Southwest Airlines Says Family Is Too Unruly To Fly

Wendy Slaughter, her four children and her sister are too unruly for Southwest Airlines! The airline says that the children were so out of control that the airline decided to deny boarding for their connecting flight from Phoenix to Seattle — stranding them in Phoenix for the night while they tried to arrange other travel plans.

When Ms. Slaughter’s flight from Detroit to Phoenix landed, she was met by police who escorted her and her family from the plane. Police detained the family, and explained that they were simply too unruly to board their connecting flight to Seattle.

Ms. Slaughter admits her kids were out of control on the plane, getting up and wandering around, but says that two of them have disabilities (one is autistic and another has cerebral palsy) and that “they are kids.”

“The children were out of control on the flight you know, they were restless, excited and worked up and they are kids,” Slaughter told KIRO tv. “I am furious about it. I can’t believe they could do something like that and then leave us completely stranded with no money no way to get anywhere.”

According to Slaughter, sympathetic police officers donated money for a hotel for the night and some food. The family is asking for compensation and a public apology.

Southwest Airlines is standing by their decision, claiming that the family was being threatening:

“They were being disruptive and unruly on the plane, and for the safety of our customers and the flight crew, we decided to not allow them to travel on to Seattle at that time. Typically if it’s a threatening behavior, it’s not safe to travel 30,000 feet in the air in a contained environment.”

Family Says Airline Left Them Stranded At Airport
[KIRO](Thanks, James!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. privatejoker75 says:

    good. i wish more people with annoying kids would be removed. Its no one else’s fault that you have two retarded kids

  2. wiIdcatlh says:

    Given the story, especially since she admits the kids were being disruptive, I’m 100% behind Southwest here.

  3. Norsehawk says:

    Actions like this would make me more apt to fly Southwest in the future. Good job!

  4. Farquar says:

    They are retarded because their parents made fun of handicapped kids in High School. This is God’s punishment.

    /South Park

  5. I definitely side with Southwest here, especially as wildcatlh said, she admits they were disruptive as well. The less annoying people on flights the better. One of the worst things is to be on a plane with kids running up and down the aisles uncontrollably and their parents not even caring one bit.

  6. mizmoose says:

    @privatejoker75: Darling, neither autism or cerebral palsy have any effect on intelligence. These kids are not “retarded.”

  7. sleze69 says:

    @wiIdcatlh: WHOA WHOA WHOA! It sounds an awful lot like you are blaming the victim!

    /sarcasm off

    Southwest is among the best airlines when it comes to customer service for people NOT wearing skimpy outfits. If SOUTHWEST kicked off the family, they HAD to be asking for it.

  8. Edge231 says:

    I would be willing to pay extra for a flight with no children…

    In this case, southwest did the right thing. The kids were too disruptive and the mother was incapable or unwilling to control the kids.

    Sorry, but autism is not an valid excuse to inconvenience the attendants and other passengers on the plane. Yes, it is a safety issue when anyone is running around and does not follow directions.

  9. zentex says:

    I think that the airline was proper in denying them further travel. Parents need to take ownership of their children’s actions. If a parent, such as this woman, cannot control her children then she has no business flying them for hours at a time in a confined space.

    A plane is NOT a playground. Perhaps she should have opted for AmTrak.

  10. mcs328 says:

    I had a similar experience but I’m not sure it was with Southwest. While waiting to board the plane, I saw a girl yelling at her mom and hitting her. Clearly this girl had some condition and everyone in line were cringing at the thought of being a plane for hours with this girl. Because of her handicap she boarded first. After a while when I started to board but not inside the plane yet, the stewardess directed all of us to stand to the right and look away as they lead this girl and her family off the plane. The mother could not keep her daughter from yelling and the stewardess further instructed that the girl might spit on us if we made eye contact.

  11. tmed says:

    It is a classic case of a company doing the right thing poorly.

    There was no reasonable alternative to preventing a family who was, by the mother’s admission “out of control”. However, it would not have put the company out at all to put them up in a hotel for 1 or even 2 nights.

    An apology from Southwest, however, seems inappropriate.

  12. mizmoose says:

    This is a bad situation all around. Stranding a family (hell, stranding anyone) like that is a bad move. However, subjecting not just the other passengers but the flight attendants to unruly kids is just as bad.

    Probably the only “right” thing to have done is to get the family home and then ban them from ever flying the airline again, after explaining why.

  13. lolphysics says:

    I’m all for this! On a recent flight, the kid in the seat in front of me insisted on climbing on the back of the seat. By “the back of the seat” I mean that he was balanced on the top of the seat back. He stayed there during takeoff and much of the flight. I complained, but there were language barriers.

    Even if the parents didn’t care about the safety of the kid, I cared – about my own safety. An 80-pound child makes a great projectile on a moving plane.

    Plenty of kids (yes, even autistic ones) manage to fly without putting other people in danger. It sounds like the mother is hiding behind her kids’ disabilities.

  14. privatejoker75 says:


    reatarded: relatively slow in mental or emotional or physical development; “providing a secure and sometimes happy life for the retarded”

  15. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    So… Amtrak is a playground? :-)

  16. privatejoker75 says:

    in other news, the mother should have just threw a pile of toothpicks on the ground to keep the autistic kid busy

  17. No coverage on how the kids were all wearing micro miniskirts, too? Stupid mainstream media!

  18. bleh says:


    Bad parents have lots of excuses but in the end they are just bad parents.

  19. luckybob343 says:

    Though I don’t fly much, when I do I like to use Southwest. This only strengthens my resolve to do so in the future.

    / I would have asked her to leave mid-flight

  20. wgrune says:


    Wow, really? Retarded? Are you 14?

  21. privatejoker75 says:

    @wgrune: webster’s dictionary > you

  22. bonzombiekitty says:

    It doesn’t matter if your children have a disability. If they can’t be kept under control for the flight then they shouldn’t be on the plane – both for their own safety and the safety of others.

  23. racerchk says:

    Southwest was totally right on this one. I hate it when there are screaming brats on a flight. Its worse when they are handicapped and cannot be controlled. This lady deserves nothing!!

  24. zero_o says:

    Kudos to Southwest

  25. Honestly there is no excuse for bad parenting. It is all about planning. Make sure the kids have plenty of activities to do in their seats. I always make sure my daughter has her ipod and nintendo DS for any travel. In turn I have received compliments on her behavior but its just being a parent.

  26. DeleteThisAccount says:

    I’ll consider Southwest first for my next flight because of this.

  27. B says:

    Shock collars could have solved this problem.

  28. AceKicker says:

    Can’t fault them in the least. “They’re just kids” sounds a lot like “It’s not my fault they’re uncontrolable”.

  29. privatejoker75 says:

    i just purchased two southwest roundtrip tickets because of this story

  30. _as says:

    When I read the headline for this post I was fearing that everyone would be outraged. I am glad toread the comments here – totally agree with many.
    Flight attendants are typically considerate of families and understand that kids may not be able to sit still throughout an entire flight. Especially if there is a “special need,” I have typically witnessed them being very understanding. There seems to have been a serious issue here ,and I doubt that they just denied them to travel for no good reason.
    It has to be possible for an airline to ensure the safety of their flights in these situations.

  31. wgrune says:


    Good one!

  32. LittleBit12 says:

    I wonder if Southwest refunded their tickets. It says that Southwest left them stranded without any money, but in this kind of situation I believe that they would be entitled to a refund for denied boarding.

    I totally agree with Southwest though. The combination of four kids, two of whom have disabilities, and a five-months pregnant woman is a recipe for disaster.

  33. fostina1 says:

    looks like the airline wasnt equiped to deal with the disabilities of the children. isnt there some law about not providing service based on disability.

  34. Gokuhouse says:

    This is very sad that this can be done without providing alternate travel plans for them. I’m sure most everyone on their connecting flight would have been happy to not them on their flight, but was the small amount of gain received (people didn’t have to deal with them) worth the huge inconvenience that this family had to deal with (being kicked off a plane and stranded)? I don’t think it was.

    I don’t have autistic children but I do have one small child, I can’t imagine the workers of this airline not having compassion for this family when I know how hard it is to control one regular child let alone two with problems.

    I’m very glad to hear that at least the police who were forced to do the dirty work of this airline had enough compassion to help put this family in a hotel with some food for a night.

  35. strife1012 says:

    “Kids being kids” is no excuse for risking safety of the children and the passengers. 1 turbulent drop can lead to injury, that’s why everyone must be seated and belted.

    Southwest Airlines is still one of the best.

  36. boss_lady says:

    Having children does not mean that you have a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to travel plans that could subject 50+ people to misery and compromised safety. This type of behavior would not be accepted by an adult who was differently-abled, whether their travel companion tried to resolve the situation or not. So, sorry mom, but if you can’t control your kids, you sure as hell had better not get on a flight with me, because I will say something to you about it, even if the airline doesn’t.

  37. Womblebug says:

    @privatejoker75: Isn’t this the kind of juvenile crap the new comments policy is supposed to handle?

    Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder, not a behavioral one. If your kid has CP and cannot behave, blame your parenting disorder, not the CP.

    As for autism, if your kid is beyond your control, don’t fly with them. Again, see parenting disorder.

    I have a daughter with CP. We’ve flown before, and there has been no misbehavior. Parents like this give special needs kids a bad name (see the multiple previous comments, though the commenters should really know better). If your expectations of your kids are so low as to allow this junk in the name of their special needs, god help them as adults. High expectations, whether it be for “regular” kids or special needs ones, are the key to success.

  38. boss_lady says:

    @fostina1: The children in the story weren’t noted as having physical disabilities.

  39. Consumer007 says:

    Yes, the airline did the TOTALLY correct thing here and made a lesson out of her. REFUSE to control and discipline your kids, and don’t expect to fly. Period, the end. I hope they really gave her the slap-down in front of her kids, called her an unfit mother, etc.
    Further, I think airlines should call Child Protective Services – and refusing to control kids / disruption on airplanes should be grounds for losing the kids for a while until she PROVES she can control them. People need to learn the hard way to control their kids. NO it is not okay to have them run around screaming and punching seats or other people on an airplane. Duh. Sounds like a welfare queen to me. I can only imagine the brat-monsters these kids will become at school.

    I know a few weeks ago, I was in a fine Chinese restaurant, and the two supposed adults at the next table were doing NOTHING about their 3 screaming 2- 3- and 5- year olds throwing food, screaming and literally jumping up and down on top of the table. Of course, the moron waiters and managers at the restaurant let that go on way too long, and every one else’s meal in that room was ruined. Of course I didn’t want to criticize them and have the trailer trash dad start a fist-fight. I was however tempted to call the police and I WILL next time.

    I have NO sympathy for NON-parents who think their kids are pets / appliances / biological entertainment. You spit it out, you manage it and shut it up in public, period.

    Separately, how about a whole separate boarding process at security – an “unfit parent / unruly kid check” of some type…psychologists can design an appropriate test and series of observations, and if they don’t pass, they don’t get to the gate. Or the kid has to wear a muzzle and be in a carrier. Works for me…

  40. lightaugust says:

    @privatejoker75: “Its no one else’s fault that you have two retarded kids”… what a great way to test the new comments code at Consumerist!

    As a parent of a ‘retarded’ kid, you just made me ten times more grateful that he landed in my house, not yours.

  41. privatejoker75 says:

    @Womblebug: what is juvenile about the word “retarded”? Just because its no longer pc? Do you even know what the term retarded means? Its not just mentally retarded (such as yourself), it also can mean emotionally (autism) or physically

  42. Crushmeguy says:

    “They are kids.” No control over your kids? Revoke the parenting license.

    Oh, wait, we can’t operate vehicles without verified training (so we don’t cause others harm), but we can breed again and again without an ounce of education related to raising children. This causes significant harm to not only those children, but to society as a whole. And potentially their children’s children. And so on.

    We have an exponentially growing number of incapable people creating incapable kids. This directly relates to some lady assuming we should put up with her (unfortunately) handicapped, wild offspring’s shit. And she is “furious” that we won’t. Wow.

    No, we probably don’t know the whole story, but I certainly agree with Southwest at this point.

    Oh…and if you’re not a dumbass, please have three or four kids to offset the number of idiots who will be voting in the coming generations. I don’t want to be dominated by stupid people just because there’s a shit ton of them.

  43. Fallom says:

    Air travel is horrible enough without unruly parents failing to take control of their screaming, mentally-challenged children. This is the second story like this in two weeks.

  44. privatejoker75 says:

    @lightaugust: i guess you’re also going to teach your kids to sit criss-cross applesauce as opposed to indian style?

  45. bonzombiekitty says:

    @fostina1: There’s laws saying that an airline must take reasonable steps to accommodate the disabled (although I think it is directed primarily at physical disabilities), but what sort of reasonable steps would you suggest the airline take to accommodate a disability that render a child uncontrollable? They can’t tie them down, and they can’t drug them up. What other options are there?

  46. privatejoker75 says:

    @bonzombiekitty: one word… WAPNER

  47. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Womblebug: I thought cerebral palsy was solely a physical disorder to, but according to Wikipedia, a secondary symptom can be behavioral disorders.

    Secondary conditions can include seizures, epilepsy, speech or communication disorders, eating problems, sensory impairments, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and/or behavioral disorders.

  48. boss_lady says:

    @Gokuhouse: I’m really not seeing the sadness in this story at all. Had there been an adult who was misbehaved, disruptive, and in the way of flight attendants all the time, wouldn’t people on the plane be worried and/or afraid of the adult? I don’t see how Southwest, in a move to please 95% of the people on the flight, have performed a grave injustice. Rather, they have made their customers happy and perhaps attracted more business since people now know that they won’t put up with individuals who cannot be controlled. Although, yes, they should have arranged for the mom and kids to catch the next flight, the mom could have prevented all of this by having another adult fly with her to care for the children or taken an alternate means of transit where children could get breaks to go out and run around.

  49. bonzombiekitty says:


    Should be “…physical disorder too”.

