From ABC's Good Morning America:
On Jan. 14, 3-year-old Elly Kulesza and her parents, Julie and Gerald, were kicked off an AirTran Airways flight from Florida to their Worcester, Mass., home because Elly would not stop crying.
Elly, who had been a model passenger on the flight to Florida four days earlier, began to cry uncontrollably once she got on the plane, throwing a temper tantrum on the floor.
AirTran employees demanded that the Kuleszas calm down their child. When Elly didn't stop crying, the crew banned the Kuleszas from flying for 24 hours. Later, AirTran offered an apology to the family along with a refund on their tickets.
"As we have an obligation to the 112 other passengers onboard the flight to operate the flight on time," AirTran said in a statement, "we had to make an operational decision to ask the Kulesza party to deplane so the flight could depart." See story here.
This family was BANNED from flying AirTran for 24 hours because their kid had a tantrum? You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
I have a 3-year-old. She is, for the most part, a well-behaved kid. But, as with any young child, she can have her moments when all hell breaks loose and she has a meltdown that just won't quit and there is NOTHING that can be done about it.
Sometimes these meltdowns happen at home, sometimes they happen in public. When we have one of these public episodes it can be frustrating and, yes, a bit embarassing. People stare. People are rude. We get dirty looks. I want to apologize, but then think better of it.
Why? Because kids cry. Kids have tantrums. And if someone has an issue with it, too damn bad. I have a real problem with people who so freely pass judgment on parents when their kids are crying or having a tantrum. (One woman on GMA today actually said "it's very annoying when kids cry on planes." Well, yeah..it is -- but aside from passing out Duct tape to parents with screaming kids, you can't do much about it. And, attitudes such as her's are even more annoying).
I tend to believe that these people - like the AirTran anti-kid patrol - don't have kids and therefore have no freakin' idea how difficult it can be to calm a child down when they are having a tantrum. Trust me, you cannot rationalize with a child who is crying. You just have to hug them and love them and hope it passes soon.
For an airline to BAN a family from flying because their kid had a meltdown before take-off, well that's just unacceptable to me.
What would AirTran have done if the tantrum occurred at 35,000 feet -- hand them some parachutes and wish them luck?
And yes, I understand that some kids are just unruly and misbehave because their parents don't watch them or discipline them. But that is not the issue here. This was a little girl who was having a tantrum and crying - behavior that is typical to 3-year-olds. Her parents were right there, doing their best to calm her down. AirTran's actions are unacceptable and I will make certain that my family never flies their not-so-friendly skies.