Skip to comments.3-year-old unnerves airline [Girl taken off flight for crying too much]
Posted on 01/22/2007 10:51:57 AM PST by MotleyGirl70
Meet Elly Kulesza, Terror Toddler.
In her finer momentsmainly when shes on land 3-year-old Elly is an adorable and sweet-mannered child, a blue-eyed charmer who likes to dance and harbors a particular fondness for Thomas the Tank Engine.
Shes a typical 3-year-old, said her mother, Julie Kulesza of 7 Primrose St. in Worcester. She has her moments like all 3-year-olds, but shes not like one of those Nanny 911 children you see on TV.
Ellys dad, Gerald Kulesza, is a full-time EMT in Boston who also attends nursing school full time, and he did so well last semester that Ellys mom surprised her husband with a trip to Florida to visit his parents, who live in Bonita Springs. So on Jan. 11, the family flew from Logan Airport to Fort Meyers on AirTran Airways, and even though it was Ellys first plane trip she behaved like a dream and spent most of the flight coloring in her coloring book and watching movies on a portable DVD player.
She was great, her mom remembered. When we made our descent into Florida we could see the water and she shouted, Look, mommy, theres the beach where we go swimming, and everyone laughed.
Yes, it was a heartwarming moment for all concerned, and the trip was great, too. The family swam and went sightseeing, and on Jan 14 they drove back to the airport for the return trip home. They checked their luggage a suitcase and a car seat. As they waited for their flight to be called, Elly contentedly munched on a bag of Cheetos and watched out the window as the planes took off and landed.
Then came The Boarding. Suddenly and without warning, angelic little Elly morphed into every parents nightmare.
Her mom thinks it may have been because of the ear surgery Elly underwent earlier this month, and perhaps her memory of the discomfort and ear pressure she endured during the planes descent into Florida. For whatever reason, when they got on the plane, Elly started to cry and wouldnt stop. Nor would she sit down she plopped herself down on the floor in front of her seat and proceeded to throw a temper tantrum.
I was trying to console her and the stewardess came over and said, Did you buy that seat for her? remembers Ms. Kulesza, 31, who is four months pregnant. I said yes, and she told me my daughter needs to sit in it. I told her I was trying.
Moments later, an AirTran Airways employee armed with a walkie-talkie addressed Mr. Kulesza.
Sir, you need to get her under control, she said.
Were trying, Mr. Kulesza noted.
The passengers, meanwhile, were quite understanding and one of them offered the toddler a lollipop, which she rejected. Then the walkie-talkie woman returned to the Kuleszas aisle and displayed the raw tact and diplomacy of Donald Trump.
Sir, you need to get off the plane, she announced.
What? a stunned Mr. Kulesza asked. Are you serious?
Sir, you need to get off the plane now.
They got off the plane, while their luggage and car seat flew on to Boston. In the terminal they were directed to an AirTran supervisor, who told the couple that the stewardess was uncomfortable because you have an unruly child who struck a woman on board.
Mr. Kulesza was incredulous. That was her mother, he explained. She hit her on the arm. Lady, this is a 3-year-old child were talking about.
Sir, we dont differentiate between 3 and 33, the AirTran supervisor replied. Mr. Kulesza said the woman proceeded to lecture him about child discipline, and how she would never tolerate her children behaving in such a manner, at which point Mr. Kulesza said, You really need to stop talking now.
The couple were also told that, since they had been ejected from the plane, they were banned from flying with AirTran for 24 hours. So they were forced to return to Bonita Springs for the night, and Mr. Kulesza missed a 16-hour work shift, and the next day they returned to the airport and can surely be forgiven if they fed their daughter enough Childrens Benadryl to fell a stallion. I exaggerate, perhaps, but its certainly what I would have done. In any case, Elly slept through the return flight home.
The incident has sparked varied responses from those who heard the story. While many people mostly parents sympathize with the Kuleszas, others are less inclined. For example, when I related the tale to an unnamed colleague and asked if he had ever heard of an airline bouncing a child from a flight he said, No, but Im all for it. Couldnt they have checked her with the baggage?
This colleague, as it happens, has no kids.
AirTran, meanwhile, has apparently had a change of heart. After the airline received a phone call Thursday from yours truly, an AirTran customer service rep called the Kuleszas, apologized profusely for the incident and refunded them the $595 cost of their tickets.
