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Woman Sues Airline over Screaming Toddler!

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momlogic's Vivian: Last year, I wrote a blog called "Air Wars" -- a vivid recollection of a nightmare plane ride with my inconsolable 2-year old. Half of you deeply felt my pain; the other half felt compelled to chastise me for neglecting to drug my daughter into a complacent, drooling silence. (Benadryl isn't always the answer, BTW -- it's scientifically proven to make some kids even more hyper. But I digress.)

toddler crying

Anyway, a poor mom enveloped in the flames of a similar hell recently had to tolerate even bigger jackasses than I did -- and one of them even sprung a lawsuit on the airline! reports that American tourist Jean Barnard, 67, found the nerve to sue Qantas because (she claims) the staff of the airline failed to protect her from the screaming toddler she blames for permanent hearing loss!

Barnard said, "The pain was so excruciating that I didn't even know I was deaf." In response, Qantas legal said, "Flight attendants cannot predict when children aboard an aircraft are about to scream. There is no evidence that the child was screaming in the terminal, or on board the aircraft prior to the particular scream which allegedly caused the damage."

The case settled last week, but we were treated to this last missive from the woman (WHO WORE A HEARING AID DURING THE FLIGHT IN QUESTION): "I guess we are simply fortunate that my eardrum was exploding and I was swallowing blood. Had it not been for that, I would have dragged that kid out of his mother's arms and stomped him to death."

Um, her preexisting deafness couldn't have been aggravated by the sudden change in cabin pressure that occurs during ALL flights, could it?

And lemme guess: She doesn't have kids, right?

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199 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gail T July 27, 2010, 3:18 AM

Boy did you open a can of worms!!! I’m not going to chastise anyone, but let me put it this way, I had 5 kids, my husband was in the AF, so we flew a lot. Even overseas. I flew from coast to coast with 3 kids by myself. My kids are my life & if some jerk wants to harm them in ANY way, that gotta go through me first.

Melissa P. @Mel4Him July 27, 2010, 3:26 AM

As I see it, When you buy your ticket to fly it doesn’t say adults only. So when you board an airplane you need to expect children to be on it. If you do not want to be around children, hear children, see children, etc. then do not board the plane because there is no restriction against them.

Kristin July 27, 2010, 3:34 AM

Anon..Like my own personal experience recently, I had my 2 yr old on a flight with me..she was very good until the last 15 minutes when the plane began to descend…Her ears were causing her so much pain that she began to scream in pain uncontrollably..She is just 2 yrs old and couldnt understand my directions to swallow or yawn. It went on for about 15 minutes. I am sure the passengers around me were bothered, as I was. But what was I supposed to do? She has every right to be on the plane next to me..I am just glad that you or the nutty suing woman wasnt!

Donna July 27, 2010, 3:36 AM

I cannot even begin to express my disbelief at this. First of all let me say my children are grown. Second of all to Anon (who I feel does not have the guts to give her own name!) a crying toddler is not a matter of “manners”. You obviously do not have a grip on reality. And why is an airplane a place where children have no right to be? I guess parents with children have no right to travel? What a horribly bigoted and close minded person you must be to express that thought. You must be a person with little compassion. While I would like my flight to be peaceful also, I think a little one could be feeling tired from long security lines and interminable delays before take off, and pain on take off. For goodness sake I feel like crying after all that! I would not like being your neighbor that’s for sure. In a world with so much hate you just add to it.

Patti July 27, 2010, 3:38 AM

I read all the comments and sadly the parents who think it’s okay for people to put up with screaming kids are delusional. I have 3 grown sons and I would never allow them to disrupt diners or passengers. If you had parented to begin with, your child wouldn’t find an enclosed space to act up. People don’t parent today, they ask their children questions. No guidelines or consequences are required. Begin teaching at home, maybe then the rest of the world wouldn’t have to put up with your little darlings.

monica  July 27, 2010, 4:49 AM

You do have a right to a peaceful flight. But do people understand that you cannot just stuff a pillowccase in the mouth of child to get them to shut up. For that woman to say if her ears weren’t bleeding she would have stomped him to death is harsh and wrong. I’m sorry for her hearing loss, but a child is a child and a gift from God no matter what happens, while on a flight or in a resturaunt. No human being should ever be stomped to death. She needs to rethink how she handles things. I hope everything was okay with that child. Do we know why he was screaming.

Anonymous July 27, 2010, 4:55 AM

Remove the child where was she suppose to go she was on a plane. Believe it or not there is not always a solution to a child crying and Im sorry if that annoys some people but stay inside and dont deal with anything out in the world like honking cars or aggravating drivers etc. It called being in a world of human beings and you cannot always control what happens so GET OVER IT. stop blaming little helpless babies that half the time dont know why they are crying either. stop blaming the parents who are trying to do their best. If you dont have kids you have no idea what a parent goes through, You dont know the pain of hearing people complain about your baby and rude people like you should apologize to parents everywehere and keep your mouth shut.

Cari G. July 27, 2010, 4:59 AM

This is as stupid as the case about the woman who sued McDonald’s because her coffee was too hot and it burned her when she spilled it on herself. The point is, coffee is hot. And kids scream, period. I’ve never met one who didn’t, and it doesn’t matter whether you have kids or not; it’s just a known fact. There are no flights designated specifically for kids or families, so if you require more silence in a flight, then you don’t fly coach. If you fly coach, then you get to put up with screaming kids, bickering couples, chatty grandmas and that guy with the flu. Deal with it.

Sassymum July 27, 2010, 5:02 AM

Just let me say, try travel with a disabled child! You would be amazed at the looks I get, but there are always those few adults that will ask if I need help! Then most comment on how well she travels. I always joke, yes better than my teenager! I have been lucky with my two girls from 6 months on airlines. Some children are not always comfortable and it is hard for everyone, but that is being in “public”!
I can tell you I have been annoyed more times by other adults (who should know better) on planes who are kicking the back of my seat, talking loud, chewing their food/gum louder than a screaming 2 yr old, getting up and down or out of their seat more than any 4 year old, complaining to stewards about blankets, food, etc. I have never sued an airline over an annoying adult, but now that there is precedence, maybe I will or movie theaters and restaurants with overly annoying and rude adults :)

mom2_4boyz July 27, 2010, 5:14 AM

tennmom - your kids are probably one’s that scream and throw fits in public and disrupt everyone and your just a show off troll trying to get everyone wound up - get a life! Kids are kids get over it people if you don’t like kids crying don’t travel in airplanes trains or buses use your own fancy private transportation then you have no one buy yourself to listen to. You can not shut up an upset toddler you can not bribe them or reason with them…You think parents like to deal with a fussy child? Don’t you think we wish they could all be perfect and quiet? yes…BUT it doesn’t work that way and never will! :) Love my kids they keep my life interesting and fun!! And you can give me ALL the dirty looks in public you want, I will just smile at you and go on with my day.

Marianne July 27, 2010, 5:15 AM

Nothing aggravates me more than a parent who does not or will not control their screaming child, I see it all the time everywhere I go the child is the boss and the parent just lets them do what ever they want. I don’t blame that women on bit for suing the airline she paid her money for the flight and she has the right to be comfortable. That is what is wrong with this world people who have children but, don’t or won’t teach them right from wrong children pretty much raise themselves now and this is really sad, and yes I have children! When my children acted up I removed them from the situation, in a store I would take them to the car, on a plane take them in the bathroom and calm them down etc. If this woman would of made some effort to control her monster this would of never happened.

Mommas Pearls July 27, 2010, 5:24 AM

We are all big babies.

proud mom July 27, 2010, 5:24 AM

Are you people illiterate? It was a 2 YEAR OLD!! You can not “control” magically “shut up” a 2 y/o when he is upset! Children are NOT monster’s Mariann!! May GOD help YOU! And all of you filled with so much HATE toward children….HE loves all children, even when they are upset!!!

Kristi July 27, 2010, 5:44 AM

Ummm….I guess no one else saw the news story saying that giving your child benadryl to quiet/calm them was being considered as CHILD ABUSE. Oh lets drug the kid to make him shut up….REALLY? what the hell is wrong with you???? When my oldest son was 2 and a 1/2 we took a plane to Disney. He was the quietest person on the plane….as we were exiting I had people saying “wow, I didn’t even know you had a kid with you.” But as my child was the quietest, we had to deal with an ADULT behind us who was airsick and literally threw up all over the place….Is it fair??? NO, but we didn’t complain or sue the airline. Children cannot always control their emotions….as a mother to an epileptic, should I never go anywhere (store, mall, etc.) because there is a chance he could have a seizure and thrash around and possibly “bother” you??? Get a life people, this is why society is the way it is….no one has any compassion anymore and people think they are entitled to whatever the hell they want…..

Linda July 27, 2010, 5:56 AM

Anon’s comment is typical of someone without a child who has neither grasp nor understanding of what it is like to travel with a child. First off, many of you have touched upon the obvious - you can’t leave your seat during turbulence or when you’re told to stay seated. You can’t go and sit in the bathroom for a 3 hour flight; that is ALSO unfair to travelers who may need the bathroom. I’m sure ANON would prefer to have someone barfing in a bag next to her rather than the screaming child who is now locked in the bathroom that “barfy” can’t use!

FYI - sometimes, we don’t have a choice about flying. I’m a military spouse, and my family was posted to Germany. My husband traveled ahead of us due to lack of housing. I was traveling, ALONE, from Pittsburgh, PA to Germany…with THREE connecting flights and no assistance from the airlines (AIR FRANCE SUCKS FOREVER, FYI). I had a 16 month old and a 4 year old. My flight from PA to Atlanta was delayed, causing me to rush (and my children to be in a panic) from the domestic terminal to the international one (if you’ve ever been to Hartsfield, you can understand my pain!). We barely made it on time. My daughter’s carseat wouldn’t fit the skinny seat we had…it was a blessing that my 16 month old son’s seat fit, or he would have been on my lap for over 12 hours. No sooner did we get settled, then the passenger in front of my son request a different seat from the flight attendant. She told him none were available. I asked if there was an issue and she replied “oh, no, the gentleman wanted to know how old your son was, so I told him.” First off, she had no clue to his age, second, she blatantly lied to me…oh, did I mention they were speaking French??? Oh…and I also speak French, but they assumed I did NOT.

