca | July 13, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Since my wife and I have had our twin girls, now 11, we have realized there are parents and childless couples/people. Let's face it if you are not parent and extending the value of yourself and your beliefs to children then you really are second class. Get over yourselves, parents and their children are Gods gift to the future. And as such we should have (or take) all associated benefits. I really resent single childless people who are consuming valuable resources that my twins deserves. But when it becomes necessary those without children will give up organs, food, water, housing for those of us with children. That is gods will

Posted by: Tribeca | July 13, 2007 02:16 PM

My sarcasm meter is broken, please tell met this is a joke. If not, please don't let your kids fly the same plane I do. Or I will tell them to play outside.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

PS: Regarding fat people, they are a food source when the full effect of global warming comes to pass, so let's not beat up on them. In the future we can dine on them

Posted by: Tribeca | July 13, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I applaud ANY airlnes decision to remove noisy children from a flight!
Either that or refund MY ticket.

Parents need to teach their deductions to behave.

End of story.

Posted by: Kase | July 13, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

My grandchildren recently arrived in San Diego from Baltimore. The flight attendants commented on how well behaved they were. Two other passengers also commented on the well behaved 10 and 8 year old boys. This is the 3rd consecutive year that they have traveled this way without incident. (because they know what would happen to them if there was any trouble) I do not spare the "rod".

Posted by: str8soul | July 13, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

My, my, Tribeca, that's a Modest Proposal.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 13, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"I applaud ANY airlnes decision to remove noisy children from a flight!
Either that or refund MY ticket.

Parents need to teach their deductions to behave.

End of story."

Give it a rest ebenezer kase. You were a snot nosed kid like the rest of us at one time.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"No they aren't. If kids are not human beings than neither are fat people."


woah! I never said kids were not human beings. I have a 2 year old, and she certainly qualifies. I also have many overweight family members whom I also love dearly.

I just think all people should be treated with a little dignity.

Posted by: va | July 13, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

WorkingMomX, it was my failed attempt at Mark Twain. Guess it didn't work... was it sarcastic? No?

Damn I do value your approbation more then the left side of the bell curve. Thanks for the focus.

Posted by: Tribeca | July 13, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Give it a rest ebenezer kase. You were a snot nosed kid like the rest of us at one time.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 02:24 PM

I don't think anyone is denying they were kids at one point...it's just that our parents were ACTUAL PARENTS.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Swift, WorkingMomx. I gotcha.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Chasmosaur used kerflaffle!! I love when people use that word!!

Re: Breastfeeding- there's no reason breasts should have to be covered, male or female, and if someone finds breastfeeding disgusting then they just need to shut up and look away

Re: Flights- My worst experience was actually with an adult seatmate who tried to get in a huge snit over my eating fried chicken next to him. Babies, nothing really bad.

But I have to say- no matter what age, it is WRONG to allow children to interrupt and disturb other peoples experience on a plane. For those who say "kids will be kids" and "some kids just are a handle and have issues" I say "When did they run out of sedatives?"

Wouldn't that really just solve everyone's problems? Parents don't have to worry about kids being annoying or wandering off, other passengers don't get bothered, and kids don't have to feel cramped. And they don't always have to put them to sleep- just keep them quiet.

Posted by: Liz D | July 13, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

My, my, Tribeca, that's a Modest Proposal.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 13, 2007 02:24 PM

Or a prelude to soylent green......

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

In response to this questions: So, for most people who are annoyed by children, does it help if the parents are trying to calm the kid down? Are you mostly upset when the parents don't address the problem?

As someone without kids and who doesn't particularly like kids, yes, parents at least trying to calm down the kids helps a great deal. I don't expect perfect behavior from children, but I do expect parents to teach their children what the appropriate behaviors are. That's the parent's job. I am very sympathetic to parents who are trying--it's a hard job. Those who have abdicated their responsibilities don't get to make the rest of us suffer for their negligence. They are doing no one, including their child, any favors by allowing such behavior to go unchecked.

Posted by: Arlington | July 13, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Tribeca is nuts.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

A plane full of screaming kids or half the idiots on this blog? I will take the kids, at least, they have an excuse for behaving badly.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I believe in abortion right up to the 6th trimester.

Posted by: Staying Single | July 13, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"it isn't an airline's job to acommodate you at the cost of other passengers."

This is completely true. In BOTH directions. Everyone on an airplane has purchased the right to get from point A to point B -- but no one has the right to get there free of discomfort or inconvenience (as is clearly evidenced by the 11-hr delay). So if you don't like the level of annoyance, you're free to take your money elsewhere and find an alternate mode of travel -- whether you're a parent or someone complaining about parents.

I have no problems with airlines enforcing certain standards of noise and behavior, as long as it's done fairly across the board. If I had a buck for every time I've had to deal with an annoying fellow passenger on an airplane, I'd be flying first class the rest of my life. But funny, it seems like the only ones we kick off the plane are the annoying small children -- otherwise, you have to be drunk as a skunk or threatening violence. If it's a requirement that everyone listen to the safety presentation, fine -- fine, so kick off the guy next to me who talked on his cellphone during the entire presentation, or me for reading my book throughout. If it's a rule that we can't talk so loudly as to disturb other passengers, then please, kick off that %&^&@$ high school gymnastics team that I traveled with last time. Unless and until the airlines are willing to do that, they need to lighten up on stuff like "bye bye plane."

Don't get me wrong; I have high expectations of my own kids when I travel, I make sure they have appropriate naps/bedtimes beforehand, I bring snacks, books, DVDs (with headphones), etc. Only once have my kids presented a problem (when I had to choose between allowing the girl to kick the seat in front, or physically restraining her and provoking a tantrum -- I chose the latter, followed by a DVD the second I was allowed to turn it on). I have little to no patience with parents who don't try to control their kids; it's just basic common courtesy. Personally, I love Southwest, precisely because I get to preboard without assigned seats -- I can choose to sit behind another set of parents with kids, and everyone else coming on board knows exactly what they're getting into if they choose to sit next to or in front of me.

