— Law & Crime (@lawcrimenews) March 15, 2018
It’s hard enough to fly with small children when everything goes right. When you’re with a frightened 2-year-old it can be even tougher. Flight attendants on a Southwest Airlines flight on Wednesday apparently weren’t very sympathetic, however, when they kicked a man and his daughter off the plane because the child was upset, even after the kid calmed down.
According to passenger Alexis Armstrong, who was on Flight 1683 from Chicago to Atlanta and posted video of the incident on Facebook, a two-year-old was scared and throwing a bit of a tantrum while people were still boarding and getting to their seats. Multiple flight attendants then came over and told the father that he had to get the child settled down, with one attendant threatening to remove them from the plane.
The father asked if he could have a minute to put his daughter at ease, because having a flight attendant in their face wasn’t helping matters.
“She did not like that,” passenger Alexis Armstrong told Law&Crime, saying the attendant “replied, ‘Okay’ in a very nasty attitude,” and walked away.
The father then managed to get his daughter seated and quiet, Armstrong said, and everything appeared to be fine as the plane taxied towards the runway.
Suddenly, the pilot made an announcement, saying, “Folks we are heading back to the gate for a customer service issue and to fill up gas,” Armstrong recalled. She said she didn’t think it had anything to do with the child, who had been seated and quiet for five minutes at that point, and the flight attendant hadn’t returned.
Nevertheless, once the plane got back to the gate, security and the flight attendant told the man and his child to get off the plane.
While this was going on, a flight attendant told Armstrong to stop recording. “I was then told by a flight attendant to shut up about the situation.
“All I really wanted was [the video] to be seen by Southwest and apologize to this family,” Armstrong said. She told Law&Crime that she sent the video to the airline, but they hadn’t responded.
Southwest Airlines acknowledged the incident, telling Law&Crime that the father and child were booked on the next flight. The airline said in a statement:
After pushback Wednesday evening, Flight 1683 to Atlanta returned to the gate at Chicago Midway to allow supervisors to board the aircraft. Our initial reports indicate a conversation escalated onboard between the crew and a customer traveling with a small child. We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved. The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned. We will reach out to the customer to listen to any concerns they have about their experience and look forward to welcoming them onboard again soon.
[Image via screengrab]
Note: This article has been updated to include Southwest Airlines’ statement.