Toddler Kicked Off Flight for Making Staff Feel 'Unsafe'

Pregnant singer says United's move 'ridiculous'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2015 1:46 AM CDT
Updated May 31, 2015 10:11 AM CDT

Sarah Blackwood says her 23-month-old son was "grumpy" when she boarded a flight from San Francisco to Vancouver on Wednesday night—but not grumpy enough to endanger aviation. Blackwood, a singer in Canadian band Walk Off the Earth, tells the Hamilton Spectator that she was kicked off United Airlines Flight 6223 after the toddler kept "crying really loud and squirming" and a flight attendant told her she had to control her child. Blackwood, who is seven months pregnant, says that after the plane started to taxi, it returned to the gate and she was ordered off the plane. By then, she says, the boy was fast asleep on her lap. She tells the CBC that as she left, "there were a few passengers that stood up and said, 'This is ridiculous, I can't believe you're doing this to her.'"

Blackwood tells People that she was told "the staff doesn't feel safe on the plane with your son." SkyWest, which was operating the flight for United, said in a statement that the "child was not seated, as required by federal regulation" and "was repeatedly in the aisle of the aircraft before departure." But Blackwood says she was holding the boy on her lap. "There was a gentleman beside me, there's no way he could have been running around in an aisle, because it was impossible," she tells the CBC. Fellow passengers, who were delayed for 75 minutes while Blackwood's luggage was removed, have taken her side on United's Facebook page, with one calling the decision "appalling," the Spectator reports. (A family with a "disruptive" autistic teen was kicked off a United flight earlier this month.)

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