But I hold no truck with the "keep your rugrats off the plane" view of life. It's Not All About You. The fact is, there is a constitutional right to travel -- but there is no constitutional right to be free from annoyance from other travelers. So get a little perspective -- just because you're going to a business meeting and I'm going to visit grandma doesn't give you a greater "right" to get there by plane than me. My money is just as green as yours.

Posted by: Laura | July 13, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

If I had a choice between noisy kids and a sleazy salesman with bad breath and a terrible combover, will definitely take the kids every time...

Posted by: Me | July 13, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

So what's wrong with drugging your kid on cough syrup for a flight? Most of your kids are stoned on Ritalin nowadays, anyway. The adults can't wait for the booze wagon to come down the aisle. There are several ways to fly, if you get my drift. My grandmother used to give her kids paregoric so she could get her housework done.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

re: "So, for most people who are annoyed by children, does it help if the parents are trying to calm the kid down? Are you mostly upset when the parents don't address the problem?"

For me, it does. I get annoyed easily by kids. I know its a personal issue and I deal with it. I also know that takeoff/landing hurts kids ears, so, while annoying, I feel bad for the kids who are screaming.

Its the parents that don't stop ther @#$## kids from kicking the back of my chair, even when asked, that irritate the life out of me.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

benadryl makes my kid jittery. It makes lots of kids jittery. I could give her a swig of whiskey, but then I'd go to jail.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

3:46- only if you TOLD someone you gave her whiskey

Posted by: Liz D | July 13, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"My husband and I are flying with our daughter (who is almost three) to Europe in less than two weeks, and my in-laws graciously upgraded us to first class (the trip was present to us). Now I'm getting nervous about having her up front in the plane!"

You'd better check with the airline about their policies. Some don't allow anyone under 18 to fly in First Class. People paying to fly in First Class to Europe (or burning their hard-earned frequent flyer miles) generally look even less kindly on the presence of children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So what's wrong with drugging your kid on cough syrup for a flight? Most of your kids are stoned on Ritalin nowadays, anyway. The adults can't wait for the booze wagon to come down the aisle. There are several ways to fly, if you get my drift. My grandmother used to give her kids paregoric so she could get her housework done.


So that's why you're such an a$$. It's genetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

We've done a lot of flying with our 2 kids, both under 5, in the last 5 years. I strongly agree that parents need to parent their kids and do what they can do keep them from bothering others. But it is also HARD to travel with young kids. So, parents need to prepare, have lots of snacks and toys (including some "special" ones) to bring out slowly, and stay engaged with their kids. Most traveling parents that I have seen do a great job with this.

In any case, one of the first things we do when we board a plane with our kids is take off their shoes (they always wear socks for plane rides!). If there is any seat-kicking, we nip it in the bud. But, we have also found that removal of shoes helps with how far and how hard they can kick.

Oh, we also get 2 middle and window seats, one set behind the other. One of us sits with each child, and the taller one only kicks his brother, if he kicks. (PS -- My hubby is 6 ft tall with a bad back. He doesn't enjoy the middle seat, but puts up with it b/c this arrangement works so well.)

Good luck to all the traveler parents, especially those flying w/o their partner!

Posted by: It worked for our "seat-kicker" | July 13, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Although I'm an infrequent traveler, I can cite two instances when youngsters were a joy to travel with. I was traveling alone on vacation both times. One instance a young girl, about 8 or 9, was with her father in the waiting area and she got on the plane alone. Her seat was right beside me and the flight attendant asked if I could keep an eye on her. No problem. It was a transatlantic flight. The youngster kicked off her shoes, took off her coat and put it over her, fell asleep and slept the entire way over. She woke up just as breakfast was being served. Another adult was waiting for her on arrival in London.

The second time, again a transatlantic flight, a young boy about 12, was traveling alone, wearing a very nice suit like a private school uniform. He was very quiet, watched movies, napped, and even said grace before his meals. Another good example. Why can't they all be like that? And these kids were travelling alone. I don't know if it would have made a difference if they were with an adult, but I think they were both mature enough to behave themselves.

Posted by: Lurker | July 13, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

For the woman who said that she is sending her autistic child on a flight without her, I just want to say that I think that is one of the most irresponsible things I've ever heard of. Autistic children need special care, often, and making a flight attendant or other passengers help your child make his journey is selfish and unacceptable. People with children -- both disabled and not -- need to stop expecting "help" from the rest of the population. It was your choice to have these children -- not ours. I refuse to find it amusing when a child on a plane kicks my seat, touches me or or messes up my stuff. I get the noise thing -- nothing you can do. But if you're not there to soothe your child or to help him through this, you CANNOT expect that someone else can or should assume YOUR duties. Take responsibility parents -- it's not just us nasty kid haters that are the problem here.

Posted by: Non-Child Person | July 13, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

We've had good luck traveling with our young boys. My nightmare trip was when I was pregnant with #2 and going East Coast to Phoenix with 15-month-old #1...without DH. Oh, and did I mention #1 had an ear infection? There was no pre-board (which is unusual), so we were the last to board. We were literally seated in the very back row, and I COULD NOT get the carseat installed, b/c #1 wouldn't let me put him down. This is after I walked all the way down the aisle carrying him, diaper bag, cooler, and car seat...pregnant. Everyone was waiting for us, and I felt terrible. They actually called DH (who had walked us up to the gate) onto the plane to help me get the seat on. Everyone was super nice, but I felt terrible. My son, incidentally, did great on the flight, even with his ear infection...he slept the whole time.

