Wet and angry! Grandma outraged after toddler refused use of in-flight toilet

Woman with child near plane

A nanna flying with her 2-year-old granddaughter for the first time was refused entry to one of the plane’s bathroom, resulting in a mid-flight accident – and a wet seat for the remainder of their journey.

First flight!

Stacey Osmond and her 2-year-old grandchild Ruby were taking the little girl’s first plane trip, a five and half hour flight from Nova Scotia to Calgary.

Stacey hadn’t flown with a child for around 15 years, but was super excited to make the trip with her little granddaughter. The pair were on their way back home after a family dance recital.

Stacey’s travel agent had thought ahead, organising two seats close to a bathroom, as Ruby had the urgent and unpredictable bladder of a two-year-old. Of course, as any parent or carer of a small child will know, frequent trips to the bathroom are the order of the day (especially if you throw in some excitement!)

Delight turns to drama

With plans best laid, what should have been the trip of Ruby’s little lifetime quickly turned to drama and discomfort, thanks to an unflinching flight attendant on the Air Canada plane.

“The second or third time I tried to take Ruby to the bathroom, the flight attendant told me, ‘I can’t have you coming up here anymore,'” Stacey told CBC News.

“I said, ‘She’s a baby. I was given those seats by a booking agent for that reason, so that she would be close to the bathroom.’ She said, ‘That doesn’t matter, you are not to come up here.'”

Denied entry

Ugh. Poor Stacey and Ruby. But it gets worse. Halfway through the flight, the food service cart was blocking the aisle to the coach/economy bathroom and Ruby needed to pee. Effectively banned from using the – business class – bathroom closest to them, Stacey simply had to tell Ruby to “hold on”.

Of  course, this is near impossible for a two-year-old and Ruby – through no fault of her own and with no other option – unfortunately ended up peeing in her seat. Stacey was simmering at this point.

“I was enraged”, Stacey said. “I sat there, still having to play with Ruby with a smile on my face, while I was just full of anger because of this woman, especially after she peed in her pants. I got some napkins off the flight attendant and I put them underneath her so she could sit on them.”

Ruby and Stacey had around 3 more hours of the flight to soggily endure – not to mention some upset feelings about the lack of care and compassion shown to them.

Soggy seat

Because Ruby was toilet trained, Stacey didn’t have a pull-up or nappy on hand, and because she hadn’t flown with a child for so long, she hadn’t remember to pack an entire change of clothes either.

Staff apparently eventually offered the pair a folded up blanket for Ruby to sit on, for the remainder of the flight.

“Later when passing the flight attendant I said, ‘She peed in her seat, thanks.’ She didn’t say anything. But then about 20 minutes later another flight attendant brought us a complimentary blanket for her to sit on,” Stacey told parenting website Scary Mommy.

This is the kind of treatment every parent fears when they scan their boarding pass and embark on a flight with small children.

Air Canada offered Stacey some gifts for Ruby, a travel discount on her next flight and a gift voucher, but what Stacey really wants is a full refund and an apology from the flight attendant in question.

“I don’t blame an entire airline for one flight attendant,” Stacey said. “This was the first time I experienced such hostility.”

“We’re in contact with our customer about this regrettable incident. We have no further comment,” Air Canada’s Angela Mah told CBC News.

Give kids a break!

While it’s understandable that airlines may want to keep their Business Class section exclusive and for premium-paying customers only, in this case an agent booked these seats for a reason, and some flexibility could surely have been shown? Especially when Stacey explained why these particular seats had been chosen for them – AND the flight attendant could surely see this little girl was just coming to terms with using the bathroom.

This incident was totally avoidable and yet another example of thoughtless discrimination and a lack of compassion for those travelling with children.

The task is hard enough without this lack of support from people who can do much, much better.

Have you had a similar experience with an airline?


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