Sky High Diaper Tantrum

by admin on June 6, 2011

In the spring of 2009, three of my friends (A, J, and K) and I decided to go on a cruise to the Bahamas together. We were excited to go have a wonderful time together. Because we live in Utah and the cruise left from Orlando, Florida, we knew we would have an entire day’s worth of air travel, including a layover. Our first flight went without incident. Hooray! We were halfway to Florida! After a short layover, we got on our flight to Orlando.

We were seated near the rear of the plane, with only two or three rows of seats behind us. A restroom and an area for the flight attendants was directly behind that. There were six seats in a row, with three on either side and the aisle in the middle. So, J, K, and I ended up on one side of the aisle, while A was on the other, seated next to two complete strangers. Directly behind J, K, and I was a woman (Mom), man (Dad), and baby. The woman’s mother (Grandma) was seated in the window seat across the aisle from Mom and Dad, with an empty seat in the middle and a man in the aisle seat (behind A). This is important for what happens later.

Dad and Baby were pretty calm and quiet during the flight. Mom and Grandma were a different story. Throughout the flight, Mom and Grandma passed Baby back and forth, with little consideration for the man in the aisle seat. (Mom was in the aisle seat as well.) Grandma also complained loudly several times about how much she hated the airline, how terrible their service was, and the terrible flights she’d been on with the airline. Well, if you hated them so much, why did you fly with them?

As usual, about fifteen to twenty minutes before we land, everyone is asked to return to their seats as we would be landing soon. At that moment, Grandma and Mom decide that Baby’s diaper needs to be changed, so Mom stands up to use the restroom in the back of the plane (as I said earlier, only two or three rows away.) The flight attendant politely asks her to please stay seated, as we are going to land soon. “But she needs to be changed!” Mom and Grandma complain. The flight attendant tells them, again politely, that it would need to wait until we land.

The plane lands, however, there is another plane at our gate, so we have to wait until it is done before we can disembark. The flight attendants ask us all to remain seated until we reach the gate. This makes perfect sense to me. If people are standing up and walking around, and then the plane all of sudden starts moving, someone could fall and get hurt. This request makes no sense to Mom and Grandma. They insist that they should be able to get up and change Baby. Baby, in the meantime, is fine – cooing, no crying, and certainly no smell of a poopy diaper. The flight attendants again repeat that everyone, including Mom and Grandma, need to stay seated until we reach our gate.

Grandma decides to take matters into her own hands. She takes Baby from Mom (over the poor man again), and changes the diaper in the empty seat next to her (again, poor man). Then, she takes the diaper and THROWS IT INTO THE AISLE! She doesn’t wrap it up or anything, just chucks it towards the back where the flight attendants are sitting. I am in the aisle seat across from my friend A, so we both get a pretty good look at what happens. We both kind of looked at each other with an appalled look on our faces and the question, “Did that really just happen?”

The flight attendant sees the diaper, of course, and picks it up with a paper towel. Thankfully, it is just wet, not poopy or anything. She walks up to Grandma and Mom’s aisle, holds it out to Grandma, and asks, “Did you just throw this?”

Grandma says, “Yes. It’s your job to pick up my trash.”

The flight attendant replies something along the lines of, “No, it’s my job to keep you safe. This is unsanitary! Why would you do something like that.”

Grandma says, “Well, it’s your fault. She [referring to Baby] needed to have her diaper changed.”

The flight attendant tells her that that was unacceptable behavior. Mom and Grandma then proceed to scream obscenities at the flight attendant for not letting them change the diaper. About that time, we’re finally able to taxi to our gate, and the flight attendant lets Mom and Grandma know that security would be escorting them off the plane.

My friends and I disembarked, and headed to the restroom, where several other women from our flight were. We couldn’t talk about anything else! It was just so unreal. As we went to get our baggage, we ran into one of the other flight attendants from our flight. We talked to her for a bit, as we were all headed in the same direction. She was as flabbergasted as we were. We apologized for Grandma and Mom’s terrible behavior because we felt so bad that they were treated that way. She was pretty upbeat as she replied, “Well, they won’t be flying [Airline] anytime soon.”

A, J, K, and I went on to have a wonderful time on our cruise. But anytime something didn’t go exactly as we had planned, we would say, “Well, I guess I’m going to have to throw a diaper now!” 0604-11

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessyy June 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

@Lia
I know on British flights (definitely the internal and many ones to/from on UK airlines) offer seat belts that attach onto the parents one, so small child is clipped on like that.

My dad had a good way of dealing with me and my brother on flights (we always used to fight). Whenever it either got a bit too loud that it would disturb others or if he wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t even think about trying anything, he’d at us and say “next time, you’re playing outside.” Once we understood the threat (which kept us quiet for a bit) we usually shut up and went back to quietly annoying each other.