My advice to parents flying with young kids is to ALWAYS buy a seat for your child. I know it's more $, but it's half-price when they're under 2 (2 and up you don't have a choice, anyway), and 100% worth it. The carseat installation can be difficult, but most kids understand that when they are buckled into their carseat, they have to stay there. They are less likely to be crawling all over you and your fellow passengers, too. Plus, you get the area of the seat in front of them to put some of toys and food you lugged aboard! If the convenience and respect for your fellow passengers doesn't convince you, it is also SO MUCH SAFER for your child!

Posted by: JB's mom | July 13, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

To Chasmosaur,
GREAT story, I've seen many incidents very similar to yours. I fly 6 to 10 times a year and am baffled by the amount and size of carry-on items. When we go on vacation and fly to the Caribbean, we ship (UPS or US mail) almost all of the items that would normally be luggage. We have one or two very small carry-on items and no checked baggage. With the exception of flight delays and unruly passengers of all ages, our flights are normally trouble free.

And to IVY DAD,
Ditto- - - - I agree completely.

Finaly, to Tribeca,
Get back on your medication, PLEASEEEEEEE!!!

Posted by: Fun Bobby | July 13, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sitting next to a fat person who is sitting in the middle seat so that s/he can spill into the two adjoining seats for SIX HOURS on a trans atlantic flighs is far more painful than flying with children. I couldn't even put my food tray down...it was resting on their stomach....

Posted by: tlawrenceva | July 13, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"For the woman who said that she is sending her autistic child on a flight without her, I just want to say that I think that is one of the most irresponsible things I've ever heard of"

Now that is truly insane.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, the seat kicking is incredibly annoying. But I don't get the aversion to hearing kids talking, even screaming or crying. With the engine, wind and HVAC noise, I can hardly hear anything on a plane.

Viking- threatening bodily harm to a 4-year old is not grounds for applause. Be a grown-up!

Posted by: Preschool Dad | July 13, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to everyone who had something supportive to say about my autistic son's first solo trip.

My husband and I have been very hard-nosed discipinarians with both our kids, and we've taken them everywhere with us since they were newborns. They know how to behave appropriately in almost any situation. We're both proud of the young gentlemen we're raising, and get a *lot* of compliments on them when we're out and about.

Now, we're getting to test how well the lessons have been learned when we aren't present and directly supervising.

In my brain, I know that my son will be fine. But this mom's heart is still anxious...

So many things can go wrong and cause a delayed flight or missed connection. Autistics have a great deal of difficulty dealing with anything unexpected. Will my boy remember what to do (ask airline staff for help) if something goes wrong, or will he retreat to the quietest corner he can find in some strange airport, pop his thumb into his mouth, and shut down?

My one comfort is that his plane-changes are in/near his godparents' city, and another aunt and uncle's. So, if the worst does happen, I have people to call who will recognize my son in a crowd, whom he knows, loves and trusts.

Still, kind thoughts and well-wishes are greatly appreciated.

And just to be clear - the conversation I intend to have at the gate will be with the airline staff. The conversations with my son have been on-going his whole life, and beating that dead horse again at the airport will be a wasted effort.

This was the airline whose customer service did *not* inspire confidence! I'm going to use my "lawyer voice" (no, I'm not legally trained, just self-taught because of school/education issues) to make clear that failure to follow all the rules for unaccompanied minors service for a child with a disability will have severe consequences. Yes, we pay extra for that service.

Examples -
"He can go to the bathroom by himself, but watch for him to come back, and go find him if he doesn't."
"He won't recognize/hear his name announced over the intercom, so make sure someone physically walks up to him and speaks directly to him."

Posted by: Sue | July 13, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I had a child kicking the seat behind me. He was about seven. Turned around and said "Please stop. I recently got an aortic replacement and if you jar my seat to hard I will have internal bleeding and die."

After the child stopped crying he was quite and didn't kick the seat. The mother was cursing me but WTF.

Posted by: Pitts | July 13, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

My toddler is very well behaved, but she is known to belt out the entire Ella Fitzgerald songbook in public when she's bored (mostly on line in the grocery store).

So here's the thing... do I get her to stop to appease the random person who might be annoyed by this, or do I let her keep going to appease all the people who obviously love it?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I would put a cup on the floor and see if she can begin to earn her college tuition. Or pay part of the rent.

Never too young to put them to work if it is ...

Posted by: to 4:49 | July 13, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Hearing a toddler belt out anything is extremely annoying. You are the only one who thinks it's prescious. Gawd, stuff a sock in it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

For the autistic kid travelling alone: What's to keep some perv from taking advantage and kidnapping your kid? You have no control over who comes in contact with him, so he's extremely vulnerable on his own.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"For the woman who said that she is sending her autistic child on a flight without her, I just want to say that I think that is one of the most irresponsible things I've ever heard of. Autistic children need special care, often"

That would be me. May I ask for your clinical or professional credentials, please? How much experience do you have with developmentally disabled persons and their needs?

I seriously doubt that you have more knowledge or experience than I do, but - even assuming that you are a certified professional - I'm very confident that you don't know my kid or his capabilies as well as I and his case-worker do. So I'll trust our judgement over yours, thanks.

"... and making a flight attendant or other passengers help your child make his journey is selfish and unacceptable."

Actually, the airline makes their staff help children - and they charge extra for the service. Clearly, your judgement about what's acceptable doesn't agree with the airlines'.

In my experience, other people (i.e. passengers) are often willing to help strangers, especially polite, well-mannered ones. And since I won't be there anyway, I can't *make* anyone do anything they don't want to do.

"People with children -- both disabled and not -- need to stop expecting "help" from the rest of the population."

I don't *expect* help - I paid for a service for my child. I expect that service to be delivered.

"It was your choice to have these children -- not ours."

