I was hiding under a bit of a rock, so I missed the initial story about the girl who was ordered back to her seat on an airplane and ended up wetting herself in the seat.
I started reading the story when Mommy Points reported on it. She covers all the salient points as well as some solid tips on how to prevent the same situation from happening with your kids.
And, finally, my wife turns me on to the happy ending in the story:
Shortly after speaking with the airline representative, Jennifer tweeted, “Happy tears,” adding a “really nice lady apologized to me!” The mom of two didn’t want a voucher from JetBlue (though she got a $50 credit, along with the promise of the airline donating $5,000 to the charity of her choice). She told reporters that she didn’t care about being reimbursed, all she wanted was a heartfelt apology for being treated “like animals.”
Jennifer is absolutely right, the apology goes a long way here. JetBlue offering to donate $5,000 to the charity of her choice is a nice bit, too.
But, it’s a harsh reminder of how different the world of travel is today. I don’t know what Jennifer’s reaction was when the flight attendant told her to sit down, essentially setting her daughter up for this truly unfortunate incident. I like to think I would have been calm and rational, trying to work out the situation with the flight attendant. But, there’s no guarantee I would have been, and I can imagine most parents would have trouble handling the situation.
I understand flight attendants have a tough job, and there are plenty of angry, rude, disrespectful passengers that make their lives difficult. But, it really seems like this situation escalated to a level it didn’t need to (and probably wouldn’t have 20 years ago). Just because you have the authority to make someone sit in their seat or to throw them off the plane doesn’t always make that the right choice.
I’m sure I’m guilty of overreacting to situations with airline employees. And, I think I try to give them the benefit of the doubt nowadays when stressful situations arise, understanding their job is a difficult one. That’s a two-way street. I’m not saying that this is the flight attendant’s fault, nor that I think the mom in the situation handled it perfectly. I wasn’t there.
But, it’s certainly worth considering that there could have been a better outcome here. In the face of an unruly passenger, I would hope any airline crew member’s instinct would be to diffuse the situation as long as there was no imminent threat of harm.
Maybe there would have been a better outcome, like a little girl with no tears, happy to be flying somewhere with mom.