Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Three-Year-Old Monster

Somebody finally stood up for travellers and humanity everywhere this past week. I don't know if you heard about this or not, but AirTran, an east-coast based commuter-type airline removed a family from one of its flights before takeoff after the parents were unable to subdue their three-year-old.

It went like this (Superchikk version): Everyone got on the plane (going from Orlando to Boston), and the three-year-old kid was acting like a maniac - screaming, yelling, hitting the parents, climbing under seats, refusing to sit in her seat, and general mayhem. The airline graciously (I think) delayed the flight for 15 minutes to give the parents time to get their little monster under control, which they were unable to do. So, the flight crew asked the family to get off the plane. They refunded their tickets, flew them home the next day, and gave them three round-trip tickets to anywhere AirTran flies.

Of course, the weenie parents of the little psycho are upset - they went on record as saying they would never use AirTran again. And that they weren't given time to hold and "comfort" their daughter. Puh-lease. I've been around kids enough to know that there will be good days and bad days - and you have to take them as they come. But even on a bad day, a kid of three should be able to sit in a seat with a seat belt on. I think everyone understands that kids get rambunctious and noisy. But the unwillingness of the parents to control their child is simply unacceptable. They are letting everyone know they are distraught over this whole situation and they believe it to be the airline's fault, not theirs. They can't believe that the flight crew wouldn't allow the little girl to sit in the mother's lap during takeoff and the flight. (Like she would've anyway - they would've had to get her out from under the seat first.) FAA regulations state that children of that size must sit in their own seat for safety reasons. If they'd hit a bump or something and the little brat had been injured because she wasn't in her own seat, you can bet the parents would be sqwaking about that too.

First of all, these parents need to get over themselves. If you can't control your three-year-old, there are problems in the family. Problems that are mostly yours - not the kid's. Just because they're embarrassed that their poor parenting skills are plastered across the nation's news media doesn't mean that someone else needs to pay for it. They got a free flight home plus three free tickets to anywhere they want to go. What else do they want?

Why did this cause the media frenzy it has? Simply this: someone finally stood up to parents who are unwilling to control their children. This is a victory for anyone who has ever had to suffer because someone else's kid acted like a brat and the parents would do nothing about it. It's also a victory for anyone who has had to travel on an airplane with a crying or otherwise unruly child, not to mention the 112 other people on the AirTran flight from Orlando to Boston that day.

I actually found AirTran's website and left a comment for their home office. I wanted them to know that people like me appreciate what their flight crew did on that day. I have only two disappointments that have arisen from this situation: (#1) Those unhappy people with the monster three-year-old won't be flying AirTran anymore, so that means they'll probably end up on the same airline I'm on because (#2) AirTran doesn't fly out of my local airport. Pin It


  1. Kudos to AirTran! Reckon they would give me a job on those planes? I could boot those parents and their bratty little kids off - and be happy to do it.
    What Air Marshals are to international terrorists - I could be to Toddler terrorists!

  2. I have to admit that this story caused me a little discomfort as we were preparing to fly with our kids last Monday. To my happy, happy surprise, the flight attendant told me that E did great!! :) J-Man was quiet the whole flight---unbelievable.