Bye Bye Plane

July 16, 2007

Sounds innocent, right?

Well, in June 2007, Kate Pennland and her 19 month old son Garen boarded a flight in Houston bound for Oklahoma. As they were taxing out, Garen repeatedly said, “Bye bye plane.” Apparently, this irritated the flight attendant who insisted that Kate make her son stop. When he didn’t, the flight attendant said, “It’s not funny anymore. You need to shut your baby up. You know, it’s called baby Benadryl.”

OMG! I was appalled by this! Not only as a mother but as a flight attendant.

As parents, we all know how stressful it can be to travel with your children on an airplane. We try to plan in advance to make sure every possible situation can be resolved with our handy bag of tricks. However, there will be times when you just can’t control what your child says or does no matter how hard you try. In these cases, you just go with the flow and try to remember that you’ll never see these people, who are glaring at you, ever again. However, if all he was doing was saying “bye bye plane”, that mother is very fortunate. Garen sounds like a well behaved child to me. Especially after an 11 hour delay.

As a flight attendant, I am embarrassed at the image this Continental Express employee is projecting about flight attendants in general. I can think of more than a few co-workers who should be taking classes in customer service but I can’t imagine any of them actually having someone taken off a flight for something so insignificant. What puzzles me is how the flight attendant was able to get the Captain to agree with her. Yes, we can remove someone from a flight if we feel we’re being threatened but if it is true that Kate and Garen were not a threat, then all they would have to do is talk to the passengers around her. Wouldn’t they have then found out that the flight attendant blew the whole situation out of proportion?

Something just doesn’t seem right here.

In any case, from what I’ve read so far about the situation, my sympathy lies with Kate and Garen. No one should have to be subjected to that kind of treatment, no matter what the situation. I’d be interested, though, in finding out what happens to that flight attendant.

What do you think her fate will be?

Aloha for stopping by Waya, Karen, Mommy the Maid, Riley, Momto3cubs, Elizabeth, Holly Schwendiman, TopChamp, Write From Karen, Stacey, Christine, Michelle, Wendy, YellowRose, Dana, Janine @ Moving Mama, Wendy, Melissa, Slackermommy, Diana/sunshine, Jill, Twisted Cinderella, La Bellina Mammina, Summershine, Lissete, Judy, Lorri, The Foo, Tracey, Yanzhi, Karen, Amy, Grace, Sognatrice, Exskindiver (chesca), Pamela, Annaliza @ ventanawhos candid, Renee, Yoshi, and Stephanie

41 Comments on “Bye Bye Plane”

July 16, 2007
5:14 am

Stephanie said:

Aloha… Again!!! Sorry I’ve been gone so long.. I’ve been so busy around here! Anyways, this situation is just sad! I’m sure she was just having a bad day but how dare her kick someone, especially a baby, off a plane because he said bye bye plane. I would think that it would be cute. I could see it being some drunk 20 year old being obnoxious or something like that… but a baby?!? Come on now!!

July 16, 2007
5:41 am

yoshi said:

Obviously, she was having a bad day, and she just couldn’t control herself. This of course, is not an excuse, especially in a job where you deal with people all day.

I think she’ll be reprimanded, told to shape up, and sent on her way. honestly. unless of course, she’s had many other complaints…and her job performance is entirely horrible. but something should be done.

July 16, 2007
5:50 am

Renee said:

From what I saw on the news, the flight attendant told the pilot that the mother was making threatening remarks…which the other passengers said did not happen.

I would like to know what happens too.

July 16, 2007
5:53 am

annaliza @ ventanawhos candid said:

hmmm that was really rude. i’m surprised no one else remarked back to the flight attendant.

when i flew to florida (from california) with my, then, fifteen month old and four year old, people gave up their seats and arranged amongst each other thier seating arrangements so that the girls would feel comfortable flying. i was overwhelmed at thier kindness.

i really hope the truth surfaces and the attendant pays for her consequences accordingly.

July 16, 2007
5:58 am

Pamela said:

well… if I was the boss, the employee would be saying ‘bye bye plane,” too.

I am curious to the other side. Someone said they saw the mother interviewed on GMA and the kid was uncontrollable. I didn’t see it.

It doesn’t make sense, tho, that a child can delay a flight because he’s not been disciplined.

