Prev Next

The only possible explanation.

By Alice Bradley

A mother and her son were booted off a plane after a flight attendant became upset when the 19-month-old kept saying “Bye, bye plane” as the aircraft prepared for liftoff.
… “‘It’s called Baby Benadryl,'” Penland said the attendant told her, suggesting she give her child allergy medication to help him fall asleep fast.

Grounded! Mom, Tot Booted From Plane
Setting: A dimly lit, futuristic hall. Several men and women in flight attendant suits sit around a polished metal conference table. One of the attendants, wearing a name tag that reads “SHEILA,” stands.
Sheila: Welcome, everyone, to the 32nd meeting of the League of Obstinate Flight Attendants. Here at LOOFA, our number one concern is, of course, alienating that percent of our passengers who might be defined as “feisty,” “spirited,” or “children.” What have we done recently to ensure that these sassy customers don’t return to our planes? Let’s go around the room.
Attendant #1: Some woman asked me for an extra blanket. Because she was cold. I turned the plane around. You don’t talk to me like that.
Attendant #2: When the seatbelt light was turned on, I intercepted a passenger on her way to the restroom. She said she was having an emergency, but I said real loud, MA’AM I DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF BATHROOM EMERGENCY YOU MEAN BUT IF YOU BROKE YOUR HEAD IN THERE THAT WOULD BE A REAL BATHROOM EMERGENCY, WOULDN’T IT?
Attendant #3: During my fifth obligatory aisle walk, a passenger complained that his light was broken and he couldn’t read his Proust. I hissed, “Why don’t you go back to your cork-lined bedroom, you syphilitic know-it-all. ” Then I tossed him out the emergency door.
Attendant #4: When one surly gentleman went off by himself to find water or whatever it is he claimed he needed, I placed a live scorpion on his headrest.
The other attendants murmur.
Attendant #4: Too much?
Attendant #5: I forced a woman and her child-thing to get off the plane, even though the child was not bothering any of the other passengers. Even though the child had fallen asleep!
Sheila: Excellent. Before they left, did you note any specific threat the child might have posed?
Attendant #5: Indeed I did. He kept squealing, “Biplane. Biplane.”
Attendant #4: But—but how did he know? Was your Female Person Suit ill-fitting?
Attendant #5: Not at all. I had just had my Female Person Suit repaired and resized. The biplane arrangement of my forelimbs and hindlimbs were wound tightly around my exoskeleton, entirely hidden from view.
Attendant #4: You know, I was just thinking, while she was saying that? While the gentleman I surprised with the scorpion did not have a child with him, he probably had a kid at home he might report back to.
Sheila (ignoring Attendant #4): It is disturbing, but not surprising, about the child. Children of humans have a remarkable capacity to detect our true identities.
Attendant #1 (raising hand): I was just wondering–why don’t we want the children nursing on the plane, again? Wouldn’t that distract them?
(Shrill cries emanate from the other attendants’ abdominal gills.)
Moderator: Bizaw! The opposite is true, as your fellow LOOFA-mates could tell you! When the child is nursing, his senses are keener than ever. He can smell our ammoniac exudations. He can hear our high-pitched sonar. The nursing child is the enemy!
Attendant #4: MORE SCORPIONS!
(Everyone looks at him.)
Attendant #4: You know, because scorpions are cool, and stuff.
Sheila removes her molded silicone face mask, revealing compound eyes and horny, pincer-like jaws from which wave toothed chitinous ribbons.
Sheila: Excuse me, but this face unit was chafing. Anyway, if we’re going to increase the percentage of complacent passengers, whom we will fly to our hidden planet in the alternate dimension we call [editor’s note: name redacted because if it appeared here it would cause the Internet to implode] in order to feast on their brain matter and savory thigh meat, we must make sure no children remain on board. Ever. Got it?
Attendant #4: Way to telegraph the entire joke, there, Sheila.
Moderator: That’s it. To everyone Get him!
The other attendants all leap upon Attendant #4 as Sheila massages her pincers and stares into the middle distance, feeling oddly defeated.

