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Child screams and clambers over seats during eight-hour ‘flight from hell’

Toddler 'would not let up, he was running up and down the aisles, there was nothing his mother could do'

Sabrina Barr
Friday 16 February 2018 11:01 GMT
Shane Townley
Shane Townley

A young child was filmed repeatedly screaming during an eight-hour plane journey from Germany to New York, on what passengers have described as the “flight from hell”.

When passengers boarded a Lufthansa plane heading to Newark Liberty International Airport, some were likely planning on enjoying a nap and waking up feeling refreshed upon arrival at their destination.

However, their dreams of a peaceful flight were disrupted by the three-year-old boy, who was filmed by Shane Townley, a passenger on the plane.

The child’s mother was reportedly overheard informing flight attendants that her son has “behavioural problems” and telling him to “calm down, honey.”

“She kind of looked like she was used to it,” Townley told Inside Edition.

“He was climbing all over the chairs, he was just screaming, would not let up, he was running up and down the aisles, there was nothing she could do.”

Before the flight had even taken off, Ms Townley said the mother had asked flight attendants whether they could turn on the Wi-Fi so that she could distract her son with an iPad.

However, she said nothing could assuage the child, who continually screamed at the top of his lungs while passengers covered their ears.

The flight took place on August 26 last year, although the footage has only recently been circulated widely online.

Some people have criticised Townley for filming the child, describing his actions as unethical and disrespectful and saying that he should feel ashamed of himself.

"A three-year-old does not have the emotional intelligence to express their every need and to regulate these especially in a strange environment," one person commented on Facebook.

"Being quick to judge helps no one. You clearly got your entertainment's worth at the expense of a mother and child in need of support and understanding."

Experts suggest there are many reasons that may explain a child's restlessness on a flight.

“Babies do not cry on aeroplanes for the fun of it,” paediatrician Dr Perri Klass wrote in the The New York Times.

“They cry because their ears hurt and they’re being made to stay in a certain position when they don’t want to or the air smells strange and the noises are loud, or their stomachs feel upset or the day has been too long and they still aren’t there yet or they’re just plain cranky.”

Dr Klass recommends feeding small children during take-off and landing to help ease the pressure on their ears, making sure not to overfeed them.

She also suggests parents speak to the passengers sitting around them and possibly ask a flight attendant to be seated somewhere else in order to calm their child in a more spacious area.

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