'Cranky' toddler wouldn't stay seated, booted off Alaska Air flight

11:31 AM, Jun 1, 2012   |    comments
Image courtesy Alaska Airlines
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The subject of children on airplanes is likely to remain a hot topic this week after reports about a "cranky 3-year-old" being kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight in Seattle.

Seattle radio station KIRO says Alaska Airlines made the move after the boy wouldn't stay in his seat with his seat belt fastened as the plane taxied toward the runway for takeoff.

FULL STORY:  Antsy toddler kicked off Alaska Airlines plane (KIRO)

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"He was crying, being cranky," Mark Yanchak, the boy's father, says to KIRO. "I started putting him in his seat. I put his seat belt on. But he was being cranky, trying to be close to me, so he wasn't fully fastened yet."

Yanchak's wife - who was sitting in first class with the family's other child - came back to Mark's coach-class seat with a pacifier and water. That, the Yanchaks say, ultimately calmed the 3-year-old.

However, it didn't come soon enough for the flight's captain, who opted to return the plane to the gate to offload the boy.

KIRO reports "the airline said the pilot would rather deal with the issue on the ground than mid-flight." The airline acknowledged it was judgment call, but says its concern lay with the fact that the boy refused to stay seated and buckled up.

Federal regulations require passengers to be seated with their seat belts fastened for takeoff and landing. Airlines that are unable to enforce those rules risk punitive measures from federal regulators.

Still, the Yanchaks say they aren't happy about the turn of events and believe that the airline's crew overreacted.

Alaska Airlines offered to accommodate the family on a later flight, but the family declined. Mark Yanchak says he was unsure if the boy would be up for an attempt at another airline flight.

"I think the whole ordeal just scared him off. He didn't want to fly again," Yanchak tells KIRO.

TODAY'S TALKER: This isn't the first time such a story has made the news. Should the airline have been more patient? Or was Alaska Air right to draw the line where it did? Share your thoughts below...



Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

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