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 }

etimodnar June 6, 2011 at 7:43 am

wow!
I could understand Mum and Grandma’s point of view if it were poo-y, but it’s just wet! If I’d been the man in the middle, I probably would have insisted on swapping seats with Grandma with all the passing back and forth.

I’m glad they won’t be flying on that airline again – yay for the flight attendants! But boo to other flight attendants on other airlines. Man, some people just shouldn’t have children, *sigh*

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AS June 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

Appalling! Glad that they called the airport security to let them deal with the mother and grandmother. I have seen people trying to open the overhead compartments after the plane landed, but before the seat belt sign was turned off. I used to think that was pretty appalling. Silly me! I have all my sympathies for the aircrew, other passengers, and particularly for the man in the aisle seat.

As far as I know, flights are most vulnerable during takeoff and landing (if there is someone in the aviation industry, they can probably tell better about it). Even if nothing terrible is going to happen, the aircraft is diagonal to the gravitational pull of the earth. I don’t understand why people don’t listen to the aircrew’s instructions. Not only could they injure themselves, they might injure other passengers too (Economy class has pretty small aisle space). Then they’ll blame the airline for their injuries!
My father was in an air crash where the airplane had to belly land outside the airport (there were some injuries but no causalities). Luckily, everyone in the flight was in their seats, with seatbelts on. Otherwise they’d have been badly hurt.

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Nicole June 6, 2011 at 8:16 am

Why didn’t they switch seats with the guy? Then Grandma could have been next to them. Odd.

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Just Laura June 6, 2011 at 8:25 am

Sadly, those people will complain, the airline will apologize, and they will be comped some tickets. I’ve seen this before – it’s ridiculous, and someone else will have to deal with these entitled people.
Hope OP enjoyed the cruise!

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TychaBrahe June 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

The problem with take-off and landing is that you are flying under less power. Plus there’s not much room to evade. If you’re taking off, you can stop–maybe–or go up. If something is in your path and you don’t have time to stop or room to climb, you’re going to hit it or turn and go off the runway. If you are landing, you may be able to put on power and climb back to safety, up to some point.

If you are already flying you can turn, change altitude. You have many more choices.

Plus, when you are landing, your fuel tanks are almost empty of liquid fuel. Fuel vapors are much more flammable than fuel itself. (In fact aircraft fuel is combustible, not flammable, whereas the vapors are highly flammable.)

This is why you need to remain seated when the aircraft is taxiing to the gate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9wjDq8xdlc

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springishere June 6, 2011 at 8:36 am

I’m not sure if this was a matter of a breach of “etiquette” or just some fool folks tired on a hot stuffy plane, past the point of civility. I’ve been forced to sit on many a plane where my nerves are finally shot and am ready to let someone have it (think the 30 Rock show when Lemon is stuck on the plane and they can’t get off) As a fellow passenger, I have been stuck watching a full frontal nudity breastfeeding session, make out sessions, extremely bad parenting episodes, 2 heart attacks, throw up sessions, and a host of other things. Gone are the days when a plane flight can actually be considered part of the vacation –now it’s a just a beast to endure to get where you got to go. But throwing a diaper in the aisle has nothing to do with etiquette–that is just plain stupidity.

And For those who may think this too, babies can get extremely bad rashes from wet diapers–something that could ruin a vacation.

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Aje June 6, 2011 at 8:57 am

I can’t believe this… that poor man in the center seat. Although really he could have said something. Talk about no common sense! Well at leats Grandma won’t have to fly the airline she so despises ever again. I think we can safely assume her dislike is now mutual!

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Aje June 6, 2011 at 8:57 am

Also, thanks for the diagram, that helped. :) Not sure if it was OP or Admin, but either way, thanks for the visual!

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Giles June 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

I actually can’t find any words for this. Some people are just so disgustingly arrogant and rude I can’t believe they exist.

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LonelyHound June 6, 2011 at 9:25 am

Take-off and landing can be the most tempermental part about flying and, as someone in the aviation industry, I highly recommend following crew instructions until you are allowed to disembark the aircraft. Also, taxiing can be dangerous too. There is a video out there of an Airbus liner clipping a smaller jet causing it to rock heavily from side to side, which is why you remain seated and buckled until the aircraft has come to a stop and the pilot has turned off the fasten seat belt sign. It is very important for your safety.

