Sarah Blackwood, singer for Walk Off the Earth, says she and her baby were booted from a United Airlines flight because he was crying.
Blackwood, who is seven months pregnant, was traveling from San Francisco to Vancouver with her little boy, who isn’t quite yet 2 years old. Before takeoff, she says he threw a major fit, and as a result, the plane’s staff ordered them to disembark.
“When everyone was boarded, my son got very fussy,” she told ABC News. “He started to cry really loud, he was squirming in my arms, and I was doing everything I could to hold on to him.” She says the flight attendant told her to control her child and learn how to calm him down. By the time the plane began to taxi, he was asleep in her arms, but this wasn’t good enough for the airline, and they turned around and booted the pair off the plane.
She shares that she was extremely embarrassed, and despite other passengers coming to her defense, she was escorted off the plane and forced to find another flight home. When contacted by ABC News, the airline released the following statement about the incident: “Despite numerous requests, the child was not seated, as required by federal regulation to ensure passenger safety, and was repeatedly in the aisle of the aircraft before departure and during taxi.” However, Blackwood denies this, as they were in a window seat, and she did not allow her son to get up and run around in the aisle, so there is a little he said/she said aspect to this story.
Blackwood was also able to record a conversation with a United employee, who said that she should have secured her seat belt over herself and her child, which is extremely unsafe — if there had been an accident, her body would have crushed the body of her child.
This is not the first example of a parent and child being removed from a flight due to crying or screaming, and it likely won’t be the last. The responses these stories receive, however, always stun me a little bit. The comments range from “Ugh parents these days” to “Good, keep your brats off my plane.”
Well, sorry to break it to you, but we were all kids once. Even the best-behaved child will get tired, cranky and will cry on occasion. This isn’t a case of a crappy parent not disciplining her “special little snowflake,” especially since the boy zonked out before they were even kicked off the plane. No, nobody wants to fly with a crying baby or toddler, but kids are a part of our world too.
Going over to a parent whose child is freaking out and telling her to control her kid only serves to add to the stress she’s experiencing. How that would help anyone is beyond me. Dealing with a crying child on a plane is a common enough occurrence that airline staff should be able to deal with it in a kind and compassionate manner.