Flight attendant’s opinion of father cuddling son led to him being detained by airline
In what has become a familiar headline, United Airlines is apologizing to another family, this time after they detained a father over the weekend for having his hand draped over his son’s lap while he slept. Yes, you read that right. As you can imagine, this dad isn’t having it and he and his husband are fighting back.
Henry and his five year old son, Ben, were traveling home to North Carolina when the incident took place. Joel shared his account of the event on his husband’s Facebook page Dadsquared, a community started by Amadon-Batten for gay fathers.
“Two nights ago my husband was detained after disembarking a United flight to RDU because a member of the flight crew made an accusation that my husband’s hand/arm laying across my sleeping son’s lap was too close to the child’s genitals,” Amador-Batten wrote on his Facebook page over the weekend.
Joel said his husband was “made to feel like a criminal” in front of passengers and was detained for about an hour while United staff questioned him.
Since the couple went public with their story, United has issued an apology. “Our customers should always be treated with the utmost respect,” reported the New Observer. “We have followed up with the customer directly and we apologized for the situation.”
I don’t know about you but I am always in contact with my children – hugging, touching, kissing — because I am their parent. When my five-yea- old son falls asleep near me, I still find myself patting his bottom because that’s how he used to fall asleep when he was a baby. I cannot fathom someone telling me this is inappropriate. And they likely wouldn’t because I am a straight woman and no one would confuse my touching as such.
“This is not how anyone deserves to be treated. This is not something that should have happened in front of my son. This is not something that anyone should have to worry about happening to them on a flight just because someone might not like the looks of them,” Amadon-Batten wrote.
Because their son had to watch this happen, he is feeling the impact as well. “Ben is obviously processing something, he’s not sleeping in his own bed, wants to be with his daddies much more than usual right now,” Amadon-Batten told Scary Mommy. “He’s feeling very sensitive and in need of a lot of love right now.”
The couple has since responded to United’s apology through their attorney. The family said they have hired a lawyer and is planning on seeking damages from United. “Based on the horrible situation that they placed him in front of their son and other people on the plane, we are going to vigorously pursue to be compensated by the airline for this horrible embarrassing treatment,” said their attorney.
“To have your young child see you be stopped by the police and be questioned like you have done something wrong based on nothing would cause any traveler to be mortified,” he added. “That type of emotional distress and improper persecution of one of their customers based off zero evidence needs to be rectified.”
The consequences of such an accusation could likely have a monumental impact on them in the future. “My husband and I are parents. We are foster parents. We are in the process of adopting our second son. We are mandatory reporters for any abuses that we might suspect are going on with children that we may come into contact with. This misguided man’s assumptions about my husband and the accusations that he made are completely unfounded,” Amadon-Batton explained.
This is not ok.