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Should Blood Curdling Screaming Be Grounds For Removal From a Flight?

I’ve seen the original, longer video of this situation and declined to share it due to the fact that the child’s face is clearly seen. However, this version redacts his face.

In the longer video, the child runs down the airplane aisles and when compelled to stop, these screams issue forth. He cannot sit still in a seat and the longer video shows him standing on and crawling over seats until…once again, he is being asked to stop and the screaming starts. The video game cannot be started and he screams. He appears to be about 4 years old, maybe 5.

I think in this situation it would be justified for the airline staff to remove the family from the flight citing that the child is obviously not in an emotional condition to fly across the Atlantic Ocean for 8 hours. And I do think it is poor parenting to raise children who scream like they are being killed with a 14-inch Klingon danger to the guts when the issue prompting the screaming is really one of entitlement.

{ 71 comments }
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  • Marie October 3, 2018, 12:30 pm

    It can be the kid has a disorder in which case bad parenting cannot be blamed… though the parents can be blamed for flying with a kid with said disorder.

    So either way, the parents are to blame. I just had a 12 hour flight last week and I’m happy to see no demon children were on board.

    • Hilary October 4, 2018, 11:10 am

      And if the family has to get from one country to another what o they do? Take a boat? Swim? Please be sympathetic to children with disorders.

      • galatea October 5, 2018, 2:37 am

        If they know the kid has such a disorder, they can prepare. They can 1) apologize in advance to all the passengers and crew, explaining that they have an urgent *need* to make the flight with the child, and that he has such a disorder, and 2) they can hand out complimentary ear plugs.

        I’ve actually heard of parents doing that! It didn’t stop the child from being problematic, but all the passengers and crew forgave them, and mostly felt sorry for the parents, who had to deal with that all the time.

        But in the absence of any such recognition 0f the problem, nor any visible effort to deal with it, besides the ineffectual “Calm down, honey,” and “let’s get his iPad going,” most adults will not be patient with the parents, let alone the child.

  • Yummymummy66 October 3, 2018, 12:33 pm

    Eight hours? The child never once was tired?!
    I do think the airline should have removed the family from this flight and suggested that they might want to try flying overnight, when child normally sleeps. (It appeared to be daylight outside).
    I do think that sometimes, considerations can and should be made by other passengers, but clearly, the number of passengers in this case, far outweighed this one family and what they had to endure for a long period of time.
    It did sound as if the parent was trying to work with their child, but, if this travel is going to be a normal thing for this family, they need to figure out to make it better for everyone.

    • Lenore October 5, 2018, 10:07 am

      That kid was in good voice for 8 hours. I don’t know any heavy metal screamers that can do that. I’m in partially horrified awe….

  • lakey October 3, 2018, 12:50 pm

    This is so abnormal for a 4 or 5 year old. The parent or parents need professional intervention. Whether this is due to behavior issues or mental health condition, they need to learn more effective ways to deal with him. I would have different expectations for an infant. The rest of the passengers shouldn’t be subjected to this. It was obvious before the plane took off that he couldn’t handle the trip. The family should have been taken off the flight if they couldn’t calm him. I’m not a fan of medicating young children without good reason, but consulting with the pediatrician about what to do during an 8 hour flight, might be okay.

    I will repeat, a child that age screaming for 8 hours isn’t normal. Whether he has behavioral or medical/emotional/mental health issues, the parent/parents need to get help.

    • VickyJoJo October 3, 2018, 3:53 pm

      I somewhat agree that this is not normal. However, I am not sure we are getting the entire story from this video. It is hard to tell if the parents are even making an effort to control the screaming through out the entire 8 hours. If they are, then I would totally agree that a) there is something not right with the child and b) the family should have been removed from the flight and put on another one to allow time to “prep” this child. However, if the parents were making minimal effort and giving up early on, I would question whether this was just poor parenting.

      On another note, I am actually surprised that we did not see some form of altercation or confrontation akin to “get your kid under control” His screaming was giving me a headache and I only watched a 3 minute video. I can’t imagine those poor passengers enduring this for 8 hours without someone blowing a gasket.

      • Iris October 3, 2018, 8:06 pm

        I agree as well. Even if the parents aren’t making an attempt to control the child, I would expect him to simply get tired after a while. Certainly a sore throat! I actually feel sorry for *everyone* in this story. The passengers for having to listen to that dreadful noise for 8 hours, the parents who also had to listen to that noise and try to calm him down, but most of all the child who is clearly in some kind of distress.

        When my daughter was recovering from an anxiety disorder and we took her on her first flight, not fully knowing whether she could cope or not we talked to the airline beforehand and they made considerations for her. I wonder if these parents need to do something similar.

      • lakey October 4, 2018, 11:57 am

        There’s help for parents. If a child has a disorder, or if the parents are having trouble parenting a child, there are people who can teach them techniques for dealing with the behavior issues more effectively. If this video is indicative of the child’s behavior, he is going to have a lot of trouble in school. Can you imagine a teacher with a classroom full of kids trying to deal with this? Also, if a child is diagnosed with a disorder, through no fault of the parents, it is just as important to get help. That child is going to have to learn how to get through school and through life. Children who behave like that are shunned by other students, have problems with neighbors, and in group activities. This boy is headed for a miserable childhood.

