Skip to comments.Coping with a child's tantrum on a plane (3 Year Old's Temper Delays Plane)
Posted on 01/28/2007 1:31:45 PM PST by Mr. Brightside
Coping with a child's tantrum on a plane
By BETH J. HARPAZ, AP Travel Editor
4:55 PM ET
NEW YORK - How do you avoid becoming the family that got kicked off an airplane after their crying 3-year-old refused to take her seat?
Experts say rewarding kids for cooperation, distracting them with simple games and telling them in advance what's going to happen can help. But at the end of the day, you may just have to take control, restrain the child, and comply with the rules.
The family, Julie and Gerry Kulesza and their daughter Elly, was headed home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers, Fla., when they were told they had to leave the plane because Elly wouldn't get in her seat.
FAA rules require children age 2 and older to have their own seats with buckled seat belts before takeoff. The airline, Air Tran, said the flight had already been delayed 15 minutes when the family was told to disembark. Air Tran reimbursed the family the cost of their tickets and offered them three roundtrip tickets anywhere the airline flies as compensation.
Here are four tips for getting children to behave on airplanes.
_Bring the child's car seat along. The Federal Aviation Administration says children are safest on planes when strapped into their car seats, and "young kids are often more comfortable in a familiar seat," said Eileen Ogintz, whose columns appear online at http://www.takingthekids.com. Seeing their own car seat on the plane may also make them more willing to climb in and buckle up, just like they do in the family car.
_Bring small items you can use as entertainment, distraction and rewards.
"We'll stop in the magazine store and get one of those silly little books where the kids get a magic pen," said Pauline Frommer, the travel guidebook writer and daughter of travel guru Arthur Frommer. In addition, she buys gum as a special treat for her daughters to have in flight, and brings pipe cleaners along to play with.
Holly Hughes, author of "500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up," suggests reading a story or even strapping a doll in the seat belt first. "Everyone around you is anxious and kids are likely to pick up on that anxiety," she said. "Distraction is a big thing."
Michele Perry, director of communications for TripAdvisor and mother of a 3-year-old, says if toys don't work, "I have a Plan B, which I'm not proud of but it works: A lollipop."
_If the child is old enough to understand, explain in advance what's going to happen and stress the importance of following the rules. "Explain that the pilot and flight attendants need their help when preparing for take off," Ogintz said.
"The whole idea is the preparation before. Explain what's going to happen and make it something to look forward to," said Nancy Shankman. Her grown son, Peter Shankman, began traveling with his family at a very young age; today he runs AirTroductions.com, a Web site that allows people to choose their seat mates before boarding.
_Finally, if rewards, explanations and distraction don't work, you may have to calmly say, "These are the rules, you have no choice," and restrain the child.
"I do feel that preparation for any kind of adventure is important," said Nancy Shankman, "but if that didn't work, I would have just strapped the kid in the seat."
Peter Shankman said that the opinion of about half of the moms weighing in on the subject on the AirTroductions Web site was, "'We would have had that kid down.' They blamed the parents." The other half felt badly for the parents, he said.
"A lot of this comes down to parenting," Perry said. At the end of the day, "I know I can get my daughter buckled in that seat."
Steve Loucks, a spokesman for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the travel agency, said parents need to realize that, "in the post-9/11 world, there's no room for error on airplanes. Unruly passengers, regardless of who they are, whether it's an elderly person or a young child, can be grounds for turning the plane around and letting them off. ... If ever there were a place where you need to make sure your children were behaving, this is the place."
If the kid's used to being belted in in the family car (SUV), then riding the plane is likely no problem.
If the kid's used to being belted in in the family car (SUV), then riding the plane is likely no problem.
There you go assuming... ;-)
Sweet! I'm going to teach my kid how to throw temper tantrums.
""A lot of this comes down to parenting," Perry said. At the end of the day, "I know I can get my daughter buckled in that seat.""
Parenting??? How dare he say that!!!
If I were an Air Marshal, I wouild have tazered the parents.
It's worked so far.
As for parents letting their kids run amok, we are trying to install a LOT more discipline in our kids than they apparently believe in. Yes, I know this child had ear problems, but the parents should have planned for that and given the child something to help her deal with it.
Expecting the airlines to just rework their entire schedule is just ridiculous. Filing a lawsuit after the airlines had already tried to make a "peace offering" when they didn't really need to is just idiotic. Yet more reason to have a "loser pays" system for civil cases.
Looks like the parents were rewarded for having a spoiled child.
Girl Kicked Off Plane After Tantrum
Posted by don'tspeak4me
On News/Activism 01/23/2007 7:35:25 PM PST · 165 replies · 3,045+ views
Associated Press ^ | Jan 23, 2007 | JimEllis
Toddler's temper ousts family from plane
Posted by presidio9
On News/Activism 01/23/2007 10:25:48 AM PST · 187 replies · 3,062+ views
Associated Press via Yahoo News ^ | January 23, 2007 | Jim Ellis
Crying Child and Her Parents Removed From Flight
Posted by Fawn
On News/Activism 01/23/2007 10:26:18 AM PST · 185 replies · 3,303+ views
ABC NEWS ^ | January 23, 2007 | ABC News
3-year-old unnerves airline [Girl taken off flight for crying too much]
Posted by MotleyGirl70
On General/Chat 01/22/2007 10:51:57 AM PST · 179 replies · 3,251+ views
Telegram.com ^ | 01/21/07 | Dianne Williamson
A two word suggestion that sometimes works wonders: Spock pinch.
