Emily Kaiman and her family were removed from a US Airways flight without warning because her 17-month-old son Shai kicked his legs into the aisle.
It's always frustrating to be on the same flight as a fussy child, but it's something we all have to deal with. As much as you or I might groan when we see a kid start to fidget in his seat or cry, that doesn't mean we necessarily want that entire family forcibly removed from the plane by security. But for one St. Louis family, that's exactly what happened.
On May 10, Emily Kaiman was flying back home from Charlotte with her four children and her mother. Their flight was delayed three hours, and then once everyone was allowed to board, it was stuck on the tarmac for another 30 minutes. After all that waiting, Kaiman's 17-month-old toddler Shai began getting antsy. He was flying as a lap baby, and he started to sprawl out, sticking his legs out into the aisle. A flight attendant came by and told Kaiman he couldn't do that, and she turned him around so his legs would be clear of the aisle. He continued to fidget, trying to stand on her lap, and a flight attendant asked Kaiman to hold him tightly. Then she started nursing him and he calmed down.
At that point, Kaiman noticed that the plane, which had been taxiing, started heading back to the gate. At the gate, security boarded the plane and told her her entire family would have to leave. The flight crew had decided that they wouldn't fly with Shai on board, because he was a danger. There had been no warning from the flight attendants, who didn't even say anything to the family as they were escorted off the plane, humiliated. Kaiman submitted a complaint, and wrote a post on Facebook describing the incident:
The family was allowed to board the next plane, which just confused Kaiman more. If Shai had presented a danger on the previous flight, why did they think he wouldn't on the next one? In fact, she still doesn't understand the behavior of the flight crew or the airline, which is why she's bringing her case to the media. She's not suing; she just wants an apology.
This story has some similarities to one we posted just a few days ago. In that instance, a teenage autistic girl and her family were removed from a flight because the crew was worried she would have a fit after they refused to give her a hot meal. That was different because the flight was actually diverted to a different airport after it was airborne, but in both cases, the individual in question had calmed down before they were removed.
It will be interesting to see how our readers react to this one. When we released the previous story, many people had no sympathy at all for the autistic girl or her family, and came down very harshly on them, which honestly shocked us. Many of them had criticisms of the family's actions (that the mother should have fed her daughter earlier, or that the girl needed to learn patience) which showed they had no understanding of autism or its symptoms. I wonder how people will react to this story of a child with no disabilities.