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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Out Of Control

Everyone who's been on a plane more than once or twice has had to listen to a crying baby. It's just part of traveling. Occasionally, you might have a wonderful little tot who has nothing better than to kick the back of your seat for the entire 4 hour flight (while the ditsy mom just looks at you and grins as if to say, "isn't that just precious?"). But not many people have had to deal with this:
AirTran Airways on Tuesday defended its decision to remove a Massachusetts couple from a flight after their crying 3-year-old daughter refused to take her seat before 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," AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said.

Julie and Gerry Kulesza, who were headed home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers, said they just needed a little more time to calm their daughter, Elly.
And that was before the plane took off!

No, Mr. and Mrs. Kulesza, you didn't need more time to calm Elly. You were allowed to board the plane first because of your daughter, so you easily had 15 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave to calm her. You also had the 15 minutes extra that they gave you to calm her. So you had at least a half hour to get your spoiled brat of a child under control. And if you can't figure out who's the parent in a half hour of your child running loose in the plane, crawling under the seats and hitting you, then you have more problems than getting kicked off the plane.

I'm not overly harsh or dictatorial with my kids, and there is no way that my kids, even at 3 years old, would have ever done that. It's not part of their temperment, and they knew they wouldn't get away with it.

It brings to mind a story that I might have told before. When the boys were in Cub Scouts, one of their fellow Cub Scouts through a major temper tantrum, in front of a bunch of people, because his father said "maybe" when asked if they could go to Ci-Ci's Pizza. Note that the father didn't say "no"... he said "maybe." We quietly got into the car (to go to Ci-Ci's) and one of the boys asked what William was doing. "Throwing a temper tantrum." Why?" "Some kids think that they can change their parents' minds by doing something like that." "What?" "Yup, and what's sad is that a lot of parents do give in." "Not in this family. That 'maybe' would have been 'no'."

I can pretty much guarantee that Little Miss Elly will be throwing temper tantrums like this for the next 30 or 40 years at least. Mommy and Daddy will give her everything her little heart desires, just to keep her happy. Then she'll find some nice young man who will give her everything, to keep her from throwing a tantrum. And then she'll have kids and either pawn them off on the nanny or turn them into spoiled brats, just like her.

Maybe I'm being overly harsh on the parents and their little darling. Maybe Elly was just having a very bad day or wasn't feeling well or was scared or something. Maybe her parents are actually great parents who just lost control for a moment. For some reason, I doubt it.

Mr. Kulesza says that his family will never fly AirTran again. Woohoo! I'll make sure to book my next flight through them, if possible. And, when I do, I'll let them know that it's because their crews got this one right.

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