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Fair to Remove Autistic Tot From Airplane?

Maybe I have sympathy for this situation because I am a mother, but I feel for Janice Farrell and Jarrett, her son with special needs. The mother and her autistic two-year-old were escorted off an American Airlines flight on Monday in North Carolina. An ABC report said:

"The child had been crying and screaming uncontrollably, to the point where the child's well being was in question," American Airlines, the parent company of American Eagle, said in a statement. "Though, ultimately, the parent's violation of FAA regulations was the cause for removal, both situations contributed to an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe atmosphere for our passengers and crew."

Janice said the airlines contributed to her son's upset.

What's your opinion?

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foxie foxie 9 years
I don't want to be harsh, but the world doesn't owe you or anyone else a favor because of your difficulties. We all have difficult things in our lives that we have to deal with, but do you know what? We shouldn't walk around expecting the world to help us with our personal issues. I don't inconvenience people with my problems if I don't need to. Going to Target and the gas station and living your life is one thing, but being confined in an airplane while a conflict like that escalates is entirely different. No one wants to just push autism aside, and of course people should be caring towards autistic children, but this situation was just completely out of control. I don't know whose fault it was in the beginning (seems to me like everyone could have handled the situation better), but clearly it was unmanageable in the air. This news story is sad and unfortunate, but they definitely made the right decision.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
you really don't get it. it's insulting to suggest that the world shouldn't have to deal with our children! this child has a handicap but he is still a little child. and i'm sure the staff would give a different account. what you are all assuming is that autism is something that can be pushed to the side and not bother YOUR day. well guess what, we need to live our lives too. we need to travel, buy gas, go to target, etc. and if my autistic kid passes your path you will somehow have to just put on your big girl pants and deal with it for the brief amount of time that you breath the same air. then you can go back to the land of denial. unless of course you have a child with special needs yourself one day.
foxie foxie 9 years
Lickety, clearly the entire plane already knew of the situation before it was announced. Just because some of us can understand the airline's decision doesn't mean we don't appreciate how difficult it must be to be the mother of an autistic child. I'm sure it's difficult to have to deal with the erratic behavior every single day. It doesn't mean that an entire plane full of people should have to "deal with it." Also, I'd be willing to bet that the airline attendant in question would give an entirely different account of the exchange between her and the boy's mother, so I wouldn't jump to conclusiosn about what really happened. If it can be said that the attendant lacked some understanding it could probably also be said that the mother was being difficult as well.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
yes it does make you tired. and for people who's only experience with autism is to read this article and say "wow, sit down already or get off the plane" is really like the last straw. it's not just traveling by plane it's traveling by car and stopping 25 extra times for diaper changes for your 10 year old, and medication time, and because your child is hurting themself out of frustration, or their sibling because of god knows what. all of you who are so la-dee-da about "follow the rules or get off" consider yourself lucky that you can do that. you deal with one of our children for one flight one time in your life. we are there 365 days a year, atuism takes no holiday. if we are sick, a family member dies, another child has a parent teacher conference, autism comes along. this woman and her disabled child needed a little kindness to get him into and comfortable with his seatbelt. how much of a bitch does that flight attendent have to be to shout in the kids face? and who other than a bully would need to announce to the ENTIRE plane that a woman and her "uncontrolable child" would be removed from the plane? the autism boards have picked up on this story, so i'm sure we will be hearing more on it in the future.
macsugar macsugar 9 years
I travel often and have a typical 2 year-old and a four year-old with autism. And the two year-old can be as much trouble as his big brother on occasion. BUT...Every time I buy a ticket online/over the phone, I add a comment about my child's autism and my various concerns/needs. I have NEVER been approached or received a reply to these concerns. And I fly AA and Northwest. As to this story, are they really saying that the kid should have been kicked off because the mother wasn't following the rules about her carry-on? They talk about his raging fir, but it that was the FAA rule they sited. Just crazy. Sorry, it's just hard for me to hear about intolerance right now. I feel like I have to fight someone everyday over something like just get so tired.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Bottom line, I support AA's decision as well.
redheadkimie redheadkimie 9 years
A little sympathy from the flight crew and everyone could have been happy. People need to understand that there are people with special needs and we can't just bar them from everything just to make the masses happy. No one was in danger, this was just ridiculous.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I agree with Foxie, its not up to the airlines staff to understand how to deal with a child with special needs, the number one factor is the safety of the passengers and if they felt like the child wasnt safe, or posing a risk, they did what they had to do. (and I work exclusively with special needs children)
mbev1234 mbev1234 9 years
As a mother of three and a special education teacher, I think there is a big difference between a screaming child and a child not being buckled in. If one of my children was acting up and didn't or couldn't sit with a seatbelt on, I would understand if they asked us to leave the plane. It stinks, but I know many families that had to drive across country and make special travel arrangements for their autistic children because they couldn't handle being in the confined airplane.
snarkypants snarkypants 9 years
he was not buckled in. he was rolling around in the aisles. it was a violation of faa regulations. all passengers must be buckled in their seats during takeoff. yes, i feel bad for the poor kid, but i agree 150% with the decision made by the airline.
anniebananie anniebananie 9 years
