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Should screaming, unruly children be removed from planes?

A Rhode Island family was kicked off a Jet Blue flight from Turks and Caicos last month after their 2-year old was having a tantrum.  The couple was travelling with the 2 year-old Natalie, who was struggling and screaming, and her 3 year old sister Cecilia.

The couple managed to hold down Natalie and get her seat belt on while controlling Cecilia as well and waited to take off.  The Jet Blue captain, however, deemed it unsafe and ordered the family off the plane.  Because there were no other flights back to Boston the remainder of the day they were forced to pay $2,000 to rebook their flight and get a hotel room for the evening.

The couple believes this was unjust as they complied with the flight attendants orders and they weren’t belligerent or drunk.  Jet Blue issued a statement that they “had customers that did not comply with crew member instructions for a prolonged time period. The captain elected to remove the customers involved for the safety of all customers and crew members on board.”

I’ve done my fair share of travelling with toddler and it’s never easy.  I’ve also been on the receiving end of other people’s screaming kids.  But, did this situation rise above typical toddler behavior?  The captain assessed the situation and deemed it unsafe.  Ultimately, he is responsible for the safety of not only the toddlers but everyone on board. 

The family agrees that it’s not necessarily Jet Blue’s fault but blames the state of airline travel in general.  They do feel that the flight attendant did not handle the situation properly.

But, does this set a precedent for flight attendant’s and pilots to indiscriminately choose to boot off anyone who has a misbehaving child?

What are your thoughts?


  1. Staciah Scott

    As a mom with 2 autistic children, getting on-board an airplane can be a nerve-racking experience. I never know when something could happen that causes my kids to have a meltdown. Kids are kids, disability or not. Think of how difficult traveling is for us as adults, imagine a little one who can’t fully express how he/she is feeling. I can’t understand throwing a family off the plane because of a tantrum! How does this really affect the safety of the other passengers?

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