QantasLink Boeing 717-200 (VH-NXH)

QantasLink Boeing 717-200 (VH-NXH)

Oh please! Are the airlines to blame for everything now-a-days? Well it sure seems passenger Jean Barnard thinks so, since she sued Qantas for, “physical and mental suffering, medical expenses and loss of income,” because a three year old passenger screamed into her ear on a QantasLink flight from Alice Springs to Darwin.

Don’t get me wrong, the hearing loss seems real. Barnard had to be taken off the plane and taken to the hospital for permanent ear damage. There is some question if she had previous hearing damage, but getting the blood-curdling scream into her ear, surely didn’t help.

However, how can this be seen as Qantas’ fault? In court, Qantas argued that they are not responsible for a child’s actions and, “Flight attendants cannot predict when children aboard an aircraft are about to scream. There is no evidence that the child was screaming in the terminal, or on board the aircraft prior to the particular scream which allegedly caused the damage.”

Qantas must have felt her argument or the idea of bad press was too great and (confidentially) settled with Barnard out of court. That is too bad, since I feel that Barnard was more out to make a few bucks than to really change how an airline operates. Other than putting a muzzle on every child, what could Qantas have done? If Barnard was walking on the street and a child did the same thing, what would she have done then? Sued the city that owns the street?

Thanks Chris S!

Source: Mail Online Image: Zach Liepa

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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I wonder,what was child’s parent doing, when he/she screamed to passenger next to her. If screaming is so loud, flight attendants warned to child parent.
Traveling with air not long longer luxury, its sardine pack. Airlines need to issue travel information “travel etiquette with manner”.

I have to disagree with MAWESTPAC. Flying on an airplane is still a luxury. Think about it, you are thousands of feet above the ground. It’s the miracle of flight. You are FLYING! I don’t care how packed inside of a plane I am in, it is always amazing and I remember as a child having to drive from Indiana to California; 4 DAYS! it takes me 8 hours now. Pack me in wherever you want Qantas, or any airline for that matter. Just get me there sooner than 4 days!

As per the child screaming, The lady must have had a preexisting ear/health condition and is using this as a great way to get some money. I’m a parent of two girls and high pitch screaming, yelling, laughing is an everyday thing. As per flying, as a parent that flies with children, if the child is fussy and crying, The parent is usually more uncomfortable than the other passengers. Believe me, I’ve been there. This can happen for multiple reasons, i.e., hunger, earache, nausea caused by the altitude, or the child being tired. Now, this has only happened once before (2 years ago), but the flight attendants were the super stars. They allowed me to have my daughter walk/stand in the open space where they store the drinks and snack. Game my daughter cookies and juice and talked to her. This was on her first flight. It helped me prepare for future flights. I sent a nice email to Delta Airlines after our flight and specifically named the two attendants that made the trip a memorable one.

Now, I’m not making excuses for the parent, she/he should have known what measures to take in a situation like this, but the lady could have politely asked the flight attendant if there was another seat available. And, yes, even in first class.

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