  50. GMFish says:

    I have to side with the airline when even the mom admits her kids were out of control and she attempts to rationalize it by claiming “kids will be kids.”

  51. pavelgigov says:

    I’m so liking what Southwest did, I think I’ll write them a letter of commendation.

    I only wish they’d start kicking little monsters and their twice as horrible parents out of restaurants, malls, cruise ships, DMVs, grocery stores and all other public places one can think of.

  52. Southwest did the right thing.. While she will probably never fly with them again. The OTHER passengers (eg. the majority) deserve the right to fly in semi-peace and safety. While my wife isn’t preggo yet, I’ve already thought about things like travel when the kid is young and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they are calm like I was when my parents used to fly with me cross country.

  53. joebobfunguy says:

    This is exactly why we need those zapper bracelets! I know we’re not supposed to spank our kids, but it kind of sucks when there are no time out places available. And yes, it is legal to restrain your children, i.e. tie them up or hand cuff them.

  54. scoobydoo says:

    “They were forced to spend the night in Phoenix without any money?”

    Oh really? I’d like to know what Southwest has to do with that. It would seem unwise to travel cross country with 4 kids and a pregnant woman and not have a backup $100 for emergencies like this.

  55. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    Why would they arrange for them to catch the next flight? Denying them boarding the first time indicates to me that they were saying “we don’t want you on our airline”, not just that flight. BTW, I am definitely pro Southwest from the reading of this story. If the mother is admitting the kids were out of control, they must have been *heinously* out of control.

  56. bobpence says:

    If you can’t control your children in public, please don’t take them on a plane, where their lack of control could lead to a dangerous situation. The consistent thing with these stories of kids thrown off planes is that they refused to remain safely belted in, sometimes even during takeoff and landing. Forget the airline, *turbulence* does not respect age or ability.

  57. emt888 says:

    I am in total agreement with Southwest. The sister in the video said that it was “one of the worst experiences of her life.” I am guessing that many passengers are saying that about the flight with the kids.

    Also, why do parents think it’s a good idea to bring that many young kids on a flight? I’m not even talking about the disabilities, just the kids themselves. When we were young, we drove on all vacations because my parents knew that my 3 siblings and myself would have been unbearable for everyone on a plane.

    I’ve never flown Southwest, but I will now keep them in mind for future flights.

  58. Deja vu…didn’t we just have a story about a woman and her autistic son getting kicked off a flight because he was running all over the plane, refused to stay buckled in his seat, etc.?

    And much like in that story, I have to side with the airline. This just sounds like bad parenting, plain and simple. It’s not merely an annoyance to the other passengers, but it can become a real safety concern. If your kids – disabilities or not – cannot be made to behave for the duration of a flight, you may want to consider alternative means of transportation that don’t include aviation.

  59. Greeper says:

    @bonzombiekitty: IT’s pretty settled under the ADA that “reasonable accomdation” doesn’t cover putting up with bad behavior. And then there’s a general “safety” exclusion as well. Based on the comments here, I don’t think they’d fare too well in front of a jury.

  60. fostina1 says:

    @bonzombiekitty: private cabin for the family, earplugs for the rest of the plane, i dont know i’ve never flown. maybe a rental car since they already payed. why cant they tie them down? isnt that what seatbelts are for. i mean they passed a law in my state that you have to wear seatbelts why cant it be mandatory on planes.

  61. ViperBorg says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Yup, causes both. My sister has that, and has Wolfendrome Syndrome. (sp) She’s 20, but has the mental ability of a 9 month old. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how they act, and how hard it is to control them. Sorry, but I have to NOT side with the airline here. Way over-reacted. It should have been handled a lot better than that.

  62. Jubilance22 says:

    @Edge231: So would I. In fact, the first airline to go child-free will get all my business.

    I had a flight last night from Philadelphia to Orlando on Southwest, and a couple let their one-year-old scream through the entire 2 hour flight. Telling a one-year-old “Shh” is not going to make them be quiet! If you know your kid is a screamer, slip them some Benadryl before the flight or drive to see Mickey Mouse. Just because you can tune out your kid screaming does not mean that everyone can or wants to. Have some freaking respect and courtesy for everyone else on the plane.

  63. exkon says:

    Though it pains me to say it, I have to back the Airliner on this one…

    I mean with ticket prices the way it is, NO ONE wants their flight to be any worse. I do believe that Southwest should have offered them a different flight as to wait until the kids calmed down a little. Just bad timing on the kids I suppose.

  64. boss_lady says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I’m just sayin’. That way, this woman couldn’t have bitched about it the way she did. If you read all of my previous comments in this thread, you’ll understand my point of view on the topic. If it were me, I would have had them also removed from the airport.

  65. MercuryPDX says:

    @mcs328: the stewardess directed all of us to stand to the right and look away as they lead this girl and her family off the plane.

    It’s like an old-timey Amish Shunning.

    @fostina1: isnt there some law about not providing service based on disability.

    Not 100% sure that applies here. I think it’s more apt for “Your child is autistic so we won’t sell you a ticket.”

    In this article it appears as though the kids running around loose on the plane created a safety hazard. You can bet that if one of the children got hurt while running around on the plane, the flavor of the article would be quite different and a lawsuit would be pending. I’d like to think the Flight Attendants gave the mother ample notice and a reasonable explanation before canceling the second half of her trip; two warnings should have been enough.

  66. EyeHeartPie says:

    2 adults should be plenty to watch 4 kids, even if 2 of them have special needs.

    The family said flight attendants asked them to quiet the children twice, but they didn’t expect to be booted off the flight

    Is it just me, or does this line sound like the parents were asked to quiet the children twice, but didn’t, and assumed nothing would happen as a result of their not complying with the flight attendants?

    Leaving customers/passengers stranded with no way to get where they were going and no money (although you should carry some cash for any sort of travel) is not a good idea, but people shouldn’t feel self-entitled, and assume laws don’t apply to them. There are laws, and the parent acknowledges being warned twice to quiet her children, and acknowledges that her children were being unruly and disruptive. I don’t think this lady has a case, since she has admitted fault.

  67. wiIdcatlh says:

    @scoobydoo: That’s what I was wondering. She can afford to fly 4 kids and herself from Detroit to Seattle, but she doesn’t have $100 extra for a hotel room? Suspicious at best.

    Also, why is autism an excuse? Does the fact that her kid is autistic make her somehow less obligated to control his behavior?

  68. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @privatejoker75: I’m a douchebag and I know this, you however have been nominated to be our president.

    Wow, just wow.

  69. DwightIsMyCopilot says:

    I definitely think Southwest did the right thing. Unruly children seem to be the norm now and they really shouldn’t be, and until people learn how to parent their own children, they shouldn’t be allowed to bring them into situations like this. Good for Southwest!

  70. QuantumRiff says:

    I hate the saying “kids will be kids”. Are we supposed to allow anything to happen as long as children are involved? Lately, i have been noticing too much of a problem with children and ADD (Adults Don’t Discipline)

  71. fostina1 says:

    what if it was an adult with tourettes syndrome. would he be allowed to fly?

  72. heyimbobo says:

    Thank you Southwest!!! That was a tough call, but seriously, not everyone can be accommodated in every single situation. While it sucks, this family was disruptive. Next time, drive.

  73. privatejoker75 says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: why? because i call a spade a spade? calling a retarded kid “developmentally disabled” is like calling a trashman a sanitation engineer. Get over it

  74. privatejoker75 says:

    @fostina1: no, that would be entertaining.

  75. boss_lady says:

    @fostina1: Sorry, no. Just because you can reproduce doesn’t mean that you should get special treatment. Perhaps if there was an option to pay for a private cabin and the mother was willing to do so… but then she probably would have bitched about having to pay extra.

    If you refer to last week’s post concerning a disruptive child on a plane, you’ll see how many of the commenters here have said they’d incur an extra cost to fly on a plane without children. Having children does not make anyone’s safety or comfort more important.

  76. Womblebug says:

    @privatejoker75: Using the term retarded to blanketly describe special needs kids is juvenile. CP is not a mental disorder. Since you’ve got your dictionary right there, why not look it up.

    @bonzombiekitty: Mental disorders can and often do accompany CP, due to the nature of the brain trauma that causes it, but CP itself is solely a motor disorder. Wiki should be clarified there, IMO. I’d give you the long drawn out explanation that the neurologist gave me, but I doubt there’s that much interest in it. =)

  77. Fallom says:

    @fostina1: Why are you playing the “what if?” game? If you’re disruptive and out-of-control you’ll be kicked off the airplane, end of story.

  78. fostina1 says:

    @Fallom: im just curious to know now. it sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. you kick me off for having tourettes or any other handicap. in about any other situation it sounds illegal.

  79. savvy999 says:

    This woman and her sister apparently don’t know the trick to keeping kids under control on a plane: massive amounts of Benadryl +/or personal DVD players.

    Dora and drugs = happy plane for everyone.

  80. privatejoker75 says:

    @Womblebug: apparently you missed my other explanations, which further supports my theory that you are indeed MENTALLY retarded

  81. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I used to watch a show on A&E called “Airline”, a documentary series that featured Southwest pilots, attendants, counter employees, etc. Here’s a link to the show: [] From watching the show, it seems to take a whole lot of bad behavior to get kicked off a Southwest plane.

    FTA: Ms. Slaughter admits her kids were out of control on the plane, getting up and wandering around, but says that two of them have disabilities

    How does that makes it ok?

    I would like Ms. Slaughter to understand that statistically speaking, some of the people on that plane were probably going to visit sick relatives or attend funerals, or were traveling to important business events. Some were probably traveling to once-in-a-lifetime vacations. And some were probably “white-knuckle” flyers who are terrified of every little bump and noise. Their trips were important to them, too.

    Good on Southwest.

  82. Fallom says:

    @fostina1: If you’re disruptive and out-of-control you’ll be kicked off the airplane. It doesn’t matter if you have autism, tourettes, or the flu.

  83. Trust me, I'm a doctor says:

    @privatejoker75: I think Pat Healy said it best, “There’s this one kid, we call him Mongo on account of he’s a mongoloid. He got out of his cage once, so I went out and got him a leash you know, one of those clothesline runners for the backyard. He’s got plenty of room out there to dig. The kid’s really blossomed. Now I can take him to ball games, movies–you know, happy stuff.”

  84. rellog says:

    Since none of us were on the plane, we can’t say whether it was justified or not for certain. But if they were indeed out of control, then I agree with the airlines decision.

  85. Anonymous says:

    I’ll bet everyone on there connecting flight took turns high fiving each other.

  86. Like others have said, if I could pay an extra $50 and be guaranteed “grown-ups only” I would do it in a heartbeat.

    My personal experience, is, sadly, that being really abusively rude to annoying children, in such a fashion as that their parent hears it, usually works wonders for having parents keep their kids under control.

    “It’s funny, kid, you don’t look anything like your dad over there, you should ask your mom if he really is your father?”

    No profanity, nothing obscene, but mind-numbingly rude. You’re not trying to get yourself thrown off the flight, you’re trying to convince the parent to keep a tight rein on their child so they won’t wander and hear what that annoying guy in 12C says.

    I’ve only had to do it twice, but both times, it was INCREDIBLY effective. I don’t feel GOOD about it, but if it shut that damned kid up, I’ll live with the minor guilt. :-)

  87. spoco says:

    Southwest rocks. I just got back from a trip where I flew back on Friday. Since no one hardly was on the plane, I got upgraded to business class at no fee and learned all about stewardessing. She said that Southwest was another level as far as an employer when compared to other airlines that she had worked for, and that Southwest is where most pilots and flight crews wanted to be.

  88. INTPLibrarian says:

    Just another person chiming in that Southwest did the right thing. “They are kids” as an explanation IS sometimes alright — I understand an infant or toddler crying/screaming during takeoff when they’re ears are popping and hurt. They don’t know what to do about it. It doesn’t work for wandering around and being out of control. She even admits that they were “out of control.”

    Yay for Southwest.

  89. gnappulicious says:


    Yeah…how could a kid with cerebral palsy run around in the first place? I’ve known several kids with it who were all confined to wheelchairs.

    Also, saying “they are kids” as an excuse is just as lame as saying “they are frat boys” as an excuse when one slips a girl a date-rape drug. No-go.

    Americans are so bad at controlling their children, unless you’re a child of immigrants like I am and your parents aren’t afraid to use a belt…

  90. krom says:

    Right, because the only thing better than unruly kids on a plane for 2 hours is unruly kids in an airport for 24.

  91. emilymarion333 says:

    I agree with Southwest on this one!

    I end up flying 3-4 times a month. Tickets are expensive and no one should have to deal with disruptive kids (or adults for the matter). It really does not matter if you have handicapped kids – that is not excuse for wandering around and being disruptive.

    I do not like the excuse – kids will be kids! It really is gong to make me fly off the handle one day and yell as some kid dues to bad parenting. Take some responsibility for your children!

    BTW – this is why everyone should have a credit card – if you get stuck due to unruly children then you are going to need a hotel!

  92. Caslonbold says:

    Here is a video so you can see the family:

    2 adults cannot control 4 children between them? People traveling without money? Who travels on any trip thousands of miles from home and thru airports without money?

    I am sure this was the trip from hell for most of the other passengers on this flight. Things must have been pretty bad for Southwest to kick them off the flight.

  93. Womblebug says:

    @privatejoker75: And here is why you are juvenile. Thanks for making my point.

    As for your previous explanations, why not go find someone who can respond effectively, say, an African American man, and use a non-PC word for him. Just how brave are you, Mr. call a spade a spade?


  94. privatejoker75 says:
  95. privatejoker75 says:

    @Womblebug: i grew up in philadelphia, hence the “call a spade a spade” comment. Just because i’m wittier than you isn’t just cause to go getting your panties all a knot

  96. bobpence says:

    Southwest usually deals with point-to-point travel, not connecting flights, so their policies may not be as sensitive as they might be to the “stranding” problem. Moreover, their website seems to route flights from DTW (Detroit) to SEA (Seattle-Tacoma) via MDW (Midway Chicago), which is a third less distance than via PHX (Phoenix Sky Harbor). Had they dumped them at Midway, 266 miles from Detroit, perhaps the hurt would be less.