Are you for real?
No, I didn't choose to have an autistic child.

But once I had him, I set about learning everything I could about his disability, and doing everything I could to prepare him for living independently in the world. DH and I won't be around forever, and we don't think it's right or fair to let him remain helpless and expect that his younger brother will take care of him for their whole lives.

Preparations for independence includes teaching travel-skills. It's been a long process to get to the point where he's ready for his first solo. And he is, but I'd still feel a lot easier about it all if the traveler were his neuro-typical 10-y-o brother instead.

Oh, and just for the record, when I've encountered people expressing attitudes like yours while my children were present, I always turn to the boys and say something like: "Well I guess his mom and dad didn't teach him what Thumper's mother said in 'Bambi'."
And they would chorus in return: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Posted by: Sue | July 13, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Sue, they kick babies off of planes for saying bye bye plane. Trusting your precious child to the these unfeeling, surly bureaucrats at the airlines is just asking for trouble. Who CARES if you sue them, but your son is kidnapped or molested? What good does that do? I never understood why you were so keen to let him travel alone to begin with.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

People, please! No one chooses to have an autistic child. And that remark about not helping anyone, including the disabled, is nauseating. Do you bang doors in the faces of people on crutches? Imagine what Charles Dickens could have made of this blog.

Posted by: kaleberg | July 13, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Sue, I know your son will be just fine. You may want to stop reading the blog now, as some of the posts are sure to make you upset.

I work with people with disabilities who travel all over the country and the world, sometimes with supervision, sometimes without. They always manage just fine. I think you are smart and brave to give your son this opportunity to be independent. Best of luck!

Posted by: Arl1 | July 13, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"For the autistic kid travelling alone: What's to keep some perv from taking advantage and kidnapping your kid? You have no control over who comes in contact with him, so he's extremely vulnerable on his own."

This vulerability applies to every child traveling alone. That's why airlines have unaccompanied minor service.
(As his little brother would say, "Duh!")

As for my son - at 15, he's 5'11" and 185lbs. Nobody is going to force him to do something he doesn't want to do, or go someplace he doesn't want to go.

Besides everything DH and I have taught our kids, I wish I could give you some idea of what he's gotten from his special education program. He will pay attention to the flight attendant who has his ticket, and to no one else. He's really no more vulnerable to this risk than I am.

Or do you also believe that adult women shouldn't travel alone, because they're at risk of being abducted by pervs?

Posted by: Sue | July 13, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

A 13-year-old girl tells INSIDE EDITION that she was sexually molested on a cross-country United Airlines flight and her mother complains the flight attendants did nothing but change the man's seat.

Speaking out for the first time, April (her name has been changed), was traveling with her brother on a redeye flight from her hometown of San Diego to Washington D.C. April's parents are divorced, and they were on their way to visit their father in Washington D.C. when she was attacked by Ryan Jennings.

April's mother says she believes her daughter was targeted by Jennings at the gate before their flight.

"He saw me leave [the airport]. I saw that look in his eyes and you get that kind of weird feeling but you dont do anything about it. You dont think anything like this is going to happen," she says.

Although it wasnt his assigned seat, Jennings managed to sit next to April. Her brother was seated one row ahead. Thirty minutes into the flight, April's brother fell asleep and Jennings began molesting her.

"I've always heard about it happening to people, but I never realized it could happen to me," April says.

She describes the assault, saying, "His hands went between my legs and I had never been touched like that before. It was a weird feeling."

April says her ordeal lasted about an hour and included kissing and fondling. As the assault continued, April says she went into shock. "At this point I was terrified. I wanted to call someone but I couldnt. I felt alonelike everyone was staring at me but they wouldnt help me."

Karen Schmidt, who lives near San Diego, was a passenger on the United flight. She says Jennings made disturbing remarks to her about April during the flight, which she says she reported to a flight attendant.

She tells INSIDE EDITION, "He said several things, like how he wished he could join the mile-high club with her; how he wished her head could be in his lap."

Two other passengers reported Jennings' disturbing behavior to flight attendants, and he was moved back to his assigned seat.

I started crying after he left, because it finally set in what had happened, April says.

April then reported what had happened to a flight attendant. But authorities say it was passengers, and not the flight attendants, who tracked Jennings down at the airport after the plane landed. The plane's captain, who was alerted by passengers, notified police who arrested Jennings.

April's mother, who is considering suing United Airlines, is very upset with the way the flight crew handled the situation saying, "They didnt do anything. They didnt detain him. They just made him move to where he was supposed to sit and they left her."

In a statement released to INSIDE EDITION, United says: "The safety and security of our passengers is Uniteds top priority. As soon as we became aware of the situation, we immediately turned it over to the authorities and cooperated fully with the prosecution."

Incredibly, Jennings was studying to be a teacher for handicapped children. April says the possibility that Jennings would have a career around children helped convince her to testify. Jennings was found guilty of abusive sexual contact and faces up to two years in prison.

According to prosecutors, April's testimony was instrumental in Jennings' conviction and he will never be allowed to teach children.

"I still feel like he is affecting me, but I feel like Im affecting him more because I spoke out and I got him convicted," April tells INSIDE EDITION.

Jennings will be sentenced in July, and he will have to register as a sex offender.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Um, er, ah...

pATRICK, is it possible that you're really my husband, using a psuedonym?

He also worries excessively about everything that could remotely, possibly go wrong, and believes that everything that ever happened, even one time, will happen again to our family.

No... (grin) You can't be *my* DH. He's anxious and worried, but our boy is visiting DH's sister, and it was all DH's idea to begin with. He recognized that his fears were overblown.

Arl1, Thanks! I'm not particularly upset, and I'm still having fun.

