Traveling With Toddlers

Traveling with your toddler can be difficult.  A mother and her 2 year old son were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight from Amarillo, TX to San Jose, TX because her son was disruptive.  According to a Southwest Airline representative, the child was so disruptive passengers were unable to hear pre-flight instructions. The child repeated over and over, “Go Plane Go” and “I Want Daddy”.

The mother acknowledges that the child was yelling and she’s sure it was annoying to the other passengers. She also stated that she didn’t know the airline intended to remove her and her son from the plane until they reached the gate. Once they reached the gate the stewardess stated, “We just can’t tolerate that for 2 hours.” She tried to explain that the child would calm down once they took off, but the stewardess would have none of it. She responded, “We’ve heard that before.” Mother and son were told to hit the road.

I respect the mother for acknowledging that her child was disruptive and probably annoying to other passengers, but the issue for Southwest was safety. They were concerned that the passengers missed the pre-flight instructions. Is this a good reason to remove a mother and her unruly child from a flight?

According to my significant other, who is a pilot, yes. He agrees with Southwest Airlines, safety is first and there is no exception. Regardless of age, if a passenger is disruptive they should be removed from the plane. He also stated that he is a father too, but as a pilot he would have returned to the gate as well and ordered her off the plane. Passengers must be given pre-flight instructions, they must be heard and understood. Flight attendants are there to assist with the safety of all passengers, and she did her job.

I travel frequently for business as well as personal travel, and believe me there’s nothing worst than a screaming child on a flight. There are times when I have to review a briefing or prepare for a meeting before I reach my destination, and I find it impossible because of the noise. My company contracts with numerous airlines, and they are paying big bucks for these airlines to get employees to their destination. I’m sure if employees reported that a particular airline constantly allowed that type of disruption, they would pull their contract. When I’m traveling for personal reasons, I’m usually trying to regroup from the stress of my job. I like to read, nap or chat and I like to do it in peace.

I sympathize I’m a mother and a grandmother; however, I do find it annoying as hell when there is a crying, screaming child on board. I also understand that as a mother, there are times when you have to get from point A to B and you have to take your child with you. Unfortunately we don’t have a magic wand that we can use to settle them down, but there comes a time when we need to be considerate of others. Airplanes are public transportation. People are paying big bucks to reach their destination, and they have a right to do it in peace. There’s also the other side, the mother is a paying customer too. So where does the airline stand to loose the most money? Who will be the most likely passengers to file a complaint? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Mom and baby go!

My grandson is 2, and we don’t take trips where we have to take a flight. I understand how annoying it can be when you have a toddler out of control. I don’t like it therefore, I wouldn’t subject others to it. We plan car trips so we can pull over when he becomes restless or needs to be changed. If it’s an emergency, someone will stay behind to care for him. He is a toddler after all. As much as I believe the sun rises and sets in him, I do have to respect other people.

Most people bring snacks, drinks, games, toys etc. for their children when they are traveling by plane. This mother decided she wasn’t going to feed her toddler until they were airborne, although she believed a meal would have calmed him down. Now, if your child is being disruptive among a flight full of people, wouldn’t you do everything you could to calm him at that moment? Why wait until you’re airborne? You could sit at the gate or on the runway for quite sometime depending on how many planes are ahead of you. She also stated that she doesn’t worry about what other people think, she does what’s best for her child. So it’s best to let you child be disruptive, and you know the behavior is irritating to others? It seems this kind of thinking got her booted from the plane.

The airline did refund her money and gave her a $300 travel voucher. Hopefully, she will think about her fellow passengers next time and plan accordingly. Would you have been annoyed by this toddler? Do you think the airline should have removed her? What do you do to occupy your toddler when you’re traveling? Please leave us a comment, we would love to hear your opinion on this incident.



  1. @Catherine, Thanks for stopping by, we love comments.  When it comes to passenger safety it's a big deal.  If your child is so disruptive that fellow passengers are unable to hear safety instructions, there's a problem. This mother admitted that her child was annoying other passengers, but it seems she made no attempt to remedy the problem.  I grew up in an era where butt whippings were the norm.  I turned out just fine.  I used the same discipline for my child, and I never had to deal with that type of behavior in public.  When she was told to be quiet she followed my instructions.  I always made sure that I carried snacks, drinks, books, games something to keep her occupied when were visiting or traveling.

    In my opinion this mother asked for what she got, deplaned.  Mothers, we must learn to discipline our children and be respectful of others.  Please visit us again.

  2. What bugs me the most when these stories comes out is that we only hear one side of it.  Right now it is sounding like the kid was just making a small disturbance and it was no big deal but I just don't believe that if the airline had to turn around and remove them from the plane. 

    Personally, I have flown all of my life.  My parents had us pack backpacks and snacks to keep us busy during the flight and if we would have acted up out butts would have been spanked.  It seems like the mom knew how to calm the kid down and just didn't want to which wasn't fair to the rest of the people on board or the staff.  I am behind Southwest for this decision and hope that people have learned that everyone needs to be respectful and behaved on a plane.

  3. I would side with Southwest.

    I was on a flight about 2 years ago with a out of control child who was screaming so loud that we could not hear a thing. Half way through the flight,we hit incredibly bad turbulence. We were all really nervous and couldn't hear anything the pilot was saying because of a screaming child who would not stay seated. He ended up getting hurt because his mother couldn't control him.  I think it is in the best interest in of the airline to avoid this type of situation where possible. I am not talking about a crying baby, but a screaming three year oldish (not sure of exactly how old he was) who was non stop for the entire flight until he banged his face against the window.  Then he cried. The mother was annoyed that he hit his face and treated the attendant like it was her fault.  So I am not sure where you draw the line.. tough call.

  4. I can understand the safety aspect, but I think passengers and people in general need to realize that if you taking PUBLIC style transportation *gasp* children may be present. I bet they were once children too! This irks me LOL. But then again – I've seen some pretty unruly kids too. Not the kids' fault but the parents. I don't know it's a hard subject actually! Great post!

  5. As a passenger, yes I probably would have been a bit annoyed but still feel it was wrong for them to remove them from the plane. There's nothing pleasant or peaceful about any form of public transportation, you just have to accept it as par for the course.