    It is simply irresponsible to take four kids cross country with “no money” for even a hotel night in case something happens.

    Again, the airline did the right thing for the safety of those kids, and its potential liability in that regard. The annoyance of other passengers would not justify it, their guardians’ failure to keep them safely seated and buckled did.

  97. Asvetic says:

    “Kids will be kids.” – I hate this catch-all phrase. Like it automatically makes up for a person’s poor parenting skills. Children can be taught proper behavior with supervision and understanding. If you don’t have a handle on your children don’t subject society to them.

  98. EyeHeartPie says:

    Why does everyone feel that the rules shouldn’t be applicable to them? I think the woman loses all credibility and any justifiable-ness when she admits that her kids were unruly and disruptive, standing up and walking around the plane. She admits that they were being disruptive, then says that she is mad she was kicked off after being warned twice? How much you wanna bet she would be the first to complain if she were traveling alone and a disruptive child was bothering her?

  99. gnappulicious says:


    After watching that video, I wondered if the kids weren’t running around because they couldn’t fit into their seats next to mom, who is ginormous.

  100. BigPapaCherry says:

    @privatejoker75: I read all your other explanations and it still doesn’t make the fact that you called them retarded ok. Even if you are right by definition, you are wrong because you did it just to get people riled up. Troll much?

    And before you say something about me assuming too much, think about this. If you were not trying to get people angry, why have you lurked around to respond to every person who disagreed with you? Sounds troll-y. Wouldn’t have been hard to say disabled.

    Southwest had every right to throw this family off of the flight, however, how were the kid with CP with his autistic sibling being “threatening”? Out of control? I’m sure, but threatening? I think we have bigger fish to fry in airline travel.

  101. Fallom says:

    @gnappulicious: Keep a look-out for the pregnant mother waving around an unlit cigarette.

  102. Noris159 says:

    Ahahahahahaha hambeast thought she was going to rally the public to her side, but instead everyone agrees that she deserved it.

  103. MercuryPDX says:

    @Womblebug: As for your previous explanations, why not go find someone who can respond effectively, say, an African American man, and use a non-PC word for him. Just how brave are you, Mr. call a spade a spade?

    Actually, the origin of the phrase is not racist. “Spade” was mistranslated from ancient Greek: []

  104. pavelgigov says:

    Well, it is apparent that this family is a fine example of what is commonly referred to as “white trash”. Does anyone who knows this horrible mother read this? I think you’d do us all a favor by letting her know what the overwhelming majority of the people think of her and her fucked up children.

  105. picardia says:

    I agree that Southwest was probably within its rights here. I am sympathetic to the problems of traveling with a child who may have a serious condition, but her weak claim that “kids are kids” makes it sound like lack of control was the more serious issue. Southwest probably should’ve ponied up a hotel voucher, though — it would’ve cost them only $100 to avoid bad press they didn’t really deserve.

  106. SkokieGuy says:

    And what I have not read in the story or thread, is after the one night in the hotel, how did this family get home?

    Did they get on another flight? How exactly did the parents and children conduct themselves on that flight?

    Seems like that’s an important piece of info as we all comment.

    And pay for child-free flights, count me in! This is one surcharge that could help bail out the troubled airlines.

  107. gnappulicious says:


    holy crap! i’m biting my tongue right now…trying hard…

  108. mikehager66 says:

    I have kids and love kids in general, but lately I have been more disturbed by the unruly kids I see everywhere these days. The parents just seem to ignore what’s going on let everyone around them be annoyed by their children. It’s like they all read some new age self-help book telling them to cater to their children and never say no. Imagine being stuck on a plane with kids screaming and running around and parents sitting there pretending it’s not annoying everyone. They might be used to the behavior, but I am not. Spare the rod, spoil the brat!!! Southwest could have offered them a room for the stranded family, but beyond that not much more could be done. I watched the video on and I hate to say it, but they looked liked a trailer trash from hell family.

  109. jenl1625 says:

    @tmed: “However, it would not have put the company out at all to put them up in a hotel for 1 or even 2 nights.”

    Um, yes it would have. Why should the airline eat the cost of the hotel (and pass that cost along to you and me when we buy a ticket) when this sounds like a clear case of the passenger making a bad choice (flying with kids not prepared to sit still for the length of the flight).

    @fostina1: “looks like the airline wasnt equiped to deal with the disabilities of the children. isnt there some law about not providing service based on disability”

    There’s a law that says a company like Southwest can’t say “oh, your kid is disabled? No soup for you!” That’s far different from saying “your 4 kids – including the 2 non-disabled ones – are causing a safety issue. You’re all off the plane”.

    @Gokuhouse: “I don’t have autistic children but I do have one small child, I can’t imagine the workers of this airline not having compassion for this family when I know how hard it is to control one regular child let alone two with problems.”

    I can’t imagine someone with 4 children, 2 of them with special needs, thinking that it was a good idea to put those kids on a flight and then failing to control them. Mom bears the responsibility for knowing whether her own children can behave long enough for the flights. She also has the responsibility to keep control of her children. Getting the kids to sit quietly and not cause a danger is mom’s job, not the flight crew’s.

  110. Joe_Bloe says:

    @BigPapaCherry: “I read all your other explanations and it still doesn’t make the fact that you called them retarded ok. Even if you are right by definition, you are wrong because you did it just to get people riled up. Troll much?”

    Yeah, I’m coming to the conclusion that we’re feeding a troll. Nothing to see here, move along folks!

  111. fostina1 says:

    @SkokieGuy: the gradma paid 2 grand to send them home on alaskan airlines. and there was no problem with that flight.

  112. pavelgigov says:


    Bad press?? Seems to me everybody loves them for what they did. I know I am. Next time I fly (about a dozen times a year) I’m definitely giving them a try.

  113. mikehager66 says:

    @Noris159: Hambeast…that’s a classic I don’t think I have ever heard before!

  114. EyeHeartPie says:

    @EyeHeartPie: Also, how much you wanna bet that if the kids were hurt due to the kids not being strapped in during turbulence, it would take her all of 5 minutes to file a lawsuit? This isn’t just about Southwest protecting other passengers; it’s also about Southwest protecting themselves from a foreseeable lawsuit.

  115. karmaghost says:

    @mizmoose: I know you’re probably just trying to defend the children and I applaud that, but both autism and cerebral palsy can have significant effects on intelligence. Cerebral palsy in particular is caused by brain injuries and while it’s usually characterized by deficits in motor function, it can cause mental retardation as well. I know someone in particular with cerebral palsy who is turning 24 this month and has the mental capacity of about a 4 year old.

    Also, the symptoms and effects of autism often cause learning disabilities that I wouldn’t call “mental retardation,” but definitely affect intelligence.

    That said; I’m not sure how to feel about this one. You could argue that the lady shouldn’t have brought those kids on the plane in the first place or you could argue that Southwest should have been more compassionate. I personally know that the family of the individual I mentioned earlier that has CP will never bring him on a plane ride ever again after the uncontrollable behavior he displayed while on board. Maybe the family from this article can use this as a learning experience to better plan their trips in the future.

  116. SkokieGuy says:

    @fostina1: Thank you for that. Doesn’t that say a LOT? After getting kicked off the first plane, SOMEHOW Momma managed to keep their kids in their seats and conduct themselves within the guidelines of safe airline travel.

    I wonder just what Grandma told Momma before buying her $2K of tickets?

  117. MadDog23 says:

    Agree 100% with Southwest, regardless of the reasons why the kids had their problems. All you buy for your airfare is a physical seat in the plane – no airline has any obligation whatsoever to help a family calm their unruly kids, nor to compensate them if said parents cannot do so themselves and subsequently get kicked off a flight. Kudos to SouthWest for their actions, and I hope they are reading this.

    ps.. I have a 10 and 12 year old, so I’m speaking as a parent
    pps… SouthWest, if you are reading this, you need to stop kicking off skimpily clad female passengers. Bad SouthWest, Bad!

  118. drdom says:

    @bonzombiekitty: I’m not saying I agree with the mother, but… The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that the airline make “reasonable accomodation” to persons with “disabilities”. I don’t know what the solution is here, but somebody is likely to play the ADA card on this one.

    That having been said, I like what the airline did for it’s other customers, but feel badly that this family was sort of left stranded, when the kids are a handful to begin with.

    But, she might have been better served traveling by train, or finding a flight at a time of day where less people would be annoyed by unruly kids she can’t control.

  119. FilthyHarry says:

    Though I agree SW has the right to deny service as long as they refund the price, though when it comes to stranding customers far from home, it gets a hairy, I’m more curious as to why the family needed to be met by police? It doesn’t make me happy to see yet again our police force behaving as private security to help corporations enforce private rules.

  120. Mira Mi Huevo!!! says:

    Although, Southwest has the right to give or deny service based on their rules and regulations, but what has happened to being a decent human being and being understanding of others’ situation… How would you feel if these were your kids being called retarded?

  121. SkokieGuy says:

    @FilthyHarry: Complying with FAA regulations as well as instructions given by flight attendants is NOT a private corporate rules. These are Federal rules & regulations. Misbehaving on a plane, or merely disobeying a FA’s instructions is a FELONY.

  122. synergy says:

    @Consumer007: Welfare queens usually can’t afford to fly. They can’t afford to eat. Hence, they’re on welfare…

  123. It sounds like one adult (the mom) was not enough to control that many kids.

  124. boss_lady says:

    @fostina1: Maybe she and the kids learned their lesson?

    Another reason to high-five Southwest.

  125. Caslonbold says:

    Who knows if these kids really do have a handicap or disability? Maybe the mother is playing the handicap card to garner sympathy? I bet this mother plays the handicap card whenever needed to get what she needs from society and the “system”. Take a GOOD look at this family in the video.

    The pregnant sister with the cigarette, the kid with the plastic case on his lap with maybe a lizard or who knows what animal in it. Looks like that animal was on the flight also. A regular three ring circus in which not one of the adults took control or responsibility.


  126. boss_lady says:

    @chumia40: Um, I’m 100% sure the airline didn’t use that language.

  127. EyeHeartPie says:

    @FilthyHarry: Police are always called for any sort of problems on airlines, in case terrorists are involved.

  128. bobpence says:

    @drdom: It’s not about the annoyence. If being annoyed stopped people from flying, the airports would be empty except for the sleeping TSA agents.

    It is about the safety of the passengers — chiefly these children — and the civil liability of the airline. Turbulence is an equal-opportunity cause of injury.

  129. failurate says:

    They need those cameras like they have on public transit/buses. So when someone complains about getting kicked off a flight, we can all watch a replay of their actions.
    Makes judging people easier and more accurate.

  130. I’m sure that the mother can’t control them in a car. What make her feel that they’d be better 30,000 feet in the air?

  131. @chumia40: Are you trying to reason with an unruly mob? They keep their torches and pitchforks at the ready for this very occasion.

    I smell blood in the air. The hunt is on.

  132. ObtuseGoose says:

    Southwest Airlines = 1
    Uncontrollable Family = 0

    I don’t know much about autism or cerebral palsy, but aren’t there meds you can give to calm down kids that have it? You can’t have out-of-control kids on a plane no matter what the reason is. Southwest is totally in the right. Although they should have put them up at a hotel.

  133. fostina1 says:

    @boss_lady: maybe alaskan airlines liked 2 grand and knew what they were getting into when selling the tickets to disabled people.

  134. failurate says:

    @bobpence: They need Samuel L. Jackson to record a PSA about how the laws of physics will kick your ass.

  135. ambrooks16 says:

    The police met them at the gate? I’m sorry, if your kids behave badly enough that the the police need to meet you at the gate, then there are problems.

    There is all this concern over being stranded in Phoenix overnight. You are in a warm, dry, semi-secured atmosphere. I’ve slept in airports several times. It’s not comfortable, but very reasonable. But if that’s not good enough – there are 6 people in your group. Having an average of $20 a person in case something happens? Not unreasonable. Besides, its almost impossible to buy a ticket without a credit card. Why not just use it to get a room?

    Thank you Southwest!!!!! I look forward to flying with you in the future.

  136. KittensRCute! says:

    I agree that the airline did the right thing!!!

    if your kids are bad DRIVE and if you cant drive: stay home.

  137. BigPapaCherry says:

    @Crushmeguy: Maybe its because I just watched Idiocracy last night, but I think they’ll be out breeding us 5 to 1. Time to put myself in a cyro tube and wake up in 500 years :-)

  138. Mira Mi Huevo!!! says:

    @boss_lady: I meant, the people commenting…

  139. katiat325 says:

    The kids obviously didn’t behave that badly on the $2000 flight on Alaska Airlines from Phoenix to Seattle. That just lets us know that the mother either refused to discipline her kids while on the 1st flight, or just didn’t care. I guess she learned her lesson. And on a side note, it’s not about the child’s disability that should be the determinative factor, because she did have 2 other children w/o disabilities and they too behaved badly. I sometimes travel with my niece, and I have to say, if you bring enough distractions (books, some music CDs, etc) and actually pay attention to the child, you don’t see the “kids will be kids” scenario.

  140. DeafChick says:

    Southwest should have given them a refund and/or put them up in a hotel for the night since they were deny boarding.

  141. Joe Hass says:

    If you pay attention during the safety lecture, one of the points they mention is that you must listen and follow the directions of the flight crew. Failure to do so is a federal offense.

    Generally, in order to get the cops to do a meet-and-greet at the gate, the flight crew (and that includes the pilot, co-pilot, and FAs) has to believe that your behavior is interfering with the ability of the flight crew to do their job. If you have two kids screaming up and down the aisle for an extended period of time, that would pretty safely constitute interference with a flight crew.

    At that point, it stops being a “they’re being an unruly bunch of monsters” situation and starts being a “the flight attendants can’t do their job” situation.

