Toddler Tantrum Forces Family Off Jetblue Flight: Was the Pilot Right?

Posted March 9, 2012 by

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When a 2-year-old girl had a meltdown on a recent JetBlue flight from the Caribbean to Boston, the pilot made a command decision. He turned the plane around on the Tarmac and kicked the whole family of four off the plane.

Was he justified in his actions?

The little girl, who is the daughter of pediatrician Collette Vieau, refused to put on her belt and apparently started agitating other passengers. The pilot and crew determined that booting the family would be the best course of action for the other passengers’ safety and comfort.

JetBlue’s issued statement, which supports the pilot’s decision, said the flight had, “customers who did not comply with crew members instructions for a prolonged period of time. The captain elected to remove the customers involved for the safety of all [sic] aboard.” Federal Aviation requirements say that all passengers two and above must be belted and sitting upright at take-off.

The Vieau family paid $2,000 that night in a Turks & Caicos hotel. Colette says that she doesn’t know if she could blame JetBlue. “I just feel like it’s airplane travel in general today.”

Lately, parents have been taken to task for poorly behaved kids on planes. Some airlines even offer child-free flights or sections.

What do you think? Was the pilot right? And how should tantruming kids be dealt with on flights?


Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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