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Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
1,107 posts
12 reviews
Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

This is very embarassing. We were traveling with our 28 months daughter on a red eye flight from Singapore to Munich. She had her own seat and it wasn't the first time she's flown on her own seat (Jakarta-Bali). That time though, she was very sleepy and cranky (due to the flight taking off at 23:55) and refused to sit still during take off. We asked if we could have an infant seat belt but they informed us that it's against regulation because she's over two years old. We tried to calm her down with toys, stickers, even iPad but she still refused to sit and we were about to take off. Finally the head steward gave up and allowed us to use infant seat belt with her on my wife's lap. She's actually very small for her age and she's smaller than her 17 months cousin (who could seat on her mother's lap) so she could easily passed for under 2 years old.

During the flight, the head steward chastised us and said it's our responsibility to prepare her for the flight.

We had a few other flights with her on the same holiday with no problem.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10,857 posts
94 reviews
1. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

Yes, because it's so easy to reason with a 28 month old child. Sounds as if you did the best you could. No need to be embarrassed.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
34,650 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

"During the flight, the head steward chastised us and said it's our responsibility to prepare her for the flight."

=====

Well, in a way he's right. And, while he may have come across as authoritarian, I can understand WHY he said that. He went out of the way and provided the infant seat belt to a child not officially an infant. And in doing so he violated airline regulations, and quite possibly law, for which he could have faced sanctions up to and including dismissal.

I'm not saying you are bad parents, far from it; based on the other flights it looks like this was an outlier. But it's a reminder that parents do need to prepare for the worst case scenario when traveling with small children.

And as the littl'un grows up (very quickly) this won't be an issue. No need to worry.

Happy flying.

Edited: 09 January 2015, 06:22
London, United...
Level Contributor
27,179 posts
29 reviews
3. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

Hmmmm, tough situation, but the truth is you should be able to get your child to sit in the seat, even if it takes some strong words, sometimes it's not about toys and stickers and iPads. The member of crew was within his rights to chuck you off the flight, but he broke the regulations.to allow you to fly.

I it embarrassing? Well yes and no. Kids have tantrums, but ultimately as parents we should be able to take control of that when it's important.

And yes, I'm a parent, and I disagree with Gracie, it's not about "reasoning " with a 28 month old, it's about taking control and telling them what to do and having them do it.

Watford, United...
Level Contributor
5,038 posts
13 reviews
4. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

The guy was simply doing his job and following regulations. He may have been putting his neck on the line by breaking the rules for you. Fair play to him I say, I wouldn't have been happy to do that. What was the level of chastisement?

Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
1,107 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

not too bad. he came over to us and told us sternly but politely. it was also a business class 1-2-1 configuration with quite a separation between the two central seats which meant my wife couldn't put her arm on the toddler which probably would've calmed her down a bit. red-eye was a factor though. we thought it would be nice to have her sleep during flight but the take off was pass her usual bed time.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
Level Contributor
31,501 posts
77 reviews
6. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

I would like to hear the chief stewards's take on this.

But I guess we won't. :)

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
24,301 posts
77 reviews
7. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

not too bad. he came over to us and told us sternly but politely.

---------------------

Then I can't see much grounds for embarrassment. Getting chucked off the plane would have been however.

London, United...
Level Contributor
27,179 posts
29 reviews
8. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

>>not too bad. he came over to us and told us sternly but politely<<

well at least you are not having a rant. I am unsure if you are embarrassed about the ticking off, or embarrassed that you could not get your child to obey you and simply sit down. maybe both?

im guessing as you are posting here, there was a bit of a scene in the cabin and that contributes to the embarrassment.

Bangkok, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,855 posts
71 reviews
9. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

Hi,

This case is hard to at one way or the other without the benefit of seeing exactly who said what to whom and how...

That said, I don't agree with a "chastize" type of talk.. I also disagree with his alleged actions.

To me, this is really a "as a matter of fact" ... The Purser should just inform of what the regulations are, and as a part of that discussion, to disclose what the potential repercussions may be for non-compliance.

For me, there is no discretion about safety - it is a black and white.

As such, if a passenger -regardless of age - can't or won't comply with what are the formal safety regulations, then they need to be deplaned and denied boarding.

Again, I wasn't there to see the whole situation unfold.. And I do crede that, at times, traveling with infants/young kids, can be a challenge.. So I can have empathy from that viewpoint.

However, unless the safety rules make an explicit exception for infants/young kids and/or provide for the carrier to enforce them on a discretionary basis, I expect the carrier to enforce at all times and under all circumstances.

I also agree that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.. This sounds like a "it is what it is" case...

I think at times, even with the best pre-travel preparations made, travel with young kids can go off plan... And that (to me) isn't a fault of the parent or child, but again, unless rules provide for discretion or exception,

safety need to be enforced at all times and under all circumstances.

Travel Safe.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
12,478 posts
103 reviews
10. Re: Embarassing scenario on recent red-eye flight

I recently witnessed a very similar scene on a flight from Tokyo to Bangkok. The 3 year old child was clearly terrified, and we were in business elite, which meant that his seat was separated from the rest of his family. The passengers were sympathetic and everyone was trying to calm him down, but we could not take off until he sat in his seat. He kept getting out of the seat and running over to his mother, who was helpless but also was to be blamed for putting a child barely over two and a business elite seat by himself. In the end of flight attendants did allow him to sit in her lap during take off so that we could leave but I thought it might have been a better idea to put them in coach seats so they could set next to each other.

Frankly if a child that young is having a meltdown on there's no amount of reasoning or good parenting beforehand that's going to stop it. I suspect that flight attendant didn't have kids of his own.