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.A wire story only provides so many details, but what was reported suggests that AirTran handled this pretty damn well.
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 Graham-Weaver said.
The AP reported that the parents, Julie and Gerry Kulesza, who were returning home to Boston on Jan. 14 "said they just needed a little more time to calm their daughter, Elly." This couple apparently doesn't grasp the fact that airlines take off and land on predetermined schedules, and can't be expected to wait "a little more time" for a passenger (adult or child) who won't take her seat.
AirTran reimbursed the family $595.80 for the full cost of three tickets, and it arranged for new flights to get them to Boston. The airline also has offered the Kuleszas three roundtrip tickets anywhere the airline flies. But daddy was just as inconsolable as his daughter. According to the AP: "The father said his family would never fly AirTran again."
Does Mr. Kulesza know how happy AirTran passengers are to hear that?