Threatened With Arrest – Because I Was Flying With A Child?

Threatened With Arrest – Because I Was Flying With A Child?


shutterstock_116994661Update: I received a call from Stephania Meyer at American Airlines. She agreed that a muffin is not a “personal item” and that the gate agent was aggressive where a little bit of assistance would have been nice. She also offered the helpful information that Farah’s diaper bag should not have counted as a “personal item” either, which means that even WITH my muffin, we were never above the item limit.

She asked how she might help “make this right” and I asked for two things: an apology, and an assurance that the gate agent in question will be taught that parents loaded down with parent-stuff are customers, not problems. She provided both. Thanks for all the support today. And I am sorry that so many of you empathize so completely.

I admit we looked a bit like pack mules heading toward the tarmac at Miami International, unwittingly on our way to becoming the latest example of how mixing children and airplanes can make otherwise rational people very cranky.

I was wheeling my worn and trusty carry-on, while also holding my purse, a bag with a muffin I’d bought at the Starbucks next to the gate, and the doll-size backpack that belonged to 2-year-old Zadie, who, in turn, belongs to my colleague, Farah.

Farah, meanwhile, was pushing Zadie’s stroller, holding the little girl by the hand, digging their boarding passes out of her own purse, hoisting a logo’d tote bag from the work conference we had just attended, and all but carrying an insulated juice box cooler in her teeth while juggling the rest.

We looked like we needed help. Not the threat of arrest.

“You’ll have to check that,” the American Airlines gate attendant snapped at me, pointing to the cartoony backpack that I was holding for Zadie. “You have more than two items.”

No, I told her, there were three of us, and between us we had six. READ MORE