I don't know i can see both sides, if the tot was not able to be in his seat buckled up in time for departure than yes they should have been removed, i feel for the mom but it's not fair for the other passengers to have to wait for him to calm down in order for the plane to take off.
foxie foxie 9 years
It really isn't completely up to the airline to know how to deal with autistic children. If the parents couldn't keep the child under control, what could the attendants have done? I feel for the kid, but the rest of the passengers have the right to a safe, moderately comfortable flight. They shouldn't have to be subjected to hours spent in a confined space with a screaming child. I support the airline's difficult choice. You all speak as if the decision was made lightly, which I'm sure it wasn't.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 9 years
How terrible! Its a shame to that they did something like this, people (in general) need to learn how to deal with special needs children and there needs to be a level of understanding with them as with any children. I am so scared to fly with my daughter for this reason, she is nearly two and can't stay put for more than a few mins - I'd hate to think that I would get kicked off a plane or reprimanded because she is crying or what have you.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
i agree w/the comments advising the airlines before hand... but WHERE in the world was the understanding and the compassion in ANY of these people. i'm disgusted & wont fly AA again. I just wont! and maybe bring a bag of ear plugs.... (you can get them in bulk pretty cheap) for the neighboring passengers just in case... i may do this w/my own baby... when we fly... just because you never know & you can only do what you can do whether or not your child has special needs.... im disgusted
lolalu lolalu 9 years
I'm disgusted by what AA did to this mother and her child. To me it sounds like a frustrated flight attendent didn't want to hear/deal with a special needs child, so she kept bothering him which only made the situation worse. AA should be ashamed. I completely disagree about medicating the child. Speaking as the daughter of two pediatricians, I know for a fact that you should NEVER medicate a child unless its completely necessary (fever,ect). The mildest medicine can be tough on little bodies, especially on those with special needs. All fits and episodes die down eventually, so I think the flight attendents should have been more understanding.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
It would have been nice if the mother was prepared like Lickety split -- have some medication ready if her son got agitated. The medication would have soothed her son into napping, and she would have bypassed all the events that made her upset (which according to the video, made her son MORE agitated). Also, if he was napping, he would have been secure in his seatbelt, which in my opinion, was important for his safety. Thus, I was somewhat glad the flight attendant was adamant about that. Oh well. I'm certain the mother meant well. I think he could have been controlled if she was prepared. JMHO.
ashleylynne ashleylynne 9 years
From my experience, flight crews today are poorly trained on how to work with people, and children particularly, that have a disability. I was on a flight sitting next to a family whose son happened to be blind. The flight attendant accidentally knocked over a pitcher and dumped water on the boy who of course was then confused as to what was going on. The flight attendant instead of talking to the parents and asking them what they needed started talking with neighboring passengers asking, "What's wrong with him? Is he okay?" The father eventually had enough with her unhelpfulness and sternly said to her that he's blind, doesn't understand what happened and go get something to wipe up the mess. The flight attendant immediately took offense and it just blew up into a rather uncomfortable situation. I don't envy the working conditions that flight crews have to deal with, but there should be respect from both sides. Lately I haven't seen a lot of that while flying.
CocoChic CocoChic 9 years
This is ridiculous. The child has a disability and the mother should have been given more freedom to calm him down.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
We really have no idea what her the mother's demeanor was during this stuff. Maybe she was being highly demanding and agitated as well? I just think there may be more to the story then she is saying. It does sound like a good idea to forewarn the crew of possible problems that might come up. Maybe if they had known ahead of time they wouldn't have been such asses about the seat belt?
mecita mecita 9 years
Not speaking specifically about this situation but the issue of uncontrollable children in general - I am a mother too and my daughter went through the terrible two's, etc. However, I have a very hard time (on planes, in restaurants, movies, etc.) when children and so loud and disruptive and the parents cannot control them. Again, my comment is not about this particular situation.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i really feel for this family. the times i have flown with my daughter who has autism have been VERY anxiety ridden. i told the flight crew on our last flight (she was 7) that my daughter had severe autism and that if she acted up i had a medication i could give her so please let me have a few minutes to give her the meds and let them tske affect before reacting. i was told that if she acted up she would be physically restrained. so i just gave her the meds and she went to sleep. then when i couldn't get her to wake up when we landed they gave me crap about getting her a wheel chair. "you should have thought of that!" well i did actually, i called airline and asked for a wheelchair to meet us at the gate. traveling with a disabled child is really difficult. this flight attendant made things more difficult, what happened to customer service? on their flight the day before (which was canceled and why they were on this flight) the flight attendant was very kind to the child and understanding. she was able to turn the situation around. i'm calling the airline to support the family.
ayuninur ayuninur 9 years
I agree!
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
The airline's statement makes it seem like they didn't know how to deal with the child and thus kicked them off. How awful. Many children cry on airplanes, but because this child was autistic, he was suddenly uncontrollable and volatile, right? I think this really just says something about people today...
KAEB06 KAEB06 9 years
As a mother of an autistic child I have been on many flight where my child is uncontrollable. I've gone into nervous breakdowns on flights before we found the right tools to calm him and even then, flying is not enjoyable to say the least. This whole thing just really saddens me...
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