I cannot speak to this flight but usually the flight attendants will announce that they are coming through the cabin for a final pick-up of all items (which could have included the wet diaper) at which time you know the plane is going to land but you still have time to use the facilities. On all flights I have been on ample warning has been given.

Flight attendants are not your mother. They are not there to clean up after you. They are there to keep you safe while you fly. There are cleaning crews that clean the planes between flight. They are usually given less than 10 mintues to clean the entire plane and while they are cleaning the plane mechanics are ensuring it has no problems. They work hard and do not need to clean up after people like that Grandma. I am sorry you had to ensure that flight. hope your future travels are happier!!

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anonymous June 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

That’s horrific…it is *not* the flight attendant’s job to pick up garbage thrown by passengers that could be a health risk, but it *is* their job to enforce the rules (whether the rules are reasonable or not is not the question – you can’t avoid them regardless of the airline. Whether or not it’s safe, you have to sit when they tell you to).

But as for why they flew an airline they didn’t like – well, easy. It’s getting harder and harder to get good deals on air tickets, and sometimes the only way to go affordably between two destinations is to fly an airline that you dislike. I happen to strongly dislike three major US carriers that fly my usual route home – a few Asian airlines also fly it. (I don’t like any non-budget US carriers, to tell the truth, but that’s a different story right there). When possible I prefer to take one of the Asia-based airlines because their service is always better, but sometimes prices make that impossible and I have to take a carrier I don’t like.

Complaining about it on the plane, though, is rude. It’s not the flight attendants’ fault, usually – it just causes bad feelings to complain where they can hear it. If you really don’t like something, write a letter. It won’t do any good, but at least you’ll have sent your complaint through the proper channels. If you have to fly a carrier you don’t like, once you’re on the plane, it’s uncouth to say so, and probably not a good idea to say so in front of service personnel who are responsible for making your flight enjoyable.

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LBC June 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

So, what if Mom or Grandma had been walking down the aisle with Baby when the plane started rolling again, and had fallen? Then they’d be blaming the airline for allowing them to get up and move when they should have been seated and belted in. You just can’t win with some people.

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karma June 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

I hate being around bad travelers. If I were that poor man stuck between mom and grandma, I’d have had to move with all that going on! Dang.

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Bint June 6, 2011 at 9:46 am

“I could understand Mum and Grandma’s point of view if it were poo-y”

I couldn’t. What they did was absolutely disgusting. Pooey nappy or not, you cannot change a baby at certain times of being on a plane. It’s one of the things you have to accept, and as a parent all you can do is maybe change your baby beforehand and hope. Parents get stuck with pooey nappies in this situation pretty often, and they don’t think it’s ok to overrule all the safety announcements.

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DGS June 6, 2011 at 9:58 am

Ridiculous and outrageously rude behavior that is completely disrespectful. First of all, the flight crew makes requests not to inconvenience passengers but to protect them (e.g. the reason they ask you to stow your belongings during take-off and landing is so that they don’t become projectiles in the event of an air pocket, a sudden lurch or change of movement, etc.) and second of all, a flight attendant’s job is not to pick up one’s garbage, and they’re not skywaitresses but highly trained emergency personnel. Not to mention that tossing diapers at people is uncalled for in any situation…I wish the airline could have had those two removed off the flight, although I suppose, that was a moot point if the plane was already landing.

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Shannon June 6, 2011 at 10:17 am

This is why I avoid sitting near the rear of the plane – it is always full of babies and tacky parents.

But I really came on here to comment that I LOVE the diagram. Every post should come with one, they’d make it so much easier to follow!

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K June 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

I agree with, “Just Laura.” You know these people didn’t actually get punished, they got rewarded for their behavior. It started with the stewardess standing there with no power, unable to smear that dirty diaper in the old lady’s face. The old lady knew the stewardess could do nothing to her and she won. And does anyone really think they stood around and waited for security to escort them off the plane? I guarantee they didn’t get banned from the airlines. I’d bet real money that they got comped for their trouble.

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Sarah June 6, 2011 at 10:56 am

What a great submission, not only bad ettiquette (that doesn’t involve the OP committing a worse faux pas) but a really entertaining and amusing story too. I’m another diagram fan, makes it so easy to follow the story. Good job OP, if these posts were user-rated I’d be giving this five stars fo sho.

