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Thu, Jan 25, 2007

Toddler's Temper Tantrum Too Much For Airline Crew

Family Asked To Leave The Plane Before Departure

In a story that's garnering a great deal of attention in the general media, three-year-old Elly Kulesza's temper tantrum got her and her parents removed from an AirTran flight preparing to depart Fort Myers, FL.

Julie and Gerry Kulesza were headed home to Boston with Elly on January 14. Apparently the precocious child vehemently objected to sitting down and wearing a seat belt... vehemently enough to be heard all over the plane. An AirTran spokesman told the Associated Press Elly "was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat."

Julie Kulesza says she wasn't given time to get Elly under control. She said, "We weren't given an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything."

The couple had purchased a seat for Elly because FAA rules require all children over the age of two to sit in their own seat and wear a seatbelt for takeoff and landing. Julie Kulesza asked the cabin crew if she could sit Elly on her lap, but the flight attendants said no.

Eventually, the crew asked the stunned couple to leave the plane -- with their daughter.

Gerry Kulesza said, "I was outraged and embarrassed, I'm a full time EMT in Boston and if I treated anybody the way they treated me I would be out of a job."

In a statement, AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said, "The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational decision to remove the family."

AirTran refunded the nearly $600 the Kulesza's paid for their tickets, but that hasn't seemed to soothe their ruffled feathers. In an interview on CNN, the Kulesza's said they've gone public with the story to warn other parents "the same thing could happen to them if their child is crying too much."

FMI: www.airtran.com

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