Unglued By Toddler Tantrum

July 11, 2009

in Baby & Kid Stories

I have been a flier all my life. My father is a pilot for Continental Airlines and even before he was hired we flew everywhere. My parents assured me that when I had my daughter she would be just as travel-happy a child as I had been….and she was. On a recent flight from NWR to MSP my husband, myself and our 18 month old were treated to what happens when parents stop paying attention.

The tantrum and rudeness started before we left the gate. The family insisted on pre-boarding despite the fact that the child was 3+ years old and they had no luggage. My husband and I waited patiently till the end so that we wouldn’t be holding up the boarding process. As soon as we were seated directly behind the mother and child, the 3 yr. old (hereafter referred to as Satan) began demanding, “Pop. I want some Pop. Give me Pop,” from the flight attendant. He was a better person than me and several times politely told Satan no, all the while giving the mother an inquisitive look that said, “Don’t you want to TELL your kid something?”

The plane finally began to taxi and this was the cue for Satan to begin screaming. I mean screaming – as in someone is amputating my leg while I’m still alive screaming. And it doesn’t stop. The child continues to scream and thrash (full body thrash) while the mother sits there. The flight attendant came back and asked if there was a problem – the mother just said no and let the child continue.

We hit the cruising altitude which was the beginning of Act Two. Satan spent the next 3 hours alternately demanding sweets and soda from the flight attendant or running back and forth from her mother’s seat in the front of the jet to her father’s seat in the rear. Passengers were on the verge of beating the child to death by the time the seat belt sign came on and numerous persons had told the mother that she needed to control her child. All of which she ignored.

During descent my daughter woke up (she had been blissfully unaware of the chaos until that point) and I held onto her tight for fear that Satan might try and grab her and play with her. The flight attendant informed the father that because Satan was too old to be a lap child she had to return to her seat for landing. The father promptly dropped the screaming child into her seat and walked to the back of the plane, apparently not concerned in the slightest that his child had now decided to present an encore of Act One. The screaming was so much worse on the descent that my daughter started to cry out of fright. This was my last straw. I leaned around my seat and told the mother “Either you shut her up or I will” and I stared at her until she rolled her eyes at me and wrestled Satan into her seatbelt. The screaming never stopped, by the way.

Once we landed the flight attendant asked if we would all remain seated while the family was “escorted” from the plane by security. It was the first time either parent looked remotely embarrassed. As we de-planed we saw the gate agent explaining to the parents that due to the behavior of their child they were being booted from their connecting flight and that she would see if any other airlines could accommodate them. Turns out, the pilot and co-pilot had been able to hear Satan’s whole production through the cabin doors and had alerted the company prior to landing. Bravo to Continental Airlines for ensuring that no one else had to suffer Satan’s tantrums.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

flabbergasted July 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

The rest of you on the plane should have begun applauding when the little hellspawn and her handlers were yanked from their seats. There’s a difference between a crying baby who can’t help it and a poorly-parented brat who carries on like a howler monkey on crack. Since when has it become acceptable in our society to allow these little tyrants to run feral and act like wild beasts out in public?


GottaLoveIt July 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm

With parents like that, that kid has absolutely no chance of growing up into a decent human being. What a shame.


aaron July 12, 2009 at 7:46 am

Tip of my hat to the pilots and airline!


anon July 12, 2009 at 11:01 am

I agree – pop should NEVER be given to children under age 8 or so. It's junk and they need milk or water. It disgusts me when I see any kid drinking pop, or any parent giving their child pop. To me, THAT is very bad parenting.


SAW July 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Tes.. Kudos to Continental (one of the airlines I tend to prefer, btw) and the flight crew for preventing another incident.

One wonders if there wasn’t something going on between the father and the mother – in that perhaps – both were refusing to deal with the child out of spite for each other (I’ve seen that happen before).

I also have to wonder, why anyone is giving a young child pop? I didn’t get soda until I was at least 7 or 8. My 6yo god-daughter tasted it once and immediately said the bubbles hurt her tongue and wants nothing to do with it – perhaps a little less pop might help little “Satan” calm down.


Nacho July 13, 2009 at 4:59 am

Loving Continental so hard right now. Also love flabbergasted, who said "a poorly-parented brat who carries on like a howler monkey on crack." OH god, the LOLs.

I completely agree with the others saying that soda should not be given to a child. I didn't have soda until I was a teenager, and even then, could only have it flat. Why? Because my parents would only give it to us, flat and syrupy, when we had a stomachache. Granted, we had a few fakes (haha, come on, for a Dixie cup half-full of de-carbonized soda!), but we were never given more than that.

Good on the OP for having such a well-behaved daughter.


Hugh July 14, 2009 at 12:59 am

I may have to book Continental for my next flight as a way of saying "Good Job". Shame they couldn't have them escorted out at 35,000 feet.


Laura Cardwell July 15, 2009 at 1:41 am

I like Continental! Good shit.

I would have had a rage blackout had I been on that plane. Perhaps I should rethink my atheism as I was fortunate enough to be far, far away when that happened.


PTH July 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

It is not the sugar in soda pop that makes kids wild. It is usually the caffeine the lack of sleep that gets them.

A little appropriately dosed Dramamine would have kept the kid more comfortable and not so irritating to others.

Otherwise, rope and the overhead would have been an attractive option.


SAW July 21, 2009 at 1:53 am

Parents often don't like drugging their children, and I kind of concur with that.

I do favor the rope, however.


ps July 29, 2009 at 4:58 am

Sounds like the child from hell. It's one thing to cry a bit and squirm around, even kick the seat (happened to me numerous times. Not fun but it beats non stop screaming). It's another thing when junior or missy is out of control while the parents do nothing.

I've seen parents at least try to deal with an out of control kid, and usually people will understand and even try to help. When Mom and Dad are oblivious, it's another story. Bravo to Continental.


Anon July 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I sympathize with parents who try to control their fussy/howler monkey child on a flight, but it's game on when they ignore and allow the bad behavior.

And, yes, soda pop should DEFINITELY not be given to young children.


Kelly September 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm

When I read things like this, I can only shake my head. I have also flown almost all my life, and my parents taught me that the trip was special, and that flying was special, and that people were always on their best behavior when they went on an airplane. When I was ten, I flew solo from DC to MPLS to our new home. I sat quietly, read, marveled at the giant strawberry adorning my cola, and proudly accepted my "wings" when I de-planed. Parents need to prepare before flying with children of any age. Be the parent!


Mary Turzillo June 21, 2010 at 3:25 am

Okay, so I wasn't there. I don't know to what extent the parents were already wigged out by the kid, or even more, how wigged out the kid was by flying. All I know is that although I feel sorry for the passengers, I also feel sorry for the parents and the kid. One of the horrible things that happens to kids flying is nausea; the other is unbearable earache when the plane ascends and descends.

And the poor family, getting stuck in the middle of their trip — oh lord. A minor nightmare for you, yes, but a MAJOR nightmare for them.


Mary Turd-zillo June 22, 2010 at 4:12 am

Mary Turd-zillo ..lol


Jenny February 3, 2014 at 3:15 am

Way to go continental. I guess iv’e been pretty lucky except one flight, when i had a kid kick the seat the entire flight. When the plane started descending the kid started to whine.i gave him a piece of gum to help. Mom said im sorry he kicked your seat. I wanted to rip the gum out of that kids mouth


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