I feel sorry for that poor baby growing up in a family of nutters.

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kudeebee June 6, 2011 at 10:57 am

Why didn’t mom, grandma and baby sit in the three seats together and then the dad by the window? Would have eliminated all the passing of the baby back and forth.

They were very rude and disrespectful. I am not sure how the man on the aisle put up with them. I am surprised he didn’t say anything. Did the dad not say anything? Or maybe he has learned to just keep his mouth shut when dealing with mom and grandma….sad.

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Kimberly June 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

I hope the Mom and Grandma were arrested. Failure to follow instructions from flight crew is a federal offense. I have flown extensively my whole life, and ran into 2 bad attendants. All the others (I’m talking 6 flights every other year minimum the whole time I was growing up), were professional, polite, and kind.

One time I was on a flight with bad turbulence, and the seatbelt light stayed on all the time. We were late landing and I ran for my next flight, barely making it. I really needed to go to the bathroom. I told the attendant my problem – and she told me it wasn’t encouraged but because we were still at our gate I could use the lavatory.

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Sarah Jane June 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

It’s time for the employees of this airline and other service industries to learn that SOME people are ENTITLED to special treatment simply because they are louder/more persistent/more obnoxious…NOT!!

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nannerdoman June 6, 2011 at 11:31 am

Snarky remarks about the airline within earshot of the attendants? Etiquette offense.

Complete lack of consideration of the passenger in the aisle seat? Big etiquette offense.

Interfering with a flight crew. [b]Federal offense.[/b]

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Kat June 6, 2011 at 11:37 am

As the parent of a 1 year old who is now a seasoned traveller, I am completely appalled at this. Changing a diaper in an empty seat (especially if it’s on a diaper pad) or on your lap is one thing—especially if the bathroom has no changing table and the seatbelt sign is off. (I would ask my seatmate’s permission, and have a plastic bag handy to put the diaper in—it’s not ideal, but if there’s no changing table there is not room on the airplane bathroom floor to change a diaper, as I just discovered, and doing it on the toilet seat does not work very well.)

But insisting as the plane is landing that the child’s diaper has to be changed immediately is insane. That’s what diapers are *for*—the child could certainly wait 20 minutes until the plane was safely landed and at the gate. Clearly that grandmother had no respect at all for the safety of the child. Then throwing the diaper is completely beyond the pale.

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HonorH June 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I will never understand people who misbehave on flights. One, it’s such an enclosed environment that you can be absolutely certain your bad behavior will affect everyone around you. Two, if you disobey a flight attendant’s instructions, you can be charged with a federal crime. Federal! These women were lucky if all they got was a talking-to.

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Josie James June 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I have heard from a friend of mine who was a stewardess that it is a very, very stressful job.

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Ashley June 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I do not fly very often, but I have flown enough times to realize that people who don’t follow basic instructions can cause a pretty big issue. There was one flight I was on where we were warned that due to some weather patterns, that very shortly after takeoff, there would be a possible need to take a turn that was slightly sharper and steeper than normal. We were advised that we absolutely NEEDED to stay in our seats until the pilot shut the seat belt light off. Long story short, some guy ended up in other people’s laps because he decided not to follow that advice and went looking for a flight attendant to get a can of soda. Then there are the people who don’t wait until the plane stops moving around to stand up and try and get their bags…ugh. As for the whole diaper thing, I am sorry, but that falls into the category of NOT an emergency, especially at the expense of that poor man in the aisle seat, and the flight attendant who got treated like garbage because of it.

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Dark Magdalena June 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I was just recently on a flight where, after the seat-belt light came on AND after a flight attendant had twice announced that people MUST remain seated (apparently people weren’t) as we were approaching the airport, the flight attendant encountered a woman coming down the aisle.

FA: I’m sorry, but you’ll have to return to your seat. The seat-belt light is on.

Lady: But I have to go to the bathroom.

FA: If you want to circle the airport for another thirty minutes before we can even begin to approach to land, go ahead, use the bathroom. Otherwise, I’m going to have to ask you to return to your seat.

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Chocobo June 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Wow, this story took an unexpected turn. I thought it would be about a crying baby that the parents completely ignore — always a nightmare on an airplane. I know other parents do try desperately to get an infant to calm down (but to no avail) in airplanes, and I do not fault them for that.