    As for Southwest paying to put them up for a night, let’s be honest here: the six of them violated federal law. SWA could’ve easily insisted on having them all arrested (which would’ve made SWA look even more heartless). In this case, they simply tossed them off the plane. Because they were removed due to their behavior, the option of being compensated evaporates.

  142. SkokieGuy says:

    @failurate: Actually you’ve made a brilliant comment!

    Why isn’t there camera & recording devices on planes? The cockpit has a voice recorder, but video and sound from the cabin should take technology that is like 20 years old. Maybe the airlines and TSA could manage to not bungle this?

    Since planes can be flown by computer / remotely, it seems that if an incident develops, ground security could take over control, eliminating any terrorist advantage to killing the pilot, passengers, etc. and the plane could be diverted.

    The airlines could even turn this into a revenue stream and charge people to view live streaming video of the flight (parents letting minor children fly alone, suspicious wives wondering about their husband’s traveling with their ‘assistant’) $3.99 a minute, conveniently charged to your Visa or Mastercard.

    It would also protect the airlines and passengers from fabricated acusations when lawsuits happen.

  143. Etoiles says:

    There’s “unruly and annoying,” and then there’s dangerous.

    If the child across the aisle from me is crying and being loud, but is staying in his or her seat with his or her seat belt on, then it’s one of life’s annoyances. Too bad, so sad for me. I’ve seen parents try their best in situations where the two-year-old is just plain determined and overtired, and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.

    If a child or children are running around the plane, being underfoot and causing mayhem? They absolutely deserve the boot and I’m glad Southwest did it. I’ve flown with children before (as caretaker and guardian; they were someone else’s kids) and I flew *as* a child several times, and if they or I had ever misbehaved in the manner described in the story, there would have been s**t to pay at home for weeks. That’s the part where the parenting comes in.

    A passenger who really cared about his / her special needs children would, it seems to me, have a quiet word with the airline staff about special needs before boarding, and do his / her best to mind ALL his / her children so as to minimize everyone’s discomfort and potential humiliation. The airline should probably have helped them with some kind of alternate accomodation, but good for them for not caving.

  144. uomdeacon says:

    @BigPapaCherry: Haha, you beat me to the punch on replying to Crushmeguy. Coincidentally, I just received Idiocracy from Netflix Friday.

    I hope there’s some type of follow up report on this event. I’m going to guess that SW will reimburse or provide vouchers for future travel, just to get the mother to shut up. That’s usually easier than to fight this in public.

  145. barty says:

    Simple new rule all airlines need to implement. No kids under the age of 8 are allowed on board except in the case of family emergency or the family is relocating.

    Three of the past four flights I have been on have had someone bringing on children less than a year old that screamed for 20-30 minutes at a time. It was bad enough that I couldn’t even drown it out with my headphones. Then one one of the same flights I had one that kept jumping around in the seat in front of me. Enough is enough. Parents have got to come up with travel plans that don’t involve putting their young children on airplanes. Make your family come to you as long as you have kids that are too young to fly without irritating half the passengers on the flight. Not everyone thinks your kids are cute, precious little darlings!

    I’d be shocked if those kids actually have autism. Like the made up “disease” of ADD, it seems that quite a few parents have been having their children tested for this just to get them on drugs so they don’t have to control their kids themselves.

  146. robotrousers says:

    Yeah, but notice that they say “the family” was being threatening, not the children. My guess is the kids were running around acting crazy. When the flight crew asked the parents to restrain their children, the parents flipped out. Anybody who goes on tv and says it was all because of their children is the kind of person who would act like a shit when expected to be a parent. And boo on KIRO for playing the sympathy game. I’m from Seattle, and I can assure you that our local newscasts will do anything for a good “human interest” story.

  147. LittleBit12 says:

    I wonder if Southwest made mom adhere to their “Customer of Size” policy.

  148. Ben Popken says:

    privatejoker75 is out of here.

  149. audiochick says:

    Yea Southwest! Seattle has four fewer bratty kids for at least another day!

  150. @EtoilePB: If the child across the aisle from me is crying and being loud, but is staying in his or her seat with his or her seat belt on, then it’s one of life’s annoyances.

    So if I, as an adult, sit in my seat with my belt fastened, and shout and scream at the top of my lungs, as an annoying two year old might, it’s just one of life’s annoyances, and everyone else should just deal with it?

    Sounds kinda ludicrous now, doesn’t it? Disruptive is disruptive, no matter what age the annoying brat is, 3 or 30.

  151. bobbleheadr says:

    @SkokieGuy: But then you would have people pissed that you are recording their conversations/actions while on the plane.

    Besides, it would be almost impossible to be able to get any real sound from it, isolating any single conversation would be horrible, and you would need recorders all over the plane.

    The idea of a remote “kill ” switch is often discussed but unlikely, since that then becomes a HUGE target.

    My thoughts on this story, if the parents had made any effort to actually police the kids southwest would have worked with them. My own experience is that most companies (and people for that matter) can understand unruly children, but cant tolerate the “my snowflake is just expressing himself” crowd.

  152. Tallanvor says:

    Seems to me that nobody is blaming the victims, which is a good thing. The victims aren’t the family, they’re the people who were on the plane with spoiled brats and their parents who think the rules shouldn’t apply to them.

    If they can’t control their kids, they should drive. –6 people in a car might not be fun and would take longer, but it’s not like it would be more expensive.

  153. RudeandRude says:

    Although I’m not adding much to the majority here, I don’t really see a problem with what Southwest did, nor do I think they should have footed the bill for the hotel.

    These parents knew the risks they were taking by bringing 4 kids on a flight, 2 of which are disabled. If you disrupt the flight, you are not allowed back on. End of story and completely justified.

  154. Breach says:

    It is unacceptible to have a family on a plane that is unruly and disruptive for sure.

    That said, I think Southwest could have worked with them better to arrange other plans, like a bus or something at least.

  155. prag says:

    If your kids are not socialized you must keep them away from society. If you don’t recognize this and do it on your own society will do it for you. Bravo Southwest.

  156. reiyaku says:

    i give props to southwest for their decision. regardless, what the media and the family says, im behind the airlines 100%. there is just no excuse for having no control over your children regardless whether they are mentally disabled or not.

  157. boss_lady says:

    @fostina1: Oh, sweetheart… to reiterate, the two children were not physically disabled and therefore required no special accomodation.

  158. do they have video cameras on planes? you know, like they do on schoolbuses?

  159. moore850 says:

    I have been on plenty of flights with whiny kids “being kids” and no one was detained at the airport. These two must be real doo-doo heads with no sense of right and wrong, and no parent policing their actions. It reminds me of the autistic or whatever excuse they gave kid who charged a cockpit post-9/11… I don’t care what you have, if you do that, you deserve what happens next.

  160. mdoublej says:

    I think one of the white-trashiest things one can do is to have a cigarette out and ready, before arriving to the area which it can be smoked. It looked like overweight mom, and pregnant(!) sister were both guilty of that. After watching that news video, I really feel sorry for the kids, because mom obviously wasn’t ready to bring them into this world.

  161. silver-spork says:

    @Crushmeguy: The movie Idiocracy is a scary window into our future.

    Go Southwest!

  162. Etoiles says:

    @Derek Balling: Yes, and I don’t pretend for a moment it would be pleasant. (If it were a long flight, I’d be ordering a glass of wine and entertaining fantasies in my head about what would happen if I gave it to the kid.) But disruptive =/= dangerous. There are reasonable limits to behavior and control that come with age. An 8-month old doesn’t know any better, and isn’t going to have much power to go cause actual harm. An 8-year-old, or 18-year-old, or 28-year-old? Different story entirely.

    I am bothered by the attitude I see pretty much everywhere that all children ever and everyone who’s ever had one deserve to be punished. Should there be standards, and should they be higher than they now are? Absolutely, unabashedly yes. (In fact last night at dinner we asked the staff to have a word with the family behind us whose “little darling” was atempting to pound in our booth. They left shortly after.) But do I believe that sometimes, I just need to suck it up and deal with an unpleasant situation, when all reasonable steps have been taken? Also yes.

  163. syndprod says:

    Reading stories like this makes me an even more anxious – oh heck, nervous – flyer. It’s not that I’m terrified of flying (because if I were, I wouldn’t do it), it’s that I really need to mentally prepare myself for being stuck in a tube for hours with no escape. So I make sure I’ve eaten / have snacks with me, fully charged MP3 player, “soft” reading material, earplugs and eyeshade. I know what I need to do to prepare myself and I do it.

    Apparently, some people don’t know how to prepare their kids for flying, though.

    If I were stuck on the plane with these dangerously misbehaving kids, I would be completely distraught by the end of the flight. All I’d be thinking the entire flight is “what happens if one of those kids running around goes for the door”? OK, I’m sure they couldn’t open it while in the air, but still… after waking up early to get to the airport, going through security (which I do quite well, actually), waiting to board, dealing with people trying to stow “carry-on” luggage, the last thing I can deal with are dangerously misbehaving kids.

    Needless to say, I’m now even more freaked out about a flight in a couple of weeks.

  164. chgoeditor says:

    @spoco: You got upgraded to business class on Southwest? That would be more believable if Southwest actually offered a business class section.

  165. KittensRCute! says:

    having problems with viewing the video can anyone post the video in a mac friendly format

  166. synergy says:

    Whenever my mother traveled with my brother and I, we did NOT get aisle seats. Heaven help us if we attempted to leave our seats without her permission. We would have to get past her first. And she may be small, but she’s strong. If the mother in this case had taken the aisle seat for two of those kids and the sister the other aisle seat, all four of these kids would’ve been kept in their seats. Unless they climbed over the seats and trampled people in front or behind them. Or the mother. In which case, yeah, they’re hellish.

  167. SadSam says:

    Vote them off the plane – Survivor style?

    Kids on planes are a recipe for disaster. I’ve always wondered why babies are allowed to sit on mom or dad’s lap? If a baby has to be strapped into a car seat for a quick ride to the zoo why are they not required to be strapped in for a cross country flight at 30,000 feet?

    The most recent kids/families being kicked off planes have seemed to all be related to either not following directions or refusing to stay in the seat. I tend to agree with SW if these kiddos refused to stay in their seats as directed.

  168. SkokieGuy says:

    @mandiejackson: No there are not video cameras on planes, or we would know what happened during the 9/11 hijackings.

    We can do it for school children (although in my state they don’t wear seat belts. It’s illegal to go without a belt only when you are NOT on a school bus) but we cannot (currently) do it on airplaines. Frankly with wifi enabled planes anyone with a laptop and webcam could do this. As they say – it aint’ rocket science.

    We are increasingly recording every public action. Cities are rushing to put in red-light cameras, police observation cameras in high crime districts, etc.

    Now that the suggestion was thrown out, it baffles me why this isn’t already the standard in airplane flight?

    The courts have ruled there is no legal expectation of privacy when in public. Hell, the airports are packed with cameras, it is senseless not to have em on the planes.

    Airlines – we know you read consumerist. Why not generate some GOOD PR for a change? Charge to view online? Protect yourself from frivolous lawsuits.

    Please what is the downside other than privacy concerns (if you’re concerned about privacy, a public airport is probably not the right place for you to be.)

  169. Craig says:

    If you know in advance that your kids are likely to be unruly on a flight for whatever reason then sedate them beforehand. Nyquil works wonders for normal kids and I’m sure your pediatrician can prescribe something stronger if your kids suffer from some kind of physical or mental disorder. If you can’t or are unwilling to control them then don’t expect others to put up with their behavior or attempt to control them for you. (I say this as a parent.)

  170. publicity publicity!

  171. onesong says:

    bottom line, there are things parents can do for their children to ensure that they are calmer on the plane. the few times we flew as children, my mom would put us to bed early, and get us up even earlier to go for a walk, go to the playground–generally tire us out. if it was a later flight, she’d make sure the same thing happened during the day. you also know what distracts your child–be it a book for this one, a favorite snack for another, coloring for a third. you make sure you have the things you need to keep your children occupied.
    granted, these aren’t fail-safe; nothing is. as a parent, you have to accept that IF you’ve done your best, and you still cannot keep your children under control, then you may not be allowed to fly. period.

  172. @SkokieGuy: well with all the “he said she said” crap that I read on here about the conduct received/given on airplanes you would think that a simple video camera that you can get from radioshack for 29.99 would solve a lot of unnecessary disputes. i hate politics more than i hate avocados

  173. Stormslanding says:

    What did Southwest do wrong here? They removed unruly passengers from the flight. maybe next time the parent(s) will control their children. Autism and CP is NOT an excuse for unruly behavior. Autism these days is an excuse for lazy parenting. I wouldn’t be suprised if this family was from downriver. Its the oniontown of Michigan.

  174. @failurate:

    maybe they’d also catch people like that guy who was j*cking off next to a sleeping passenger on the american airlines flight….

    see []

  175. “…they are kids.”

    Since when is that an excuse? They should have ejected them from the first flight, at 30,000 feet!

  176. chgoeditor says:

    @bobpence: To correct something you said, Southwest if famous for making a lot of stops on its flights. It’s not known for point-to-point flights. I routinely get on Southwest planes where they say, “This flight is going to Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis then Baltimore.” When the place lands, they always tell passengers who are continuing on with the flight to stay in their seats until a flight attendant has counted them.

  177. dveight says:

    “Kids will be kids” is not and will never be an excuse!

    This lady obviously could not control her kids. She even admitted to it! What else did she expect? Now she wants an apology from SW? How about they apologize to all of the passengers that had to put up with her unruly kids!

    Parents need to step up and control their kids! Stop hiding behind the whole kid thing.

  178. Geekybiker says:

    Ill side with the airline on this. I’ve had annoying kids on flights before, but to get kicked off you’d have to having them running up and down the hallways and refusing to stay seated etc.

    Flying isn’t a right. Yes, you have to make allowances for the disabled, but same behavior from a “normal” child would get them booted too. They weren’t booted because they were disabled.

  179. deadspork says:

    I think it’s quite obvious here that the children were working for Al-Qaeda.