  • Silly Me October 3, 2018, 12:52 pm

    It’s interesting. When we tried to adopt in MA, social workers were livid when we made attempts to establish boundaries around the children’s behavior. We’re talking normal parenting. It should have been obvious to us by the older child’s behavior that the expectation for prior foster parents had been to give the children “free rein.” We’re talking stealing, fighting, hitting adults (including me in the head), dangerous aggression, screaming, tantrums. I get that foster kids are traumatized. What was bothersome was the complete negligence in helping these children develop emotional resilience. We were accused of being potentially abusive because we did things like restrict recreational activity, assign chores, etc. One therapist even cited the social workers’ tendencies to “hold these kids back” by over-indulging. I even experienced harsh social service retaliation from a daycare worker who objected to my enforcing a time out for a child.

    Need I mention these same social workers had their own issues of a lack of restraint, entitlement, the inability to engage in critical thinking, impulsivity and even physical aggression?

    My relevant point is that a lack of restraint and over-indulgence is now a norm, and social norms pressure many parents to avoid socializing their children.

    • AS October 3, 2018, 5:42 pm

      Jeez… why has the pendulum swung to the other direction?

    • caverat October 4, 2018, 7:43 am

      Interestingly enough, I just picked up a student on my caseload (I am not a social worker) whose parents were just about to adopt him. They told us the foster agency would NOT allow them to do anything regarding discipline while they were fostering. They said the agency only allowed the child one toy at a time (which they picked), refused to let them on a bicycle and put him on a bunch of medications for his behavioral issues (gee, I wonder where those came from) which the fosters could not have removed until the adoption came through. There was more they complained about but I honestly forget most of it. He’s such a sweet kid that I only hope they were exaggerating, but it sure does tie your hand when trying to discipline or even bond with a child.

      That said, no matter what this child’s issue is, whether neurological, terrified or just a brat, it should have been dealt with in some manner. When I pay for a plane ticket, although I know there can be some fussing or bad luck in my companions, I do expect a certain level of comfort on my flight – hearing screaming for 8 hours would have me at the gate demanding compensation of some kind if I felt it wasn’t properly addressed. And I’m generally not an overly-entitled person, if I do say so myself.

      • Doris October 4, 2018, 11:03 pm

        Caverat, I was thinking along the lines of being a passenger on that plane. I have chronic migraines, which are extremely worse right now (due to a new medicine for another condition.) If I had to spend eight hours listening to that, the pain and resulting irritability would eventually urge me to say something to the parents. It would not be a pleasant scene.

        Did I miss something? I thought the mother said they hadn’t even taken off yet. Most airlines would take a disruptive adult off the plane in that case. Are there different rules/recommendations for children?

        The child may have a disorder of some sort. In that case, the parents should have worked with his/her doctor to prepare him/her for the flight.

        • Kitty October 9, 2018, 3:43 pm

          I get triggered by loud noise, and hearing this for any prolonged time would not make anything I say a pleasant scene. I might even go so far as to tell the parent/parents to try to quiet the child down, or *I* would start just plain screaming into the child’s face. See how the kid likes it… though that wouldn’t be a good way to deal with it, I know that.

    • K. S. November 20, 2018, 7:33 pm

      I know this is old but for the benefit of archive–unless I missed it, I don’t know why no one has mentioned that you don’t need WiFi to use an iPad. A seemingly minor point but if, as the mother is said to have claimed, this child has a diagnosed medical issue that is acknowledged to be the root of extreme and alarming behavior, then you’d think she’d have downloaded content stored on said iPad for just this very situation. I don’t know if mom’s incredibly blase reference to WiFi was an attempt to appear in control, or coming from a place of real cluelessness, but I can see how it could rub people the wrong way or that at the very least, she could use some help.

      Also, the child is shown climbing on top of the seats while in-flight movies are clearly playing (you can see the credits rolling on the videographer’s screen)–I could be wrong, but doesn’t this mean that the plane was in flight, and the child should have been in a seatbelt? I know it’s not mandatory, and that the “fasten seatbelt” sign does get turned off, but pretty much every airline I’ve taken in the past 10 years announces that it is their “policy that you keep your seatbelt fastened while seated during the duration of the flight” (which usually annoys me–it’s your policy but you turn the sign off? I digress). I don’t know if the stewards were afraid to intervene, or if they did intervene and it’s just not on video, but unless he was stepping on another one of his family members’ heads, or the seat in front of him was empty, it could have been an authoritative leg for them to stand on. (Easier said than done maybe.)

      Basically nobody did this poor kid or the other passengers any favors (although I must remark on the patience and civility evident here, taking and posting the video aside). Also I can’t help but wonder if this was a round-trip flight and if so, where the other video is!

  • Sara October 3, 2018, 1:02 pm

    I disagree with claiming this is purely an entitlement issue. A child that age should not only be able to better verbalize (even when angry) but will wear out. I’m going out on a limb to say this is a sensory issue of some sort though it is still certainly up to the parents to have learned what it is and how to manage their child’s issues. If the issues are too great to be manageable, then they should not be flying, not only for the sake of other passengers but for the child who is clearly stressed beyond control.