But no, a baby has more sense to be quiet and calm than the adults! Embarrassing.

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Hemi Halliwell June 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

What horrendous cretins.

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--Lia June 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

The only safe way for an infant to fly is in a car seat that’s safely buckled into an entire airplane seat. It’s the same principle as in cars. If there’s a sudden jolt in any direction, the infant becomes a projectile. Think about this. Your luggage must be in an overhead bin or under your seat. You’re not allowed to have your computer out during take-off and landing. But your baby can be held in your arms with nothing securing him or her down. Why isn’t this the law? Someone smart [sarcasm] figured out that if parents are forced to buy an entire ticket for their small children, they’ll drive instead. And air travel is much safer than auto travel no matter how you are (or aren’t) buckled in.

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Enna June 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Doesn’t matter how a nappy is soiled, it won’t harm the baby to wait until it is safe and more convient to change it. I’d say someone call social services for swearing like that in front of a child. Where I live some businesses like banks and shops, and doctors’ surgeries have signs up saying “our staff have the right to work without abuse, violence or the threat of violence, such behaviour will not be tolerated and the police will be called” etc etc. I think they should pay a fine for throwing the nappy in the gangway. Yes it maybe someone’s job to sort out the trash but that’s normally emptying the bins not picking rubbish off the floor. Surely littering is illegal?

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Enna June 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

P.S I very much doubt that these people get their own way or compensated the way some people have suggested. I can imagine it happening on the odd freak occasion but not everytime somone throws their weight around. What the mum and grandma did was dangerous.

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SHOEGAL June 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I can’t help but think this behavior is so shameful – I just end up feeling completely sorry for these people. They either feel completely entitled to treat people in this fashion or are completely lacking an ounce of class that would prevent such an appalling display. I like to think there are 2 sides to every story – what would they say about the events that transpired?

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Robert June 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

@ K. I don’t think mom and gramma waited for security to escort them off the plane. I have no doubt that security was already waiting for THEM at the gate.

@ Just Laura. Unlike most retail jobs causing a disruption on a plane is typically not rewarded by the corporate types. It usually ends up with charges being filed against the offender. I have no doubt that the airline would ban them. These are not the days of pre-9/11.

@Lia. I don’t know if they had a car seat or not but based on the diagram baby DID in fact have his or her own seat (I would guess they did have some sort of carrier as I doubt they could have strapped the baby into the seat without one).

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ashley June 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I thought it was nice that a diagram was included too^^. Sounds like the mom’s and the grandma’s heads were too congested with their own selfish needs and wants to consider safety first.

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Just trying June 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm

“and the flight attendant lets Mom and Grandma know that security would be escorting them off the plane.”

Where they will be arrested for disobeying a crew member’s instructions, a federal offense. At the very least, the remainder of their tickets would be cancelled without refund and they would be blackballed from that airline. I’ll note, also, that airlines share info about blackballed passengers. A passenger blackballed on one airline might find it difficult to book tickets on other partner airlines.

Finally, the passengers could be added to a Homeland Security terrorism watch or no-fly list.

I am a frequent flyer (Million-Miler on AA). I have seen passengers arrested for similar behavior. It happens, occasionally. The flight attendants have plastic handcuffs available to restrain unruly passengers.

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LilyG June 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I think flight attendants rock! And the one in the story is right: they are there to keep us safe, not indulge our bratty behavior. I was on a flight years ago when a doc and I had to rescusitate and trach a man. The flight attendants were like another nurse, they were so great!

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Rosewater June 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

It seems like some parents have become the most disgusting people on the planet.

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Zhoen June 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I suspect grandma wanted a window seat, and would not give that up. Dad didn’t want to sit next to her, Mom wanted an aisle, Other Passenger got stuck.

My understanding is one must sit in the pre-assigned seat these days. Just as the airline probably did prosecute, the lax old days are gone.

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Tanz June 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Ok – I don’t fault them passing the baby back and forwards: I feel a little sorry for the person in the aisle seat but there was always the option of switching with Gran (although I have been on lfights where they won’t let people switch which just seems silly to me). And I can even understand the need to change the baby in a hurry, I’ve had babies with bad nappy rash before and yes, even 20 minutes (and it sounds like it was a lot longer) in a wet disposable nappy would have made the rash worse.

