Are you a parent who's nervous about flying with your little ones? This recent incident on Jet Blue probably doesn't make you feel any better about traveling, but all flight attendants are not the same. I'll explain further. A Jet Blue flight attendant allegedly refused to let a 3-year-old child use the aircraft lavatory while they were on a ground delay out on the tarmac. The child's mother states that her 3-year-old daughter was forced to urinate in her seat because of that decision. To make matters worse, when the mom tried to clean her up afterwards, the flight attendant then contacted the flight deck to let them know there was an "unruly passenger" on board.
You may think that because I'm a flight attendant, I'm going to side with the flight attendant, but in this instance, I am not. As a mom and a flight attendant, I completely disagree with the way this was handled. So, what SHOULD have happened? A passenger being up for any reason once the aircraft leaves the gate is breaking Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Flight Attendants must inform passengers of any FAR that is being broken onboard the aircraft, or the flight attendant is subject to hefty personal fines from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and/or disciplinary actions from the airline they work for. The operative word here is "inform." This particular flight was on the tarmac, delayed for thirty minutes and awaiting clearance to taxi to the runway. The flight was not on an active taxi way or barreling down the runway. The flight attendant could have chosen to call the flight deck to inform them that an underage passenger needed to use the lav. This not only puts the responsibility on the flight deck, it allows them to make the informed decision to not move the aircraft while someone is up in the cabin. Different choice, better outcome, problem solved.
Flight attendants are hired for a myriad of skills, common sense hopefully being one of them. Once on the aircraft we, the flight attendants, are the decision makers. We are the doctors, the lawyers, the babysitters, the chefs, the waiters, magicians and so much more. Flight attendants can, without question, truly make or break a passengers experience with an airline. For any readers who opt to place blame on the mom for not making her child use the bathroom before the flight, how do we know she didn't? This is a three year old child, after all. For all we know, they may have had a quick connection and didn't have time to stop. Maybe she is just an inexperienced flier, stressed out and nervous about traveling with a child. The reason this three year old needed the restroom at that moment is irrelevant. The rules are there for a reason and of course, it is a flight attendants' job to inform passengers of these rules. In addition to that, we also need to remember that our customers are human beings; all our customers, even the little ones, deserve kindness and respect.