31 MAY 2012: A 3-year-old boy who refused to use his seatbelt never got off the ground after the family boarded an Alaska Airlines flight in Seattle. The pilot returned to the gate at Sea-Tac Airport on Saturday and asked the father and the boy to get off.
The father, Mark Yanchak of Everett, told KIRO-FM the crew overreacted. He claimed the child was ‘cranky’ and wanted to get close to his father so wasn’t belted in.
While taxiing on the runway, the boy's mother who was seated in first class with their younger son and her mother, returned to help with a pacifier and some water for the boy. By the time he had settled down, however, the pilot had already ordered it back to the gate.
The airline said they spoke with the father three or four times. However, the child was not buckled in and after being observed at one point lying across his seat with the seatbelt off, the decision was made to return to the gate.
Yanchak's wife Svetlana, told KIRO-TV she felt like they were treated like criminals.
Alaska Airlines says it was a matter of safety and the pilot would rather deal with it on the ground than in mid-flight.
The airline apparently offered to put the family on another flight but the father said after their experience, they don't want to fly with the airline again.
As for his son, “As soon as we got off the plane he was like, ‘Dad, no fly, go home. Let's go home,’’ Yanchak said. “I think the whole ordeal just scared him off. He didn't want to fly again.”
So, a cranky child refuses a seatbelt, a parent is unable to control a three-year-old, another parent walks through the aisle while the plane is taxiing to the runway – and when they are put off the plane – they are the aggrieved ones.