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Coping with a child's tantrum on a plane (3 Year Old's Temper Delays Plane)
Yahoo ^ | 1/28/06

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 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, 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."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airplane; brat; old; parentalfailure; spoiled; tantrum; wussyparents
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To: Mr. Brightside

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.

41 posted on 01/28/2007 2:35:17 PM PST by mysterio
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To: Mr. Brightside

Maybe she found out the Airtran is just Valujet with a new paint job.

42 posted on 01/28/2007 2:36:52 PM PST by stinkerpot65
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To: Alouette
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!!!
They were not only INCOMPETENT parents, they were CLUELESS!

Girl Kicked Off Plane After Tantrum
Associated Press ^ | Jan 23, 2007 | JimEllis

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...

43 posted on 01/28/2007 2:38:34 PM PST by RonDog
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To: Mr. Brightside; Aeronaut; Pukin Dog

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."

44 posted on 01/28/2007 2:39:36 PM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (Public Employees: Honor Your Oaths! Defend the Constitution from Enemies--Foreign and Domestic!)
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To: kinsman redeemer


45 posted on 01/28/2007 2:40:58 PM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (Public Employees: Honor Your Oaths! Defend the Constitution from Enemies--Foreign and Domestic!)
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To: The Spirit Of Allegiance

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.

46 posted on 01/28/2007 2:50:55 PM PST by myrabach
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Glad this is being brought up!!!
Who lets their three year old child sit separately the parents on an airline?
The parents were asking for trouble when they didn't make sure the seating assignments were child against the window, parent next to them!
Before anyone blames the airline in any way, everyone who flies knows you have to sit in your assigned seat,(if seats are assigned) during takeoff.
The parents should not have received an apology from the airline, they should have apologized to everyone on that flight, while hastily exiting!
47 posted on 01/28/2007 2:51:16 PM PST by sarasmom ( War is not the most vile of the evils humanity commits . There is always apathy...)
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To: patton

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

48 posted on 01/28/2007 2:52:58 PM PST by Criminal Number 18F (Kitchener faced a 'Mahdi Army' too... how'd that work out?)
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To: All
See also, from
...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...

49 posted on 01/28/2007 2:56:36 PM PST by RonDog
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To: Mr. Brightside
Another case of SIPS (Self-Indulgent Parent Syndrome). Today we breakfasted at a very popular Sunday brunch locale. Right beside us was a family with two small children. Parents and children each picked up a fully loaded plate of food. Little Boy had clearly taken more than he could eat, but plugged steadily away at his food until he had gotten about three-fourths through. Little Girl just picked at her meal. I think she ate a total of one roast beef protein molecule and one pancake syrup ion, despite her parents' repeated entreaties to eat just a little more for Mommy please. That moppet is obviously destined for membership in Future Anorexics of America.

Finally the family got p and left. Yep: Mommy and Daddy's plates were still half full too.

50 posted on 01/28/2007 2:58:25 PM PST by BlazingArizona (co)
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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.

That would be THIS article, from
Jan 21, 2007

3-year-old unnerves airline
Girl taken off flight for crying too much

Dianne Williamson

Meet Elly Kulesza, Terror Toddler.

In her finer moments—mainly when she’s 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.

“She’s 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 she’s not like one of those ‘Nanny 911’ children you see on TV.”

Elly’s 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 Elly’s 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 Elly’s 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, there’s 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 plane’s descent into Florida. For whatever reason, when they got on the plane, Elly started to cry and wouldn’t 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.

“We’re 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 we’re talking about.”

“Sir, we don’t 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 Children’s Benadryl to fell a stallion. I exaggerate, perhaps, but it’s 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 I’m all for it. Couldn’t 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 wasn’t 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 won’t ever be flying with that airline again.”

Contact Dianne Williamson by e-mail at

51 posted on 01/28/2007 3:04:13 PM PST by RonDog
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To: Trajan88

Funny you should say that - the mother claimed that she had given the child a Benadryl just before boarding.

