July 12, 2007

"Baby Benadryl"? How About "Flight Attendant Xanax"? Damn.

bye_bye_plane_continental.jpg

A mom and her 2-year-old son were removed in June from a Continental ExpressJet flight from Houston to Oklahoma City because the kid kept saying "Bye, bye, plane" through the safety demonstration:

"As she finished, she leaned over the gentleman who was sitting next to me, and she said, 'OK, it's not funny anymore. You need to shut your baby up,'" [mom Kate] Penland said.
the flight attendant also reportedly said, "it's called baby Benadryl" and made a drinking motion.

The flight attendant then reported a "passenger disturbance" and turned the plane back to the gate, where police took the mom and kid off.

Now the CO IAH-OKC flight is an Embraer RJ145, a 50-seat, 1-2 configuration. It's a pretty cozy flight to have a jabbery lap baby next to you, but according to a passenger three rows back, the kid was no louder than any adult passenger. Also, the flight had been delayed 11 hours. 11 hours.

And anyway, it's a waste to drug a kid for a 90-minute flight. All it does is turn them into handle-less, carry-on deadweight for the remaining 4.5 hours. Continental's got some 'splainin' to do.

Talking toddler and mother removed from flight in Houston [abclocal - ktrk via consumerist]

18 Comments

The really ugly part about this story is that the flight was from Atlanta to Oklahoma City with Houston as a stop. Meaning... this woman and child were kicked off in the middle of their flight. They had no one in Houston they could call. Now I don't care if the kid is screaming at the top of his lungs (well, I do care but not that much), you don't boot them off with no where to go.
This one is bad.

Sounds like a childless and lonely flight attendant didn't want to be reminded of her empty life for 90 minutes. (But I'm sure she cheered up after a night in OKC!)

If that kid got busted for being jabbery and happy, it looks like it'll be awhile before we take our little screamer on a plane.

I just got off an xjet flight this afternoon and after reading this I sent an email letting them know I will be boycotting their airline until they provide a response to the situation.

having just come of three 6hr+ flights with my 15 mo old, the tension can sure get high. i gotta say though, if you are crossing the pacific, go Air Tahiti - they gave us toys, bassinets, bottles of water for the baby, we were practically in a 'baby section' at the front of the plane, with other toddlers on all sides. so much so the kid barely slept during the filght, too busy playing with her neighbors and saying 'hi' to everyone like 50 times. it was the ny-la flight that was the worst, in the us it seems baby's are just a squirmy carry-on.

what is really sad is this is just going to increase as delays (11 hours? That is ridiculous) are more common and flights crowded. But you know, this is really remarkable. I won't be flying them either.

This is why I look at driving or taking the train rather than flying. My daughter is five and can handle herself really well. But all kids will melt down after a point, and delays are horrific now.

I have caught a bit of this on this mornings news- I am thinking that the potential "situation" given as the reason for removing the mother and child, came about because the flight attendant behaved inappropriately not the toddler. It was understandable that the mother may have become irate at being provoked stupidly. So if anyone was to be thrown off the flight it ought to have been the flight attendant who was so clearly stressed that she overreacted and made the totally inappropriate suggestion that the child be given a drug. Anyone who has any business flying should know that Benadryl could well have made the child hyper rather than sleepy.
Anyone with such a low tolerance for INNOCENT HARMLESS and NORMAL human behaviour shouldn't be allowed to make security judgements for others.

NB...making a flight in abot 6 weeks ...with very active 17mth old twins... "UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP.".etc

[yeah, I can see the mom getting goaded into mouthing off at the flt attendant, and getting the boot, good point. On the taxiway, there's not exactly any arbitration or recourse for "did not comply with all flight crew instructions" or whatever, so if the attendant's a cranky bitch, you're basically stuck. It's interesting that this all happened weeks ago, the mom wrote a letter to CO, and it's only coming to light now, presumably after she went to the press. Not clear either how/when the passenger/witness got tracked down, unless they bonded in the 11 hrs they were all stuck in IAH. It's entirely possible that the mom's leaving out some key details. Or not, who knows. -ed.]

Geez. Continental's employee clearly screwed up and is getting some well earned bad press from it.

wow, that's bad. I've been on one of those small planes with an baby who was tired and uncomfortable. I would hate to think what I might have done/said to anyone who gave me grief after an 11 hour delay.

I hope this family sues the pants off this astonishingly arrogant, rude and witless airline. Bye, bye plane = bye, bye money for attorney's fees and a settlement.

I think the flight attendant was totally wrong and probably an evil baby-hater but hoping that the family sues the airline is ridiculous. Maybe Continental could comp them some free passes because their regional jet service sucks eggs, but if everyone sued when a service industry worker was an asshole, the US would be in major trouble...

We've generally been pretty lucky with flight attendants - it's passengers who've been occasionally obnoxious but most people understand that children, like, exist. But we're avoiding flying at the moment. The prospect of the delays involved is horrifying beyond belief.

I am deeply shocked by this story, and not a little nervous about my impending 24 hour flight with 3 young children.... but I am not flying Continental so maybe we'll be ok.

I have experienced the opposite. I was on a flight where an attendant was really annoyed that my 9 month old was sleeping. She almost made a point of being louder when the drink cart went by us. And when I asked her to be a little more quite so we didn't have a screaming kid at any moment she just sneered at me.

This story is really shocking and Continental needs to reprimand and/or fire this particular employee. However, it should not dissuade anyone who has already purchased tickets for a flight. For as many horror stories like this, there are just as many stories of extremely generous, kind flight attendants and airport staff. We just returned (yesterday!) from Italy via AA and we had a great flight. Our 15 mth old daughter is extremely active, talkative (babble, really), and does not sit still for long. The key for us was sitting in the bulkhead (more room for kids to crawl on the ground) and identifying at least one attendant who is kid-friendly. Ours was a great guy named Keith who had experience with kids, told us not to worry no matter what our daughter did, and then gave us two free bottles of wine. All of which helped us to not give a sh** when we got the occasional ugly stare from some jerk across the aisle. Also, don't be afraid to set a playdate with other parents with kids on the plane. Nothing helps to ease the anxiety about flying with a kid like commiserating with your peers. We met some awesome parents on both flights.

we also had a very negative experience with continental...but it was with the ground crew. although my husband and i had booked seats together with our 7th month old on my lap they gave us boarding passes sitting far apart and in exit rows which is illegal with a small child. when we asked to be sat together the woman at the gate rudely said she could do me the favor of moving out of the exit row but that i shouldn't need tio sit with my husbad...plenty of women sit alone with children...then she tried to have us kicked off the flight which was overbooked by claiming we were drunk simply because we had been seated at the bar with some friends rather than on the floor which was the other option. but this was nothing compared to how a friend was recently treated by united... the truth is here in america when it comes to flying we don't have a choice... it's going to be awful no matter what.... but it's true international flights especially on foriegn airlines are wonderful.

I have met a few of Continental's stew crew and they unfortunately give good FAs a bad name. Some just seem to live up to the reputation of pilot chaser, lazy and unintelligent--this chick definitely fits into the unintelligent category. I am sure her life is dull and empty and she has probably hit the stage in life where she gave so much tail to the pilot she is just bitter. Some of these broads need to get a life. These types of FAs give good ones (probably the ones with lives) a bad name. Sad and pathetic.

@ Rolf: You think they care about you? Just *one* passenger boycotting them? You must be so important *rolls eyes*

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