Family Says Airline Left Them Stranded At Airport
POSTED: 10:30 am PDT July 6, 2008
UPDATED: 11:01 am PDT July 6, 2008
SEATAC, Wash. -- A woman with two disabled children said her family was left stranded by Southwest Airlines on their way to Seattle.
Wendy Slaughter was traveling with her four children and her five-months pregnant sister Friday on a Southwest Airlines flight from Detroit to Seattle.
One of Slaughterís children has autism and she also has a daughter with cerebral palsy.
When the family landed in Phoenix they were met at the gate by police officers, detained and told they were too disruptive to get on their connecting flight to Seattle, Slaughter said.
I don't understand how they had no money.
I couldnt agree with you more dean about personal responsibility. Its becoming more and more of an alien concept these days
Rest in Peace Baby P xx
And using their kids problems as an excuse for them to be unruly.
I am not fan of this airline, I think they are rude and incompetent but I really do believe they did the correct thing here.
She says the children were out of control. Maybe she'd never flown before, and didn't know the children had to stay in their seats and behave - but after the flight attendant talked to her, she did know.
I know it's hard to get from place to place without flying - but in some situations, there's just no way flying is realistic. Two adults for four children, two of which have a disability - that's not an adequate ratio, not unless the children are very well behaved.
My mom had 4 of us - no disability, and well behaved most of the time - and we drove. Driving, you can stop, you can make your own decisions that affect mostly no one but you about safety, etc.
I reserve judgment until I would hear from fellow passengers about how disruptive the children were. I know first hand how cruel people can be when the see a child with handicaps that they do not understand. Sometimes autistic children will scream and be very hard to handle. It is not the parents fault and some consideration is due.
I also can see how hard it would be for flight attendants to serve a flight full of passengers if there are children in the aisle constantly. I guess there are two sides to every story and I just wanted to add MHO.
Out of control sounds like we aren't talking about just noise, but about them running in the aisles. That's not just difficult to serve drinks, that's considered a safety issue. The aisles need to remain clear for all types of movement.
"Fault" doesn't matter - doesn't matter if this is a spoiled rotten child and a lousy parent, or an autistic child and the perfect mother - if you can't behave well enough to be on the flight, you need to be off of it.
I completely understand trying to fly, so much faster and easier, and as a first flight, she couldn't know what her children would or would not do. But she should have had an extra adult along if at all possible, and when booted, going to the media is just silly.
As a teacher of children with autism I disagree a bit. A lot of the behavior demonstrated by children with autism is learned. If you allow the child to get their way at home when they scream they will do it in public. I know that they do become overstimulated which causes behaviors, but over stimulation is not the cause for all behaviors. This mom should have known if her child would be OK on a flight. If she saw he child becoming overstimulated she should have left. I'm just getting sick of people who say children with autism should be excused for every little thing because they have autism. That's not true, Even my lowest functioning students can learn not to scream and sit calmly given the proper visual supports and reinforcement.
My wish would be to have more teachers in our country that are trained to do what you are obviously able to do. Kudos.
Where is everyone finding these new Smileys?
I am a nervous flyer as it is, so if there was disruption on the plane I think I would have a heart attack lol. I think anyone out of control on a plane needs to be taken off it. With kids, they can have a certain amount of leeway just because they are kids and its hard to keep them occupied etc but when they are completely going loopy then they need to be taken off too.
Rest in Peace Baby P xx
I was listening to a discussion of this on XM radio today on the way home from a trip. One of the passengers described it as "a flight from Hell". I think she should have controlled the children or expected what she got. She owes the other passengers and the airline an apology for the disruption.
Years ago parents would never have thought of taking an autistic or learning disabled child on a plane, but times have changed. Flying now encompasses the entire population, but, unfortunately, many passengers remember the good old days and haven't accepted change.
While I don't have an answer to the mixture of people, I don't think throwing an autistic child/parents off a plane is going to "fly." Maybe these people won't sue, but it will be coming.
Exactly, what is a disruption? Crying babies get to me, yet this is part of life. And, there are degrees of autism and degrees of disabilities. The world is a mixture of people. When I purchase a ticket, there are no guarantees. My philosophy is, "Get over it. It's just a plane ride."
That being said, I was flying one time with a friend, and there was a rotten little 4-5 year old sitting in front of us. Throwing crap over the seat at us, dropping stuff on our food tray, just a rotten little ass of a kid. I asked the mom if she could please at least turn him around so we could enjoy our meal. The mom was a *****, guess I know where the kid got his attitude from, and refused to do anything about it. my friend gets motion sick and was trying her best to keep her stomach in check, she got up and leaned over to talk to the mom, and whoopsie....she barfed all over the woman They moved that woman and the rotten ass kid up to the front of the plane. My friend politely wiped her mouth and sat in her seat, and said "oh man I feel so much better now!" LMAO, I need to fly with her more often.
I also have been on those flights from Hell on occasion. I really don't think the kid who kept up kicking my seat from behind was anything but the spoiled spawn of a demanding beotch of a mother. She actually laughed when the little b**tard told me I could go to He**. Fortunately the male attendant overheard it and moved them all the way back to the rear in the worst seats you could be in.
I may call on you and Amraan for answers to questions I may have as I learn to work with these kids.
I TOLERATE people who are different. As I said, it's just a plane ride. My husband is a business traveler - very frequent flier. Often I accompany him. As I said, we don't complain.
There are extremely wide differences in behavior within the spectrum of Autism. Until I hear more, I would tend to side with the Airline and the passenger (who called it the flight from hell). And perhaps the best thing for both the other passengers AND the child was not to be boarded on the next flight. But as I was not personally there I really can't say. I've also run into people who have no tolerance for anything that disrupts their own little world slightly, and unfortunately there are many people who are extremely intolerant of the disabled, especially children.
I also think we should allow that perhaps this child/children and the mother were caught at their worst. For whatever reason here is a mother flying her four children, two of them special needs kids, cross country with no extra money. I doubt any of the people on that flight that thought they had a bad day would trade places with that woman for a minute.
I'm not saying that the airline necessarily made the wrong decision. But it's really easy to sit here behind a keyboard espousing ideas on how we would have better handled these children and the situation without knowing what these childrens disabilities and needs are.
A little more compassion in the tone of some of the posts here might be nice, that's all.