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Just trying June 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm

One final note. You’ve all seen enough prisoner-escape or bank heist movies to know the typical scheme is for a couple of confederates to create a diversion while the bad guys go into action with their devious plan.

Post 9/11, all flight attendants and other flight crew have been thoroughly trained in dealing with potential terrorists on board an aircraft. If there is any kind of diversion (fight, flying diaper in this case, etc), the well-trained FA will IMMEDIATELY think “terrorist threat”. They are trained to look past the diversion and observe all the other passengers.

If the FA is alert and watching all the other passengers, and not distracted by the diversion, chances are the other terrorists would call it off, since there chances for success are much lower with an alert flight crew present.

Thus: Anyone creating a disturbance on an aircraft is likely to be suspected of being part of a plot. Most people causing a disturbance are clueless idiots, and will be blackballed, fined, lose frequent flyer mile accounts, etc. A finite few of those creating the distraction could be part of a plot. Anyone doing that will be detained by security personnel, questioned and, perhaps, arrested.

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Lynne June 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I add my voice to those who are certain that the passenger was escorted off by security… yet, if she had been arrested, I’m sure we would have all read the “Lady Throws Diaper, Goes to Jail” story in the papers.

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anonymous June 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I’m one of those people who is obsessive about getting an aisle seat – I have a bad back and tend to get very swollen feet on long flights (which I take often) and having the aisle seat gives me just a bit more room and makes it easier for me to stand up, walk and stretch, which I need to do more often than others seem to (everyone needs to stretch on long-haul flights, I just find that I tend to stretch more than I see other passengers doing).

So if I were the man, I would not have given up my seat. I would have allowed the passing of the baby rather than risk having to ask Grandma to get up every two hours so I could stretch. Who knows what rude thing she would have said to me for daring to want to take care of my health so I could walk the next day!

Also, it’s worth noting that there are very rare exceptions to the “stay in your seat when the seatbelt sign is on” rule. I know this from frequent air travel. A passenger vomiting so badly that a sick bag is not enough or a passenger with severe…ahem…digestive issues will in fact be allowed to get up to use the bathroom, but those are very rare exceptions. A poopy diaper doesn’t count. Unlike the above situations, it can wait.

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--E June 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

For the people who think these women will suffer no consequences (after security was called to escort them off the plane), I want to know what part of the world you’re living in. The TSA I know about will be absolute hardasses to these Boorons. If they had a connecting flight, I guarantee you they didn’t make it.

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Maitri June 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Three cheers for the diagram! *\o/* *\o/* *\o/*

Ahem .. anyway ..

People are so awful on planes. The last time I flew, I was on my last leg of a multi-layover flight, and I was tired and cranky and just wanted to get home. I, along with many others, had to sit and wait for the plane, which was late. A young woman with her young toddler was stomping around the gate area; the baby was obviously tired and hungry and fussy. Finally, after she let the child climb all over the seats and such, a young man arrived. She immediately handed him the child, started waving her arms all around, and talking up a storm. It appeared that they had no seats on the plane and were on standby.

The flight attendant asked if anyone would give up their seats. I didn’t, as I had no money for a hotel room and I just wanted to go home. But apparently some other nice folks did. When I got on the plane (I usually let the majority of people board first), the young woman was sitting in MY window seat. I always request a window seat because I love to watch the land go by.

She meekly said “oh is this your seat?” with a little smile. No offer to move. I was too tired to argue and just sat next to her in the aisle seat.

She proceeded to lean across me and talk to her husband, who had the child in the seat across the aisle and one row up. So every few minutes it was “honey is she wet?” or “honey does she need…” etc. Lady, if you had taken the AISLE seat like you were GIVEN, you would have been able to talk to him much more easily!

Thirty minutes into the flight, she shut the window and went to sleep. So not only did she steal my window seat, that I wanted for the purpose of, you know, USING the window, but she didn’t even use the window. That’s probably why she wanted the window seat, so she could sleep.

Next time the first words out of my mouth will be, “That’s my seat, let’s please switch.”

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Jillybean June 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Maitri – not “let’s please switch.” It’s not switching. It’s YOUR seat. Next time, “Yes, that’s my seat.” And then you just stand there politely until she moves. If she doesn’t, at some point the flight crew will need to ask you to move, in which case you can simply explain that someone is in your seat.

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Enna June 11, 2011 at 10:59 am

It’s a good thing that nappy didn’t leak otherwise they would have been slapped with a hefty cleaning bill – got a taxi once and the female driver was saying if someone does something revoluting in the taxi the council have to clean it and inspect it meanwhile the poor taxi driver looses out on earnings: if this happens the 22/23/24th December itis very bad for their earnings as their taxi is out of action for Christmas/New Year.

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