    Some grace should be considered for the possibility that the family knows the child has issues but HAVE to fly: perhaps for a medical diagnosis overseas, family emergency, or possibly even a permanent necessary move overseas. BUT the parents still should have done their best to inform the other passengers and clearly attempt to manage the child… which they didn’t.

    • AMC October 4, 2018, 8:07 am

      Agreed. It’s totally possible that the child has a developmental delay or other condition that is contributing to his behavior. Regardless, the child should absolutely NOT be permitted to run up and down the aisle or climb on seats. This creates a dangerous situation for both the child and the other passengers.

  • Queen of Putrescence October 3, 2018, 1:03 pm

    That child and his family should have been removed from the flight before it took off. The child obviously demonstrated before takeoff that he could not control himself and the crew had every opportunity to remove them before taking off. This isn’t a baby with no control. This kid has to have some kind of issues and should not be flying.

    I don’t know if the family lived in Europe (the mother had a European accent) but I’m wondering what the return flight was like.

  • ladyv21454 October 3, 2018, 1:18 pm

    This article provides some further information on the situation.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/child-screams-transatlantic-flight-eight-hours-video-lufthansa-germany-new-york-a8213516.html

    My question is, if you know your child has serious behavioral problems – and judging by this article, the behavior was VERY serious – WHY would you take him on an 8-hour flight? If it was a matter of visiting family, why not have them come to you, so the child would be in a familiar environment?
    While I also am not in favor of drugging children, in this case, a mild sedative might have been helpful.

    • JAN October 4, 2018, 8:31 am

      Interesting to note that the child is THREE, not four or almost five.

    • Dawn October 4, 2018, 12:54 pm

      Good grief, even the article is stupid. Shaming the guy taking the video. I’d have done the same thing because no one I know would ever believe that experience without seeing it for themselves. And then the “doctor” excusing the child’s behavior with, “he’s young, maybe hungry, maybe didn’t want to sit in his seat, the plane could have smelled funny (?), maybe just cranky after a long day.” Okay, all valid points. But his running and climbing wasn’t because he was upset. Looks to me like he was having a grand old time. And, again, 8 hours of SCREAMING is not explained by any of these point.

      -Dawn

  • Catherine St. Clair October 3, 2018, 1:25 pm

    This takes me back. My older brother was just like this. He learned that, if he screamed, jumped around, and told my parents no, he would always get his way. I can recall him, at age six, screaming, “I’m in charge here! I’m in charge here!” He was right; he was. It lasted until I graduated from college and Mom was making plans for the family to go out to eat after the graduation ceremony. I told her that I was finally saying no. I was going to drive up to the ceremony alone, staying the night with friends, and going to the ceremony alone. I was then driving home. If they wanted to get a bucket of chicken to eat at home, fine. No more temper tantrums, refusing to leave the house to make me late to things, no more hysterics at restaurants. On this one day of my life, I was not going to put up with any temper tantrums. People raised with no rules and no boundaries have no reason to change. A parent does not ask a child to behave. He/She tells the child. It’s not like there can be an option.

    • LizaJane October 3, 2018, 6:57 pm

      I’m sorry you experienced this. It’s exactly what I meant when I mentioned siblings in my post. Parents need to think about ALL of their children and not put a wedge between them.

      • Catherine St. Clair October 4, 2018, 11:39 am

        I think things are changing, slowly, but changing. My generation saw women in the home, not in the workplace. I didn’t know a mother who worked outside the home, a woman with a college degree, or anyone who was divorced. Boys were valued; girls were not. Mother told me the only reason she wanted a daughter was to have someone to make babies for her. I was told not to get above a “C” in school because boys didn’t like intelligent girls and never to beat a boy at anything. I had to lose to be popular. Today that sounds like utter rubbish. In my day, it was engraved upon stone.

        • LizaJane October 5, 2018, 12:36 pm

          Good lord. I don’t know how old you are, but I grew up in the 60s & 70s with parents who were pretty old fashioned. I never heard that crap from them.

    • Princess Buttercup October 3, 2018, 9:29 pm

      My little brother was brought up with that entitlement. Everything was his, he was allowed to do anything he wanted, nothing was his fault, etc. He was (and as far as I know) a spoiled, lying, cheating, lazy, back talking brat. Finally when he was about 15 I pointed out to my mom that she was raising a future criminal. She baulked but I told her he’s been raised that no rules apply to him and there are no consequences. Soon he’s going to be of age to drive. He will not follow rules of the road because they don’t apply to him. He’ll get pulled over, where he will talk back to the cop. If he happens to get a cop in a bad mood, he may very well get arrested. All because you have always taught him that he runs everything and has no consequences. She grumbled about “let me worry about him”, but started trying to be a bit of a parent to him finally. Though at that point it was too late.

      • Princess Buttercup October 3, 2018, 9:30 pm

        ^(and as far as I know still is)

      • staceyizme October 4, 2018, 9:57 am

        It’s so sad that a parent would do this to their child! How many kids who were bullied, spoiled or neglected are in trouble because they got off on the wrong foot?

