Mother Of The Year? Woman Gets Sloppy Drunk On Flight To Shanghai, Gets Kicked Off; Her Kids Get To Stay Onboard

The headline of the article was, “New York to Shanghai flight diverts to Alaska after first-class passenger traveling with her two young kids ‘drank five glasses of wine and climbed on seats shouting profanities‘.

Is it odd that the first thing I thought was, “Uh, Delta doesn’t fly from JFK to Shanghai”?  They don’t, though they do codeshare with China Eastern Airlines on the route.  The flight was actually leaving from Detroit.  I’ll guess that the journalist took her departing city of New York a bit too literally.

While I write about a fair number of subjects, I tend to focus most on luxury travel and family travel.  Seeing a story about a drunk person getting kicked off a flight, not a big deal to me.  Seeing a mother get drunk and kicked off a flight while her kids continue?  You have me interested.  And, frankly appalled.  Though at least a bit puzzled since I think it would take a lot to get that drunk and get kicked off a flight my young kids were traveling on.  From the article:

Charging documents, which include information from FBI agents’ interviews with crew and other passengers, said Auerbach, 47, drank five glasses of wine 90 minutes into the 7,100-mile trip.

If that’s true, and the crew served her five drinks in a 90 minute period, the crew’s a little bit to blame here.  But, that’s not immediately clear from the article because there’s also a report from one of the passengers that the lady snuck drinks out of the galley when the crew wasn’t looking.  That could mean she had more than 5 drinks or that the crew served her 2 or 3 and she chose to hit the bottle some more on her own.

Given, this is a situation I could never see myself in, but I do have to wonder what was going through this woman’s mind.  Can’t think of a good reason to climb on top of a seat, but more importantly, I don’t usually get piss drunk around my children.  I guess if there was a place I would drink more freely, it’s probably an airplane on a long flight since I know I won’t need to drive anywhere.  But, still?  And yes, I know this sounds preachy.

The flight was diverted to Anchorage and she was arrested when she wouldn’t comply with the pilot’s instructions.  Her two children were allowed to stay on the flight to Shanghai since their father was picking them up at the airport.  Say what?  Hoping my two young children made it through customs in a country where they may not be fluent in the language (possible though, since one is an adopted Chinese daughter and they have lived in China for 9 years) and find their father or are properly escorted by a stranger I’ve never met just seems like a bad idea.  And yet, when I shared the story with my wife, she though the safest thing for the kids was letting them continue on as opposed to holding them in Alaska.

This is one of those odd situations where, given I would never be in it, I can’t tell whether if I were to get arrested for being a drunk moron I’d be better off sending my unsupervised kids to China without me or have them held in a foreign city thousands of miles from both my home and my destination.

What do you think?  What’s the “good” decision after you get plastered on an airplane and arrested?

ETA:  Forgot to HT JRP On Facebook.  And, yes, FB is still the devil.

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  1. I think that it’s best for the children to continue un-accompanied to SHA. The authorities there were probably well aware of the situation and would shepherd the kids through passport control, perhaps even letting Dad in so he could meet and help them.

    1. Miles, letting dad in to meet them at the gate would be a hospitable idea. I can imagine the kids might be a bit traumatized by Mom’s actions and then her subsequent removal and arrest.

  2. I agree with leaving them on. As soon as the mother placed in custody, they would be unattended and most States require police to immediately involve Child Services when that occurs. Knowing that there was a responsible individual at the destination, leaving them on was probably a far better, and less traumatic, experience for the children than being handed to Child Services in Alaska (even if its only for a day or two until Mom’s sorted out).

    1. Ryan, I guess so. The thing I was considering was what happens in China if dad’s not there? I assume they got a hold of Dad when they pulled mom off the plane in Alaska, but not sure.

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