Virgin Blue flight attendant sacked after putting baby in overhead locker

A Virgin Blue flight attendant has been fired after putting a 17 month old toddler in an overhead locker on a flight from Fiji to Sydney. Apparently the lady’s husband was playing a peek-a-boo game involving the overhead locker, and the flight attendant decided to join in, putting the baby in the overhead bin for as much as 10 seconds.

Now, though this was in poor taste, it sounds to me like the flight attendant’s intentions were actually good (just trying to entertain the toddler). What’s really ridiculous about the story is the mother’s reaction:

According to Ms Williamson, Riley, who is now 20 months, has seen various specialists since the incident after suffering from anxiety and withdrawal.

‘He won’t leave my sight now. He sleeps with me. If I’m not in the same room as him, he will scream’, she said.

Nice to see frivolous lawsuits aren’t limited to the US!

Filed Under: Virgin Australia
  1. sometime unfortunatly the trend is often set by the US…
    Sometime it is good (stop smoking) sometime it is bad law suits and warning sign on everything like in CA (caution your coffee is hot, really?)

  2. it embarrasses me as an australian, yes we are as bad as the states, regarding frivolous lawsuits and I’ve spent many years living in both places.

  3. Two stories here. One is sacking the FA, one is the lawsuit.

    I’d also sack the FA because their job is to always maintain safety of pax and to maintain a professional atmosphere. I bad bump of turbulence and that kid gets injured.

    As for the lawsuit, I read the newspaper article (always realizing that reporting error is possible) and it quoted the mom as saying she was crying for days and the kid is upset and seeing specialists. My first thought is that the kid is upset because mom is crying, but then it is possible mom is just building a case for “intentional infliction of emotional distress” which is an actionable tort in the US, maybe in AU also. The newspaper also mentions her “estranged” hubby. If that’s a ploy, shame on them. If she really wants to divorce him over that, then I suspect far deeper problems in their marriage.

    Finally, the comment about marking coffee as hot. There was a famous case of a woman who got burned at McD’s when she put the coffee between her legs on the seat of her car and spilled some on her thighs when she hit the drive-thru speed bump. The part that almost never gets reported is that the local food inspector had, several times, written up that store for boiling hot coffee (about 30degF above the safety limit, and the difference between painful burns and scarring) yet they didn’t fix it. If I were on the jury, I’d have punished the store, too, despite the woman’s poor judgement.

  4. I would do exactly the same if I was the mom, hell I would even go further and claim that my kid is suffering brain damage due to the incident, this is a once in a life time opportunity to cash in big time!

  5. Per comment # 4 above, as humans, have we sunk that low to a point of no morality? Is it now, right or wrong, totally about “me” at the expense of all others?
    The author can claim that his/her statement was facetious but I would doubt its sincerity.

  6. @Steve I understand your position but bottom line I hate to see warning signs everywere on everything in the US I am from Europe and live in the US and even after 10 years I cannot get used to it…

  7. “I would do exactly the same if I was the mom, hell I would even go further and claim that my kid is suffering brain damage due to the incident, this is a once in a life time opportunity to cash in big time!”

    And that is the mentality of too many people. Instead of earning and working to make money you just want it given to you and have everyone else pick up the tab.

  8. Jesus, I was just trying to be sarcastic about the mom’s claim, looks like people here have no sense of humor, as always. šŸ˜‰

  9. +1 for Steve. While I agree that people should take more responsibility for their own actions, the reality in the U.S. is that for every frivolous case there are many other meritorious cases that won’t be brought because the plaintiffs don’t bring charges, are afraid to press charges due to legal status, don’t find counsel to represent them, etc. Given that many companies won’t comply with existing regulations if there is some cost involved, unless there is strong enforcement and stiff penalties for non-compliance, legal action becomes an important last recourse.

  10. @caelus

    Sorry for taking your comment incorrectly. I guess living and seeing things in Scottsdale for the last 8 yrs causes me to view things differently than I did in the past.

  11. The flight attendant should not have been fired. Given a warning more like it. The FA was not trying to hurt the baby his intentions were not negative. sounds like a normal baby boy to me, wont leave his mother side some kids are like that. what a shame totally blown out of proportion on both ends.

  12. I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous thing to do for a flight attendant to get so involved as to be holding someone elses’ toddler and putting them into the overhead bin to begin with. A little nutty is she? Oh and wasn’t the father into this and allowing her to do so? So she isn’t the only one at fault then.

    The mother is totally lying to try and cash in on this. Specialists at 20 months old? Yes, he’s forever scarred from this traumatic event. BULL. She saw an opportunity and grabbed it the money hungry BEEP.

    It surely was in very poor taste to play with a little child in this way, and I can’t even envision it honestly, the husband is truly the most at fault. He obvously was playing this way from the start and didn’t object to anything.

    The attendant while a like loopy in the head perhaps, or just weird, shouldn’t have gotten involved but obviously was going along with the dad. I think he was already doing what she was, if I’m reading right.

    I’m completely sure the boy is fine and likely was enjoying the game, though I’d never do it nor let anybody do that to my child. It’s dangerous and flat out stupid. Where were the other passengers? I just cannot picture this scenerio taking place. It almost sounds made up.



Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *