Toddler Stashed in Overhead Bin on Virgin Flight
Axed flight attendant claims he was playing hide and seek
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2011 3:05 AM CST
Updated Mar 7, 2011 5:57 AM CST
Virgin Blue planes line up at Sydney Airport.   (AP Photo/Mark Baker,File)

(Newser) – A mom is still sputtering in fury after a Virgin Blue airlines steward stashed her baby boy in an overhead bin during a flight from Sydney to Fiji. Natalie Williamson says the flight attendant placed her 17-month-old son, Riley, in the bin and closed the latch, leaving him in there for up to 10 second. "I said, 'Get my son out of there now,'" she tells the Herald Sun. "I was devastated. My husband was in shock."

The steward, who has been fired, claimed he was just joining in on a game of hide-and-seek that Riley's dad was playing with the toddler. Williamson says Riley is suffering from serious separation anxiety since the incident. "We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated," a Virgin spokeswoman said. The airline has also offered free flights to the family.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Dec 4, 2011 6:31 AM CST
I wonder why the stupid mother handed the kid over in the first place, and just how do you "play hide and seek" in an airplane seat?!?!
May 19, 2011 3:03 PM CDT
It has been reported that that was her then-husband but is no longer, so I am not surprised that the kid is having some separation anxiety, that is probably common with children of split up couples. Sounds like he was playing along with a game, and I know as a kid that 10 seconds wouldn't have traumatized me. The mother has instilled fear in the child in order to back up her case, she and this case are causing his anxiety. If she would have just been like "ok, we need to quit playing, we're on an airplane, so lets chill out" I'm sure the kid would have sat down and been fine. While sad to say, a steward should be wary of people trying to catch them slipping up, and not do anything that isn't by the book, even if it is an attempt to make the flight more fun and pleasant. All the headline writers suck too. The headlines give the image of some mean airline attendant shoving a kid in the compartment for a whole flight, or out of anger or neglect, which isn't the case.
Mar 7, 2011 10:45 PM CST
i think this is exactly the age separation anxiety occurs. The kid was probably trying to get away from his embarrassingly stupid parents. I don't believe 10 seconds in an overhead bin during hide and seek would traumatize the child. We humans are resilient little buggers.