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Bwa! The editor’s note about redacting the planet’s name is really, really funny … even by sky-high Finslippy standards. I’m slapping my (savory?) thighs with mirth. Thanks, Alice.


You are one strange duck. I love this. 😉


So. Much. Awesome.


Of course.


I read about this story this morning. The other passengers were defending this mom. The flight attendent said the mom threatened her (which other passengers contest). They should be glad that the child was just saying “bye-bye plane” as the flight had been delayed for, like, 10 hours. I hope, rather than believe, that this flight attendent will be punished in some way. On a happier note, I took two flights last August with my 3mo dd on Delta and breastfed her on takeoff and landing both times, sitting in the aisle seat of a small regional jet. No untoward… Read more »


You had me at ammoniac exudations.


Awesome. That makes perfect sense, too – I mean, real people can’t be that bad, can they?


I am so afraid to fly with my 18-month-old this month now. No nursing him, no talking allowed. What will we do?? Ugh.


An attendant was reprimanding because the kid was saying “Bye-bye plane”?
Pffft. That’s nothing.
The last time we flew, my girls kept looking out the window and exclaiming loudly, “BOY, OH BOY! IF THE PLANE FELL FROM THIS HEIGHT, WE’D ALL DIE, WOULDN’T WE? WHOA! IF WE CRASH NOW, WE’D ALL BURN TO DEATH!”
I sure hope we get on her flight next time.


Aren’t you scared that you have now found out their secrets and they are already plotting to get YOU off the next plane?
Amtrak’s looking pretty nice about now…


I knew it had to be something like this. Thanks, I won’t be flying any time soon.

Dawn are really dark and twisty. I like that in a person


So well written.
I can hardly stand it.
It sums it all up perfectly. I wish you’d submit this to cnn or abcnews…..


Have you read some of the comments on the page? Some of them are more frustrating than the story itself. Ack!
Love your explanation, though. Very funny. 🙂


The kind flight attendants on our last flight placed a boiling hot meal down right in front of my 18 month old, who of course touched it and burned her hand before I could intercept it and started crying (rightly so) which just made all of the flight attendants and many passengers give us dirty looks. OH I LOVE FLYING!


Just ridiculous — I’ve never flown with my 2 kids (I thought I was just being overly nervous, but maybe not). This makes me want to only take trips in the privacy of our car — I try my best to teach my kids to be considerate, but sometimes they’re just grumpy … or excited. They’re, ummm, kids. Love the breastfeeding article, too!


This was SO funny. I loved it. And I also can’t believe the airline attendant kicked that mom and kid off the plane for such a ridiculous reason.


So that’s why that FA last week was murmuring, “Mmmmmm, t-h-i-g-h-s….” while we were boarding. And I could have sworn I heared the clicking of mandibles while the safety message was being delivered. Let’s all hope the Continental FA gets her just desserts (no brains included).


Bravo! Will there be a sequel in the works? LOOFA II: Predator? Because I’d pay good cash money to see it.


i have to say that i recently flew from NC to london by way of dulles with my 2 boys under 4 and it was a LONG trip but made far easier by the flight attendants. on all of our flights, our flight attendants were helpful, empathetic (most were moms), patient, and reassuring. when united screwed up by not providing the kids’ meals we’d requested, one FA actually gave me fresh fruit off of her own plate and then got more from first class.


You got a MEAL on your last flight!? What kind of super-deluxe awesome airline was that!? On my last (NINE hour) flight, I (and my 18 month old) were offered some lovely wasabi soy nuts, and the option to buy a whole box full of processed food-like substances for, like, $10. Thank goodness I thought to pack Cheerios, Goldfish, and grapes or none of us would have survived.
P.S. Alice: this post is made of awesome.