      • Catherine St. Clair October 4, 2018, 11:47 am

        I know what you mean. It’s pointless to begin to try to discipline a child who is bigger than you are. Mother got upset when I went away to college and my brother, who had finally failed enough college classes to have been expelled, was at home. Lacking me as a target, he began to beat mother. When I came home for a holiday, she wanted me to leave college and to come home permanently because she had been going somewhere and my brother decided to go with her. He also demanded to drive. It was her car and she wanted to drive. He simply beat her until she moved over so he could take the driver’s seat. I told her what she had always told me, “Just do what he tells you and he won’t beat you.” He was twenty-one and it was simply too late to change his behavior.

        • LizaJane October 5, 2018, 12:39 pm

          Actually it might not have been, threatening jail time may have backed him down. At that time, though, it might have been difficult to get someone to arrest him.

          Still, I love it that you turned her own words back on her.

        • Nialla October 5, 2018, 4:50 pm

          Whaaa? While I agree your mother had a hand in creating this monster, the way to “discipline” him now is to call the police and have him arrested for assault and battery. I’m sorry you had to grow up with such dysfunctional parenting. If it were me, I’d be leaving the whole toxic family behind, waving good-bye in the rear view mirror.

  • LizaJane October 3, 2018, 2:06 pm

    Yes, this is grounds for removal from a flight. I don’t know what’s going on with this little boy, but if he did indeed scream for 8 solid hours, there’s something very wrong. If he only did this for 5 minutes out of every hour, there’s something very wrong.

    I really feel sorry for any siblings he may have. Did you see the little boy at the beginning who was trying to get the device to work? He had the most helpless look on his face. I hope the screamer isn’t someone any other child has to put up with all of the time.

    I also wonder if the mother ever said anything besides, “let’s get the wifi up and running” and “it’s ok hunny”. Maybe that’s the way she chooses to deal with her child for whatever reason, but why should everyone else be subjected to her ineffectiveness?

  • Kimberly October 3, 2018, 3:05 pm

    I agree he should have been removed at the beginning of the flight. Failing that the parents should have been arrested at the end of the flight for not obeying flight crew. I’ve seen that happen – and it was before 911. My family was on a flight before 9/11. The kid was a holy terror in customs and immigration (flying from Toronto to the US you go through US Customs there or you did).

    The kid had a metal Tonka truck and was running down the aisle bonking people on the head. I grabbed it before he hit my Mom, and gave it to the flight attendant who refused to return it to the family. They refused to restrain him in his seat while we were circling Houston. Finally, the pilot or co-pilot came out and told them the plane couldn’t be legally landed until the boy was in his seat. They put him in his seat, but once the crew was all in their seats and we started the landing – the family let him go and he was running around during landing. We were ordered to stay in our seats, and only families with kids under 5 were allowed to disembark. My family was the last off the plane because we were home and Mom used a cane and had trouble walking after sitting so long. In the airport, the 4 adults in that party were handcuffed and a cop was holding the howling kid. Never was able to find out what happened later.

  • Princess Buttercup October 3, 2018, 3:15 pm

    Plane should have never taken off until the kid was calmed and sitting buckled up in his seat.

  • Danielle October 3, 2018, 3:33 pm

    Since this was all happening before they took off, even if you set aside the screaming, what about the running around and climbing on things? You have to be seated and buckled in for take-off.

    They should have definitely removed the family. And at this point, I think the airline should refund the money for all the passengers on board for subjecting them to this.

  • Lerah99 October 3, 2018, 3:39 pm

    Sometimes families need to fly.
    Sometimes kids with behavioral disorders, mental health issues, etc… will have to fly.

    (Side note: In several articles one of the passengers said they overheard the mom tell the flight attendant that the kid had a behavioral disorder. So I’m not just speculating that the kid could have issues greater than being a spoiled brat.)

    On one hand, I absolutely feel the other passengers did not deserve to be subjected to 8 hours of this kid screaming his head off.

    On the other hand, I have a hard time finding an alternative for a mom and kid who HAD to get from Germany to New Jersey.

    They might not have the 14 days and thousands of dollars to sail.
    I would think a private jet is going to be tens of thousands of dollars.
    If the kid has these kinds of behavioral or mental problems it would be very difficult to find a babysitter to watch the kid at home while the mom went to New Jersey.

    In a perfect world this would never happen.

    Does her need to travel with a kid who has behavioral issues trump the other passenger’s comfort?
    Does the other passenger’s comfort trump her need to fly which necessitates bringing her kid along?

    I don’t know.

    I think it is really easy to pick a side and dig in.
    “This is the problem with parents today! They parent via iPad and ignore their screaming brats! I wish there were ‘no kid’ flights so I never have to worry about being stuck next to someone’s speshul little snowflake!”

    “You monsters! You’re all so quick to judge. This poor mother deals with this kid 24/7. I don’t see any of the passengers on this video trying to help her out! Toddlers don’t have the ability to regulate their terror and frustration. You’re supposed to be the adults!”

    I don’t have enough facts to pick a side.

    We can speculate all day. “Maybe someone on the plane had PTSD and this screaming could have given them a nervous breakdown!”

    But without knowing this family, the reason they had to fly to New Jersey, and all the other people on the plane – I have no way to make that call.