    Seriously though, kudos to Southwest! I realise that the kids had some inbalances and disablities, but that is still not a reason to allow them to run rampant on a flight. I can see the concerns for flight safety, because any disruption would not be good on a plane, you never know what effect it may have on the people on-board. I really feel for the flight crews too, they have to deal with a lot.

  180. WEGGLES90 says:

    South West is 100% in the right. You need your kids to behave on an airplane. If they can’t you can’t fly. There are more people on the plane than you. People who don’t want to listen to that kind of nosie.

    People are tense enough while flying, the last thing they need is loud kids.

    If the kids acted like that in, say a restaurant, they’d be removed.

  181. This would have been a perfect time to test out the new ‘safety’ stun watches… Opportune moment missed!

    Sounds like someone might be fishing for a bit more than they deserve. Just an opinion though.

  182. henrygates says:

    @katiat325: Doesn’t sound like she learned her lesson. She wants to be compensated for her trouble.

  183. mspk1111 says:

    I have worked with many autistic children in the past and one common misconception is the idea that autism represents one specific set of traits that is often portrayed on television. Autism is infact a disorder that can very from mild, you could talk to them and not realize they have autism, to extremely severe. Often times its difficult for people unfamiliar with the disease to blame parents for not doing enough or working hard enough. Not knowing or meeting this child I can not say for sure, but I am fairly certain the child likely has a very extreme form of the disorder. Putting the child in a unfamiliar surrounding with loud noises, uncomfortable feelings and strangers would very likely be extremely scary to a child with autism. Despite how the child acted this in no way should be seen as bad parenting. I do agree that bad decision making was made. With a child with extreme autism, no therapist would recommend putting the child on the plane without the parents being able to deal with any episodes that would arise, which they obviously couldn’t.

    I feel like this blaming the parent mentality that I have seen throughout these comments stem more from peoples inability to understand just how difficult it is to deal with children with these types of disabilities. Often times insurance, Medicaid, and medicare do not offer near enough money for the therapy that these children demand. Beyond this the amount of attention that is needed to care for children with such disabilities is astronomical. Any parent that chooses to take care of such a child and not put them into an institution deserves a medal. No parent could care for a child with these disabilities and be a bad parent as most of you may think.

    As for the ADA, often times what reasonable accommodations mean are defined by court cases rather than the law because it is so vague. This is likely an area that has not been addressed to date and therefore there is likely a large difference between the type of accommodations airlines offer from specially trained staff to just making the flight crew aware.

    Finally to those of you that refer to these children as “retarded”. It is a shame that people view you as ignorant and unsympathetic. I am sure there is much more to you than just a need for attention and lack of appropriate education/training. I hope the people you deal with in your lives see past this to the good people I’m sure you are.

  184. gliscameria says:

    Thank you Southwest!

  185. bleh says:

    Retarded parents, disabled kids.

  186. mabus says:

    funny thing here is that i never saw where it said that the autistic child and/or the child with CP were causing the problems. there were two other children as well that these adults were responsible for. so yes, i agree that ms. slaughter is probably using the kids’ conditions as a means of raising the “pity me” flag. i have two children of my own, one of whom has a developmental disorder and i know that it is ultimately MY responsibility to keep them under control especially when flying. in no way should this lady be absolved of her responsibility.

    kudos to southwest for saving the sanity of a planefull of seatac-bound travelers.

    PS: i’m also thinking that ms. slaughter might have had some prior inclination as to the children behavior control (or rather, the lack thereof) in addition to her own shortcomings as a disciplinarian.

  187. TexasScout says:

    It’s about time. As much as you have to pay to fly and as cramped as you are when you fly, you shouldn’t have to put up with a bunch of whining “snowflakes” that can do no wrong in their parents eyes.


  188. Karey says:

    I’m siding with the family here. Sure they should have been kicked off the flight, but why didn’t SWA just put them on a later flight after the kids had calmed down, or at the very least why weren’t their tickets refunded? Every other story I’ve found regarding unruly children being kicked off a plane involves these measures. SWA’s handling of the situation is just low, I think I’ll reconsider flying with them ever again.

  189. drdom says:

    @boss_lady: Oh, sweetheart… to reiterate, the two children were not physically disabled and therefore required no special accomodation.

    Actually, that’s not what the law says. Disabled is disabled, physical or otherwise makes no difference. The determining factor is whether or not the airline tried to make “reasonable accomodation”.

    In this case you would be hard pressed to say the airline didn’t try to do what they could. When “reasonable” efforts are not sufficient to rectify the situation, the airline is within it’s rights to deny them access to the flight.

    It is not up to the airline to solve their problem: it is only necessary to make their best effort to do what a prudent individual would do.

    There are tons of case law and administrative code which affirm this point. The only point at issue is whether the airline tried to make a “reasonable accomodation”. In this case, it seems pretty clear they did. But, contrary to general belief, ADA is not limited to physical disabilities.

  190. battra92 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: It might has well be. Last time I was on Amtrak I had kids jumping around, kicking my seat etc. and just acting way too darn hyper.

    The ride back had a grown woman put away too much and start a physical fight with the woman in the snack car (who was a witch to everyone fwiw) and caused us to be delayed by a few hours while the local police came on board and decided to play brown shirts.

    I want idiot free travel. Or at least idiots I can’t see or hear. Guess I’m stuck driving.

  191. @SkokieGuy: We are increasingly recording every public action. Cities are rushing to put in red-light cameras, police observation cameras in high crime districts, etc.

    That doesn’t mean we need more cameras, except maybe near the cockpit door. For the cabin as a whole, Southwest already has a trusty, capable flight crew with eyes and ears. They don’t need to prove anything to us.

  192. LINIS says:

    @tmed: Why should Southwest have to put up this family in a hotel? It’s not Southwest’s fault that the family couldn’t control their kids, disabilities or not.

  193. RandomHookup says:

    This is why I watch Nanny 911 — bad parenting is such fun!!!

  194. VikingP77 says:

    Southwest did the right thing. However why is bad parenting limited only to planes? I hate grocery shopping too! Kids running around screaming knocking things off of shelves. At the library kids running around yelling.
    When I was a kid we didn’t do that. We KNEW we would be punished if we did. Granted that meant a smack across the face or a spanking but society has made it impossible for parents to do this anymore. Now time-outs are the norm. Well that would not have worked on ME as a kid. I’m grateful I got a good lashing once and while. And I’m sure I’m going to get some flack for this comment but I never disobeyed my parents. I never got my feet stuck in an escalator. I never kicked the back of peoples seats on an aircraft. People marveled at how well behaved me and my siblings were. It became easy to chill out and spare other people tantrums.

  195. RAREBREED says:

    Southwest definitely did the right thing here! I was recently on a flight from SF to San Diego where there was a father and two children aged 2 and 4 in the row right in front of me. The two year old kept taking off the seat belt, and the flight attendant kept telling the father that if his child kept doing that, they’d be removed from the plane. The dad eventually sat between the two to hold the seat belt closed, much to the child’s dismay. To add to it, the flight attendant returned with a coloring book, crayons, and some snacks for the kids to distract them during take-off.

    Southwest did well in this situation as well in ensuring the plane took off in a timely fashion.

  196. jimconsumer says:

    @Womblebug: He’s just taking the word “retarded” back, man.

  197. Youthier says:

    It doesn’t even seem clear to me that the disabled children were the ones causing the disturbance. For all we know, the “regular” kids were the ones rolling in the aisles.

    @onesong: Exactly! There’s plenty of ways to wear down your children without drugs.

    @EtoilePB: I agree with you. I’ve been on a plane with annoying children who can’t respect the fact you are trying to read/sleep/listen to your iPod and it sucks. But as long as their butts are in their seats, there’s not much you or the airlines can do than ask their parents to shut them up. It’s not illegal to be a pain in the ass. If it was, we would have even more overcrowding in jails.

  198. ras_d says:

    um….whatever happened to Winnebagos – the Concord of the Poor and White?

  199. If somebody hasn’t said it yet, maybe we’ve found the right application for these: []

    …child control!

    In all seriousness, bad parenting here. I knew some crazy Slaughters before, and I was wondering if this was them, but it isn’t, apparently.

  200. jenl1625 says:

    @ras_d: With the price of gas these days?

  201. emt888 says:

    Parents are afraid to discipline their kids nowadays. When we were in a public place, all it took was a look from my mom or dad for me to know to knock it off. If for some reason I ignored that look and kept acting up, I usually got an explanation that things were not going to be pleasant for me when I got home. Heck, even now at 32, if I see that look from my dad, I shut the *&$% up!

  202. palookapalooza says:

    “Kids will be kids”. This is true if they’re humming to themselves while coloring, pointing and saying “Cow! Mooo!” when reading a book, or telling the flight attendant that are her makeup makes her look like a clown. Kids that run screaming through the aisles are being kids that don’t follow the rules that everyone else has to follow, and are therefore, douchebags. The parents who don’t keep the kids buckled in and do not distract, bribe, discipline or cajole kids into being civilized while in the plane are again, douchebags. When douchebaggery endangers others in an enclosed environment, the douchebags, junior and senior, gotta go.

  203. minneapolisite says:

    Dear Northwest Airlines: please follow Southwest’s stellar example. I love kids but I don’t think it’s necessary for a child to scream “MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!” repeatedly at the top of his lungs when a flight attendant politely asks the brat to stop jumping up and down on his seat warning him that she’s worried he might “bump his head.” That sweet flight attendant should have been authorized sedate the kid and taser his non-responsive mom.

  204. banmojo says:

    @Womblebug: actually, (and this falls well within my specialty) CP (as an overall unifying diagnosis) CAN also include cognitive deficit as well as motor deficit. The key in CP is that the cerebral insult has already occurred, the deficit (or deficits) are STATIC, i.e. not progressing, and that’s about it. The term MR (mentally retarded) is used daily by MDs all over the states, and is quite appropriate for describing such a ‘MR’ patient. The fact that liberal bleeding hearts have gone on a rampage trying to make it inappropriate to use words that have ‘negative connotations’ is besides the point. Oh, and btw, patients with CP that also have static cognitive deficit are often referred to as ‘CP/MR’ by MDs and RNs, so it’s not inappropriate to use both terms, and the MR portion of their description can be included inside the definition of CP, as I’ve already discussed.

    Kudos to Southwest for this. I actually LIKE the fact that the family was stranded – it gave them time to think about the danger they placed all the other passengers in by trying to fly those CP/MR kids around.

    You know what? Maybe mentally challenged individuals DO NOT have the right to interact with ‘normal population’ in every capacity, hmmmm? Maybe we should let the MAJORITY decide on this one, ok?

    What say the masses?????

  205. banmojo says:

    @minneapolisite: amen, amen, selah, and amen.

  206. That-Dude says:

    “”It’s funny, kid, you don’t look anything like your dad over there, you should ask your mom if he really is your father?””

    Calling BS, however if you did say this, can I have your autograph. Also, if you said this to one of my loved ones you’d get punched in the face.

    /Double Standard Bearer.

  207. ringo00 says:

    @Derek Balling:

    I find that being obnoxiously rude to the parents works just as well and I don’t have to hurt the kids feelings over it. On a recent flight from Sacramento to Chicago, there was a kid of about 6 or 7 just running absolutely amok on the plane. His mother knew enough to keep him belted in when the seat belt light was on, but as soon as it went out, the kid was off to the races. He was running up and down the aisle screaming his head off and generally being an annoying 6-year-old little boy. His mother thought it was the cutest thing ever that he was having a good time, until I had had enough of it. She had been asked several times by flight attendants and other passengers to restrain the child. After the little bastard decided that my seat mates and I seemed to roughly equal the playland tubing at his local Mc Donald’s, I had had it. I turned around to the boy’s mother and loudly but calmly suggested that if she were going to bring an animal on board she should have at least brought a cage or a leash or something. I heard a few snickers from the crowd and a loud hmph! from her, but she put the kid in his seat and strapped him in.

    Just because you think your little bastard is the cutest thing around, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us do.

  208. jsavimbi says:

    One look at the video tells you that the mother isn’t a sophisticated traveler and would probably have troubles trying to get from Detroit to Seattle by herself, never mind the four kids and the pregnant sister.

    Even though aircraft have become the fiefdom of petty tyrants as of late, the airlines also need to take some of the blame as well. I don’t doubt that the kids were unruly, and I can hardly blame Southwest for their actions, but it seems that they lack an adequate response to the problem. Stranding the family, as they did, wasn’t a great move even if rightly justified. It’s bad PR. Luckily for them, the mother decided to run her yapper to the cameras, so that pretty much solved the mystery of the parenting skillset and who was to blame.

    Even though we live in a [somewhat] egalitarian society, some people are simply not socially equipped to be in certain situations, so boarding a flight and expecting the crew to be hunky dory with your land-based behavior is a stretch at best.

  209. Weirdsmobile says:

    Summary of comment thread for latecomers:

    “I am a precious, delicate snowflake, yet claim the right to complain about other precious, delicate snowflakes and/or their precious, delicate snowflake progeny.”

    You’re welcome in advance.

  210. Fly Girl says:

    Good on you, Southwest!

    I was on a flight last week from SEA-OAK on AS and there was a godawful hellbeast of a child in the seat behind me.

    Everytime it (I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl) didn’t get what it wanted/was bored/needed attention, it let out a blood-curdling scream. Over and over and over again.

    This child was WAY too old to be acting like this (four or five years old) and the mother was WAY out of line for not controling it. Never once did the mother tell the child to stop, never once did the mother punish the child. Instead, whenever the hellbeast would wail, the mother would give it a game or a candy or just ignore it. WTF?!?!

    All of the people around me were completely annoyed, especially since it was the kind of scream that you would hear should, you know, the plane start to nosedive or someone get stabbed. It was terrifying and made all of us jump every time it happened. And the little brat screamed like that during take off and landing, too. Completely unacceptable.