July 16, 2007
6:37 am

exskindiver (chesca) said:

hi kailani,
that sounds like a total abuse of power.
how are you?
btw, i don’t think i left a comment but that last TSA debacle with the sippy cup sucked me in.
i did follow up google searches and everything!
hope girlie girl is enjoying kindergarten.

July 16, 2007
6:38 am

sognatrice said:

Hmm…maybe I’m just an optimist at heart, but when I just read “bye bye plane” I took it as a kid saying “we’re going bye bye (on the plane).” The flight attendant was obviously out of line if that’s all that happened, but I agree that there seems like there’s more to the story. I should hope so anyway.

July 16, 2007
10:42 am

Grace said:

Were there any camera inside the plane that recorded the whole incident? I know the plane has a blackbox that will record sounds but images?

I would like to know the whole story too. But honestly picking on a baby is so low and very unprofessional.

July 16, 2007
10:57 am

amy said:

I was wondering if you were going to comment on that situation. When I read it, I thought “I wonder what Island Girl would say about that?!?!?”

I feel bad for the mother. They had already had a delay and then to get kicked off the plane? My understanding was the flight attendant had told the pilot that the mother was making threatening remarks and that the passengers had disagreed with her. So I don’t know. It was way out of bounds to suggest baby benadryl though!!! I really hope that she is reprimanded though because that’s a huge liability to put her on another plane!

July 16, 2007
11:28 am

Karen said:

Ridiculous with a capital R. Sounds like the flight attendant has some issues and fears. When I first read that she started freaking out, I figured it was because she was afraid the plane was going to crash…..and here was this baby saying “bye bye plane” over and over. She definitely overreacted!!

Annaliza….probably the reason no one boldly stood up for this mom is because they figured they’d have the same fate–booted off the plane. Obviously the flight attendant was a bit irrational and most people don’t like to cross irrational people.

Sad story.

July 16, 2007
11:33 am

yanzhi said:

Great blog design and fun material…

Hi from the blog of dreams in China…..

July 16, 2007
11:52 am

tracey said:

Hmmm. Maybe there’s more to the story? Maybe the baby wasn’t saying it, but shouting it? Or maybe he’d been saying it loudly for over an hour or so?
Just trying to give the benefit of the doubt to the f.a. Hoping that she wasn’t really as mean as the description sounds!
I wonder….

July 16, 2007
12:31 pm

The Foo said:

that’s appalling! she obviously doesn’t have kids yet as if she does, she’ll probably see how hard it is to keep them quiet. This shows a total abuse of power and regardless of whether you are having a bad day or not, this kind of behavior is not acceptable.

I won’t go as far as to fire her but I say some kind of warning with a suspension without pay (if she does it again) could be in order to keep her on her toes. She should also give a written apology to that mother for being out of line.

Looks like this flight attendant needs some benadyrl herself… extra doses if I might add! oh, add a slap in the head too.

July 16, 2007
12:39 pm

Lorri said:

I always have to laugh when I hear/read the suggestion of giving your child Benedryl to keep them quiet or asleep on a plane. Benedryl has a few side effects, only one of which is drowsiness. The other is that it may cause excitability in children. Boy, wouldn’t that be pretty!

I hope the family is compensated by the airlines.

July 16, 2007
12:49 pm

Judy said:

I’m with everyone else… I’m looking forward to hearing “the rest of the story and finding out what happens now.” BTW, when you google “kate pennland,” you are up first :-)

July 16, 2007
12:52 pm

Lissete said:

I saw this on the news the other day. The F.A tapparently told the pilot that the mom was threatning her or something to that effect. Several passengers concured w/ the mom’s side of the story. I don’t know how the F.A should be dealt with. But Anger Management should definitely be in her future!

July 16, 2007
12:55 pm

summershine said:

I first saw the article about this incident last night and I was furious.
Of course there may be parts of the story that we don’t know about, but the current version points to a completely unacceptable attitude by the flight attendant.
The baby bendaryl comment was WAY out of line, that in and of itself ought to at least get an attendant suspension in my opinion.
But to boot a mother and baby off a plane because the child was talkative, well she needs to be booted from the company for that, unless there really was a threat, which I highly doubt there was.
It is inexcusable to treat customers like that, whether you’ve had a crappy day or not. If she can’t handle people with dignity and politeness in spite of a bad day, she shouldn’t be working with people at all.