    The flight attendants had the power to remove the family before takeoff. Maybe they should have. Maybe they assumed that once the flight was in the air and wifi turned on the kid would settle. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    I feel bad for everyone involved.

    • LizaJane October 3, 2018, 4:45 pm

      This is a very compassionate post and I actually thought about the PTSD scenario.
      Everything you said is true, but in the end it boils down to whether or not the child was restrained for takeoff. If not, they should never have left the ground.

    • Maria October 3, 2018, 6:23 pm

      …totally agree. And I want to add that the video is a bit strange, right between Hour 1 and Hour 2, there is and announcement in which the flight attendant says „zur Landung“, which is German for „landing“. I can’t think of an announcement that would be given at that time of the flight.

      Seems a bit weird, and as if the video was edited to prove a point.

      • CWM October 4, 2018, 7:48 am

        Last week I flew SAS international, Copenhagen to Chicago. There were at least three updates throughout the flight about conditions in Chicago, updating our expected arrival time, telling us there may be turbulence in landing, and it’s entirely possible this could have been within the first hour of a long flight.

        That said, I was on the return leg of a long and very stressful trip home after a week and a half of travel stress in Europe. If I’d been stuck with a child like that I likely would have snapped and said something not very polite to the parents. Thankfully the only kids near me were perfectly quiet and well behaved, aside from the one year old who was a tad fussy when he got hungry. And by a tad, I mean quieter than a normal baby that age who’s hungry.

        I’ve worked with kids with behavior disorders. My sister was a special ed para. We both agree that this is well outside the range of acceptable behavior. Even with mental/behavioral disorders, there is still a limit to what’s acceptable in public.

        Yes, I know, travel is sometimes necessary and flights are the cheapest way to do it over an ocean. But the way I see it I’ve paid for my seat and enough bag space for my bags. I try my best not to encroach on others, and hope that they do the same. These parents may have paid for a seat for their child, but with his incessant screaming filling the entire plane, it was definitely encroaching on their space that they paid for.

    • Ange October 3, 2018, 9:07 pm

      I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve worked across a spectrum of kids from neurotypical to a wide variety of different behavioural disagnoses or impairments and it’s hard to know what the parents had already tried. However all the kids I’ve worked with that have had moderate to severe behavioural issues also really only succeed or fail based on their parents. It can be very easy to throw your hands up and say your kid is that way for life and nothing can be done which is only partially true, your kid might be that way for life but as a parent you have to put in the work to ensure their quality of life is the best it can be. The kid obviously wasn’t enjoying himself either, how did the family not have an absolute arsenal of tricks up their sleeve to try and calm him down? I feel for everyone in the situation including the kid, he’s not being served well.

    • Jewel October 3, 2018, 11:13 pm

      I imagine the boy’s Pediatrician would have prescribed a sedative if asked, given the situation.

    • Goldie October 4, 2018, 7:52 am

      I admit I’m biased on this issue because of my own family history. My then husband, two sons who were then 4 years old and 15 months old, and I, immigrated to the US 21 years ago. The flight was ten hours long. We got up at six AM to make the flight. We landed in NYC at midnight our home country’s time. The toddler cried for the last two hours of the flight and there was nothing I could do to make him stop. Thankfully everyone was very understanding (or very tired; who knows? all these people had been up since six AM too and most of them were families with multiple young children.) Either way, no one confronted us over this. Basically my feeling is that, if crying kids were not allowed on planes, my family would’ve never moved to the country that we’ve been now living in for 21 years. That flight was not something you could reschedule for when the kid was old enough, you either took it or you didn’t. We did not fly again until the youngest was 8 or 9, but we had to that one time. It’s not like you can drive from Europe to NYC.

      I admit that the 4yo behaved very well for the entire flight and the toddler was quiet for the first ten hours of the flight as well; so not exactly the same situation. We later found out that the oldest was on the autism spectrum and the youngest had ADHD, so I guess we got extremely lucky that they were both quiet for all or most of the flight.

    • galatea October 5, 2018, 3:17 am

      I agree that children with special needs have the same rights to travel as everyone else.

      I also believe that parents of children with special needs should be aware that their child’s behavior infringes on the rights of others, and that, if it can’t be avoided, it MUST be apologized for, and whatever restitution/accommodation they *can* make should be made.

      For example, when the parents of a teething baby were forced to travel on a plane with that baby, they made inexpensive treat bags for everyone on their area of the plane, as a show of good faith (as well as doing everything in their power to calm the child). The other passengers were charmed, and a lot more patient, because of it.

      Earplugs can be purchased in bulk, and distributed as an “I’m so sorry. I’m doing my best,” gift.

      If they don’t have time to make such preparations, then they need to make a more visible effort to calm and settle the child.

      The issue is when the parents just seem to do nothing. They need to visibly attempt to do *something* to either deal with the child or help the other people around them.

      Perception is everything in situations like this. The passengers have a choice to forgive and deal with it, or to post it online and publicly shame, while getting sympathy for being victims (meanwhile, that poor child was obviously in distress for 8 hours, and the poor parents! Oy!). But they did have the opportunity to control the perception of the situation, and they failed at that.