I'm keeping a firm hold on my sense of humor. Also, reminding myself of the most important piece of parenting advice I received when autistic-son was a newborn: "Everyone is going to give you advise, and a lot of it is going to be garbage. Listen, smile, say thank you. If it makes sense, try it and see if it works with your kid. If it doesn't make sense, ignore it."

That wonderful advise was from the aunt our son will be visiting.

Posted by: Sue | July 13, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Having just flown several long flights with my 20-month son, I can relate to this mom and child who were kicked off. Most all of our United flight attendants were very good, but on our last flight (United Express), a young flight attendant who presumably has little experience with children simply didn't know how to respond to my toddler being...well, a toddler. As the plane sat in the gate, before it was even moving, the flight attendant threatened me that I had to keep my son seated in my lap. O.K., but we weren't moving yet, nor were we about to start moving, nor was my son blocking any of the other passengers from loading, but whatever. Then, as the plane started taxiing, more threats. Why? Because my son was turning around on my lap. He wasn't bumping the passenger next to us or even leaving my lap. He simply squirmed and faced a different direction. Before we took off, the flight attendant had warned me four or five times even though, ironically, my son was moving around considerably less than he had on the flight earlier than morning, which drew no comments at all. And after we were airborne, the flight attendant very worriedly asked me if there was something she could do to help calm my son down since he had started fussing a little. He was just crying a little--babies do that. It's not a tantrum, so live with it, but the flight attendant seemed completely unprepared for and anxious about having a baby on the plane.

There are some flight attendants who simply do not know how to respond to children, and I think this is, at least in part, a matter of training. Airlines need to put their flight attendants in a daycare environment for a couple of days or something as a part of training just to get them used to fussing kids and tactics for calming kids down.

I know that when I've flown on flights on a couple different Japanese airlines with my son when he was a bit younger, the service was excellent, and the flight attendants, even though many didn't have children of their own (which they shared with us), were exceptional at meeting our needs and taking a few seconds in passing to smile at our son and help keep him entertained. All of the flight attendants did this so consistently that I have to think that they had been trained how to work with children on airplanes, and these flights were wonderful experiences.

Posted by: blert | July 13, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Having been on two planes that had to make real emergency landings, it is so important that newborn to kindergarten aged children be in FAA approved seats. If you cannot afford it, do not fly. I tried to comfort a woman who injured her child whilst trying to hold him during the landing. He had cracked ribs, broken arm, and a big cut on his head.

Second for those parents who chose to not parent or are ignorant; society has rules and we are expected to follow those rules regardless of age. Manners have been out of fashion for the past 30 years but I hear they are making a come back. I only hope and pray it is soon.

For pATRICK, you are a real treat. I never acted up when I was out in public. I knew better. My parents were never my friends, they taught me rules and expected me to comply. No please, no thank you...Just do it or else. Now 40 years later, I cannot thank my parents enough for being so strick and I expect that if I act up out in public, they will still spank me.

To the trying parents...It does go a long way with me if you try to control/comfort your kids. Like Nanny 911/Super Nanny says, you must stay firm and consistent, it WILL work.

To the neglectful/awful/arrogant parents who allowed their cute little darlings to ruin 2 of my laptops, made me go into meetings with food/juiced stained suits, may you run into the strict flight attendants who will kick you off for the slightest flinch. Of course, the smallest jesture of I am so sorry would have gone a long way too. I knew better than to expect these boorish louts to actually offer to pay for cleaning/damages that their children caused. I was even kind enough, in one case, to return the ice cubes from the sweet child's drink and the gum that ended up in my hair.

And to the unbelievable people who change kids diapers right there in their seats...Let me change my child's diaper on your dinning room table or kitchen counter at dinner time. Outrageously RUDE and inconsiderate, above all how unsanitary. There is room even in the regional jets to change diapers. Please ask a flight attendant to show you where.

One of the greatest comments heard on a plane 'Gosh, I really got lucky to get a massaging seat, my back is killing me'. The gentleman then turned around to say to the junior massage therapist to say 'faster please, and a little more to the left.'

Posted by: Sierra | July 13, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

For pATRICK, you are a real treat. I never acted up when I was out in public. I knew better. My parents were never my friends, they taught me rules and expected me to comply. No please, no thank you...Just do it or else. Now 40 years later, I cannot thank my parents enough for being so strick and I expect that if I act up out in public, they will still spank me.


wow, aren't we full of ourselves, perfect as a baby and toddler and all the way to adulthood. yawn

Posted by: pATRICK | July 13, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Sue, I am sure you are a very attentive mother, but I think it is irresponsible of you to send an autistic child unaccompanied on a long flight with changes.

No, I don't know you, nor do I know your child. But I do know what it is like on planes, in airports, and how things go wrong in both.

Just because he has a big tag on him will not give him the special attention and explanation he needs. You or someone he knows and trusts needs to be there next to him in case something goes wrong and he needs that extra help or explanation.

And telling a gate agent or flight attendant special instructions for your special needs son is a little naive... they barely have time to do all the basic things needed to get the plane ready for takeoff and landing. I doubt they will be giving him any special attention, or remember his needs.

They don't know all this, but YOU do.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

To Sue:

If your autistic son can't even recognize his own name spoken over the loudspeaker, how on earth is he going to be able to cope if they make a gate change and announce it? Or if there's a five-hours-on-the-tarmac delay and he has to listen to status updates from the pilot?

Sounds like you're setting him up for trouble.

Posted by: mccxxiii | July 13, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Gentle Blert the flight attendants were not threatening you, they were informing you of the FAA rules that you and your child must follow so that the plane can take off. You are not allowed to get up and walk around when the plane is on any active part of the airport tarmac, regardless if it is moving or sitting still. A 20 month old is no execption. Why is he not in a car seat?

That the flight attendants needed to tell you more than once on how your child needed to be seated upon your lap tells them you may need to have additional help in trying to deal with him safely whilst the plane is in flight.