July 16, 2007
12:58 pm

La Bellina Mammina said:

I was appalled when I read that. When the mom was interviewed on tv, they showed the little kid playing and running around - like any other 19 month old kid.
I’ve travelled so much with my 18 month old toddler, and I can vouch that people can be so insensitive sometimes, no matter how hard you’re try to make sure that your toddler does not disturb other people. I’m sure you’ve read about how I was abused by a group of Greeks when my baby wouldn’t stop crying, no matter what I did. And that was only on the ground!
I do hope they get to the bottom of this and if the stewardess had reacted, she should be disciplined, together with the captain who allows it to happen. (in my opinion, the baby was just saying goodbye as they were about to fly-kids that age are just starting to learn to talk and repeat the same words again and again).

July 16, 2007
12:58 pm

Twisted Cinderella said:

while I can’t imagine we have heard the whole story. I do feel for the mom in this one.

July 16, 2007
1:29 pm

Jill said:

I thought the story was horrible too… but I’d like to think maybe the flight attendant had a bad day and unfortunately took it out on this poor mother and her child. Not to excuse it, but I just really want to believe that if that was her attitude in general she would have chosen a different profession. From what I understand, she told the pilot that the woman threatened her, but like you said, all he/she had to do was come back and talk to the passengers around her to hear both sides of the story.

July 16, 2007
1:45 pm

diana/sunshine said:

i totally agree with you. i was appalled when i heard this story in the news. first, i think it’s a crime to be held on a plane for anything over a half hour. i can only imagine how you deal with that - with a kid no less.

then the way the flight attendant treated this mother and toddler seems so extreme and so heartless. i hope this flight attendant is let go and the mom and son receive a nice compensation package. they both deserve it.

July 16, 2007
3:27 pm

slackermommy said:

She needs to be fired. This says a lot about her integrity. My oldest daughter has Tourette’s Syndrome and although repetitive phrases so far are not a tic for her I don’t want to have to worry about insensitive flight attendants who don’t understand that there are some things a parent can’t control. A child deserves as much respect as an adult.

July 16, 2007
3:42 pm

Melissa said:

I was wondering what you thought of this situation…
I stick with my first impression - this lady doesn’t have kids. :) I will be interested to see what happens…

July 16, 2007
3:45 pm

Wendy said:

Yeah, it’s a pretty ridiculous story. I am not sure if the attendant was having a bad day or if she was worried that what the child was saying would make other passengers nervous. Who knows, she shouldn’t have been that rude!

July 16, 2007
5:31 pm

Janine @ Moving Mama said:

There has to be more to this story - at least, I hope there is more. There is no justification for telling the mother to give her child medication. After waiting for such a long delay, I would have had a hard time even getting my kids on a plane :) So I’m impressed the mother even got him in a seat!

July 16, 2007
5:46 pm

Dana said:

Kailani…glad to see you weighing in on this…I figured you would do a post on it. Glad you did. I think that fa was totally out of line. I just can’t believe this happened if it went down as it is being reported. I hope we get some follow up later!

July 16, 2007
6:03 pm

YellowRose said:

I was appalled when I heard this story, but when I heard that the FA responded to other passengers who expressed that the child was not bothering them, she stood in front of the plane and informed everyone that this was HER plane. Sounds to me like a power trip if ever there was one. Disgusting behaviour to recommend drugging a child. I certainly hope she gets what she deserves.

July 16, 2007
6:13 pm

wendy said:

I heard about this. Bad day or not, this should never have occurred. That woman has no business working with the public if that is all there is to the story. I’ve had things happen with my little one and you feel terrible but you feel even worse when people are just nasty about instead of understanding.

July 16, 2007
8:01 pm

Michelle said:

That FA needs to be fired, I’m sorry but don’t work with the public if you can’t handle working with children. That sounds like a very typical thing for a little kid to be doing and she’s lucky the kid wasn’t screaming or crying his head off. We travelled all the way to England from the US with our daughter when she was just under a year and were treated very well, aside from one FA that was trying to insist we have her car seat buckled in forward facing instead of rear-facing which is required for that age. She was pretty rude to us, but the rest were great and we were fortunate enough to have a pretty quiet daughter for most of the trip.

I’m just APPALLED by this story and will have to watch to see what happens!

July 16, 2007
8:41 pm

Christine said:

I hope the FA gets fired. She could have handled the situation very differently, by not being so rude. In the restaurants I’ve seen my fellow food servers tell parents to have their children reamain seated for their safety, but they weren’t being rude when they said it.

I’m with the mother, nothing that child could have done, would be considered a threat to the flight of the plane.