      Also, if your child needs a visual stimulation, do NOT use a wifi-required tool. Use something more low-tech that does not have any connection to an internet. Use an old tape-player and a book, if necessary. The problem seems to be, in part, that they knew the iPad would calm the child (no doubt due to their previous experience with him), but that it required wifi, which they could not access on an airplane, particularly before take-off.

      I pity the child and the parents, but I also hold the parents responsible, and they need to know that their child is, potentially, not the only one with special needs, and feeling distress. That trip could have caused real problems for a large number of passengers.

    • pame October 5, 2018, 11:13 am

      The only reason I can think of that the child HAD to get to the US was if the child was undergoing medical treatment. Any other situation would be a WANT. Even if the family was traveling because of a death, it was the family’s decision to take the entire family. One parent could have stayed home with the child who was obviously severely distressed by the trip. Or let’s say the parent’s job was being transferred. It was still their decision to take the transfer.

      And if the family was determined to go on this flight with a child with behavioral problems, they should have been more prepared. If he was under a physician’s care, I would think some type of sedative would have been better for the child than 8 hours of trauma.

      I also agree that the airline staff had no way of knowing the child’s behavior would continue throughout the flight.

  • CaffeineKatie October 3, 2018, 4:24 pm

    As a former airline employee, I am surprised the family was allowed to fly. The child’s behavior and the amount of distraction it caused was a definite safety issue. Had something gone wrong, it would have been impossible for the flight attendants to make announcements, evacuate the plane, etc. with that child screaming and disobeying his parents. And a long flight over water with few alternative landing spots–nope, he should have been taken off no matter what the parents’ reason for travel.

    • NicoleK October 15, 2018, 2:10 pm

      My guess is the really bad behavior didn’t start until the plane took off

  • Mary Sgree October 3, 2018, 4:36 pm

    Its truly a shame. I had a child with a disorder that cried a lot until he was old enough to understand how to deal with his issues–maybe 7 ish? Until then I did my best, sometimes exhausting myself with the effort. When he was 5 I had to fly with him across the US for a necessary reason. He only cried a couple of times, but many of you may have thought at 5 he was too “old” to do that.

    • CW October 4, 2018, 8:55 pm

      I think there’s a big difference between crying and running/shreiking/climbing on things.

      I expect a child to get bored or impatient or upset during a long day of travel. I do not expect (or tolerate) actual screaming and misbehaving.

  • LizaJane October 3, 2018, 7:55 pm

    We all know that behavior disorders are real and that it’s possible that they will sometimes manifest in this way. We also have to face the fact that some parents diagnose their own children because it’s easier than correcting the problem, or maybe they have a real diagnosis but refuse to follow any recommendations which might foster improvement.

    Let’s assume this child has a real condition, the parents are working hard toward improvement and the child had to be on the flight. If my husband were on that plane and this started before taking off, he’d have gotten off the plane. If it had started after we were in the air, it probably would have been a huge issue.

    There’s a background story which I’m not going to tell because it’s truly terrible. The result is that screaming children can cause extreme anxiety for him. Outdoor settings don’t effect him as much as indoors and the occasional screaming mixed with laughter at play don’t trigger very often. Sometimes I do see him visibly startle, but he can keep control. Prolonged screaming that sounds like it might be distress is difficult for him to cope with. Screaming just to be screaming is not an environment he does well with.

    He manages by not going places where he’s likely to encounter it and plans an exit strategy. Our family and close friends know this and understand that he may skip events or hang out in the garage. He doesn’t make a big deal out of it.

    Here’s the question: what if the screaming started after takeoff?
    What if after 4 hours Husband has a meltdown?
    What if he completely loses it and yells at the parents? Or the child?

    Flying can be unpleasant, but who expects to be subjected to 8 hours of screaming? And while he was still in the Army, he could very well have had to be on that plane or be A.W.O.L and face court martial.

    Whose condition and right to be on that plane trumps whose?

  • Marozia October 3, 2018, 8:04 pm

    The family sould have been taken off at the next airport.
    I favour using the Klingon qutluch, an assassin’s weapon. Granted it is a little heavier than the d’k tagk, but it’s less messier.

  • Kate October 3, 2018, 9:04 pm

    I am autistic. My brother is autistic. Several family members are autistic. Then there are the ones with other issues… So to people saying “maybe this kid has some disorder” I say, so what? Everyone, even the disabled need to learn how to function in society. That looks different for different people. Part of that however is looking at a situation, considering what prep work might be helpful, and recognizing your limitations (or the limitations of those in your care). If indeed this child is disabled in some way, then he has been majorly failed by his caregivers. Furthermore this entire family has done yet more damage to the disabled community. No, not all people with behavioral, emotional, mental, or sensory issues will act like that. No, they shouldn’t be given a pass. No, we don’t need to excercise compassion or adjust our expectations here. Disabled children grow into disabled adults. Part of helping them to live their best life possible is to teach them to accept and recognize their limitations. I can handle an 8 hour flight (with help). My brother struggles with a 2 hour one (with help and while medicated). So I accept that the three times he’s visited me versus the dozens of times I’ve gone to him over the past 10 years is what needs to happen. Is this “fair”? I don’t know. But I do know it would most definitely not be right to have a 6’2”, 250 pound man freak on an airplane. So we avoid that, for the sake of others. As children if a car, bus, or train couldn’t get us where we needed to go we stayed home. End of story.

