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"Airline Boots Toddler After Tantrum"
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Airline Boots Toddler After Tantrum
BY JIM ELLIS
The Associated Press
(ORLANDO, Fla.) - AirTran Airways on Tuesday defended its decision to remove
a Massachusetts couple from a flight after their crying 3-year-old daughter
refused to take her seat before takeoff.
AirTran officials said they followed Federal Aviation Administration rules
that children age 2 and above must have their own seat and be wearing a seat
belt 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," AirTran spokeswoman Judy
Julie and Gerry Kulesza, who were headed home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort
Myers, said they just needed a little more time to calm their daughter,
"We weren't given an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything,"
Julie Kulesza said in a telephone interview Tuesday. The Kuleszas said they
told a flight attendant they had paid for their daughter's seat, but asked
whether she could sit in her mother's lap. The request was denied.
She was removed because "she was climbing under the seat and hitting the
parents and wouldn't get in her seat" during boarding, Graham-Weaver said.
The Orlando-based carrier reimbursed the family $595.80, the cost of the
three tickets, and the Kuleszas flew home the next day. They also were
offered three roundtrip tickets anywhere the airline flies, Graham-Weaver
The father said his family would never fly AirTran again.
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