I mean, WTF?? Why couldn't the father take the lone seat and the kid sit next to mom? How hard was that?
1. Discipline your children
2. Train your children.
3. Teach your children.
4. Be a mentor and an example for your children to follow.
If you can't remember all 4, just remember #1 (Actually, 2-3 DEFINE #1.)
An article I read when the story broke suggested that the parents were sitting together and the child was in a row in front of them. To me this is just asking for trouble.
Incidentally, some people who were present in the terminal before the family boarded say the girl was acting wild and out of control in the waiting area too. And the child's behavior on GMA also makes it hard to believe she's "usually well behaved", as the parents claim.
Still, the Munich leg is going to suck. I am going to need the patch. ;)
You've got to be frigging kidding me! Shame on the parents for not taking that SIMPLE step! And shame on the lone guy in their row that wouldn't offer to change places with the kid.
What a bunch of morons.
The airline ought to start a class-action counter-suit with a bunch of the passengers on the plane for their inconvenience.
"Her parents said she needed just a little more time to calm down."
Typical limp-wristed Boston liberal parents, with their can't-get-it-done-normally spoiled IVF baby, are shocked that the world doesn't get revolve around their baby's tantrums and bowel movements.
Look, when you close the doors, the FAs have very little time to get everyone strapped in. Everyone must be strapped in or you can't push back from the gate. If you don't push on time -- yes, even a few minutes -- you fall further and further back in the queue.
This is bad for several reasons, one of them is that dispatch has secured your IFR clearance and that clearance has a valid time and a void time. If you're not airborne by the void time, then the clearance flushes from the computer and has to be resubmitted, adding to your delays.
Passengers on airliners have very, very few responsibilities. Basically, they are to sit down, buckle up, secure your minor children, and follow the instructions of the flight and cabin crew, whose concern is the safety of all souls on board.
If you can't handle these very simple tasks because parenting is beyond you, maybe you ought to stay home. Better yet, maybe you ought to consider giving the kid up for adoption.
No doubt we'll hear about this kid in twenty years, running over some peasant with her Range Rover on her way to her I-hate-America protest march.
Some people are a complete waste of sperm and egg.
Criminal Number 18F
"Yet more reason to have a "loser pays" system for civil cases."
Oh I how I wish we would implement this and concentrate on real issues!
That's what I told my husband. I can see some knuckleheads trying to get free tickets by having their brat act up. The plane needed to take off. I have no sympathy for these people. Anyone who's been on an overseas flight with a screaming brat knows.
yeah, they don't pay the flight attendants
enough hazzard pay for the likes of you. ;)
a jug of antihistamines, perhaps? :D
The girl was hitting her mother. Why should 60 other people (or however many were on the plane) miss their connecting flights or be late to meetings and so on because one uncontrollable kid. If the flight took off without the kid belted in and something happened to the kid, you know they would've sued. Here's a clear case where the airline was damned either way.
These young parents nowadays think their kids are little gods.
Well... we sort of have one now. Only problem is, the wrong people keep losing these frivolous lawsuits.
I didn't read much about this incident, but, if those parents put the child by herself, I CAN understand why she would have a fit sitting next to a stranger. Why in the world didn't one of the parents move to the lone seat? Yeah, like I would let me 3 yr. old sit next to a stanger.
These people lack basic parenting skills.
A three year old is old enough to understand commands and to follow instruction
This problem started way before they tried to buckle her in the seat that day
parents are probably up and coming socialist
There's no end to the uses of duct tape. :-)
Leda says you pegged it.
There's no doubt who was in control here. The child. That happened a long time before pushback time for this flight.
And how about some Velcro britches?
About two good swats across the back of the legs usually works.
I hadn't heard that. I now have zero sympathy for these idiot parents. They brought it on themselves.
lol.....even better :-)
So the child behaved on their flight down to Florida, but chose to have a tantrum on the trip home to Mass. Sounds like a child who tells her parents just what she wants to do, and they obviously let her get her way. Glad they were forced off the plane but doubt they learned anything as their attitude is to blame the airline!
Forget all the Psychobable krep above.
Teach the child to obey her parents. End of story.
... I would have given all three Benadryl... nighty-night.
I wonder if the kid's seat was a middle seat.
The two adults take the aisle and window seat on the 2-seat side and stick the kid in the middle seat on the 3-seat side.
Both of these parents seem to be the kind that would not want to sit in a middle seat.
It still amazes me that I can't smoke on a plane, but screaming kids and human virus factories are still allowed to spew germs all over everyone on the flight. Glad that I don't have to fly.
Maybe she found out the Airtran is just Valujet with a new paint job.