    On the other hand this may well be a neurotypical child with seriously entitled parents. In that case it seems like CPS should get involved. These people were clearly not taught how to parent if there’s nothing wrong with the child. But for the sake of the child, the parents need to be attending classes on how to effectively rear them. If those classes need to be court ordered, so be it. But this kid can not be brought up to think this behavior is acceptable. And by not holding the parents accountable and forcing them to actually address the behavior, they’re ruining this kids life.

  • Kay_L October 3, 2018, 10:08 pm

    It doesn’t matter why this child is so out of control. An adult would not be allowed to behave that way. An animal would not be allowed to behave that way.

    They should have been escorted off the plane.

  • Lara October 3, 2018, 10:28 pm

    Poor little kid. My main feeling is compassion for him, honestly, because he was miserable and must have been so far beyond exhausted and hysterical. I agree this is not normal. Although some kids can amaze you with their powers of endurance when it comes to screaming, no way will they be able to keep it up for eight hours. This isn’t a little kid just being a brat–running around hitting people, yelling for what he wants, etc. This sort of animalistic screaming for hours on end is something else entirely.

    I agree the airline should have removed the family before take off. I also think that his mother ought to have done more. Even when you have children with behavioral difficulties, there are ways to deal with them, to help calm and distract them, to restrain them in non-violent manner if need be. As his parents, they should know what these things are, and his mom should have spent the whole trip devoting herself to him if necessary, not just occasionally murmuring soothing nothings. I do understand that the flight may have been unavoidable. But in that situation, what do you do? You talk to his doctors or teachers, you make a plan, you come prepared. You realize that it is your responsibility to do everything in your power to keep your child quiet and under control. Just letting him have free rein around the plane is no kind of solution, for the child or anyone else.

  • Jewel October 3, 2018, 11:04 pm

    I recall this news story. I believe the family boarded the flight in Germany. It seems the kid started up his antics well before take off. I am astonished that the family wasn’t removed. Maybe the European crew is more laissez faire about horribly behaved kids?

  • Mames October 4, 2018, 8:12 am

    Ugh.
    Not every kid that behaves like this has emotional, mental or behavioral problems.
    Sometimes they are just plain spoiled.
    I have a family member whose child acts like this every day. Nothing wrong with her, she is just expected to do what she wants, when she wants.
    I work with special needs and behavioral kids every day, even some of the worst affected can be taught rigjt from wrong.

    • Lerah99 October 9, 2018, 12:10 pm

      @Mames,
      In this case, the news articles about this flight site another passenger stating they overheard the mother tell a crew member that the child has a behavior disorder.

      So people aren’t just speculating this kid might have an issue.
      The mother stated the kid has an issue.

  • JAN October 4, 2018, 8:40 am

    Just want to point out that articles state the child is *three* not four or almost five. Additionally that he has a behavior disorder.

    As a parent to a child with ASD, I’m not saying that everyone should have been subjected to eight hours of screaming but at three even neurotypical children have tantrums. That said, I do know I expect higher behavior and push more limits than some other parents of children with ASD. I expect my child to have to grow to live in this world. However, he is three…that’s a lot different than the emotional control of a four almost five year old (I know, I currently have a neurotypical four year old who will be five in a few months).

  • staceyizme October 4, 2018, 9:27 am

    I think that this video is dated, if memory serves? In any case, flying with young children is a “crap shoot” if I may be pardoned for saying so. They can have issues with ear infections, time zones, claustrophobia, and over stimulation. Most of us wince in sympathy when children act up in situations that are high stakes, especially if we know that the parents are trying to manage and have done their due diligence to plan. A child unable to sit still may indeed be the product of “poor parenting” or may simply be on the spectrum for autism, have a sensory or sensory processing disorder, or other issue. Parents are responsible for their children, it’s true. But children don’t come with an instructional guide and (especially if a significantly extenuating condition applies), tutting parents into the Hall of Shame is useless and possibly baseless. I think that this is where companies can set policies that work for them (no children/ no children under five/ no children who cannot remain seated/ no children who are loud…)/ (no adults who are loud/ cannot remain seated…). They can also ban families from flying with them or staying with them or attending their facilities again. None of this is impossible to deal with (except after the fact or once the plane has taken off, in which case you make the best of it, move on and don’t memorialize it unless you know that the parents really failed to adequately prepare for the context they faced…. and it may bear remembering that in parenting, as in other contexts, the best laid plans of mice and men “gang aft agley”.

    • Devin October 4, 2018, 3:35 pm

      I understand your point and think the airline should have removed the family before take off once they realized this child could not be reasonably restrained. By allow this behavior, the airline and parents put the rest of the passengers at risk. That is where my compassion goes out the window. Anything unsecured in a plane becomes a projectile during turbulence or even during an aggressive take off or landing. The majority of airline incidents happen during take off and landing which is why all passengers and staff must be secured during these times. Allowing one passenger to compromise the safety of all passengers because of age or mental abilities doesn’t sit well with me.

