Screaming Toddler on an Airplane Leads to Lawsuit

flying with kidsNo one likes to hear a crying toddler on an airplane -- or anywhere for that matter. Some of us feel bad for the toddler (and her parents) and hope everything is okay. Others feel bad for themselves, call it bad luck, and pop on the headphones or take a sleeping pill.

But one disgruntled plane passenger actually had the chutzpah to sue an airline after a screaming 3-year-old boy yelled in her ear -- and the airline paid up.


American tourist Jean Barnard, 67, was boarding a Qantas airplane in Australia when a toddler leaned across the aisle and screamed in her ear as she was finding her seat. Barnard says her ears started bleeding and she became "stone cold deaf." She was helped off the plane and taken to the hospital.

The day after the incident, she allegedly sent this email to a friend:

"I guess we are simply fortunate that my eardrum was exploding and I was swallowing blood. Had it not been for that, I would have dragged that kid out of his mother's arms and stomped him to death. Then we would have an international incident."

Then she sued. Barnard, who admitted to wearing hearing aids, said the flight crew should have taken precautions to protect passengers against screaming kids. The airline argued that its staff could not be expected to know that the child was going to scream, and there was no evidence that the child was screaming in the terminal or on board the aircraft prior to the scream that allegedly caused the damage.

The case was settled out of court last week. Qantas declined to say if the settlement included payment to Ms. Barnard.

Maybe she's just getting free flights for the rest of her life -- hope there aren't any toddlers on board.

Do you think an airline is responsible for the behavior of toddlers on a flight?


Image via MA1974/Flickr

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