Parenting. At it's finest....
Girl Kicked Off Plane After Tantrum

Jan 23 12:06 PM US/Eastern

AP Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Flight attendants often deal with obnoxious passengers who won't listen to instructions by kicking them off the plane. But a Massachusetts couple think AirTran Airways went overboard by treating their crying 3-year-old daughter in much the same way.

Julie and Gerry Kulesza and daughter Elly were removed from the flight when the girl refused to take her seat before takeoff, airline officials said Tuesday. But her parents said they just needed a little more time to calm her down.

The Kuleszas planned to fly home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers after a four-day visit with the girl's paternal grandparents. She was removed because "she was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat" during boarding, AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said.

AirTran officials say they were only following Federal Aviation Administration rules that children age 2 and above must have their own seat and be wearing a seatbelt upon takeoff.

"The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational decision to remove the family," Graham-Weaver said.

But Julie Kulesza said: "We weren't giving an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything."

"Elly was sitting in front of our seat crying," she said in a phone interview. "The attendant motioned to a seat and asked if we purchased it for her."

They had paid for the seat. Gerry Kulesza said another attendant then approached the family and told him: "You need to get her in control and in her seat."

The couple told the attendants they were trying. Julie Kulesza said she asked the attendants if Elly could sit on her lap, but they said no.

The family flew home the next day.

The Orlando-based carrier reimbursed the family $595.80, the cost of the three tickets, and offered them three roundtrip tickets anywhere the airline flies, Graham-Weaver said.

But that's too little, too late for the Kuleszas. The father said they would never fly AirTran again.

(California says it would make spanking illegal.....your thoughts???)

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When I see kids behaving in this way it take all the restraint I can muster not to spank them myself. That family will not be flying AirTran again, well good, then I can.
I would like to know what this kid will be like 15 years from now. These parents deserve everything they get!

This doesn't explain why a 3-year-old child was sitting in a seat IN FRONT of the parents...why not put one parent in the front and a child next to the other one...

And it seems to me that 15 minutes should be enough time to find a solution for an upset child...especially considering my first question.

You people must not have children. Yea, at three years old they should behave like perfect little angels because Mommy and Daddy say so. You can reason with an upset three year old like that.
SherryET- Do ya really think spanking your child in front of how many people is a good idea?
The headline would have been totally different then:
"Couple beat their child on a plane full of witnesses"
Bill- I have a 7 year old who still doesn't behave. I must be a horrible parent who doesn't try to teach my child anything. Behavior modification,spanking, taking away priveleges, standing in the corner, none of this seems to be working. Maybe I should drug him with some Ritalin or something. Maybe that will work. I can completely break his spirit in the process and turn him into a zombie.
Do you know how embarassing it is to have your child act out in public? I know it's very annoying and uncomfortable for other people to have to listen to that but where's your compassion?

Your right, spanking him in front of people would not be a good idea. I would take him to the bathroom.
You are not going to turn your child into a zombi by spanking him. He has to know who is the boss. If you do it before age 5 a few times you'll never have to do it again. If you wait to long he'll be able to hit you back.

I can't imagine as a parent placing a child, that young in front of you instead of next to you.

We don't remember days only moments...

These parents had the perfect solution and chose to check it with their baggage: their daughter's car seat. Had they brought that on the plane, they could have buckled her in, just as they would in a car, and the problem would have been solved.

She may still have been upset, but at least she would have been in her seat. That's all AirTran needed in order to take off.

Maggie said: "This doesn't explain why a 3-year-old child was sitting in a seat IN FRONT of the parents...why not put one parent in the front and a child next to the other one..."

As I understand it, the child did not have a ticket for a seperate row. The child was being unruly and would not get into a seat, therefore she was standing or sitting on the floor in front of the parents (by their feet).

As a parent, I would have been embarrassed and willingly taking the child off of the flight when asked to do so. I have also left restaurants when my children acted up. It is not enough to threaten to take a kid to the car but you must follow through. If it happens once or twice they know that you are serious and then all you have to do is ask them, "Do you want to go to the car?" and they shape up.

I think that the airline was generous to offer the family free round trip tickets to make up for the situation.

I agree with the way that Airtran handled things.

If the parents can

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack certain teachers a bonus for putting up with certain spunky kids who refuse to be

I think Mrs DeBoer hits the nail right on the head with this:
I do think we live in a place and time where there's both too much and too little tolerance of children

I never saw anywhere that said the parents in question were not trying to control and calm their child down and since is one toddler meltdown proof positive that this child is an unruly heathen with parents who take no action or responsibility? I have two children and I never let them run wild. My daughter (she is 20 now) only had one real honest to goodness public meltdown once at Southwyck. I removed us from the store. My son (he's 6) has to date also only had one public meltdown, again I removed us from the store.
Those meltdowns don't make me a bad parent but taking a child out of the mall is on a whole different level then being stranded out of state in an airport.

