SEATTLE: A cranky three-year-old boy was thrown off an Alaska Airlines flight after refusing to buckle his seat-belt and sit upright. The child's father has taken exception to their treatment.
As the Alaska Airlines flight taxied out of Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle towards the Virgin Islands, Mark Yanchak of Everett had difficulty in controlling his son who he described as being "fussy."
Yanchak said his son Daniel "was crying, being cranky. 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" My North West reported.
The boy’s mother, Svetlana Yanchuck, was sitting 23 rows forward in first class but flight attendants moved her to calm her son. She told Kiro TV that the child was calm as the plane took off but then the pilot announced they were returning to the gate where father and son were asked to leave the plane.
Mr. Yanchuck queried the decision, saying the child was calm, but was told it was the pilot's final decision. Mrs. Yanchuck said "I thought we were treated like criminals." Mr. Yanchuck thought the airline had over reacted, saying "Kids crying, people snoring, large, smelly people, we deal with it, it's normal."
Alaska Airlines defended its actions saying it was a matter of safety that the pilot would prefer to deal with on the ground rather than mid-flight, noting they had up to four conversations with the parents before the decision was made to return the plane and ask the boy to depart.