    I have compassion for people traveling with infants– what are you going to do if the bugger starts to cry? Not much you can do. But, for Christ’s sake, if you can’t control your chilren, DO NOT FLY WITH THEM. The other 150 on the plane paid good money to be there too, and their right to quiet supercedes the little brat’s right to scream.


    But seriously, the entire flight I was thinking “Self, if they offered adults-only flights, I would be ALL OVER that shit!”

  211. DanPVD says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this article should also be tagged “bad consumer”?

  212. wiggatron says:

    @privatejoker75: Where are getting your definitions from? Just making them up as you see fit? According to Merriam-Webster it’s actually defined as;



    sometimes offensive : slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

    Nice try though. Now chill out Captain Troll.

  213. jsavimbi says:

    @DanPVD: It should also be tagged “bad provider”.

    If you operate a discount business of any sort, it shouldn’t surprise you to see some weird shite on a regular basis. Abandoning passengers to the mercy of the local cops seems a little bit over the top and not commensurate with the crime, if any. It’s not like the aircraft had to be rerouted or recalled. I smell an overly self-important flight crew. And those folks aren’t exactly paragons of civilized society.

  214. jethropew says:

    hmmmm….let’s see….uncaring and apparently uneducated parent cannot control or correct her unruly children while flying in an aluminum tube 30,000 ft above ground. the property owner (southwest) says, “since you cannot abide by our rules, then you may not fly with us anymore”. and then the woman demands compensation AND an apology? nope – what a moron!

    southwest did the right thing. i’m surprised they didn’t land somewhere along the way and put them out for the safety and well-being of the OTHER 150 passengers.

  215. Noris159 says:

    Imagine how bad hambeast and family must’ve been for the cops to buy them McD’s. The most depressing part is the family is growing with a nicotine-addicted little bun in the oven of the sister. Yours and my tax dollars at work!!!

  216. North of 49 says:

    I’m sick and tired of people blaming the parents for their children’s behaviour when all the ways parents have been using for generations to discipline children are being eroded away little by little.

    If she had spanked those children, someone would have hauled her away for child abuse!

    Parents are not to blame. Petty bureaucrats that have decreed child protection to be an essential service and use anything they can get their hands on as job justifications for apprehending in the first place!

    We are responsible for our children’s behaviour, yet have had all the tools our parents used taken away. Its no wonder those children were unruly – children are taught now to disrespect authority, especially the authority of their parents!

  217. EyeHeartPie says:

    @wiggatron: He can’t answer since Ben Popken hit him with the ban-hammer.

  218. Womblebug says:

    @banmojo: You may very well be correct; this is not the way it was explained to me. I know that a CP diagnosis does not automatically mean cognitive impairment, and I worry that many people think it does.

    @jimcomsumer: Thank you. I needed that laugh out loud. =)

  219. biswalt says:

    This should be a new marketing campaign for Southwest. Low prices, caring staff, and you remove disruptive brats . . . nice.

  220. wiggatron says:

    @EyeHeartPie: LOL, I noticed right after I posted. It’s for the better I think.

  221. RStewie says:

    I’m glad to hear Southwest treated this episode in this manner. My step-son regularly travels by himself (4-6 times a year, cross-country), and has since the age of 5. I am ALWAYS complimented on his behaviour and told what a joy he was on the flight. “Train your child up in the way he should go.”

    I noted, too, that the preggo sister said this was the “worst experience of her life” and I’m thinking that was due, not to Southwest’s treatment, but to having to stay in a hotel with 4 unruly children and their pissed off and martyed mother. That’s SURE to put a damper on any trip…especially one you thought would be over a day earlier!

    I’d also like to note that my SO is constantly my hero in situations like this: his utter willingness to call BS on other parents and ability to handle child-related episodes with both wisdom and menace are beyond sexy to me. If HE had been on this flight, ALL those kids would have been quite, seated, and happy about it.

  222. hardtoremember says:

    I was beginning to think that my business was about the only one out there that made parents and their unruly children leave!
    Kudos to Southwest. I have had enough of parents allowing their children to act however they please in public.
    I am going to email Southwest and thank them for taking a stand.

  223. Drowner says:

    I have this rule when I travel in groups, at least one able-bodied person per trip. I’m talking everything from pub crawls to cross-country flights. No matter where you go, there has to be one sound minded, abled bodied individual to make sure everything is kosher in the event of an emergency. With that in mind:

    This is the worst group to travel ever.

  224. BlackestRose says:

    The Airline completely defined all of the terms in the story and most of the people commenting have bought into their descriptions. Once the words “autism, cerebal palsy and disruptive” were used, commenters decided that the family should have been expelled from the flight.

    I want to know what behaviors are disruptive. A crying child is a far cry from one throwing soda.

  225. SinA says:

    Well, Southwest is pretty much public transportation in the sky, so you have to expect all kinds of weirdos. If you want peace and quiet you’d take a flight with first class. I’ve been annoyed by people around me on planes too, but I feel a little (very little) bad for this family… nevermind… after reading the link I saw that they were warned TWICE. Scrape ’em off.

  226. EyeHeartPie says:

    @BlackestRose: I clicked on this headline entirely ready to read (write…whatever) Southwest the riot act, but only after reading the story here, as well as the complete article linked to in the story, and watching the video, did I decide that Southwest was in the right in this case. Contrary to what you think, people aren’t all uncaring bastards ready to kick someone off a plane simply for being autistic or suffering from cerebral palsy.

    Considering the mother in the story admitted that her kids were being disruptive, not sitting in their seats, and walking up and down the plane during flight, I think the mother knows how disruptive her kids are and were. She just felt that they should be allowed to do whatever they want and not suffer any consequences.

    The exact quote from the article was:

    Slaughter admitted the children were loud and kept getting up and walking around the plane.

    As soon as the mother said this, and pulled out the “kids will be kids” argument to justify her children’s behavior, I realized that these people deserved every bit of justice doled out by Southwest.

  227. jenl1625 says:

    @BlackestRose: I don’t care who defines autism or cerebral palsy. I lay the blame for this one squarely on the so-called “mother” because of these paragraphs from the article:

    “Slaughter admitted the children were loud and kept getting up and walking around the plane.
    ‘The children were out of control on the flight you know, they were restless, excited and worked up and they are kids,’ said Slaughter.
    The family said flight attendants asked them to quiet the children twice, but they didn’t expect to be booted off the flight”

    MOM herself admits that her kids were getting up and moving around the plane, and were “restless, excited, and worked up” and that the flight attendants had asked them twice to quiet the children. Want to bet that those kids were still misbehaving after the second request? Want to be that their behavior wouldn’t be WORSE on a second flight?

  228. incognit000 says:

    Personally I agree with Southwest 100% on this one. Every time I ride an airplane, there’s a screaming, yelling, inappropriate acting child which should NOT be riding on an airplane, and they make things miserable (and sometimes dangerous) for everyone else.

    The fact that these kids proved themselves to be unable to ride on the plane, disabilities or not, proves that Southwest made the right decision here. I feel sorry for the mom since the kids may not be able to help themselves and may be genuinely beyond her control, but if they are beyond her control, she needs to recognize that and not put them on an airplane. It’s gotta be horrible for them, for her, and for everyone else on the plane.

    And really, if these kids are so poorly behaved, should you be taking them on such a long trip to begin with? My Dad wouldn’t take me on a trip if I so much as HINTED at misbehaving. Were I autistic, rowdy or otherwise out of control, I’d have never left the house except to go to school or a friend’s house.

  229. TehRev says:

    I am sad the “blame the vicitim” people haven’t freaked out yet. Sometimes people deserve what happens to them. Southwest might have helped rebook but booting them was A-OK. But if they yelled at the ticket counter lady I think Southwest is fine saying nope. Basically like no shoes no shirt no service.

    I am on Southwest’s side btw.

  230. dantsea says:

    Blaming the victim in this case would be blaming Southwest, who absolutely did the right thing. This family was in dire need of a reality check, and perhaps in the future will consider what could happen when they travel.

  231. doireallyneedausername says:

    On a domestic flight within Asia few years ago, I had the lovely experience of watching a 3 year old kid compete in a 400m Olympic track event using the twin-aisles of a Boeing 747 during landing. Somehow, the little snot slipped under his seat belt and thought he should try to qualify for Beijing 2008 in his own time trials.

    The flight attendants we’re yelling from their jump seats for the kid to stop running, but because the plane was about 15 seconds from landing, the circumstances necessitated that the FA’s stay in their seat for their own safety.

    The landing was particularly rough and there was a slide out jump seat in one front of one of the bulkheads in the main economy class cabin. Upon touchdown, the seat slid out of its parked position and into the aisle, blocking the kid’s path. For a moment, I had a premonition that the kid’s 400m sprint would turn into a 400m hurdling event, or even worse…a sudden and bloody end. But as soon as that thought popped into my head, I saw a FA running down the aisle (granted, while the plane was still slowing down, with reverse thrusters on), grab the kid and then bring him back to his parents.

    For a second there, I was glad no one got hurt. But then my feeling of relief turned to anger that he could have injured other people…followed by a very mean (but somewhat satisfying thought): “this would be great fodder for those Darwin theorists.” :)

    The FA eventually gave the kid and parents “a stern lecture,” but the language barrier was apparent. Sigh…only if they let that kid slam face first into the jump seat, that would have saved the FA from wasting her energy on lecturing the parents. Survival of the smartest & fittest, ftw!

  232. Grive says:

    @mizmoose: No way in hell.

    Allowing a belligerent person in a plane just because it’s mean not to let them get their way? Nope, doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

    I’m sorry, but if people wish to travel, they must both know the risks of it (being “stranded” in phoenix being one of them) and understand their obligation to be civil at all times.

    I don’t care if your kid has disabilities. I’m sorry they have, and I understand it’s not their fault nor yours. But you must either learn to work with that, or adapt your life accordingly. If you are unable to keep your kids orderly, you really, really need to consider the idea of a roadtrip, or leaving them behind if you need to go too far away.

    I’ve gone on long flights with babies, small children and down’s syndrome kids (not necessarily at the same time). It is their guardians’ responsibility knowing how to soothe them if they become a problem for other passengers or the crew.

  233. Grive says:

    @BlackestRose: “Slaughter admitted the children were loud and kept getting up and walking around the plane.”

    That IS disruptive. A child that cannot be controlled after several warnings, who is being noisy and moving about when specifically instructed otherwise is a problem, and a potential danger.

  234. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Ha, they are barking up the wrong tree if they think people are going to turn on southwest. You are never going to get people to be mad at an airline for kicking people out of control off of a flight. So what if your kids have tons of medical problems, that just strengthens the airline’s actions because it means there was no way for you to guarantee that you could keep the kids quiet and controlled. I would also add that if you had two kids and they are that screwed up, please adopt in the future. Your genetic code is not healthy.

  235. RedSonSuperDave says:

    On the 22nd of this month, I am flying to Colorado. Until I read this story, I didn’t have a preference as to which airline I would use. Because of this story, I’m flying Southwest.

  236. @Weirdsmobile: I think the summary of this thread should be “How may I insult thee? Let me count the ways.”

    Or maybe this classic Simpson’s scene summarizes it better:

    Nelson: [pointing to a very tall man scrunched in a a Volkswagen Beetle] Ha-ha!
    Tall Man: [gets out of car, chases down Nelson] Do you find something comical about my appearance when I am driving my automobile?
    Nelson: Yeah.
    Tall Man: Everyone needs to drive a vehicle, even the very tall. This was the largest auto I could afford. Should I therefore be made the subject of fun, huh?
    Nelson: I guess so.
    Tall Man: Would you like it if others laughed at YOUR misfortune, hmm? Maybe we should find out!
    [Tall man pulls down Nelson’s pants, honks his horn while forcing him to march]
    Tall Man: Hey, everyone! Look at this: it’s that boy who laughs at everyone! Let’s laugh at him!
    Crowd: Ha-ha! Ha-ha!

  237. I’m not disputing South West’s right to refuse service, but I’m really disturbed at the number of people who think you can beat the autism right out of a child.

    Let me clue you in… You can’t. If beating my child, time outs, or other forms of “discipline” could make my child less autistic I’d be first in line with a wooden cain. But it doesn’t work like that. Patience and understanding are the ONLY things that get results.

    Her bad parenting wasn’t in “not controlling” her kid’s behavior, which might have been impossible (Maybe she had to make a choice between letting her kid run the aisles or frustrating her child to the point that the kid started banging his/her head and screaming… neither one is good, but sometimes those are the choices you get) Her bad parenting was in subjecting these children to the process of flying in the first place. Flying is very frustrating, confusing, full of loud noises and terrible smells and all the things that autistic children have trouble handling. She should have considered the welfare of her children and not subjected them to that. It’s hard enough on typical children. Children with disabilities shouldn’t be forced to endure that experience till they are old enough to handle it.

  238. Thorny says:

    Had the family flown, I’m sure all the people on the plane who were inconvenienced by the kids would say when asked about their flight, “it was fine except for these really annoying kids on the plane and their mom didn’t do anything about it!” Odds are we wouldn’t hear anything more of it, even though hundreds of people were impacted.

    So this is a good move by Southwest to protect hundreds of future customers and risk losing this crazy family from flying in the future.

  239. mazement says:

    OK, I guess I should lecture everybody on the proper use of the word “retarded”.

    I think it used to be a legitimate medical term, but by the time I got to elementary school it had devolved into a playground insult and was no longer used in polite society.

    That isn’t to say that it wasn’t used in my peer-group, but we had to be aware of our surroundings. Basically we had to make sure that we were out of earshot of parents, teachers, and most girls. If we got overheard by any of those we’d be socially sanctioned, and then we’d be socially sanctioned again when we got home. (And I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if we got caught saying it in an Internet forum that was populated by hundreds if not thousands of non-peers.)

    Back then it was understood that there were certain words you didn’t use in public. We called this “good manners” and considered it a virtue. Nowadays I guess it’s called “being PC”, and it’s considered a character flaw. I liked the old way better, but I guess you can’t stop progress…

    Anyway, this is a generational thing, so I’m going to call for more tolerance from both sides. Also, the “privatejoker75” person has Obnoxious Personality Disorder/Troll Syndrome. This is a medical condition and people should stop making fun of him. It’s not his fault.