If you want to know why the flight attendants were so nasty as you say, try this on a straight stretch of road with no traffic. Have someone driving take the car up to 50 mph, you sit in the passenger side and hold a life like baby doll. Then have the driver slam on the brakes so that you come to an immediate stop. See how easy it is for you to control that doll. Then figure the force of an emergency landing will be at least 4 times greater.

This is why it matters how your son is sitting on your lap. That you did not think enough about this prior to travelling to put him in a car seat, I guess that is also the reason why you ignored the flight attendants safety requests.

I would guess you also knew you were in the wrong and that is why you used the word threats to describe how you were being talked to or you would have mentioned that they were going to throw you off the plane. You do need to understand that you must comply with the flight crews instructions or you can face federal criminal (felony) charges even if you think the instructions are stupid.

Think about that before you decide to fly again.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

(1) As long as the child was not screaming or being overly loud I don't see that their babbling the same words over and over is worthy of being kicked off a plane. Annoying yes, but not against the rules.


ENDLESS REPTITIVE CHANTING? In a high pitched voice??? I would have strangled the brat - assuming that my Service Dog who lies at my feet during a flight and remains utterly immobile and silent unless he needs to alert me to something, hadn't gotten to his feet and, in his deepest rumble backed by his 115 lbs of muscle, told the brat to pipe down because he would sense I was annoyed and upset over something. (And he is none to fond of drunks lurching at me and can detect a person with a biochemical mental illness such as schizophrenia whose behavior is unpredicatable at 75 feet - and he prefers they keep their distance.) At 4 months the dog had begun going out in public to learn his job - and knew and obeyed "Quiet." What's wrong with the kid?

(2) "she is known to belt out the entire Ella Fitzgerald songbook in public when she's bored (mostly on line in the grocery store). do I get her to stop to appease the random person who might be annoyed by this, or do I let her keep going to appease all the people who obviously love it?" Posted by: | July 13, 2007 04:49 PM


Trust me - you WILL shut her up if I am there and you will NOT talk back to me (that Service Dog is very very large.) It is the 'random' person who would find a shrieking off-key toddler charming. The other 99.999% of us want you to drag the kid out, dump her in the car and LEAVE!

Posted by: Ann | July 13, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

To whoever posted the following reply to the "Pardon the pun..." comment, this comment was not posted by me, "Luv2laff11," but by some inept poster who put "to Luv2laff11" in the "Posted by" space. I, "Luv2laff11," believe a mother should put something over her breast (not the baby's nose or mouth or face, but something over her breast) ... and I'm a mother who breastfed --


"to Luv2laff

Pardon the pun but you need to suck it up about your breastfeeding issues. How would you like it if someone put a blanket over your face while you were eating."

Gosh, mothers have been covering breast feeding babies' faces for thousands of years. Dunno why yor kid gets special treatment.

Posted by: | July 13, 2007 12:47 PM"

Posted by: Luv2laff11 | July 13, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I APPLAUD the flight attendant!!!!! Thanks to her, the rest of the paying passengers did not have a miserable ride. Give her a raise!

Posted by: Barb J | July 13, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they should make different sections on a plane...kind of like the non-smoking section in a restaurant or a non-smoking floor of a hotel. Make your reservations early and pick the No-Child section of the plane if they annoy you.

Posted by: Shannon | July 15, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe "they" should:
1)establish a way of rating airlines for being: a)family friendly;
b)sleeper friendly;
c)"civil" friendly;
and
2)establish a way of airlines rating customers and families for being:
a)civil;
b)follows directions well;
c)appreciates that "we are all in this together", etc.

Posted by: Viking | July 16, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Your self righteousness sickens me. The problem isn't parents who try to keep their kids quiet. It's the idiots who obviously don't care who cause such extreme reactions. Face it folks, when others react that badly to your kids, it's probably because you're kids are acting obnoxiously.

Posted by: Bigmouth | July 16, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Hi,
Benadryl can cause cardiac problems when given to small children, and doing CPR and having to land the plane in an emergency have to be much worse than a chatting toddler.
I will usually choose to sit next to a child over a 6'man trying to cram into typical seating. Amazing what a smile or two will do.
As for the nursing, why do we try so hard to discourage something so healthy for society that is proven to lower medical costs? Two of my children were perfectly happy being covered, and one of them would fight me and end up screaming if I tried. Get over your breast fixations and look at something else.


Posted by: wildgardener | July 16, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

When I flew an international flight with my 15 month old son, the flight attendant required me to hold him in my lap for takeoff and landing even though we had brought his carseat, which we'd installed into the airline seat we'd bought for him, specifically to avoid having to hold him in our laps. It was amazing.

Posted by: m | July 16, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Good morning all!

I'm pleased to report that my son is at his aunt and uncle's home.

No problems, no hassles.

Posted by: Sue | July 16, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed the comments from Ann, regarding her service dog. Some friends of our family have raised several service-dog puppies, and we've had long-term interactions with three of those puppies. The behavior you ascribe to your dog would have immediately washed out those animals from the service-dog program. Something is wrong with this picture.

I've tried to keep my tone pleasant and friendly here, but may not have always succeeded. Now I'm abandoning that tone, just for this one message.

If a large dog - service animal or other - were behaving in a threatening manner, particularly around children, I might have to take steps to protect the child/children.

I'm not a large woman, but I am bigger than the dog you described, and I'm generally very, very good with animals. If we couldn't work out the territorial dispute in a "good doggie" social-interaction, I would feel that the dog's owner had left me no other choices. I think I could establish dominance - I'm the alpha, and your dog's a beta.

But I'm also capable of killing a dangerous animal using my brains, bare hands, and the contents of my purse - after clearing airport security, so my knives are at home. I wouldn't want to do that. I'd probably be injured. And I like dogs.