*But*

For the love of little apples if you can’t get out of your seat change the baby on your lap (this goes doubly when your seatmates are family who won’t mind!) and to throw the nappy around is just disgusting.

I’d hate to be an air steward/ess: they put up with so much nonsense.

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Catherine June 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm

It makes me so angry when grown adults act like spoiled, entitled brats – but ESPECIALLY on planes. When on a plane, you are trapped in very close quarters with strangers for (usually) quite a long time – and on top of that, there are certain safety precautions that need to be followed. People who pitch fits on planes are only making life more unpleasant and more dangerous for everyone around them.

When you travel by plane, PLEASE, remind yourself beforehand that it is not likely to be a super-fun experience. That way you’ll be pleasantly surprised if everything goes smoothly, yet prepared if there are irritating factors. Same goes for baggage claim, the DMV, doctor’s office visits, and any other notoriously irritating experiences. Just tell yourself before you go that it probably won’t be awesome. Don’t be one of those people who gets to the [baggage claim, DMV, etc.] and THEN acts all shocked and offended that it’s not all easy and breezy. Some things just tend to be unpleasant. Deal with it.

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Jillybean June 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm

To those saying the man in the aisle seat should have offered to change, well, why should he? He is entitled to the seat that he purchased. I know a couple people with chronic knee injuries who prefer the aisle seat of the plane to have just little bit of room to move the knee around when the aisle is clear. The man shouldn’t have had to move. Dad should have switched with grandma if it was really that important for the two women to pass the baby back and forth over and over.

But, the things that people do on flights never cease to amaze me. I was on a plane once when a man was walking his fussy baby around. Seat belt sign was off, so I don’t think anyone minded much. I was near the back of the plane and I suddenly hear the flight attendant say in an alarmed voice, “What are you doing?” I look back, and the man is standing at the rear door of the plane letting the toddler in his arms fiddle with whatever it can get it’s hands on.

More recently I was on a flight where a couple carried on a small dog. They walked onto the plane with the dog sticking his head out of the purse like carrier. The attendant said as they walked by, “Sir the dog needs to be in the zipped carrier.” The gentleman says, “I know.” and precedes to start down the aisle to the seat. She calls after him that she means before he proceeds to his seat. He ignores her. She finally yells, “SIR, STOP!” He turns back, and she tells him to come back up. She tells him that he needs to zip the dog NOW before going to his seat. The guy seemed so annoyed. Later in the flight, well after the drink service had been through (twice, as it was a long flight), a gentleman got up, went to the forward kitchen area and poured himself a cup of coffee. The same attendant approached him and said, “Sir, it’s not self service, you can’t just help yourself.” He said, “Oh sorry, I didn’t realize,” and turns to walk off with him cup of coffee. She calls him back and holds out her hand for the coffee. He looked stunned when she took it away from him. She was my hero. There were a few other moments, and she was clearly taking no one’s crap.

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JC June 7, 2011 at 12:54 am

@Aje, Ashley, Sarah, and Shannon (and anyone else who commented on the diagram-I tried to find you all, but I might have missed one): I’m the OP, and I made the diagram. Sometimes it’s just easier to tell a story with a picture. Also I’m kind of a nerd. :)

We really did have a wonderful trip, and even now, whenever we get together, somehow “The Diaper Incident” always gets brought up and laughed about.

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Mir June 7, 2011 at 1:36 am

I’ve once encountered a horrible mother who insisted changing her child’s poop diaper in the middle of an emergency room, with her back to the bathroom with the changing table. Many people were horrified (there were many people there with compromised immune systems) yet she was snarky with the nurses, threw the diaper on the floor (which smeared) and had to be escorted out by security. The smell was ghastly.

Though my opinion may be unwelcome, I just don’t find airplanes a welcome place for children if someone cannot take care of them properly and intelligently.

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Another Alice June 7, 2011 at 3:16 am

Oh, barf. What a gross, obnoxious story (but a good one!). And I agree that Grandma probably didn’t want to give up her window seat. People are obsessive about their aisle/window seats. A few months ago coming back from Vegas, I sat between an older man and woman on a flight. I didn’t think anything of it, and then they started talking over me and I realized they were married. I mean, this couple would rather have an iota more comfort than sit next to each other so they could talk. I gritted my teeth for awhile, but was on the edge of saying, “Excuse me, would you like to switch so you can talk more easily?”