Personally I don't have a problem with them being told to deplane after they couldn't get their child calmed down. I do think it was wrong for AirTran to not let them take the next available flight
They evidently have a no fly for 24 hour rule if you're removed from a flight which may would just fine when you're talking about an intoxicated adult but in the case of an irate toddler I think it's a case of a blanket policy that goes a bit to far.
They stranded that family hundreds of miles from home without their luggage. I think that was just a bit too much on the part of AirTran.

First of all Toledo one is talking about slapping kids in the face.

Back to the point. I understand there are plenty of kids out there who are brats. But, we can't judge someone's parenting skills based on one episode. My kids are pretty well behaved most of the time...I get compliments on their behavior all the time. But, they certainly have their moments.

Would we want our entire character judged by others based on one of our road rage spells...or when we lose patients with a store clerk...etc?

Those who are not parents have no idea what they're talking about...and those who haven't had small children for many years probably can't remember how difficult it was.

Koonz I don't think Toledo++ was advocating that. I'm pretty sure he was referencing the report that the toddler in question is said to have walked over her parents and struck them in the face before the family was asked to deplane.

No, I certainly wasn't advocating slapping a kid in the face - nor did I mean to assume anyone advocated it. I'm just awed by the fact some people can come to the conclusion that these were bad parents as a result of a single incident. Are we forgetting this is a 3 year old? This is where I agree with you both -- OhioKat and Kooz -- in reminding that this is a single incident, with no mention that these parents were sitting idling, laughing, and generally enjoying the time their kid was being a brat. Considering the circumstance, I would have done the same thing.

I am beginning to think that we should either bring back corporal punishment or pay certain teachers a bonus for putting up with certain spunky kids who refuse to be

It is not unreasonable to tell a three year old to sit in her seat and be quiet.

Who said it was? Who said the parents don't -- did anywhere in the news article did it state that the parents laughed off the baby crying? Who said that Kaci doesn't discipline her child, but moreso was more making the point that despite efforts to discipline a child there are going to be times that it's just going to happen. That doesn't mean you don't try and quiet down your kid, but it means there are incidents and that isn't necessarily the result of bad parenting.

My point, clearly too subtle for some, is that the child is not being walked on, but is being required to behave in a civilized manner; That is, to conform.

My question, obviously missed by you, is why do you consider corporal punishment and spanking to result in good parenting and behaved kids? SherryET says she would have spanked the kids. You say thank you to her and good on her for teaching her kids to behave. Kaci tries to explain that this IS A THREE YEAR OLD and incidents like this, especially this young, HAPPEN. She is ridiculed by you. So, why do you think spanking and corporal punishment results in a behaved kid. Do you have any studies? My personal experience with my four year old son -- I haven't spanked him once and he's awesome. He gives me a hard time sometimes, but he knows his boundaries without me having to hit him. A quick "Quiet down now!" and he just sits there with a grumpy face, but quiet and calm.

Yes, madjack, while parents may argue that people should respect the emotional maturity of children, perhaps we should evaluate the emotional maturity of adults. For instance, as I recall, on Nov. 7, 2006, the majority of people voted into law a ban on smoking in places of employment, but many mature and adult bar owners and patrons continue to violate this law because there is no way to enforce it at this point. This is a law truly of the people (because the people actually voted on it), yet these mature adults who choose to violate it are certainly less mature than a three year old. Perhaps we should spank bar owners and patrons who violate this law.

As has already been stated, it's ridiculous the child was seated by herself with Mom and Dad behind her.
No parent in their right mind would do that to a 3-year-old.

On the other hand, one well-publicized incident doesn't make the child in question an obnoxious brat or the parents hopelessly spineless in their lack of disciplinary measures.

Frankly, this kid could simply have been sick. Ever spent time with a 3-year-old with, say, an untreated inner ear infection who's not on Tylenol or some other pain-reducer? It's not pretty and could account for the screaming fit on the plane.

Bottom line, a parent should have been seated with the child.

McCaskey, that I can certainly agree with. There is no way I would have let a three year old sit in front of me, in his/her own seat.

We are forgetting the other 100 or so people on this flight. According to the reports, they were already 15 minutes behind schedule before the parents were asked to leave. The parents asked for more time to get the child under control. The flight crew made the decision to ask the family to leave instead of inconveniencing the other travelers any longer.

