Tuesday, January 23, 2007

AirTran Pwns Toddler Toting Parents

Dear AirTran,

Finally an Airline that gets it. Bravo to you AirTran air. I read about the family that was properly put in their place this morning for being unable to control their three year old child prior to take off. I have never understood the nerve of those people who think that it is perfectly acceptable to burden an entire plane full of people with their unruly children. I have been on flights where these children have cried consistently for over 3 hours while I was trying to get a little sleep on my business flight. I earn over 6.1 figures a year, these children as far as I can tell are unemployed, from a social benefit point of view, my contribution to society is far greater than theirs and I deserve my rest in order to earn more money. If it was so important to transport your children by aircraft then perhaps these “parents” should have made up their mind on where in the United States they wanted to live before they had children. Some of us actually PLAN things in advance, and in some cases plan well. Maybe this family should have moved to Florida before their child err I mean unemployed child, was born. The sense of entitlement that some of these parents have is absolutely mind-numbing. Seatbelts are on a plane for a reason. Hello, welcome to America. I don’t know how they do it in Germany or Istanbul or Rwanda or Madagascar or England but in our country we do not allow children to roam free and tackle our airplane pilots in mid-flight. The seatbelts are meant to protect the other passengers from air-born children. The audacity of the mother to think that she could simply hold her child on her lap! What if we hit an armadillo on the runway and the child flew over a few seats and landed on my Treo disabling it?! Of course I would not know it was disabled until I turned it on when it was appropriate according to the RULES of airplanes in America! Although I do not have any children of my own, nor do I have any experience with children at all, I am sure that I would be able to control a little three year old. I would have explained in simple English to the child the FAA rules of flight before we had left the house. This way the child would have understood what was expected of them and then not been confused while on the plane. Also, if for some reason the child did begin to try and cause trouble I would have done what any parent with the tiniest shred of common sense would have done. I would have told the child to Stop. Hello. Does that sound difficult to you Mr. and Mrs. Parent? Try saying Stop. You don’t have to be a genius to be a parent, but you do have to use your brain a tiny bit. Although I have never flown AirTran, I would like to commend you and the rest of the Tran family for laying down the law. I agree wholeheartedly that a flight already delayed 15 minutes (due to uncontrollable Airline related circumstances) could not and should not be delayed any further in order to allow a parent to try to soothe their child in a manner that they felt was appropriate. You have my business from now on.

All Business



Anonymous said...

You know what, we need people like you on an airplane when other people's kids start throwing a tantrum! I wish more people would speak up and DEMAND the couple be thrown off the plane. I have a 15 months old, and guess what, WE DON"T FLY for this reason. We'd drive, or how about just staying home? Part of the sacrifice we had to make for having a child.

Who wants to take a bet on how much longer a law suite will be filed against the airline for discrimination?

Jeremy C

Henri said...

You're scaring me.

Sunny said...

Anybody got a 3 yr old screamer I can borrow for my next flight? I'd like three round trip tickets to anywhere too. Next people will be pinching their kids and making them cry.

honglien123 said...

Whoa! I've always been really proud that both my kids (ie the one who can sit on my lap and the one that can't) have always been really well behaved on flights. Who knew that if they acted up we could've gotten roundtrip tickets to ANYWHERE plus our money refunded?!

Although in all seriousness, climbing under the seat and hitting her parents?? At 3?? I actually don't really sympathize with these parents too much. I doubt the airline would have kicked them off the plane if the child was just in her own seat and seat belted, which is FAA regulation and not up to the airline anyway. The parents make it sound like they were treated unfairly with their request to put their daughter on their lap. Plus, sounds like they were duly compensated. I wonder how the parents were able to get the girl under control for the first flight out and if the kid struggled to be put in her airline seat, what about car seats? Do they put her in someone's lap when they're in a car.

Henri said...

My kid travels like a tiny little baby Hannibal Lecter. Everyone thinks the tiny little mask is so cute. Just don't let him get his hands on a paperclip. Oh and one time he sign languaged this guy sitting across the aisle to drink himself to death on the flight.

honglien123 said...

Dude, that is one talented kid. With skills like that, you could get tons of free tickets. You should tell the flight attendants to give you comps or else the baby gets the paperclip! Or if none are available, that your kid would telepathically manipulate the entire plane into a cirrhosis inducing lush fest. That'd teach 'em.

Henri said...

All kidding aside, if the parents were making a true effort to try and stabilize their kid, how much time do you think the airline should have given them? As long as the parents were making a genuine effort to comply I think they should have been given at least the same 15 minutes that the airline used up by running late.

Anonymous said...

Don't you love it when your sarcasm is lost on your audience? Or maybe Jeremy's own sarcasm is lost on me...? Did the egg come before...? Aarrrgh.

