Monday, July 16, 2007

Flight Attendant Threatened By 20-Month-Old Toddler!

If you've ever ridden on a plane before, there was most likely at least one noisy toddler or baby somewhere near you. Maybe it was even your baby. Sometimes sitting near a baby on a plane is cute and amusing, other times its a little irritating, but generally its just part of the experience of flying, right?
I mean, can you imagine being on a plane where the flight was actually turned around so that a mother and noisy tot could be escorted off the plane by security guards?
Well, that's exactly what happened on one plane when 19-month-old Garren wouldn't stop talking.Little Garren and his mother, Kate, were aboard a plane that had just started taxiing around the runway. The mother and baby had been stranded in the airport for the previous eleven hours, as the plane had been eleven hours late. Luckily, though, Garren seemed to be in a good mood. As the flight attendant began her routine safety speech, Garren looked out the window at the other planes. He waved to one plane and said, "Bye bye, plane!" He continued to repeat the phrase, over and over... as toddlers tend to do.
Finishing her safety speech, the flight attendant approached Kate and Garren. "You know, it's not funny any more," she snapped. "You need to shut your baby up."
Kate looked at the flight attendant, taken aback. "Are you serious?"
"I sure am. I've been stranded at the airport all day, I'm tired, and I don't want to listen to it," the flight attendant said.
"Well, he's been here at the airport for 11 hours, stuck in a stroller, you know. We're lucky he's not screaming his head off," Kate pointed out. "Besides... he'll probably be fast asleep by the time the plane takes off."
"It doesn't matter. I don't want to hear it. Its called Baby Benadryl," continued the flight attendant. She made a drinking motion with her hand.
"Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to drug my child so that you can have a pleasant flight," Kate retorted.
Other passengers chimed in, agreeing with Kate. "You're overstepping your boundary. Just leave her alone," one woman told the flight attendant.
The flight attendant put her hand on her hip. "This is my plane, and I don't want to listen to it," she said.
The flight attendant walked away, leaving Kate and other passengers aghast. Moments later, she returned, announcing that the plane was going to turn around, and Kate and Garren were going to be removed. "If you do not leave the aircraft voluntarily, the authorities have been called, and the police will come and remove you from the plane," she said.
Sure enough, the plane returned to the gate, and security guards came to escort Kate and the baby off the plane. Ironically, Garren was fast asleep by that time!
Embarassed at being the center of this scene, worried because she was nearly out of diapers and food for the baby, and outraged that this was really happening, Kate went to talk to a representative of the airline. She was told that the reason she'd been kicked off the plane was because the flight attendant had told the captain that Kate was threatening her... not because of the baby's babbling.
"But I have a whole plane full of witnesses who could tell you I never threatened anyone," protested Kate.
She filed a complaint with the airline, but a month went by and she never heard from anyone from the airline. So now, she is taking her story to the media.
Imagine being spoken to like that somewhere else... a hotel, for instance, or a store. I've flown plenty of times, and I've encountered my share of rude airline personell. There seems to be an attitude these days that an airplane is not a business that needs to please its' customers, but some sort of overworked social service whose clients had better toe the line, or else. Its bad enough that we can barely bring anything aboard a plane any more, not even a tube of chapstick; that we must stand in security lines for hours and pray that we don't miss our planes because of it; and that we are now often expected to pay for what once was complimentary, if kind of meager and unappetizing, airline meals. But now we are espected to tranquilize children before bringing them on the plane? What next? A lengthy interview process to find out if you and your family are worthy of buying plane tickets?
Kate paid good money for her plane tickets, and was inconvenienced enough by having to spend eleven hours stranded in an airport with a toddler. But to be kicked off of a plane because her child was talking? Inexcusable.
Kate and her family are considering bringing up a lawsuit against Express Jet Airlines... and I hope they go through with it! Let that flight attendant pay for Garren's college education.
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melody is slurping life said...

Ok, this sort of thing really, really gets me mad. The flight attendant's, and certainly the airline's, attitude and actions are inconceivable and inexcusable. I hope the boy gets a good education. ;)

nanciesweb said...

The reason why I'm boycotting the airlines.

I'll take the train or drive.

If I have to go overseas (which I'll never *have* to), I'll just take a cruise.

Joanna said...

OMG, they would hate my almsot 5 year old then, she has Autism and can be a pain in the butt to deal with. they are lucky this child didn't ahve a disbiality because this woman could have sued and gotton big bucks out of it.