There were most likely people on this plane that had connecting flights. If it were me, I would be getting a little nervous about making my next flight. How many people would have had to be rescheduled? Not to mention rescheduling the gates at the Boston airport.

Yes, this was a three year old and sometimes even the best child can have a breakdown. This may have been what happened. But, how long do you inconvenience a whole plane full of people? How long would it have taken to calm the child? Sometimes, the only thing you can do for a child in that state is to move them to somewhere quiet.

The airline has to look at the bottom line. Do they compensate one family or the rest of the ticket holders? How much would it have cost them to reschedule anyone missing a connection?

This is not about the parenting skills of two people but the airline

Good luck, Kaci. With any luck at all the draft will be reinstated and little Johnny can either enlist or be drafted. He


'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

Okay - originally, I read the report and questioned the wording "sitting in front of our seat"

The report doesn't say that the child was sitting ON THE FLOOR in front of our seat...I thought the wording was odd...

So, does anyone know whether the child was on the floor or not?

(But that's okay McCaskey - you can blame me - lol)

Thanks, Darkseid. Some years back an acquaintance of mine enlisted in the US Navy. He

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

What i am having trouble with is why were the parents just sitting there while she was having a fit on the floor. maybe they should have just picked her up, put her in her seat and then tried to calm her down, at least that way the plane could get under way and then they could deal with the screaming and calming her down, or at least shutting her up.

I had an incident with my son around that age. We weren't in public but he was being punished for something (i dont remember what it was) so he threw a holy fit and would not sit down, so i picked his little a** up off the floor set him on the couch, he stayed but he started screaming. So then i went and got the mustard (he hated anything like that)out of the fridge and put it up to his mouth. instant silence! So whenever he started screaming, out came the mustard and it worked. (f course im sure ill be called a bad parent because my son still wont eat mustard, but hey...........8-)

TPP said: Ok parenting genius, what should they have done? What area of that article suggests they were using ineffective parenting skills. If meaningless threats don't work, and you're stuck on an airplane in a city your not very familiar with, what do you do? Can't bust out the mustard on an airplane TM. Do you spank her? That would have hit headliners even harder. Do you "walk over" her? How do you do that?

Excuse me??? I am not the one who said a dammn thing about ineffective parenting skills, i asked why they couldn't pick her up, buckle her in and let her scream her head off, then i recounted an incident that i had once. So what the hell are you jumping down my throat for? Maybe you should try better reading skills before you get all pissy?!!

AND if we are so wrong, what would YOU do?

tpp said "Sorry if you took that comment the wrong way, I wasn't talking to you. I'm not a fan of judging characteristics of people without really knowing them, and to judge these parents based on single incident, from a news article with limited scope, I think is unfair. Why is this even in the news?"

I apologize, I got pissy myself, its been a bad day 8-)

I've had family members that belonged to PHP. Parents helping Parents. But at a glance it seems to have changed it's purpose. I don't have time to delve into the site but it may be helpful.
While looking for a site that may help parents with unruly children I found this article.
I am not a religous person though I find myself getting more spiritual as I grow older. Kids need discipline. You need to get their attention. The best way to do that is a swat on the behind. Your kids need to respect you as an adult, not their friend.
This situation on the plane is in the news because we have a whole generation of kids that are out of control because parents want to be their kids friend. You have parents feeling guilty that the kids are in daycare all day and someone else is raising their children. It's in the news because these are the brats that will be running our country someday. Is this what we want? This has to be brought under conrol before it's too late.
Yes, kids have their tantrums, but in this case it sounds like the parents have lost control.
If kids are an inconvienence to you, don't have them!


To me it isn't an issue of having more time to calm down the child but rather why after three years the parent's had not taught the child how to behave.


I was talking about Ritalin turning him into a zombie. My son is a very energetic, normal 6 year old boy. I'm trying to say that spanking doesn't always work. If it did, my son would behave perfectly by now.
While I would appreciate a little more cooperation from them sometimes, I'm glad my kids have spunk. I don't want them to let people walk all over them. Overall, there good kids.
We all, however, have a bad day now and then and it doesn't make them bad kids anymore than it makes us bad parents.
As parents, we shouldn't be so judgemental of other parents, saying they should have done this or that. We were not in that situation.
It's easy to be an armchair quarterback.

"Their" is correct MadJack.

You said: "Unfortunately for the rest of us, Kaci isn

Now, I don't quite understand the mentality that dominating your kid results in a behaving kid.

Because you can tell the child that it's time to sit down and be quiet, and the child will obey your command? Just a thought. Sarcasm aside, there are times when fits of temper can be tolerated, and times when good behavior can be encouraged and substituted for bad behavior. For instance, instead of crying and not sitting in your seat, wouldn't it be fun to sit with Daddy and Mommy and do what they do? There are other times when the child must do as they are told without question or complaint; Don't touch the stove, don't tease the dog, come over here right now. If the

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

If you read the reports carefully, nowhere does it say that the child had a seat in a row separate from her parents.