We do believe the situation could have been handled differently, said AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver. We will use this case as a means to train our agents on dealing with this type of situation on our flights While there are FAA regulations that mandate all passengers have to be securely fastened in their seat belts before a plane can depart, we need to work with our customers in situations like this to help them and that is what we will focus on.
Ms. Kulesza is appreciative of the response, but believes she could have calmed her daughter down, if given the chance.
It wasnt like she had a bomb strapped to her waist, she noted.
AirTran also extended another offer to the Kuleszas free airline tickets to the destination of their choosing. The offer has been declined.
I said I appreciated it, but I told them not to bother, Ms. Kulesza said. We wont ever be flying with that airline again.
Best. Flight Crew. Ever.
Parents should do what we did, invest in one of those portable DVD players and bring them on board a flight, it is a great way to keep the little ones calm during the flight.
How about ... don't bring young children on airplanes unless absolutely necessary
If they can do it with one of them, why not ALL of them???
I hate when little children have free reign in the aisleways.....running back and forth drives me crazy.
And I don't blame the Kuleszas. America West Airlines lost my business for a situation closely related to this. Right after Christmas 2000, the Mrs and I (the kids were not here yet,) were flying America West from Oakland to San Antonio, and we had a stop in Phoenix. When we boarded the plane in Phoenix, my wife and I took off our jackets and put them under the seats in front of us. Unbeknownst to us, the kid seating on the seat in front of my wife saw the jacket poke out, pulled it out, and handed it over to his parents, who called the stewardess and had it removed off the airplane. During the push away from the gate, my wife goes to check her jacket pockets, to make sure her gloves were still in...imagine her displeasure when she couldn't find the jacket!
We called for the stewardess, and we were told we couldn't do a thing, because the jacket was already off the aircraft and sent to the Lost and Found of Phoenix's airport!
Fast forward to the actual in-flight...I went to the stewardesses to try and figure out a way what the airline could do about this situation...next thing I know, my wife is there...seems one of the stewardesses called for her to come get me, because I was "getting violent towards them." They even threatened to land in El Paso and having me removed!!!
Needless to say, we have never again flown America West and I refuse to give them a penny.
She was three. Isn't that small enough to pick up? It seems to me that these were the kind of parents who are afraid of traumatizing the little darling and find it preferable to let her sit in the aisle and scream. Were they from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, by any chance?
You must have missed this part of the story:
So on Jan. 11, the family flew from Logan Airport to Fort Meyers on AirTran Airways, and even though it was Ellys first plane trip she behaved like a dream and spent most of the flight coloring in her coloring book and watching movies on a portable DVD player...
On my last trip to Florida a young mother started giving her three young children benadryl about 1/2 an hour before we were scheduled to take off. She caught me watching her and I thanked her. She laughed and said it was for her sanity as well.
They were angels. Sleeping angels.
They went to visit her GRANDPARENTS.
I have and it ain't fun
Ah, my son had a screaming child on his flight from Philly to Frankfurt, Germany. He still talks about the trauma! LOL
I experienced a similar meltdown from my son (now 5) a few years ago. This was on Southwest so we were amongst the first to board and his screams could be heard all the way back to the lounge. I managed to get him strapped in for the roll-back and by the time we were cleared for takeoff he'd spent himself and was fast asleep.
It was, however, the first and last Southwest flight I've ever seen that loaded from back to front.
Kids that age can be tricky. For the return flight he was a complete darling!
Don't bring small children to the opera or plays or on airplanes unless absolutely necessary and IMHO visiting the grandparents ain't good enough reason
I've only flown once (a long time ago) so I'm not an expert at what people go through when flying. However, I've sat next to screaming kids when out to dinner and it makes for a very unpleasant meal.
How about everyone with kids stays locked in the basement until the kids are 20? What were they supposed to do? The kid was fine on the flight to their destination. How were they supposed to know the kid was going to throw a fit? Were they supposed to say "OK, I think the kid is gont to cry today, I guess we'll just cancel our return home & I'll miss my work tomorrow?"
It's impossible to know when a 3-year-old is going to go off. It happens.
Maybe they could have picked the kid up & walked around to calm them, but it sounds like the stewardess wanted that kid strapped in its seat. Which probably would not have helped calm the kid at all.
Yup ... there is always someone who thinks that the rest of us should suffer their brats
I hate all airlines, airline procedures, and every last airline employee I have ever encountered.
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