But a dog acting in a threatening and agressive manner has no business out in public. And a dog that behaves that way around children... Nope, sorry. That's simply not acceptable.

I don't know where your service dog got its training, but if this is the result, I'm really not impressed.

Posted by: Sue | July 16, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Your kids are irritating everyone else. Raise them properly, entertain them according, drug them or keep them off.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | July 16, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

ALL child behavior is a DIRECT result of parenting. Tantrums in public, wandering or running around a restaurant, running or playing games in the grocery store or doctor's office, laying on the floor screaming in the post office... these things are all signs of bad parenting from self absorbed parents who have forgotten that respecting their fellow citizens in public means controlling their child's behavior.

If a child cannot quietly and peacefully enjoy dinner out with the family, the child isn't mature enough to be out in a public restaurant.

If a child cannot go the the grocery store without throwing a tantrum, the child isn't mature enough to visit the grocery store.

If a child cannot quietly and peacefully take a flight for the entire duration, the child isn't mature enough to fly and needs to be left at home or medicated.

PERIOD

Posted by: JBE | July 16, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Nicely said, JBE!

Posted by: Well said! | July 16, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes. And children will never learn these skills if left at home instead of taken out into the situation(s) and given the chance to practice.

(sarcasm alert!)

This sounds like the bung-hole-in-the-barrel school of parenting? You, know, Put your newborn into a barrel and feed him through the bung-hole. When he's 18, decide if you'll open the barrel or drive in the bung.

Posted by: Sue | July 16, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I would gladly pay a surcharge if the airlines would start scheduling child-free flights.

Posted by: mibsphil | July 16, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I also would happily pay extra to have child-free flights. If that's not an option, then parents should be strongly encouraged to control their children - with a little benadryl, drammamine, or other harmless sleep aid. That is the only polite thing to do.

Posted by: GL | July 16, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

JBE,

Tantrums are usually the result of parents saying "no." Parents who give in to the tantrums cause poorly behaved children. Parents who IGNORE the tantrums teach the kids a lesson: tantrums don't work. If this dose of reality bothers you, become a hermit -- and don't claim any of my kids' Social Security/Medicaid taxes.

You can't expect perfection. Parents don't know how their kids will react until they're actually in that situation.

I'm so glad you weren't on any of my PCS flights either as a military brat or as a military parent.

BTW, I'm unaware of any medication that is FDA-approved to prevent tantrums.

Posted by: Parent | July 16, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I am willing to pay extra for child-free flights, or to sit in clearly separated "adult" sections on planes especially during long-haul flights. Taking the quiet car on a train (BOS-NYC) is a bliss. Airlines should be creative and try to replicate a peaceful environment on a plane. That way, the parents won't be stressed or feel guilty, and can attend to their kids with more latitude. And people like me who'd like to catch up on reading or get some sleep, can do so in peace.

Posted by: Natalie | July 16, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

A good start would be Choice and Abortion, right up to the 9th trimester.

Posted by: FreqFlyer | July 17, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to parents NOT flying with kids when the kids are too young to NOT bother people? We stayed out of movie theaters until our children were past the getting out of their seats/crying/screaming age. It's called being UNSELFISH and RESPONSIBLE. And we didn't die from not going to the movies; rather, we saved lots of moola! We also chose not to fly up north with the kids since they WOULD have caused stress to fellow passengers (we drove instead). There are two sides to every story; I would like to see an investigation first before condemning anyone (child, parent, FLIGHT ATTENDANT)!

Posted by: Nonny | July 17, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"Well, I don't see anything in there about childless, nasty, people either, so I can assume that both you and the kids are safe."

On a side note, most who left comments are childfree, not childless...it's a distinction we would appreciate you look up.

As far as flying goes, I loved the comment, "Flying is a carnival." Truer words have never been spoken. I used to get very upset, as many here, over the screaming infant, tantruming child, kicking kid, and ultimately clueless parent. To answer other people's questions as to why we are not so angry at other passengers, like the overweight stinky guy, loud cell-phone talking bussiness-guy, or thirteen pieces of luggage that just hit me in the head (thanks a lot) lady...well, we're angry at them too. But they are less annoying, and I'm sorry to say, that's the bottom line.

As I said, however, it used to annoy me. Now I just embrace it as one more annoying thing about flying. Another little added joy to being crammed on a tiny aircraft with strangers and being completely confined for hours on end. I hate flying. There's always something that will upset you. If it's not a loud child, it's a loud college student who wants to regale the entire flight on how drunk he got and slept with some girl the previous night. Earplugs, people - the wave of the future! I'm just not a fan of people who have no manners altogether. It happens in the movie theatres, too. I wish sometimes that people would either talk quietly or just SHUT up when in public, but that's never going to happen. Hence the earplugs. My friend is about to fly with her 9 month old from Alaska to New York...good luck to her and all on her flight. If it helps, she is dreading it and already plans on apologizing to all the passengers if her baby screams a lot.

I have been on a flight to Australia with an infant that I never even KNEW was on the plane until I happened to walk by his father carrying him around near the bathroom. Wow, I thought, a child can be quiet on a flight. That kid's parents are probably very lucky, as the rest of us were, on that 14 hour flight. And I have been on flights only an hour long where a child could not behave. Goes to show it's partly the kid's personality, partly the parenting style, and part luck as to whether you endure a Hellish flight, or a Heavenly one when flying with children.

It is nice, however, when you can plainly see that a parent is trying their best and is truly frustrated with their child. Well, not nice for the parent, but reassuring that they are trying not to condone the behavior. I flew once with a woman who apologized to everyone as we were deplaning that her baby cried every 20 minutes (and woke me up every 20 minutes). It made all the difference. I didn't mind so much, because I could see she was embarrassed. Obviously she couldn't help it, what was she to do, put her hand over the kid's mouth?