  240. poxpopulus says:

    A truly low moment for Consumerist posters. Congrats. Look at it this way, you have nowwhere to go but up.

  241. Consumer007 says:

    Oh by the way I went and watched the video story on that so called news channel, and I LOVE IT: The Grandma had to pay 2000 smackers for another flight to get them home and GUESS WHAT: Kids reportedly behaved fine on THAT flight. Any GUESS as to why? Probably because MOM had to actually give a damn that time, and knew Grandma was going to use the belt on her dumb obese ass when she got home.

    Oh, and in my opinion, the mother was drunk off her ass as was the sister on camera, (another reason they probably weren’t allowed to fly) but even if they weren’t they were clearly right from the trailer park in Seattle. Who knows, maybe they are related to Tonya Harding…?

    Separately, I think the fact this news station would choose to take this mother’s side when almost unanimously on this site we take the airlines side says how desperate they are to make up stories with no merit.

  242. emington says:

    I don’t understand this sort of thing… yes, the children were being very disruptive (like she said)… this is very unsafe.. perhaps she should have talked to her children beforehand or something? the first time I flew, I was a baby, don’t remember this… but I remember flying when I was 3-4 years old and I didn’t run around or jump or be noisy because a) my mum never would have let me and b) i was rather well-behaved kid… it IS possible to have well-behaved children on airplanes. I’ve seen it too first hand on my travels, quiet, polite children who do not disrupt the flight.

    Lesson learned: You pay to fly, you follow the rules.

  243. mythago says:

    While my wife isn’t preggo yet, I’ve already thought about things like travel when the kid is young and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they are calm like I was when my parents used to fly with me cross country.

    Oh, my friend, you need to brace yourself. There is nothing like actually having kids yourself to cure you of all the “parents should control their brats blah blah” spewing that you see in the comments here. You learn pretty quick that while bad parents have bratty kids, good parents also sometimes have bratty kids.

    That said, this isn’t about some child-hating asshole being upset because a baby exists on the same flight he’s one; there were four kids and all of them, not just the autistic child, were behaving to the point of creating a danger on the flight.

  244. Mills says:

    I carry benadryl and dramamine (the drowsy kind), and I offer them to any parents near me on my flight for unruly small children.

    They rarely accept, but they sometimes ask if they can be moved away from me. Which is exactly what I’m going for in the first place.

  245. Grive says:

    @JamieSueAustin: Excellent post, very well put. I absolutely agree with you.

    @mazement: There is a huge gap between being “polite” and being “politically correct”.

    Being polite is a virtue. It’s the virtue of making your interactions with others a positive and unstressful event for them.

    Being politically correct is a character flaw. It’s an intrinsically hypocritical word game that only works to reinforce offensiveness of things that shouldn’t be. To be inoffensive, be polite. Running down the euphemism treadmill as fast as possible only makes speech bland, worthless, and sometimes even more offensive.

  246. Caslonbold says:

    @Consumer007: Don’t worry, no one in Seattle takes that news channel seriously up here. They love these stupid human interest stories. I happened to catch the video this morning while checking the news for the weather report (which is the only reason to watch 3 mins. of the news).

    What I found interesting is that someone had to CALL and notify the news station that this family had an issue and what flight they would arrive on. Must be Grandma’s little handiwork. That “mother” did not come up with the demand for an apology from SWA on her own, she is being fed words from an outside source in order to set up her SWA lawsuit or whatever scam they are planning. Again, I suspect Grandma is the brains behind this operation – it certainly isn’t being devised and crafted by the two adult women we saw in the video.

    Tanya Harding = from Oregon. They can claim her.

  247. The_IT_Crone says:

    Southwest: THANK YOU, and I’ll lean towards flying your airline if I ever get the chance.

  248. t325 says:

    I’m siding with Southwest here. I was on a Southwest flight from STL-FLL in May and there were noisy kids (who didn’t seem to be disabled in any way) who would not STFU, and the parents (who I blame, not the kids) didn’t do anything about it and thought it was cute. On the way back, I had a layover in Orlando, so the MCO-STL leg, which, of course, had a bunch of screaming brats returning home from Disneyworld, was even worse.

    I’d gladly pay more for a ticket in an 18+ section of the plane that’s sealed off with soundproof walls. And if they can’t do that, they need a strictly enforced “All kids must shut the hell up during takeoff and landing while other passengers are unable to put on their headphones and crank up the volume on their iPod to drown out the noise of those little bastards” rule

  249. trujunglist says:


    You can use whatever word you want whenever you want, go for it. But expecting, with a sense of entitlement, that people should be all sunshine and lollipops over it is pretty much… retarded.
    Kind of like having unruly kids on an airplane. You could do the right thing and tape their mouths shut or shove them in the overhead compartment if they won’t behave, or you could let them run around screaming and annoying the crap out of everyone.
    Based on your comments here, I’d say you’re the latter.

  250. I’m empathetic to this woman’s plight – no one wishes for an autistic child – but a visit to the doctor before the flight for some mild sedatives would have gone a LONG way toward making sure they got where they were going with a minimum of fuss. It’s not the airline’s fault she didn’t plan appropriately for the trip.

  251. Hogan1 says:

    Southwest is 100% in the right on this one.

    1. The lady admitted the kids were out of control
    2. A passenger that was interviewed said it was the flight from hell. I live in Phoenix and this is getting some decent coverage.
    3. Passenger didn’t have ANY money with her????

    Flight’s with screaming and out of control kids are not a very pleasant experience as anyone that’s experienced it can attest. Southwest is one of the few airlines that puts the needs of the many above those of the few. For example Overweight passengers have to buy 2 seats. I fully support their efforts and their policies.

  252. @fostina1: looks like the airline wasnt equiped to deal with the disabilities of the children.

    Are you kidding? Now the airlines are on the hook for consulting a doctor and getting sedatives for autistic children just so they can fly? That’s not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, unfortunately.

  253. @poxpopulus: A truly low moment for Consumerist posters. Congrats. Look at it this way, you have nowwhere to go but up.

    I’ve never seen half of these people before. It’s like they lurk in the woodwork, dormant until… “Yes! Public shaming because they look to be worse off than I am! Let’s all beat up on this family for all the times I was wronged by someone else’s kid! Who cares if 250 people before me said the same thing? I don’t have time to read all that. (And facts? I don’t need no stinking facts. I happen to know exactly what was going on inside that airplane.)”

    Any one of the following does it every time:
    * austic kid
    * kid with disability
    * kid with diarrhea
    * woman with diarrhea
    * man with sleep apnea
    * woman injured by thong
    * pregnant woman
    * [more? you bet!]

  254. RISwampyankee says:

    I am so with the airline here. That said, there are some serious class issues at play here. I got the distinct impression that these people did not know how to travel, much less travel with children and special needs children, at that!

  255. hamsangwich says:

    The thing that bothers me the most about this article is that the cops forked over their hard-earned money to allow this clearly incapable mother to purchase a hotel room. What do you bet she will never offer to repay them?

  256. joellevand says:


    Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder, not a behavioral one. If your kid has CP and cannot behave, blame your parenting disorder, not the CP.

    Exactly. Thank you.

  257. bcsus83 says:

    I have an Autistic child, and ya know what? He is capable of flying without being bothersome to other passengers. As is his 2 yr old younger brother. We’ve done it. I’m glad they refused to let that family fly. If they can’t handle their children then they shouldn’t force other people who have paid dearly for their plane tickets to deal with them.

  258. mazement says:

    @Grive: I dunno. Where do you draw the line?

    I know there are cases of PC-run-amok. Somebody somewhere will insist that we use “womyn” instead of “women”, and then somebody sends that off to Rush Limbaugh and he reads it on the radio and we all have a good laugh. But the thing is, I’ve never encountered people like that in real life or even on the Internet. I could probably find some if I made a serious effort, but I don’t think there are a lot of them.

    On the other hand, there are people who say stuff that’s just plain rude. When you call them on it, they’ll give some lame excuse like, “It’s in the dictionary”, or “God didn’t create Adam and Steve”, or “One of them said something worse about me once.” Then they’ll call you “PC” and think that they won the argument.

    I run into people like that all them time. Actually, if you look up above, you can see one of them on this very thread, trying to use the “It’s in the dictionary” excuse. The impression I get is that accusations of “PC” are usually an attempt to justify bad behavior rather than a legitimate complaint. Maybe you’ve had different experiences?

  259. shanerz says:

    For this to come from Southwest, there was probably a good reason. I mean, they are ranked by the DOT as the least complained about airline.

    I empathise with the disabilities; unfortunately, you can’t expect that the airlines have to shoulder that, or other travellers for that matter.

  260. wellfleet says:

    I’ve been on a four-hour flight where a kid kicked my seat the entire time. I was white-knuckle clutching my armrest to avoid killing the little miscreant. However, how exactly do you *reason* with a child that has autism or cerebral palsy? They’re not “bad” or “unruly”, they simply may not understand how to behave in society. It’s not necessarily poor parenting.

  261. ogremustcrush says:

    Kudos to Southwest. Sure this lady got kicked off her flight, but think of all the other passengers who had to deal with the nonsense from her kids. They’re customers too, and seem much more likely to avoid Southwest if they didn’t try to control unruly passengers. As for this lady, she should have had control of her children if she expects to be treated well on the plane. That they “are kids” is a rather pathetic excuse, considering that of all people she should know how to control them best. I wouldn’t be suprised if the reason two of her kids have disorders is because she did something irresponsible like smoke, drink, or do drugs during her pregnancy. Her continuing lack of responsiblily and her finger pointing leads me to believe it is not a new problem with her life.

    Is it bad to think that airlines should dispense special drinks laced with sedatives to all children under a certain age and require that they’re parents make them drink them as a condition of staying on the flight. I supposed that building video game systems into the back of the seats would work as well, as long as they had enough titles to keep the kids attention after they get bored of each one.

  262. Grive says:

    @mazement: Well, if PC terms are not heard in common speech, it does say a lot about their legitimacy, doesn’t it?

    As to where do we draw the line, it’s a very subjective matter – an unavoidable side-effect of dealing with human sensibilities. I’m not politically correct, but I try not to be an ass.

    I think that would be a good drop-off point: Intent. If someone is rude or uncouth, their problem is a lack of politeness, not of political correctness.

    By itself, the term political correctness implies something quite bad: That the wording is carefully chosen in an attempt to sidestep of things that are automatically assumed to be an issue, and that’s the sticking point of why I hate it.

    In a sad display of the problems with PC and overt sensibilities, I must say this: I’m sorry if the following is offensive to anyone. It is not my intention.

    Let’s go into everyone’s favorite topic, for example. Race and ethnicity. variable-american is one of my most hated terms.

    If a person is of color, why should it be offensive for some to describe them as “black”, if needed? Now, if I were to use it in a derogatory manner, fair, call me on it. Heck, punch me. But there are people who will get irked if I don’t use the term “african-american”, even in the most innocuous of statements – it’s simply not politically correct.

    Would I call Charlize Theron an African-american? She technically would be. Of course, it’s absolute nonsense. She’s a white blonde. So, african-american means black -and nothing else, since the term makes no distinction between a naturalized african and someone whose family comes from somewhere else or has been in the US for centuries.

    Why? Why is a simple descriptive term so loaded? The argument usually moves into racism and repression of black people, but I always feel that keeping that load on the word -and using euphemisms to hide it- only preserves the stigma attached to it and it’s only use is to keep a strain on racial issues.

    For anyone who was offended after reading this, I have two things to say: First, I reiterate that it was not my intent. Second, I think you’ve proved my point.

  263. Grive says:

    @ogremustcrush: The idea of mandated drugging of younglings is quite terrifying, for two reasons:
    1.- Medication should never be the first salvo in a conflict. It’s a very sad state of affairs that such an idea is even considered -and I don’t mean by you, because some “professionals” do. Such an act will not solve the problem, only repress it.
    2.- There are good kids out there, thanks to good parents out there. Why drug them?

  264. csdiego says:

    I don’t know how old these kids are, but if their disabilities prevent them from sitting down for the duration of the flight, I’d say the answer is a harness. I might break out the harnesses anyway if I had sole responsibility for four kids on a flight.

  265. csdiego says:

    @csdiego: I’m just going to add that I’m not one of those kid haters who thinks all kids should be drugged and/or muzzled any time they’re in public. But nobody should have to put up with kids running around screaming on an airplane. Flying is bad enough as it is.

  266. varro says:

    @QuantumRiff: “Kids will be kids”….but parents are supposed to help them grow into adults.

    I encountered something like this once in a laundromat….a 5-year-old was “playing pool” by swinging around a pool cue, nearly missing my wife’s head. She told him to chill – the kid’s dad yelled at her saying, “He’s just a kid”, to which I responded, “Yeah, but your job as a parent is to make sure he behaves himself.”

  267. AlexPDL says:

    “Ms. Slaughter admits her kids were out of control on the plane, getting up and wandering around, but says that two of them have disabilities (one is autistic and another has cerebral palsy) and that “they are kids.””

    Woah!!! Totally behind Southwest on this. Walking around and out of control on an airplane? Seriously, even a small child can cause serious damage in a cabin if not buckled in. Yes, a lot of safety precautions are silly (tray tables up!). But if I am in the cabin, buckled in and some brat is running around and we hit turbulance, his 50lb body can really do some damage to others. It sounds like this wasn’t even a matter of noise, but the children literally running around the cabin.

    “The family is asking for compensation and a public apology.”

    That’s laughable! They should be the ones apologizing to the people on the first flight.

  268. jaubele1 says:

    As the parent of two children who have flown since they were infants I congratulate Southwest Airlines for taking a stand! Too many parents prefer to allow their children to run wild rather than teach them old-fashioned concepts like “self-control.” Just because children are . . . children, doesn’t mean that they should be given carte blanche by their oblivious parent(s) to give in to every impulse or whim that spurs them.