"Elly was sitting in front of our seat crying,"

As the child refused to get into her seat, she flopped on the floor in front of her parents. Picture the child on the floor at the parent's feet.

McCaskey says: As has already been stated, it's ridiculous the child was seated by herself with Mom and Dad behind her.
No parent in their right mind would do that to a 3-year-old.

This is the second time I've seen this mentioned but I've not read or heard this anywhere in any of the reports so can you please link the source stating/claiming/proving (take your pick) that the child was sitting alone?
Even the original post on the GMA message boards by the mother involved doesn't mention that.

Is this the best you can do, Junta? Are you sick or something?

Just wait until Jimavolt reads this and shows up for his spanking.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

And there you have it MadJack. You've SEEN these kids. Do you have any kids? Have you been in a situation where you need to be somewhere, you have your sick kid, and no sitter?

My complaint and chief criticism is with the parents who acknowledge bad behavior (she shouldn


And maybe you should re-read my post and see that I was talking to MadJack and not you, I only referred to your mustard trick (which by the way I say is brilliant :)..similar tricks work for me) -- however understanding the circumstances these parents were in, there wasn't much option for immediately shutting the kid up. To immediately jump down their throats and claim these parents were bad parents or applying bad parenting skills because of one incident from one news article is ridiculous.

Depends on the situation what I would have done. I would have sat my kid in my lap, and if I couldn't calm him down I'd personally walk out with him -- but not without giving 5 minutes to calm him down. There's not much discipline you can unfold on your kid with a 100 passengers next to you.

Sorry if you took that comment the wrong way, I wasn't talking to you. I'm not a fan of judging characteristics of people without really knowing them, and to judge these parents based on single incident, from a news article with limited scope, I think is unfair. Why is this even in the news?


Haha, nah, we all have them. No offense taken. Hope the rest of your day gets a bit better :).

The mustard trick reminded me of when my oldest was about 5 and starting to talk back. I told him the next time he did it I would wash his mouth out with soap then we marched to the linen closet and I let him choose a "flavor" - Dial or Ivory...

I set that bar on the counter and kept it there for a while. He shaped up pretty quickly and I never had to actually wash his mouth out.

It worked for me.

i like the mustard idea and may think about using it on my 5 yr old. fortunately, he's a good kid and situations that would call for this are very rare.

nonetheless, i wonder how many people would consider this to be emotional abuse? ya know, you can't torment your child like that.

what is a parent to do?!?

What the hey, it's all Maggie Thurber's fault, LOL. I plead guilty to not reading the AP story in detail, so I went by this:

This doesn't explain why a 3-year-old child was sitting in a seat IN FRONT of the parents...why not put one parent in the front and a child next to the other one...

Any hoo, I don't believe the airline was totally out of line asking the family to deplane given there were 100-some people who wanted to make their destinations on time.

But, given the fact that none of us were actually there to witness this happy event, we don't really know the details of why this kid was acting like she was and what exactly the parents were or were not trying to do about it.

This kid was three, not five or six, and there's a big difference. The variables involved with a kid that age are complicated. As I said earlier, she could have been sick. She could have missed a nap because of traveling. Or, maybe she's the biggest brat on earth and the parents are pushovers. Point is, we just don't know and we weren't there and to make assumptions otherwise is assinine.

Would it have been that big a deal to bend the rule for a few minutes and let the kid sit on the parent's lap until she simmered down? She probably would have been asleep in five minutes and then you buckle her in her seat, throw a blankie over her and the plane takes off and its smiles all around.

"I can hear Kaci whining to an elementary school principal."

You couldn't be more wrong.

You took snippets of what I wrote and blew it completely out of proportion. And apparently, you didn't acutally read everything I wrote.
My children are well behaved overall.
My son does very well in school. He's actually one of the better students in his class (FYI: his teacher's word not mine).
I'm sure you won't believe that, however, because you already have your mind made up.
You drew some VERY incorrect conclusions about me.
Occasionally, they have a bad moment. Occasionally it's in public. No, I'm not proud of that and no, they don't get away with it.
They are not heathens, I am not a bad parent, and we do discipline.
If you want to pick on me to try to prove your point, that's fine, I can take it. Sticks and stones.

There is some interesting reading in that thread. Airline employees have chimed in citing FAA rules and regulations that reinforce my opinion that AirTran employees did what they needed to do.


Look, T++, it works like this: You

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

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