But I must ask why there are so many children on planes these days. I understand emergencies and moving, illnesses, etc. I never flew on a plane until I was 13. Why is that I wonder??? Probably because my parents recognized that it was not necessary to go see my grandparents/aunts/uncles every month (once a year on Christmas is plenty), and that perhaps planes are not the best environment for children. It is dangerous, after all, if their ears don't pop, or if they refuse to sit in a seat, or get in the attendant's way, or if an emergency landing is needed (i.e. holding a baby on your lap, as they suggest, will squish it upon impact from your weight). Anyway, like I mentioned, I wonder, but I no longer care much. As long as I have my earplugs, your baby can scream his heart out. I think they should give them away at the gate. :)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

To whomever said the breast-feeding woman should "sue the pants off" the airline...you are exactly what is wrong with this country right now. Too many people suing each other over misunderstandings or one person's own idiocy. People fall over their own stupid feet and try to sue the shoe maker. Come on, people, the whole world is laughing at us! Stop being so darn greedy and tying up the court systems! They are needed for divorce proceedings and custody hearings!

Posted by: lovesarcasm | July 17, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I sincerely hope I never encounter you and your dog in public. The idea that someone would use a service dog to threaten people is sickening. Someday someone is going to call animal control on you, and that will be the end of your days threatening people. Too bad you didn't post your real name so that all those hard-working people who train service dogs won't know to NEVER AGAIN intrust you with such a valuable animal.

Posted by: to "Ann" | July 17, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I sincerely hope I never encounter you and your dog in public. The idea that someone would use a service dog to threaten people is sickening. Someday someone is going to call animal control on you, and that will be the end of your days threatening people. Too bad you didn't post your real name so that all those hard-working people who train service dogs won't know to NEVER AGAIN entrust you with such a valuable animal.

Posted by: to "Ann" | July 17, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

There are some majorly sick a**holes who post on this blog. The majority here seems to have some kind of personality disorder, anger management problems, or worse. It's enough to make me consider carrying firearms in public. I particularly love the folks who think they are superior human beings for threatening small children. Why is it that kids are supossed to have manners, but you are allowed to be as rude as you want to be? Sounds like you are WORSE behaved than the kids you love to criticize. Get over yourselves, please! If manners are important, then they apply to you, too, even if someone else is being annoying. That's just part of living in society. Grow up!

Posted by: reston, va | July 17, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know Ann Coulter had a service dog! Guess it's useful for keeping those pesky toddlers and 911 widows away.

Posted by: nova | July 17, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Nova -- Good one!!!!! :)

I don't know why those aggressively "childfree" people assume that their travel is so much more important than any travel taken by family groups.
Due to the costs involved (a lot more expensive to buy several tickets at once than one ticket), families generally do not embark on air travel lightly.
Most of the families I know who fly are doing so out of some kind of obligation, not on a whim. There are family obligations (not monthly visits to grandma, as was previously suggested, but perhaps once-a-year visits to see relatives who would otherwise be strangers), needs for out-of-state medical treatment and, on most long flights I am on, families being relocated because of new military postings.
There are also trips that simply cannot be done very easily unless by air. My children and I travel occasionally to Juneau. It would be hard to us to reach that destination by minivan, as there is no road to Juneau.
The aggressively anti-child "childfree" grumps are, let's face it, elitist jerks with no investment in the future. I hope they've sterilized themselves. (not talking here about all people without children, just those who hate children, and they know who they are.)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Trying to use the "you were a child too, once" argument is ridiculous. Yes, we were children once, but that doesn't mean we should still use diapers when we're 20. People at different ages are appropriate for different things.

Some children can act well on flights. Sometimes children who usually act well suddenly become brats on flights (which results in mortified parents). But those parents with children who simply should never have been on there should be kicked off. It should not be difficult to get a child to refrain from chanting in his seat.

Now, if a baby starts crying because it cannot pop its ears upon takeoff, that's a different story.

Yes, please, some airline institute family-friendly planes- and another create "NOT-family-friendly" planes.

Posted by: David Pound | July 18, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree with all of the parents and commentators who have separated the Air Tran incident from the bye bye plane incident. In the first, parents need to control their children's behavior- period. Afterall, the kid is 2 or 3 or 4 and they can't assume responsibility for a kid at that age, when will they? I personally don't want to be subjected to the misbehavior of someone else's children. Afterall, I paid for my seat too. Regarding the latter incident, the flight attendant should be fired - but she won't be because she belongs to a union. I admire the historical importance of unions in our society however, it has become so that flight attendants, airline ticket clerks, hotel clerks or hospitality workers in hotels and restaurants really just don't give a damn. Why? because they don't have to. The employer can't do a thing about it and the customer has no other choice. I'm sick of it.

Posted by: maggie | July 18, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing how generally intolerant we have all become. Some of these comments are ridiculous. I am a parent of two: 6 and 2 1/2. We have to fly overseas to see my In-laws. Should I wait until they are older so their grandparents can see them for the first time? Lol. They are good travelers, and my husband and I work hard at it. However, there are times where things don't go the way we would like. Infants cry, toddlers babble. If the parent is working hard to keep them quiet and happy, try not to complain. I think everyone needs to stop taking themselves so seriously.

That being said, what could work is to have a section of the plane for families. It would be less stressful for traveling families if they could be near other families and not have to stress and worry so much about whether their child is bothering anyone. We always try to to book "good" seats, but how can you tell who is sitting near you? Our last flight we were sitting behind a Mom with her 6 and 4 year-old. It was great; we could chat and when my 2 year-old kicked the seat (which he did even though I tried to stop him) the 4 year old in front thought it was funny. On long flights I think airlines should consider this option.

Posted by: ruro | July 18, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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