Mother booted off Easyjet flight for asking passengers to mind baby
London Evening Standard | February 14, 2007
TO Ann Jordan and her family, it was simply a kind gesture from a fellow passenger who wanted to help resolve a problem.
But instead of allowing one of her two young children to sit on the lap of another traveller during take-off and landing, the airline marched her off the plane.
The reason given by easyJet had nothing to do with safety on board the short-haul flight.
It was made, it was explained, because of child protection fears.
And even though Mrs Jordan was sitting next to the woman passenger who had offered to look after her three-month-old son, Kaleb, she was told it was too much of a risk.
Rather than the airline finding an alternative, the 35-year-old mother of two was hauled off the plane in tears and told to find a suitable booster seat before she could fly home.
"It was insulting, not just to me but to the passenger who wanted to help," she said. "I was absolutely disgusted. It's political correctness gone mad.
"I was in tears when they took me off the plane. I felt absolutely humiliated.
"The captain and the cabin crew just would not see sense and compromise. I couldn't believe it. It was just crazy."
Mrs Jordan was flying from Bristol to Newcastle last week after visiting family in Cardiff when the furore erupted.
Although she had arrived at the airport with a booster seat for her one-year-old daughter Azrael, it was only once on board that she realised it would not fit the plane's seats.
The woman passenger next to her happily offered to hold Kaleb while Azrael sat with Mrs Jordan.
But the captain claimed that because the woman passenger was a stranger it was possible – although highly unlikely – that Kaleb could be abused.
Scores of other travellers attempted to persuade the cabin crew to allow the family to continue their journey home but after a short delay they were removed from the flight.
She and her children then had to wait hours for another flight and were allowed to board only after Mrs Jordan's mother drove 60 miles through blizzards with a new safety seat.
Mrs Jordan, whose husband David, 31, is a computer engineer, said she would not fly easyJet again.
"When the captain said I couldn't travel because of child protection laws I couldn't believe it, she added.
"He could easily have allowed the baby to sit next to me on the kind lady's knee where I could keep a close eye, but he was too much of a jobsworth. So instead, he left us stranded."
Mrs Jordan had no trouble flying to Bristol because she had been with her sister, Clare Ash, 27, and each sat with a child on their knee.
But her sister was not with her for the return journey.
She now claims that easyJet did not specify the kind of safety chair she would need. She criticised the firm for having no replacement on board in the event of a problem.
EasyJet said: "Under the Child Protection Act, it is not easyJet's policy to allow another passenger to take responsibility for an infant to be seated on their lap for take-off or landing.
"We appreciate Mrs Jordan's Frustration, but these policies and our resulting actions were taken to ensure the safety of her and her children.
"The safety of our passengers is Our top priority, which is why we do not compromise."
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