You forgot to mention that the parents should have taken certain preventive measures such as slipping a valium or something in the toddler's juice box. It's not just the screaming toddlers that bug me - how about those incessant conversation making senior citizen who force upon you a whole photo album full of their not-so-cute grandkids? Huh? They should also be kicked off.
Now, this is the reason why we plan on training LN for triathlons so that she'll be in fit condition to make that trek back to motherland, a.k.a. Korea... some running, some swimming (there's that huge ocean), and some cycling... and she better NOT expect to be carried for any part of the trip!

honglien123 said...

Henri, I think for this particular case, preboarding would have helped this family. I think some airlines do give families with young children enough time by allowing them to preboard, which in my experience gives me as a parent, about 10 to 15 minutes to get my kids in their seats and ready to go. According to AirTran's website they do allow families with "infants in arms" to preboard. The statement from the parents that they were given no time to comfort their child and get her in her seat is very one sided to me. Unless they were the last ones on board, I would think that they had at least SOME time.

I know some parents will probably think that I'm being unduly harsh on these people. However, there seems to be a reluctance on the part of parents to do any real disciplining in public. By discipline, I don't mean screaming at your kid or hitting them, I mean being the parent, and that means stern reprimands and forcibly moving the child if necessary. It's one thing when a child cries during a flight but it's an entirely different thing, when a child crawls under a seat and starts hitting people. If that were my kid, that's when I would put the smack down (figuratively, not literally). In this case, it doesn't sound like the child needed comforting, she needed parenting.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason why people with kids --even little ones---can't fly on holiday. The more experience a child has, the less likely they are to react in a hideous fashion. Frankly, the noise level on any plane I have been on is at such a level that I hardly notice crying children [and I've done multiple trips from China to the US with many a baby on board.]. In most cases, if you are seated in the same set of seats, you can simply request to be moved, not to mention that there are always earplugs.

The thing is Little kids need transition time---we all know it. Pre-boarding is such a great thing. Yet the american airlines have all abandoned it and if you ask you get the nastiest looks as though allowing a family with a kid or an elderly person to board first is somehow cheating. In the long run, all the abolition of pre-boarding has done is make travel more difficult.

so now the semi funny story: when we adopted our daughter [nearly 3] we had to fly on a plane from City X in China to Beijing. Well, our delightful new little tot took NOT to the seat belt and howled like a proverbial banshee whenever I thoughtlessly and cruelly tried to belt it across her lap. Finally, the pilot came out from the cockpit and told the stewardess to take the belt off the monster baby. Not that I speak Chinese but I'm pretty sure he said "I don't care if that wretched brat bounces off the walls for the whole flight: make her be quiet!"

So the stewardess unhooked the seatbelt, the monster stopped howling and her adoring [but very worried] just six year old brother and I locked arms across her while we taxied down the runway.


InstantYang said...

I find it amusing that AirTran is an anagram for Rant Air. I am, of course, easily amused.

That said, we are blessed in that Hudson travels well, and probably too frequently, the spoiled little brat. However, there's also an art to getting a kid to cooperate with unfamiliar stuff, involving handy pairings like smoke/mirrors, good cop/bad cop, and bait/switch.

We've learned that a combination of distraction, threatening/coaxing, and empty promises give you leverage for negotiations from a position of strength.

Unfortunately, the airlines have learned the same thing, which is why air travel sucks so much ass.


daddy in a strange land said...

column with more details from the family's hometown paper

Anonymous said...

The post is hilarious. When I fly with a screamer, I keep reminding myself, "She'll be paying my social security in 20 years -- and I'll need it!"

Anonymous said...


On one level, if you can't get your kid "under control" within 15 minutes...well, that's a problem.

On the other hand, Air Tran looks like a bunch of assholes and damage control should be pretty entertaining for them.

ayac said...

*knocks on wood*
Having flown with my children, I have only had one bad experience with a stewardess, and it was on the flight from US to Narita to Seoul.

I, and my sis-in-law who flew with me, believe she must have tossed back something on the break at Narita, for she was sure nicer from Narita to Seoul.

Other than that, what can you do, my kids were okay, and both her and I did what we could to keep them occupied, and on the flight home, they were angels (hey we had stops planned so we wouldn't be stuck on a plane forever, I would've loved a direct flight, but the hops (Dulles, Seattle, Narita, Seoul) made it easier to bear.

On the other hand, I think they were compensated...they turned town the offer. Sorry, I wouldn't have if it meant that I could see my family again. There are standards and FREE tickets....

Plus, being a mother of three, I have no problem speaking up on a plane, bus, etc, if some other parent has a problem in getting their child to cooperate.