After reading through most of the threads on this incident, I think what made this worse than any other crying-child-on-a-plane was the fact the family could not get 3 seats together so the mother and father sat together and put the kid in a row by herself!!!Bingo!
They were not only INCOMPETENT parents, they were CLUELESS!From:
Posted on 01/23/2007 7:35:25 PM PST by don'tspeak4me
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Flight attendants often deal with obnoxious passengers who won't listen to instructions by kicking them off the plane. But a Massachusetts couple think AirTran Airways went overboard by treating their crying 3-year-old daughter in much the same way.
Julie and Gerry Kulesza and daughter Elly were removed from the flight when the girl refused to take her seat before takeoff, airline officials said Tuesday. But her parents said they just needed a little more time to calm her down.
The Kuleszas planned to fly home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers after a four-day visit with the girl's paternal grandparents. She was removed because "she was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat" during boarding, AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said.
AirTran officials say they were only following Federal Aviation Administration rules that children age 2 and above must have their own seat and be wearing a seatbelt upon takeoff.
"The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational decision to remove the family," Graham-Weaver said.
But Julie Kulesza said: "We weren't giving an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything."
"Elly was sitting in front of our seat crying," she said in a phone interview...
Simple solution: in flight, the pilot is just as a captain on the high seas and can marry, arrest and/or SPANK passengers as needed.
These brattish temper tantrums are classic examples of children being in control...and they are actually terrified because of it. "Spare the rod and spoil the child."
I travel regularly for my job and the increase in bratty kids is just amazing. I appreciate that parents enjoy air travel with children BUT I am getting very tired of having to put up with this nuisance.
I'd really love to see adult only flights where I can either nap or or work to my convenience with the annoyance of these little darlings. My children and grandchildren are well past the crying stage and I can say that I never inflicted others with that bad behaviour.
And excuse me, but these parents actually wanted to DELAY the flight to get the little brat under control!!!! Hello, some of us have connecting flights and other schedules to keep. But then that would be considering others.
If that was an adult... they would be off the plane in an instant... I fully support the airline in this matter and wish they would do it a lot more.
Thanks, both of ya. I will say to anyone reading this: meet the airline people half way and you will be amazed what they'll do for you. Remember that they're human too, they're not your serfs or slaves any more than you should be nobody to them. I am always astonished at the abuse and contumely heaped on line folks, especially gate agents.
Yes, the gate agent really DOESN'T know why your plane is late. If there is a mechanical problem, even the pilots and the mechanic might not know what it is yet. If they do, they migyht be to busy troubleshooting it to tell her (And then, they have to check the MEL to see if it's something that they can defer for maintenance later, or have to fix before flying). Many systems on a modern jet need to be working 100% to ensure a safe and comfortable flight. You can drive your car without the climate control working, but a jetliner goes where it's 60 below outside on every flight -- the heater better be online. Not to mention all those knobs and gages and screens they give us pilots to play with so we don't get bored.
Yes, your crew really does have to hang it up when they go outside of crew rest "even by a minute." It's the law (and it's the law because some bright spark figured out exhausted pilots are not safe. It may seem arbitrary but it's so YOU CAN BE SAFE).
Finally, I don't understand the issue with a separated family. I travel alone a lot, and traveling revenue or not I will ALWAYS volunteer to trade seats so that a family can sit together. I bet most of you would do the same. Maybe the family didn't think to ask (it doesn't sound like they're the sort of people anyone would want to sit near). If you see this situation and don't mind moving, speak up (some families say no cause they've had a belly full of togetherness by the time they're headed home from gran'ma's).
These days, most airliners are full; that's because the only thing that matters to travelers is the lowest fare, and margins are wafer-thin, so they jam the seats full. Get used to it (or get rich and fly charter, but you won't get the family from Boston to FL round trip for $200 a seat). It's incumbent on all to behave in the public space that is an airliner cabin. Unfortunately, we have a generation, the children of the self-absorbed boomers, who never learned deportment but instead grew up bursting with entitlement and overflowing with unmerited self-esteem.
In that context, absolutely no surprise that these Meathead Parents of the Year think they need to sue. The bigger a jerk you are, the more likely you have a lawyer on speed dial.
Criminal Number 18F
...You know, sometimes kids cry and scream. Sometimes you're the poor schmuck on the plane fielding death glares from everyone else because you simply cannot get your baby to stop crying.
But I finally figured out what bothers me most about this story: I believe the Kuleszas might not have been able to get their daughter to stop crying, but that shouldn't have anything to do with whether or not she was in her seat, per FAA regulations.
The Worcester Telegram piece includes this line, which is where I stopped feeling that the Kuleszas had been unfairly called out:
They got off the plane, while their luggage and car seat flew on to Boston.
They checked the car seat? If they'd brought it on the plane with them---which is the safest option for a toddler, anyway---they could've buckled Elly in and that would've been the end of it. Maybe she would've screamed, maybe the other passengers would've been annoyed, but they would've flown home as planned...
Finally the family got p and left. Yep: Mommy and Daddy's plates were still half full too.