52 posted on 01/28/2007 3:22:48 PM PST by Rte66
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To: Paved Paradise
"uncontrollable kid"

I have heard that, and that the kid was out of control.

IMHO - it was the parents who were out of control...

53 posted on 01/28/2007 3:55:32 PM PST by Dacus943
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To: RonDog

The Worcester Telegram was once a good paper (so was its alter ego, the Evening Gazette; they merged about 1970, IIRC). It's sad what's happened to it. It's like the Dominican Republic minor league team for the Boston Globe, which is the AAA minor league team for the NY Times, which is itself a shadow of a newspaper.

But they sure have their narrative down. Big, mean corporation picking on poor mom and "an adorable and sweet-mannered child, a blue-eyed charmer" -- just because Mom's lackadaisical parenting skills nearly screwed up 100+ people's travel plans (not to mention, the 100+ people sitting in ANOTHER 737 waiting for that one to clear the gate so they could get OFF).

God almighty, what a sense of narcissistic entitlement. And she's pregnant again, oh no. Don't do it lady! It's a choice, not a child. Planned Parenthood can help.


Criminal Number 18F

54 posted on 01/28/2007 5:42:37 PM PST by Criminal Number 18F (Kitchener faced a 'Mahdi Army' too... how'd that work out?)
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To: Mr. Brightside

Here's my simple solution: (1)teach the child that bad behavior has painful consequences, (2) gag the child with a wash cloth, (3) one parent on each side of the child restrains the child in the seat and buckles the seatbelt, (4) when you get the child home you explain the painful consequences again and wear the childs @$$ out.

55 posted on 01/28/2007 5:58:22 PM PST by evangmlw
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To: BlazingArizona

Those b@stards.

56 posted on 01/28/2007 6:00:16 PM PST by Richard Kimball
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To: Mr. Brightside
if you want the kid to stop screaming grab him/her by the back of the upper arm with your thumb and index finger.....trapping about 1/32 of an inch of skin. when you tell the little tyke to please be quiet and he screams then apply pressure.....when the little precious stops screaming at the top of its lungs and quiets down.... release pressure.

tell them how proud you are that they're acting "nice" and sit right down. Start screaming, pinch away.... no permanent damage, but a nice action/reaction/consequence type of activity.

It's a shame that the little precious wasn't made to act like he/she should in public. Parents fault actually.

57 posted on 01/28/2007 6:04:49 PM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: leda
i flew with our 5 yr old from d.c. to n.m. last may.

Did you know that not only should the first word of a sentence
be capitalized, but also "I" when referring to yourself?
Sure enough. It's a new thing we have called grammar.

Months, like "May", also should be capitalized. Did you know?
"DC" and "NM" also should be capitalized, were you aware?

I guess either you are nine years old or just want to make FR look like a bunch of illiterates.

I'll go with the nine years old scenario and hope you learn something soon.

Tell mommy that you shouldn't go to adult sites until you learn to write, there's a good girl.

58 posted on 01/28/2007 6:22:08 PM PST by humblegunner (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on.)
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To: Mr. Brightside
Jeez, all my parents had to bring was their slapping hand. I behaved instantly.
59 posted on 01/29/2007 7:22:14 AM PST by Lx (Do you like it, do you like it. Scott? I call it Mr. and Mrs. Tennerman chili.)
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To: Lx
Jeez, all my parents had to bring was their slapping hand. I behaved instantly.

The same here. I inherited that philosophy of child rearing from them and succeeded raising my son. Sometimes though, you can't please everybody, no matter what disciplining method you use. We were travelling crosscountry when my son was four. We stopped at a restaurant when he decided to act up. So there I am, trying to sit a writhing, screaming child straight in his chair to eat, when a busybody walks up and scolds me for manhandling this poor child. That was one of the ruder moments of my life -- I loudly told her pretty bluntly to mind her own %&*@! business. Her husband back at her table seemed so embarrassed that he wouldn't look at me.

60 posted on 01/29/2007 11:19:40 AM PST by TexasRepublic (Afghan protest - "Death to Dog Washers!")
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