July 16, 2007
9:09 pm

Stacey said:

Oh gosh, this was way over-reacting, I agree. Now….I’m gonna kinda sorta say something a little bit unpopular probably!

I know there are times when there is NO way to control your toddler, good grief, I’ve raised three myself. It happens. A lot. I don’t know the whole story either, and no matter what, this was over-board (pun here).

However, I often encounter parents (usually mommies) who think their child, no matter how disruptive and loud, is just so darned adorable that EVERYONE should think so, too. Everyone should WANT to hear him/her, so no point quieting said child. It’s invasive at best. Not saying that happened on that plane, nope. But if it did, I can understand a little wee bit of irritation. Not enough to warrant the action, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s not okay to do nothing as a parent but smile and look around to watch other adoring eyes upon their loud baby.

July 16, 2007
10:01 pm

Write From Karen said:

It sounds like she was using the mother and child as a scapegoat for her frustrations. I’m not saying it’s right, but it happens, in every customer service profession.

And I have to agree with Stacey above me, some women do indeed think their children walk on water and look, isn’t he cute screaming his head off? So, it might have been a little worse than we know.

That’s why I have such respect for anyone who works with the public - been there, done that. People are so incredibly rude that it’s hard NOT to be human back to them. Cust. Service reps are there to help you, not kiss your butt and certainly not to take your crap. They are people too and are simply doing their jobs – don’t take advantage of their kindness, especially if you WANT good customer service. I’m not making excuses for this FA, but I’m with you, I can’t help wondering if there’s more to the story. Especially after getting the Captain involved.

I don’t think she should be fired, but I think she should definitely be issued a written, or verbal warning. Unless this FA has done this sort of thing in the past, then she has graduated past the warning stage and should be terminated.

I think people, as a general rule, have forgotten how to be courteous to one another. It’s all about “me” and what “I” want. Granted, this little guy was a toddler and therefore didn’t have control over his actions, and the mother can only do so much, but perhaps a compromise could have been reached here as opposed to such drastic behavior.

Sorry for the novel-ish answer. :)

July 16, 2007
10:03 pm

TopChamp said:

hopefully her demise will reflect her performance overall - not just in this one incident. Obviously she should get some kind of discipline but kids drive me nuts so I can sympathise.

July 17, 2007
12:10 am

Holly Schwendiman said:

I’m slow catching up today but holy cow what a horrible thing to say. I would have shot back some comeback with a witty drug that she was in need of herself!


July 17, 2007
1:24 am

Elizabeth said:

Wild. I read this story somewhere else, too, and couldn’t believe it. I don’t know what my reaction would have been but I think I might have been arrested as they tried to take me off the plane, I would have been so mad. It’s sad to think that there are those out there that aren’t sympathetic to those travelling with kids, but… I guess that’s just how it is.

July 17, 2007
1:41 am

momto3cubs said:

You have something against Benadryl? ;)

I think there must be more to the story we haven’t heard yet.

I thought of you right away when I read this news story.

July 17, 2007
2:39 am

Riley said:

I generally try not to judge people and wish ill will towards them, but I wouldn’t at all feel sorry for that flight attendant if she gets fired. And I think she should have to apologize to that mother face to face on national television. And possibly consume some baby Benadryl. Okay, now I’m getting carried away…

July 17, 2007
5:34 am

Mommy the Maid said:

Wow. I hadn’t heard of that. I might have to read up. It sounds like the situatuion was blown WAY out of the water.

July 17, 2007
9:18 pm

Karen said:

She either had a really bad day or really bad year, and certainly, if she can’t handle a toddler talking (honestly, I’m sure it can get 100x worse with crying kids) she should consider a career change. Maybe this will do it for her; if litigation goes as planned, she may not be welcome at most airlines, unless she gets remedial training.
I’m certain she’s the exception rather than the rule. I’ve always had extremely sympathetic attendants who do that much extra when I fly with my kids; just got back from a couple of 5 hour flights no problems . My kids are quite well-behaved, but even the best ones have a tough time in airplane environments. But it sounds like this cutie was just exercising his vocabulary.

July 18, 2007
7:22 pm

Waya said:

That is just terrible! That flight attendant should be put in a roomful of children and they all chant “bye bye plane” to her all day. Obviously, she should not be working with PEOPLE!! She probably doesn’t have children and hate being around them.

July 23, 2007
4:04 am

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