Family With 7 Week Old Baby Kicked Off A Flight In What Seems Like A Horrible Mix Up

A family with a 7 week old baby was kicked off their American Airlines Charlotte to Philadelphia flight on Saturday after a disagreement with flight attendants. They were called ‘rude’ and ‘disruptive’ but it appears to have stemmed from a misunderstanding as the baby’s mother got up from her seat to accommodate another passenger. They reportedly had to wait around the airport for eight hours before being accommodated on a new flight home.

Here’s video of the family being kicked off of the flight, as they disagree with the crew’s characterizations of their behavior and plea for sanity and compassion.

The video doesn’t show what happened prior to the confrontation. It wouldn’t – there wouldn’t have been a reason to film that. However it’s certainly believable that there was a misunderstanding.

There have been so many ‘passenger behaving badly’ stories – at much higher levels during the pandemic – a mix of stressful times, more leisure passengers and fewer business travelers, and the politicization of masks. We’ve seen flight attendants attacked by passengers. So many cabin crew have their backs up, and on something of a hair trigger, rather than focused on compassion.

Add in the airline’s removal of a gate agent on flights that aren’t full, there’s less screening of passengers going on before they board the aircraft. And the airline’s focus on exact on-time departures. The path of least resistance is going to be ‘ready fire aim’. And people bring their assumptions, preconceptions, and different communication styles with them onto the aircraft.

Here’s the discussion after they were removed from the aircraft

According to a spokesperson for American Airlines,

We are aware of an incident involving a family traveling with us from CLT to PHL on Sunday, Dec. 5. We are working to understand what took place onboard and a member of our team has reached out to the customers for more information.

This doesn’t appear to be “caring for people on life’s journey” but it seems they were kicked off before they’d done anything wrong which might at least qualify as “passionately pursuing efficiencies.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Just another case of flying while BLACK. Disgraceful! Boycott this unwoke airline!

  2. This is my favorite part Gary ( The video doesn’t show what happened prior to the confrontation. )

    Of course it doesn’t !!!!!!

  3. Absolutely zero excuse for this hyper overaggressive act upon a young couple and their SEVEN WEEK old baby. I concur & support the need to be alert & to deal with willfully ignorant, disruptive & disorderly passengers decisively & effectively, however the optics on this specific event appear to be highly questionable. The attendants & Captain were completely shirked their responsibility. This young couple are entitled to a personal apology, full refund of the initial flight AND a couple of vouchers for domestic round trip tickets for two anywhere in the USA.
    Or they can seek a legal remedy and hopefully AA will pay dearly for this horrible example of how to treat customers.,,,totally disgusting behavior by this crew.

  4. AA personnel lack of patience, or understanding, is very disturbing. They see all of us as enemies. Not even a bit of compassion towards a new mom??? Unbelievable!

  5. when their are passengers who behave rudely, drunk are allowed to fly, this family acted and responded as ordered . to have them kicked out is a travesty. they flight attendants need retraining . they need to beg trained to defuse not escalate. trying grab phone from recording is wrong as well.
    the gentleman never mentioned color . but perhaps the flight attendant made the request to the captain . I believe if the captain engaged himself he would have realized the fairness of the family and the travesty the flight attendant created.

  6. AA is a racist company. So many POC get kicked off or harassed. Congress and the DOJ should investigate the poor treatment of POC

  7. American needs to send all of their workforce to a mental health crisis center. Starting with Parker and Isom.

  8. This is the first “passengers get kicked off flight” where at least two or three respondents haven’t said “we haven’t heard the whole” story as the reason they think the customers are at fault.

    If this were kindergarten, the teacher would tell the kids to take a time out. This whole Covid experience has been tough on EVERYONE. It is not an excuse to get drunk and disorderly, pick a fight when you wouldn’t have done so three years ago, and in-flight crew would not act like they are doing you a favor for letting you stay on the plane. And the latest one, from my favorite airline in the States, Alaska, with the crew telling management they don’t want to serve the customer food and beverages under the Covid guise. Hey everyone has to go back to work. Deal with it.

    And finally, it’s about time airlines remember the words: customer service. The thought that a Middle-East airline getting into the U.S. market would terrify them like you cannot believe. Why fly an American airline, when you can be treated like…………… a customer on a foreign airline.

  9. It’s time these airlines are put in their place. They need to be serving their customers, not the other way around. I hope this family sues, sues, sues!

  10. It’s so dumb for FAs to act like this. They’re not getting paid while this is going on. It would have been far more efficient for them to just let it go. A couple with a 7 week old baby aren’t going to be a real threat to anyone.
    The video also shows 1 of the FAs hitting the husband and knocking the phone out of his hand. That’s clearly assault and the guy should be fired.

  11. I interpret the events leading up to the conflict as thus:
    The couple with the baby had to get out of their seats to let in a passenger in the window seat, probably one of the last passengers to board. The crew is trying to get out on time so they are being vocal about everyone being in their seats. The couple gets up, mother holding baby, and there is a flight attendant right there. Mother asks FA to move so she can get out, FA takes offense and runs up to the pilot to complain that a passenger stood up and asked FA to move–which completely misrepresented the situation. Couple sits back down and then is immediately chastised about the seat belts. FA in back, who had no idea that no “incident” had actually gone on, gets involved. Tensions escalate, words escalate. FAs incapable/disinterested in diffusing a situation borne out of nothing.

    Several other neutral passengers said the couple hadn’t done anything wrong. And I’m sure more passengers would have confirmed that but were probably afraid of being kicked off themselves!

    Completely AA’s fault. I mean, they had a 7 week old baby with them! Who wasn’t even crying! the lack of empathy or ability to read a situation is stunning.

  12. I’m sure the passenger was respectful and listened and obeyed all lawful instructions from flight crew. Nah? She was told to do something and flew off the handle and turned it into a racial issue

  13. What about the elderly observant Jewish couple who were put off an American Airlines flight after an attendant removed the man’s religious objects from an overhead bin and insisted that they be put on the floor, despite his objections to treating sacred objects that way? His bags, with his diabetes medicines, remained on the flight, incidentally.

  14. No wonder tensions are running hot. That plane was full. It appeared that every seat was full. The days of passengers being treated well by airlines are sadly gone. Do they even give you a meal on these flights anymore? It’s sad that they so easily kick anybody off a plane. I’m sure the other passengers were too afraid to speak out for fear of kicking kicked off as well. What has America fallen to? Our country is now living in fear everyday of everything. That’s not the great USA!

  15. Piss poor excuse of a captain. They get to make a decision, then hide behind the FAs to carry out their dirty work. A real captain would have the courage to actually come out and face the person and explain the situation.

  16. The women was rude and had a chip on her shoulder. On some sites it says the flight attendant knocked the phone from his hand. It was the women’s mother that knocked the phone out of the gentlemen’s hand.

  17. Makes we want to take the bus…..

    Or the train. Amtrak’s train 80, the Carolinian, operates daily between Charlotte and Philadelphia (and on to New York). No problems like this there.

  18. @Passenger sometimes I wonder if you watched the same video as everyone else. It’s clear from the video that FA screams to stop recording, and lounges for the phone…at which point the phone drops and picture disappears…What mother?

  19. The flight attendant with the ridiculous hair style had no right to lunge for that man’s phone. That man on the plane had every right to record this travesty. This is awful and AA has the rudest staff! I hope there’s a lawsuit.

  20. I was on that flight coming back from Charlotte. Passenger was absolulty a issue. If I posted my video, this would be looked at much different but I’m sure I’d be labeled at that point.

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