Long story short - while I DID give my children benadryl, it took longer for my son to fall asleep…and he did have some crying jags (which I removed him from his seat and tried to comfort him)…but, due to the disrespect of the flight attendant and the gentleman in front of me, I did NOT make an effort to “tame” my 16 month old son - I let him babble and touch buttons and kick the seat in front of him (I may have added a few extras myself).

AND…when I needed to take my son to the restroom to change his diaper, I had to disrupt this poor man’s sleep to have him move his seat up so I could get my son out. what a shame.

Here’s the deal, folks - babies are BABIES…they cry. They cry when they hurt (ears hurt when they pop), they cry when they’re sick, they cry when they want something (and face it, they don’t HAVE words to use), and they cry when they’re bored. We as parents do our very darned best to prevent you (ANON) from being inconvenienced. It doesn’t always work. I hope you have a kid someday, and that you get exactly the kid you can’t stand now. And that people hate YOU for flying.

Barb July 27, 2010, 6:11 AM

I myself am pregnant and can understand why is it a delicate situation and can understand that sometimes you try your best to stop misbehaving or screaming kid a nothing works (I’ve worked with children before), but still that does not excuse in my opinion anyone from bringing screaming kids into a movie theater or restaurant which I think they should leave once the kid becomes laud and not when it is too late to even control him. What ever happened to leaving kids/babies behind at home with a babysitter? I think most parent realize that not only their movie or dining experience might be ruined as well as others and they might end up spending more than if only they had hired a babysitter for the night. Now the situation with the flights is more complicated since nobody can just pick up the kid a leave, that’s why parents should think ahead and predict unpredictable (even the calmest kid may be uncomfortable on the flight especially if it is the first one for him). Taking along some small toys to give away throughout the duration of the flight is smart, some snacks are good too and really - if the flight is lengthy a couple of drops of benadryl won’t hurt at all and might also prevent allergic reactions that might occur in a closed environment (best ask you pediatrician what might work the best in that situation and before using any drugs). As a parent you also want to have a relaxing flight and don’t need angry/unhappy looks from all around, right?

So I totally stand behind the woman suing the airline for the reason, that she has the right to have a restful flight and something might have been done to distract the child if not by the parent then maybe by the suggestion of the crew. I don’t want to get into the details of whether she had lost hearing while on the plane or not, I think it is irrelevant in above situation.

Tony July 27, 2010, 6:13 AM

Good for this woman sueing the airlines. Of course this brats screaming didn’t damage her hearing. BUT if I was on that jury I would find the airlines guilty. Just to send all airlines a message people will not put up with someones mistake being a problem. And screaming is the worst next to a
Airlines should not let children fly below the age of 4 years.
People make a mistake let them deal with their mistake.
People should not have to put up with someones bastard. Women ened to learn to use that thing for their and there mans pleasure and not a baby factory..

Mother Nature July 27, 2010, 6:14 AM

After reading all of these “entitled to MY flight not being disturbed” posts, I have to wonder how they would handle a disabled person on the flight who loudly, and frequently vocalizes. Would the dear, sweet lady who threatened to stomp a child to death be compelled to do the same to a disabled person (since the disabled are both children and adults)?

Seems as if the only “entitled” ones are those demanding the rest of the world bow to their every whim. Sorry folks, it just doesn’t work that way. Either get along with everyone and realize that no one owes you a da** bit of peace and quiet any where you go in public, OR STAY HOME!!!!

STFUP July 27, 2010, 6:15 AM

I am a parent - I’ve had toddlers (kids are now 9 & 11) - I didn’t go on a flight for any reason while they were less than 4 years old, Yeah - don’t f-ing go on vacation on a plane folks- you’ll survive. Get over yourselves - we do have the responsibility to make an effort to keep our kids as quiet as possible. It SUCKS when your own kids cries and it SUCKS MORE when someone else’s kid cries. Your kid is not their problem - you don’t have the right to take your kid whereever YOU feel like going. If you have a toddler with you it is PROBABLY not a necessary business trip. Just like you don’t have to take them to the grocery during their normal nap time. Wait till they are asleep and go at night - there are ALMOST always options (flying to a funeral being an exception).
Wait a few years on the vacations folks. Guaranteed your little ones won’t remember it anyway and you’ll probably be better people for excercizing the restraint.

What theheck! July 27, 2010, 6:21 AM

Anon… give us a break… you as an adult can’t shut up… how do you think a parent feels (let’s hope you never know) We can only hope you are lucky enough to get a rowdy “friend” that you can’t stop from talking or snoring or munching on real crisp chips and ice on your next flight! How you gonna handle that! Think you could stomp an adult! Excuse me while I ring the “flight attendant” button for the Air Marshall! P.S. Get a life!

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