A cranky 3-year-old was kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight out of Sea-Tac International on Saturday.
The airline said it was a matter of safety, but the boy’s dad said it was an overreaction.
“Kids crying, people snoring, large, smelly people, we deal with it, it’s normal,” said Mark Yanchak of Everett.
Yanchak admits his son was being a little fussy as the flight was preparing for departure.
“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 said when his son didn’t want to keep his seatbelt on, he enlisted the help of his wife. She had been seated with the couple’s other son and her mother in first class.
After the boy’s mother came back with a pacifier and some water, they were eventually able to get the boy to sit still. But by then, the pilot had already ordered the plane back to the gate.
A representative for Alaska Airlines asked Yanchak and his 3-year-old son to get off the plane. Yanchak said he wasn’t given an explanation.
“They wouldn’t tell us why,” said Yanchak.
According to the airline, it was a judgment call. The crew was concerned because the boy did not want to sit upright and keep his seatbelt on. The airline said the pilot would rather deal with the issue on the ground than mid-flight.
Alaska offered to rebook the family on a later flight, but Yanchak says they have no desire to take any flight with the airline again.
He said he will give flying with his kids another shot, but fears this bad experience might stick with them.
“I’m not sure how the kids will feel about flying next time,” said Yanchak.
“As soon as we got of the plane he was like, ‘Dad, no fly, go home, let’s go home,” said Yanchak. “I think the whole ordeal just scared him off. He didn’t want to fly again.”