That was rude enough, until at one point during the flight, I was reading my magazine, and all of a sudden – three pieces of candy fly OVER my magazine and land on the husband’s tray table. For a second I didn’t even realize what was going on. This was the very refined wife’s way of giving her hubby a snack. I wished later that I had been quick enough to grab it in mid-air. ;-) Luckily, overall they didn’t talk much and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared at the beginning of the flight.

I know the diaper being thrown is the climax of the story, but I also can’t stand the whole “Let’s ignore the very obvious person sitting in between us” thing (as in when they passed the baby back and forth over a stranger). Ignoring someone’s presence, no matter what the situation, is childish and rude. And naturally this is exacerbated in an extremely small area. At first I did think, “Why didn’t the man in the aisle just offer to switch?,” but I do get that idea of, “Well, why should he?” Me, I’d be offering my seat up in a hurry. But of course that grandma seems to be the “Nothing will make me happy” type anyway, so I’m sure even if he did offer, he could only suffer through – until a dirty diaper flew past him (hey, at least what flew over me was candy!).

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The Elf June 7, 2011 at 6:21 am

Jillybean, the man in the seat is entitled to his seat, that’s for sure. And it is entirely possible he has some sort of medical problem that is made easier by the aisle seat and so he has a perfectly good reason for staying there. It’s also possible that he wanted to switch but it was Grandma who refused. There’s lots of scenarios.

But having a child constantly passed in front of you would be annoying, to say the least. At some point, I’m sure he was wondering if it is really worth it to stay in the aisle seat. I would have switched. Not to accomodate this family, but to get some freakin’ peace already. Had it been me in the seat and Grandma who refused to switch, I think impatience would have gotten the better of me and I would have asked the FA to switch me. Had that failed, I think I would have raised holy hell with Grandma and that diaper throwing would have happened a lot sooner. That man in the aisle seat had the patience of a saint.

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LaurenP June 7, 2011 at 7:54 am

I think that if the guy in the aisle seat asked “Ma’am, would you like to sit in this seat so its easier for you to pass your grandchild to you?” he’d probably get an earfull.

Poor guy. And all the other passengers and flight attendants must either have the patience of a saint or access to some discreet method of complaining.

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Just trying June 7, 2011 at 10:00 am

I am the Million-Miler frequent flyer and have to comment on the possiblity of the aisle seat passenger switching with Grandma.

Usually the flight attendants are OK with mutually-agreed upon voluntary seat switching, so long as that does not put a non-eligible person in an exit row. Thus, Grandma and the aisle seat guy could have switched without any problem from the FAs. FAs will usually not allow a switch if one of the switchees is unwilling. Passengers can be involuntarily pulled out of an exit row, however, by the crew members, should they not be capable in the opinion of the crew to perform exit row duties.

Speculation as to the aisle seat guy’s willingness to switch with Grandma or Grandma’s willingness to switch with the aisle seat guy is unproductive. I know people who REALLY SERIOUSLY want their aisle seat for whatever reason, and would put up with the baby traffic throughout the flight. I also know people who REALLY SERIOUSLY want their window seat. Personally, if I were the aisle seat guy/gal, I would have offered to switch because I don’t mind giving up an aisle seat for a window, and because I have a high tolerance for flying babies, I am happy to do what I can to make the kid’s situation a bit easier.

Other Frequent Flyers are not so tolerant, believe me. Just go to your average air travel forum and read the venom spewed out by those who believe children should be banned from air travel until they are potty trained. Or 18, which ever comes last. ;)

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Jillybean June 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

Oh Elf, I agree. I would have offered to switch in a heartbeat myself, and I hate the window seat (a little squeamish about flying, maybe this guy was too?), and you are right about Granny possibly being offered and refused. I still think the best solution would have been for Granny and dad to switch, but then clearly these people weren’t looking for a solution. People are oftentimes just plain rude. Stinks that the rest of us have to deal with them. I hope they were escorted off the plane and banned. Would serve them right.

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Twik June 7, 2011 at 11:09 am

I suspect that, in today’s air-travel climate, that if the FA says you will be escorted off by security, you will BE escorted off by security. It’s not a rare occurrence, nor an idle threat these days.

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