Poor Dr. Colette Vieau. All she wanted was to return home from a vacation in Turks and Caicos with her two daughters and her husband. But 2-year-old Natalie would not sit belted into her seat (as per FAA regulations). And so the family was booted off the flight. That is, after Colette and her husband finally succeeded in wrestling Natalie down and getting her belted in.
It seems a little mean-spirited, don't you think? I mean, if you're going to kick a family off, don't wait until AFTER they get their kid under control. That just sounds like you're trying to make a point. The airline (JetBlue) should have had more compassion.
Or anyway, that's my "as a parent" perspective. That kind of changed when I saw the family in action on Today. Hmm, on second thought, maybe I would have booted them off, too.
Yeah, they don't seem to have a grip. Not that I'd do much better, with two kids that age! But now I'm thinking that Colette and her husband just took too darn long to get Natalie under control -- the crew had lost faith in them by then. It wasn't about getting Natalie under control eventually. It was about showing the crew that they can depend on you to do your job as a parent through the entire flight.
That said, I think the crew could have done better, too. They should have given the parents to the count of ten to control their kid. "And she has to stay in her seat until the seat belt sign goes off." I'm serious! In a situation like this, the airline needs to act like a good parent: State your expectations, make the consequences very clear, and then give the family a chance to make a good choice.
Toddlers are not going away any time soon -- we keep making more and more of them. And with seats getting smaller and prices going up they're becoming everyone's favorite airline scapegoat. But before we start kicking every tantrum-throwing toddler off the plane I think airlines need to come up with some smarter strategies that will work for all their paying customers, big and small.
Do you think the airline was right to kick the family off the flight?
Image via MSNBC