I mentioned earlier that I encountered some drama on my recent Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna to Chicago. The drama centered on a family with two young children who were loud during the flight and unable to sit still. When another passenger complained, a nasty confrontation ensued. The situation escalated further after landing, nearly leading to blows.
Unhinged Father Goes On Cursing Tirade On Austrian Airlines
I noticed them at the gate prior to takeoff. An American family demanding an upgrade from the gate agent. They claimed they were not seated together in economy class and therefore needed an upgrade so they could sit next to eachother. I rolled my eyes and boarded the flight.
But toward the end of the boarding process the family boarded…and sat down in business class. I’m going to hope that the Austrian Airlines gate agent did not give into their pressure but instead sold them upgrades on a flight that was fairly full in the back but mostly empty in business class.
Austrian’s re-configured 777 with premium economy features a main business class cabin and then a single row of business class seats behind lavatories and a galley. The family had that mini-cabin all to themselves, with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy privacy.
But their daughter was restless and midway through the flight the father and daughter, about four years old, began making laps around the main business class cabin. The daughter was whiny and grabbed onto everything, including other passengers and their belongings.
Finally, after three laps an increased noise, a passenger told the father to stop.
The father freaked out, cursing out the woman loudly with expletives I will not repeat here. He also said:
“I paid for my seat and have a right to walk through the cabin.”
Flight attendants appeared and directed the father to the mid-cabin galley for further discussion. I could not overhear that, but the family did not re-appear for the remainder of the flight.
However, when we landed in Chicago the family walked up to the main business class cabin, as we would be deplaning from the front door. Rather than just maintain silence or apologize for cursing out the woman, the father confronted the woman again, pointing his finger at her and lecturing her that she had no idea what it was like to travel with children (the woman was traveling with her teenage daughter).
While the woman said nothing, a man standing in front of her told the father that his conduct was totally inappropriate, particularly the cursing.
The man then denied that he had cursed and so did his wife, who was not even there.
The woman who had been cursed out, now incredulous, told the man to leave her alone.
Volumes escalated. The crew appeared and separated the two passengers. One said the police had been called.
I had my camera ready to record video of a physical altercation, but thankfully the crew kept the two men apart and both walked off the airplane without further incident. I did not see the police show up.
As a father of two young children, I am particularly sympathetic to parents traveling with children. I’ve experienced a transatlantic flight myself in which my son simply would not behave.
Nevertheless, the dynamics were different here. The family literally had their own cabin, like a private jet. The kids could have walked around that cabin and made all the noise they wanted with minimum disturbance to other passengers.
Yet instead, the father chose to parade his daughter around the cabin, waking up other passengers and subjecting them to unwanted touching from a small child.
That conduct was unacceptable, but his decision to curse out a passenger who asked him to stop was totally out of line and his lack of self-control in needlessly confronting the passenger after landing was indefensible.
My bottom line is not “control your children” onboard because any parent knows that is easier said than done. But when you are given special perks onboard like your own mini-cabin, you should be courteous and not disturb others, precisely because it avoidable.
The cursing and confrontation evidence a very weak man with severe anger management issues. The “I did not curse” delusion would have been laughable if it was not so pathetic. I am thankful the confrontation did not become physical.
Note: for privacy reasons I blurred out the faces of the two children