Unbuckled 3-Year-Old Forces Pilot to Turn Around

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An Alaska Airlines pilot turned the plane around after hearing about a 3-year-old who didn't want to buckle up.

Another summer, another round of kids behaving badly on planes. This time, an Alaska Airlines pilot refused to leave a Seattle runway until a father and his 3-year-old son got off the plane.

Why?

The three-year-old wouldn’t buckle up.

According to the father, who spoke to KIRO FM about the incident, the crew overreacted. Sure, the kid was being fussy, Mark Yanchak of Everett, Wash., said, but they were managing to get things under control. Here’s what he told the radio station:

“He was crying, being cranky,” said Yanchak. “I started putting him in his seat. I put his seatbelt on. But he was being cranky, trying to be close to me, so he wasn’t fully fastened yet.”

Yanchak’s wife, who was up in first class with their other child and her mother, came back with some water and a pacifier, which did the trick. However, the pilot was already heading back to the gate where Yanchak and his son were asked to get off the plane.

Alaska Airlines offered to book them on a later flight but Yanchak took a pass and says he won’t fly Alaska again.

Time to pile on the outrage and pat the pilot on the back for being so decisive and taking such bold action. But I’m not going to. I’ve flown in Yanchak’s shoes and I know how un-serious this situation is.

Flight attendants hate it but I buckle my son up at the very last minute, just before take-off. He’s flown since he was a baby (he’s now 3) and screws around with the buckle so even if I get him buckled during the seat check, that things coming undone before the plane starts rolling. I know what the rules are so I figure that if it comes to the point where I have to strong-arm him, which will undoubtedly create tears, I’d rather put that off until the very last minute. You’re welcome, fellow passengers!

Not flying is not an option for our family and I know full well my kid will grow out of any annoying behaviors. Big apologies for those of you who have to go through it with us — I mean that. But I won’t put off trips because of it. My family buys five tickets at a time so, you know, we’re doing our part to keep the struggling industry alive and I’m sure you were/are annoying once too.

So though Yanchak is hinting that this incident may keep them from every flying again (1) I highly doubt it and (2) no, his son isn’t scarred. However, Yanchak is right when he says the crew over-reacted.

Your thoughts?

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