Monday, March 12, 2012

Family kicked off Jet Blue Flight

This morning I happen to turn on the Today show to catch the weather, and instead caught the above story about a family kicked off a Jet Blue flight because their daughter was having a temper tantrum before take off. Of course there is a little more to the story, but the headline caught me and as each minute passed I got more and more fired up about this predicament.

The Vieau family, from Rhode Island, were returning to Boston on a Jet Blue flight from Turks & Caicos last month. The doctor couple was traveling with their daughters who are 2 and 3 years old. While preparing for take-off Natalie, the 2 year old, began to throw a temper tantrum and was giving her parents a hard time about sitting by herself, as well as fastening her seatbelt. Natalie had been used to sitting on her mom's lap while flying and like a typical two year old was making her feelings heard, to the whole plane.

On the Today Show this morning the mother explained that the tantrum lasted 3-5 minutes, and that the flight attendants had repeatedly asked her during this time to secure her daughter in the seat with her seatbelt on. After approximately 3-5 minutes they had Natalie pinned down in the seat with her seatbelt on. I guess this wasn't good enough for the flight attendants, as the family was then informed that the Captain had made the decision to bring the plane back to the gate (it had began to taxi, but not yet on the tarmac/runway), and the family was to disembark the plane.

Understandably, the Vieau family was flabbergasted. They had settled the child down, and buckled her seatbelt as asked, but were still being kicked off the flight. Now this was the last flight out of Turks & Caicos that day, so they had to be rebooked on a flight the next day, and had to pay out of pocket for a night at a hotel room and transportation to and from the hotel. They are claiming they spent $2000 due to the ordeal.

Now if any of you have traveled with a toddler who throws a tantrum right at take-off you can understand this nightmare. In the 20+ flights I have taken with my daughter, I have never not had the flight attendants be sympathetic to both of our needs. I fly Jet Blue the majority of the time too, and always found the attendants to be more than helpful and understanding. Of course, I have never had the trouble of keeping her seated with her seatbelt on, as I always put her in a carseat on the plane, but if I did I am much stronger than all 30 pounds of her and would hold her down like my life depended on it, and buckle that child in.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall of that plane when all of this went down. Did the tantrum really last 3-5 minutes? What did the flight attendants actually tell the Captain was happening in the back of the plane? Did anyone offer to help them out? Dr. & Dr. Vieau seem like very calm people, at least in their interview with Matt Lauer they were, so how did they handle the whole thing? Was there outrage on their part, as there would have been if this happened to me? If I didn't have kids would I have been an angry passenger hoping the family did get kicked off? Isn't going back to the gate and kicking this poor family off going to take time than just taking off when the kid was calm??

There apparently was a poll done on the Today Show website, and 71% of respondents actually agreed with the way the airline handled the situation!

Watch the interview in the link above and tell me how you feel about all this...


  1. I read the story yesterday and saw the Today Show footage today. As the Mom of a 2 year old I was immediately sympathetic as I could easily picture this entire scenario playing out in my own life. With airplane security now being what it is, I understand the airline's position as well. I don't know what the right answer is, but I am now hesitant to go ANYWHERE with my toddler!

    What REALLY has me fired up are the litany of hateful comments people are posting on the Today Show page. It has been suggested that the children are privileged, the parents don't discipline, and the whole thing could have been avoided with more diligence.

    I know for a fact that this is untrue and unfair.

    People also went on to comment about the children's behavior on the Today Show -- and that they need to be "controlled."

    Really? Find me a normal toddler that can sit still for any length of time. Never mind on camera in a TV studio (which has to be pretty stimulating).

    I find the whole thing depressing.

  2. I am HORRIFIED that so many people agree! I would be livid if that was my family that had gone through that experience. How many drunk people make far worse scenes than upset toddlers? Geeesh. So disappointing, Jet Blue.

  3. I'm in complete agreement with the airline. So what if the parents finally got their child buckled in. Yes, the child posed a risk even after she was buckled in. Suppose the captain required them to buckle up again if some turbulence occurred...suppose the child didn't comply and the plane dropped a few thousand feet and she was injured. These parents would be suing in a NY minute. Then there would be the problem of refastening her for landing, and keeping her controlled during food service. frankly, the parents - professional or not, did not appear to be in control at all.

  4. I actually flew back from Turks and Caicos today on Jet Blue and the airline workers were saying the story that was told by the parents wasn't the whole story or at least the correct story from their point of view. They stated the child was tryin to jump over the seat and wouldn't sit down at all, I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle. We were flying with our 19 month old who was all over the place before take off and the flight attendants didn't say a word to us. I would hope if the parents were holding the child down the captain could have been fine to take off. It seems like there is more to the story.