For me, this is another example of a flight attendant overreacting and then claiming safety reasons for their bad behavior. The incident occurred aboard Southwest flight 1683 from Chicago to Atlanta. The toddler became scared just prior to takeoff and hopped into her father’s lap as she was crying. The father is told by a “flight attendant in red” that the child needs to calm down and sit or she’ll be escorted off the flight. According to several other passengers, the father then asked the flight attendant for one minute to get his daughter re-settled. He was able to calm the child down with the help of some popcorn. However, the flight attendant had already called in staff to remove the two of them, even though the child was now quiet and in her own seat.
The video shows the man asking the female flight attendant to stop yelling at his baby and other passengers can be heard telling her that the child is sitting and calm – “we don’t understand”. The most ridiculous thing is the child is completley silent and seated as Southwest staff are asking him to deplane.
‘You’re gonna leave,’ the Southwest employee tells him as the flight attendant, who was named Michelle, returns. But she’s sitting,’ the father says again. ‘She’s been sitting for the last five minutes.’ ‘I explained the FAA regulations,’ Michelle replies. ‘There’s no more discussion, we’re back at the gate.’ Michelle then claims that the father told her to ‘get out of’ his daughter’s face, a claim that a fellow passenger can be heard disputing on the spot. ‘No, I think he asked you if he could have a minute to calm her down,’ she tells Michelle. ‘Not for you to get out of her face.’ ‘He asked for a minute,’ another fellow passenger chimed in. Michelle then turns to the women trying to defend the father and says, ‘We’re cleared for departure, you all need to understand the operation.’ ‘She’s a child, she was scared,’ the passenger responds. ‘This is not helpful guys, you want to go to Atlanta? The decision has been made,’ Michelle retorts. ‘So you’re going to kick them off the flight and traumatize her some more, to have her fearful to get on the plane again when she’s calm?’
As the man gets up, you’ll hear him say to the flight attendant “I’m glad you screwed up everyone’s day”.
The video was posted on Facebook by the passenger included in the dialogue above, Alexis Armstrong.
“#southwest #airlines kicked a man off the plane with his two year old daughter because she was afraid and not sitting in her own seat,” Armstrong wrote in a post that accompanies the video. “he asked the lady for a minute to calm her down she walked away and called people to remove him. The baby was already calm by now and sitting in her own seat.”
Southwest issued the following statement:
“Our initial reports indicate a conversation escalated onboard between the Crew and a Customer traveling with a small child. We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved. The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned. We will reach out to the Customer to listen to any concerns they have about their experience and look forward to welcoming them onboard again soon.”