A 3-year old boy and his family were kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Miami.
The boy’s father, Mark Yanchuk, said he and his family were headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Memorial Day weekend. The boy’s mother, grandmother, and sibling were seated in first class while he and his son were seated in coach. His son was playing with his iPad until the flight crew requested to turn-off all electronics. It was then that his son became upset.
Prior to leaving the gate, the flight crew said they worked with Mr. Yanchuk to calm the child down so he could be properly buckled in his seat for take-off.
“The [seat] belt was across his neck and the flight attendants were worried that he would begin to choke himself,” said Paul McElroy, Alaska Airlines’ spokesperson.
Yanchuk denies that he would allow his son to be placed in this position.
The flight crew reported that at one point the boy appeared to be properly buckled in his seat allowing the plane to begin its taxi away from the gate. However, a flight attendant came back to assess the situation and found the boy sideways in his seat. The plane returned to the gate and Yanchuk and his son were asked to disembark.
Yanchuk disagrees with the airlines’ request.
“I think they overreacted. I know you get kicked off planes for dangerous situations like not wearing a seat belt or running around or something dangerous. But I didn’t see the situation as being dangerous at all,” said Yanchuk.
Alaska Airlines offered to place Yanchuk and his family on a flight out the following day, but they refused and requested a refund.