  • Dawn October 4, 2018, 12:42 pm

    I saw the original version of this video. I would bet money that this child is autistic. I don’t see how just a bad, entitled child could sustain that behavior for eight hours. However, the parents know he’s autistic and there are medications that could knock him out for the flight. They’re responsible, and they did not handle it. At all. I would have demanded my money back from the airline. Heck, I’d even consider suing the parents for assault, and that’s not the kind of person I am. The people on that plane suffered through a NIGHTMARE!

    -Dawn

  • Erin T. Aardvark October 4, 2018, 9:44 pm

    After watching that video, quite a few things went through my head. Then I read through the comments and learned what others had to say about it. I’m not quite sure where I stand on this, but I honestly think the family should have been removed. I also honestly don’t think the mother was handling the situation very well. When I was a baby, I was the baby everybody on an airplane hated, because I’d scream bloody murder, because I had (and still have, actually) ear issues. That I can understand, and I’m more sympathetic with parents of these types of kids who are going through heck and back to get their children to calm down. Unfortunately, the video does not show what (if anything) the mother was doing to get her child to calm down. I could hear her say sweetly, “calm down, honey,” but truthfully, I don’t think that works, behavioral/mental/other disorders or not, especially if she allowed him to climb on the seats the way he was doing. If I tried that at his age, I’d get chewed out, and I’d get punished (I wouldn’t know how, I never tried doing that. We didn’t go anywhere by plane until I was seven or so). I think the mom should have been better prepared to deal with her child. Whenever we went anywhere by plane when I was older, my mom bought me and my sister boxes of brand new crayons, and brand new coloring book and activity books (she took us to the store so we could pick them out ourselves) to keep us occupied. Other times, they let us just look out the window and let us get “lost” in the scenery (this was the late 80’s and early 90’s, we didn’t have iPads and iPhones and the like. Also, my sister has ADD, and I have ADHD, so our minds tend to wander, especially when my sister is near a window). But I think that parents do their children no favors if they allow their kids to continually scream like this kid, even if they do have some kind of disorder.

  • dragon_heart October 5, 2018, 1:24 am

    It would be best if you search for the longer video in youtube. This would explain most of your questions.

    1.) The kid wasn’t screaming for 8 hours straight, when he was allowed to run around the aisles he stopped screaming.
    2.) It appears that the kid was screaming frequently during those 8 hours, but not straight without stopping.
    3.) At the end of the longer video when the passengers were getting off you can hear several people say “8 hours of screaming, what a nightmare.”
    4.) The video poster did say that the mom wasn’t doing anything to fix the situation, other than ask for the wifi (The wifi wasn’t working on this flight according to the guy).

  • HenrysMom October 5, 2018, 1:15 pm

    At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if the child was neurotypical or not, what matters is that an entire plane of innocent bystanders was subjected to his behavior for 8 hours in an enclosed space. I don’t know what the aircraft personnel was thinking in allowing the flight to take off after the child started up with the screaming and running, but they should have removed the child and family immediately.

    As to shaming the person that took the video, that’s out of line. He most likely did it as evidence to present to the airline or perhaps as a distraction to get himself through the flight, then decided to share it to YouTube or wherever. Whatever reason, I’m sure it made the airline take notice.

  • Elisabeth October 5, 2018, 1:44 pm

    There was a child who cried for five hours of an eight hour flight I was on once. We aren’t talking little sobs, either, full on scream-crying, “baaawwwwaaahhahahahaaa”. Hour five, the pilot and lead flight attendant came to personally tell the parents that they needed to quiet their child, and gave the child some of those little wings to make her calm down. Luckily it worked! It was night time by then too, the cabin lights were dimmed so people can sleep.

    But it still was not as bad as this horrible screaming. Does the son have Autism or something else? That is not the screaming of a well child.

  • A Mom October 7, 2018, 11:22 am

    Why are so many of you criticizing the MOM and saying nothing of the DAD?

    • Nenetl October 9, 2018, 7:11 am

      Because it doesn’t appear there even is a Dad in the video. We see there is a mother, but nothing of a potential father.

  • Kitty October 9, 2018, 3:37 pm

    If the kid cannot sit still or be at a reasonable volume for long, I always suggest to not even put them on the flight to begin with.

    Though why are people so quick to jump onto the idea that the child has some disorder because of his screaming? Yes, children scream. No, that does not mean we should tolerate their unrelenting screaming.

    • Lerah99 October 10, 2018, 12:08 pm

      In this case, the news articles about this flight site another passenger stating they overheard the mother tell a crew member that the child has a behavior disorder.

      So people aren’t just speculating this kid might have an issue.
      The mother stated the kid has an issue.

      • Kitty October 10, 2018, 2:52 pm

        Which raises the question if the mother was honest/right about that or if it was an excuse. There are people, including parents, that write off any misbehaving as being ‘a disorder’ these days. Unfortunately. And if there honestly was a known disorder for the child, I would expect the parent/s to know how to deal with it, and to make accomodations accordingly.

  • NicoleK October 13, 2018, 8:39 am

    Once the flight has taken off I’m not sure how you can remove the family from the plane…

  • Lynne October 24, 2018, 3:14 pm

    I wonder if any fellow passenger offered to help the mother, or at least gave her some compassion.

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