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."
"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.