January 23, 2007

  • This one's a tuffie...

    Did y'all read about the family who were put off an AirTran flight due to the obstreperous behavior of their three year old daughter?

    The AP story doesn't explain the situation especially well, ISTM:

    Airways on Tuesday defended its decision to remove a Massachusetts
    couple from a flight after their crying 3-year-old daughter refused to
    take her seat before takeoff.

    AirTran officials said they
    followed Federal Aviation Administration rules that children age 2 and
    above must have their own seat and be wearing a seat belt upon takeoff.

    "The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness
    to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational
    decision to remove the family," AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver

    Julie and Gerry Kulesza, who were headed home to
    Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers, said they just needed a little more
    time to calm their daughter, Elly.

    "We weren't given an
    opportunity to hold her, console her or anything," Julie Kulesza said
    in a telephone interview Tuesday.

    The Kuleszas said they
    told a flight attendant they had paid for their daughter's seat, but
    asked whether she could sit in her mother's lap. The request was

    She was removed because "she was climbing under
    the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat" during
    boarding, Graham-Weaver said.

    Was the reason for the flight being already delayed 15 minutes solely because of Elly Kulesza's pitching a fit?

    If it was, then the actions of the flight crew in deciding "To heck with it...why should everyone else risk missing their connections?" was reasonable.

    If, however, the flight had been delayed for reasons having nothing to do with Elly, then ISTM the crew should have warned the parents they've got five minutes to get the kid in her seat and quieted down.

Comments (9)

  • Kids these days...and parents. You'd think that the parents would get the point that they are the ones in charge of a situation involving their child. Take the situation by the horns and deal with it. Reminds me of the parents in the grocery store who's comment to Junior knocking over display after display or just generally raising hell--"Now, that behavior isn't appropriate." ???? What 3 yr old understands that? I'm not saying just pound on the kiddo, but sometimes ya just gotta get the belt, ya know?

  • It does seem as if, between them, two grown people could have picked Elly up, stuffed her in her seat and fastened her seat belt.

    Sounds as if li'l Elly rules her parents with a tiny iron fist.

  • Even that solution isn't terribly desirable, though. What if her howls -- post stuffed -- prevented the attendants from being heard when giving safety instructions? I know, I know, nobody listens to those anyway, but the point is they're there for a reason.

    Time was when such stuff wasn't even an issue. You made sure your kids wouldn't cause a problem to the general public, and if they were incapable of that for some reason, you found another alternative. You wouldn't have needed an airline to tell even fairly bad parents that a screaming, thrashing kid didn't belong on an airplane.

    People are taking the airline's compensation for the tickets as an admission of wrongdoing. Nope. I think it's just good business.

  • Well, I can't say whether or not the airline was in the right, but I can say that I'm glad that I wasn't on that flight had it taken off with the ill behaved toddler aboard. I've had the opportunity to fly with 3 of my children when they were quite small and it can be....interesting... For the most part I've been lucky and mine were well behaved (we did have an incidence of air sickness, that I've really really tried hard to forget as, I'm sure, the other passengers...bless them...and flight attendants have also). It does sound like Little Elly wears the pants in that family!

    and Miss Anne, you've been tagged to mention 6 little idiosyncrasies that you may have.

  • Idiosyncrasies? Moi?

    You obviously have me confused with someone else, as I have no idiosyncrasies.

    Just ask anyone!

    Well, no, don't ask her. OR her. Or him, either.

    [sigh] I'll see what I can manage.

  • Yeah, I'm not saying that Perfect Parents Prevent Tantrums. I'm just thinking that the way I was brought up -- and my impression was that this was pretty standard -- was that if I was causing a problem, my parents took responsibility for it, even if that meant serious inconvenience to themselves. So, nobody would have had to order them off the plane -- they would have either realized that they HAD to get that child under control, or they would have taken her off the plane themselves, realizing that an airplane was no place for a screaming child. In fact, they probably would have given up the idea of flying at all (had it been within their means anyhow) if they were unsure that their child could behave appropriately for the situation. People just did not, generally speaking, take their kids places if those kids could not behave appropriately for the setting.

  • Just so, Jane. You've put your finger on the most significant, albeit heretofore ignored, aspect of the matter. Our society's sense of entitlement rears its head in myriad situations.

    If humans do indeed possess a "sixth" sense, it's a sense of entitlement.

  • And you know, there's a backlash to it.

    A decade or so ago, I started reading articles complaining about how parents felt entitled to take their children places where "children didn't belong," such as fine restaurants, concerts, etc. At first, it mystified me. My parents were able occasionally to do things like take me to nice restaurants -- not top drawer places, but places that would not be considered "kid friendly" today. And what on earth was wrong with that?

    Eventually, I figured it out. "Back in the day" when my parents took me to a nice place, there were expectations of me, and they trusted that I would meet them. Nowadays, the expectations aren't there, but the parents' sense of entitlement to take their kids anywhere they feel like going, and the other diners' pleasure be darned, is the main thing.

    So now the idea has arisen that there are all sorts of places where "children don't belong" -- not because anything inappropriate for them happens there, but because they're not expected to behave appropriately while there, so they just shouldn't be there.

    And lest anyone who doesn't know me get the impression that I'm some sort of geezer, I'm only 41. This has been a sea change within a generation.

  • It used to be recognized that children are - gasp! - capable of learning proper behavior at a fairly early age.

    Nowadays, though, "well, they're just children!" is the automatic excuse for the misbehavior of someone's kids, to which I often think, "Yes they are, and an unruly lot they are, too."

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