  269. varro says:

    @mikehager66: The parents just seem to ignore what’s going on let everyone around them be annoyed by their children. It’s like they all read some new age self-help book telling them to cater to their children and never say no.

    Exactly. Unlike some people, I’m not saying beat your kids, but there’s a time for play and making noise and a time to respect the adults.

    There’s a concept called “indigo children” that’s pretty much what you described…

  270. varro says:

    @Caslonbold: Tonya Harding now lives in Vancouver, and is only allowed down here to reduce our taxes by losing money in video poker machines.

  271. pearl_girl says:

    I am also completely with Southwest on this one. I find the womans attitude and sense of entitlement maddening! Her kids were disruptive, unruly, and she admits it. Southwest has every right to refuse service to her party (and her) if their behavior disrupts or puts anyone on that flight at risk. GOOD for them, for putting their foot down and endorse the rules of common courtesy that is often brushed aside by fears of legal repercussion.

    For her to throw in the irrelevant facts that two of the kids had either autism or cerebral palsy as a sob story to play victim is a pretty pathetic ploy for sympathy. I find it laughable that one of her explanations is “they are kids,” and stacks that on top of the autism/cerebral palsy jab; What difference does their condition make when its clear the mother did not make the effort to control them?

    But I have to agree with one thing… Southwest should give her a public apology… “Sorry that you are unable to control your children and that your indignance is going to make you nothing more than a public laughingstock.”

  272. M3wThr33 says:

    I wonder which kids are the disabled ones.

    If they’re in the first half, you have to bet she had the later ones hoping they’d be normal.

    If they’re not the first two, it’s punishment for having too many god damn brats.

  273. farker says:

    Nowhere does it say in any of the anti-discrimination laws that you can’t be discriminated against for being unruly and disruptive, no matter what the cause.

    Sorry lady, your kid was born with autism. Deal with it. It’s not society’s burden to bear. Take the kids in a car so you have to deal with it, don’t subject dozens of people onboard an enclosed plane to your children’s antics.

    What if your autistic or palsy kid thinks it’d be fun to run up and grab the big red handle on the door? How are you going to stop them from doing that if you actively refuse to keep them in their seats when they have to?

    Kudos to Southwest for protecting their (other) paying customers from a definitely annoying and potentially dangerous situation.

  274. Zatnikitelman says:

    Until southwest or someone “official” defines EXACTLY what these kids were doing to be unruly I won’t buy into southwest’s side of things. Unruly can hardly be defined as simply getting up and wandering around. Particularly after takeoff or before landing phases of the flight. As long as they weren’t bothering anyone, or making noises, or otherwise endangering the flight, southwest was completely in the wrong and owes the family an apology, complete refund and free flight somewhere.

  275. Rabbigrrl says:

    Wow, there seems to be an awful lot of anger at kids who were *wandering up and down the aisles.* Really, it bothers you that much to have the kids wandering in the aisles?
    When my DS was little that’s what we did with him to keep him quiet – we got up and walked (quietly) up and down the aisles. Sometimes he would stop and talk to people – I didn’t let him bother people who were doing other things (sleeping, reading) and mostly he got smiles. I find it hard to believe that *wandering around* is that big a deal. Sounds to me like the irate posters on this site must be ADHD if they gt that bent out of shape about kids walking around.
    Now, if that isn’t actually what was going on, that’s one thing (what were they doing? Attacking passengers? yelling at them?) but if they were really just wandering around, who the eff cares? How is that worse than being run over by the flight attendants and their drink carts when you’re trying to get to the bathroom?

  276. PhoenixLE says:

    I’m behind Southwest from the way things sound here. Regardless of if the family was threatening or not, it is simply unfair to their other passengers to have an extremely disruptive family and unsupervised kids running around on board. If the flight crew felt it necessary to contact local police, they probably were being out of control.

  277. Dipsomaniac says:

    @Rabbigrrl: Did you read what the mother said? Even she said that the kids were out of control and disruptive – in the same statement where she was trying to minimize the behaviour to bolster her case.

    So it wasn’t just a case of kids wandering the aisles.

  278. Foneguy says:

    Good for you Southwest. What if one of those kids wanted to play with the door latch at 30,000 feet?

    Cue the ACLU lawyers in 3, 2, 1,….

  279. misslisa says:

    I’m pleased with Southwest’s actions but appalled at the Phoenix PD. Less than a year ago the Phx PD basically killed Carol Gottbaum in custody for going apeshit in the terminal after missing a flight. But when this family of hippos breaks the law, they take up a collection for them instead of taking them into custody. They should have all gotten a free ride to Tent City (it’s an open jail in the middle of the desert, 115 degrees).
    While we’re on the subject of evil parents, this weekend I went to buy a new Lexus, and a young fellow decided that the showroom was a perfect playground for his kids. They were climbing up on the very car I wanted to buy, getting into all the vehicles & jumping up and down on the seats, screaming all the way. I literally couldn’t hear the salesman speaking to me. Nobody stopped them so I went over to the dad and asked him to settle them down. He responded by directing the kids to go to the grand piano in the showroom and bang upon it with all their might. Naturally, I walked out of there without buying the car (after the kids stomped all over it, who would?) If you hate wild kids, don’t go to Superstition Lexus in Mesa!

  280. Burgandy says:

    Does anyone have the email address(es) to send Southwest a “Thank you and I will continue to do business with you because of this…” EECB? FWIW, I would like anyone who was remotely involved in the decision to boot these people off the plane, to be involved in the training of every flight I take from here on out.

  281. Mom2Talavera says:

    don’t some airlines have “special”
    flights for families? and by families I mean anyone traveling with kids…..or for people who are not in denial…and know their kids are shitty flyers…..and cant behave properly on normal flights.

    anyone remember this little cherub?

    I love how Diane Sawyer is so nice “we were just so astonished by this story”

  282. enjo says:

    jesus fuck, its the parents who are retarded.


  283. JaneBadall says:

    That 10 year old is pretty big to be running around unattended. I actually had a kid about that size demonstrate a karate chop to his younger brother by HITTING me in the back. Right under the ribs where there’s kidneys and stuff. Hurt like hell. I’m bent over and the mom just sort of shrugged at me and gave me one of those weird “isn’t he cute.” smiles.

    I was 17 at the time and just took it. These days I’d punt the little shit.

    So anyway, yeah, I’m a little biased. Not only do I think Southwest did the right thing, I’m not even sure why we can’t toss these people off the planet.

  284. cecilsaxon says:

    Long walks are good for unruly kids- gets all the excess energy out of ’em. Besides Seattle aint that far kids- man up.

  285. SteveBobo says:

    There are a few posters making comments here that are so totally out of line…E-tough guys are making the Consumerist a joke. privatejoker75 should be banned for his mis-information and personal attacks. Guess he’ll call me retarded

  286. @mizmoose:

    @privatejoker75: Darling, neither autism or cerebral palsy have any effect on intelligence. These kids are not “retarded.”

    Have to take the side of PrivateJoker. Having interacted with autistic kids myself, they definitely would fall into that category.
    Having said that,they do possess abilities that neither you or I could even imagine. I know a girl, about 7 or 8 yrs. old – I’m blanking on that – who has memorized the phone book and can recite phone numbers based on names read from it… But thinks biting is an accepted form of communication. Shes Retarded. She doesn’t know how to communicate.
    It’s the internet, not having to be “PC” is a hallmark that I take advantage of on a regular basis. Very glad to see privatejoker knows this.

  287. Katorok says:

    Is Autism really a valid excuse? Isn’t it treatable? I know a girl who has Autism but still does amazingly well in school, and seems to suffer from no problems at all…

    Anyways, getting kicked off for this, it seems kind of harsh =… Was the family warned at all, or.. Was it just an insta-kick? I guess the parents should of been controlling them in the first place =..

  288. jake.valentine says:

    The airline was correct in my opinion. This incident is just opening up something that has been simmering quietly as many of these posts seem to allude to.

    You can’t do a lot as a parent of a baby crying, but its the parents who let their kids either run up and down the aisles and kick the seat in front of them incessantly that upsets travelers. There are many, many responsible parents out there, but I fly weekly and have too many memories of uncontrolled kids terrorizing people on flights. This may be more representative of a cultural shift in our society where people are more afraid of upsetting their kids (want to be their friends or equals) more than just being a good parent (knowing when to discipline for misbehavior and establish authority).

    Just my 2 cents….

  289. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    This will surely be on Consumerist in a few hours, but just a heads up: Southwest gave the misbehaving family a refund.


  290. And you can bet that the refund only came after the Slaughters signed a statement that they wouldn’t pursue any legal action, and would not fly SW again.

  291. kalmakazee says:


    What you wrote is one of the most DISGUSTING comments I ever read!! I think only a retard would write what you wrote. You must be retarded for writing something sooooo retarded!!

    When I have nothing nice to say I usually keep my big fat trap shut!! Besides you only one other time did I ever run my opinion in a negative way towards someone.

    You must have no heart!!@lightaugust:

    Thank go-d your kid landed in your house and not that other retard privatejoker75.

  292. kalmakazee says:


    Besides you, only one other time did I ever run my opinion in a negative way towards someone on Consumerist. (Sorry I accidentally left some words out of my previous comment.)

  293. kalmakazee says:


    Thank go-d your kid landed in your house and not that other retard privatejoker75.

  294. Tonguetied says:

    As the parent of a well behaved eight year old who has just finished his 6th flight in three weeks (long story) I have to say bravo to the airline. Saying “they are kids” as an excuse to not control your children’s behavior is just an excuse for bad parenting…

  295. mythago says:

    It’s the internet, not having to be “PC” is a hallmark that I take advantage of on a regular basis.

    The non-PC version of what you just posted: “I like being an asshole and on the Internet, I can get away with it.” Funny how the people who dick-swing about how “politically incorrect” they are get all PC and euphemistic about what they’re really doing: pre-PC we would have called them loudmouthed, bigoted assholes.

  296. Eigtball says:

    Companies are starting to take action more often for bad parenting. If you fail to control your children, and instil a sense of responsibility in them, then it falls to the company to do it for you. Unfortunately the company will do what is right for the remaining passengers. No one has a right to fly on an airplane. If you cannot follow the rules you sit in the ‘penalty box’. Gee organized sports teaches you something!

  297. darkryd says:

    It doesn’t matter if your kids have cerebal palsy and are autistic! They shouldn’t be able to wander around on a flying plane, lady.

    Get control of your kids or dont fly, plain and simple.

  298. Cap'n Jack says:

    Does *every* little brat have autism now??

  299. Cap'n Jack says:

    @Fallom: NICE!

  300. EyeHeartPie says:


    ….a 5-year-old was “playing pool” by swinging around a pool cue, nearly missing my wife’s head.

    Does that mean that the pool cue hit your wife in the head?

    @SteveBobo, @kalmakazee: He’s already been banned. No need to worry.

    @Katorok: Article says the parents were warned twice, and the mother acknowledges that she was warned twice. She just didn’t think Southwest would actually do anything about it if she ignored them. Exact quote was:

    The family said flight attendants asked them to quiet the children twice, but they didn’t expect to be booted off the flight

  301. @wellfleet: However, how exactly do you *reason* with a child that has autism or cerebral palsy? [in the context of unruly behavior]

    Soft-restraints and a sock?

  302. EyeHeartPie says:


    Cerebral Palsy is a motor/physical disorder, not mental. Unruly behavior on the part of a kid with CP shouldn’t be put up with any more than similar behavior from a perfectly healthy, physically normal child.

  303. hydrargyrum says:

    @SadSam: Flying is significantly safer than driving. There have been studies done on this. Long story short, not only is the cost per air crash death prevented extremely high BUT requiring child safety seats would likely cause so many people to switch to driving that car crash deaths would actually increase more than air crash deaths decrease.

  304. Here’s the deal.

    If you can’t control your pets/kids/seniors/self, don’t bring he/she/it/them/you to restaurant/airport/trainstation/public transportation/shopping where they will cause a scene and piss people off.

    I have NO IDEA how hard that is to understand, but people don’t get it. It doesn’t matter what causes the disruption, if you cause one, expect bad things to happen.

  305. edenj says:

    Job well done Southwest.

  306. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    Southwest: We Fight the Good Fight!

    I just flew back from Vegas yesterday and had to put up with some obnoxious 3 year old triplets traveling with just mom. It started at the gate, where I was tempted to whisper to the kids, “Hey, the pilot has a special toy for whoever can yell, ‘I have a bomb!” the loudest! Give it a try!”
    I would never do such things, of course, but it seems that someone who is willing to inconvenience the rest of us should be begin to see the error of their ways. Yeah, I would probably get arrested as well, but unlike these parents, I’m willing to think of the other passengers before myself.

  307. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I think southwest made the right move. It was very much a safety issue.

    Now for the restaurant comments… I have a reasonably well behaved 3 year old, but at 1 he was sometimes a bit difficult in restaurants. We found that trying to quiet him down usually made things worse, and by completely ignoring and avoiding eye contact he would quite in 1 – 2 minutes. Any longer and we would take him outside to calm down, etc.

    Once at PF Chang’s it happened. We ignored him (it was embarrassing, I hate noisy kids in restaurants as much as anybody…). The manager came over right after he calmed down. I believe he must have already been on his way. He was very polite and asked if we needed anything, and never said anything about the child. We didn’t have any further outbursts during the stay.

  308. LuvJones says:

    I say “good onya” for Southwest. Control your offspring or suffer the consequences of their behavior.

    What I can’t understand is why Southwest felt a need to refund the price of their tickets. Her kids were acting out causing them to get kicked off the plane. It’s not like the flight was canceled or something…

    I don’t think they should have put them up in a hotel. They were unruly and got kicked off the flight, had it been some drunk dude who was unruly and got kicked off…there would be no hotel room for him…so why should this family get anything for such behavior?

    Actions=consequences! So simple.

  309. csdiego says:

    @mythago: Dang. Props for saying in a couple of sentences what I’ve been trying to get across for years.