Family claims Jetstar barred them from flight over toddler tantrum

Jetstar bars family from flight over toddler tantrum
A toddler's meltdown left them stranded (Laura Kimber)

Two Australian families say Jetstar left them stranded and thousands of dollars poorer, allegedly because of a toddler's tantrum.

But Jetstar says it does not ban passengers based on children's behaviour, and it was an adult who was being disruptive and not following safety instructions.

Furthermore, a witness has hit back at the family's claims.

Sophia Kreutzer said she was at the airport and watched their "disgusting" behaviour.

"What a load of c*** this family is claiming. These people were absolutely disgusting, I mean disgusting towards the staff," Ms Kreutzer posted on Jetstar Australia's Facebook page.

"I have never heard such foul and abusive language come out of someone's mouth in public and all in front of their own children."

A video obtained by 9News shows the families being confronted at the airport by Jetstar representatives, and swearing loudly.

"They continued to act like absolute clowns, yelling and screaming," Ms Kreutzer said.

"The airport staff did a brilliant job handling such such disgusting and disgruntled behaviour," she said, adding "who knows what they would have been like 30,000 feet in the air".

"They didn't just deserve a 24-hour ban but a life ban."

The family's story

Sydney mother Laura Kimber was travelling on the flight to Hamilton Island on February 11 with her partner Jae and their twin toddlers. With them was another couple and their young daughter.

However, as the Jetstar crew was preparing for landing, Ms Kimber's son, Matteo, threw a tantrum.

He hurled himself to the floor and hid under the seat in front, while Ms Kimber battled to put him into a seatbelt.

"I was told by a crew member to get him off the floor because the plane was landing and if I didn't they would have to circle the plane because of me," she told parenting website Kidspot.

It took five minutes to wrestle the irate toddler into a seat.

Ms Kimber says that when they got off the plane they were informed the captain had complained about their son's behaviour, and they could be refused a flight home.

She says that was the last they heard from Jetstar until they went to board their return flight home. They talked to a customer service representative who told them they would be allowed to fly.

However, when they went to board they were pulled aside.

'I asked the hostess, 'what's the problem?', and they said they were waiting on confirmation from the captain to allow our group on the flight, because there were issues on the flight up," she told Kidspot.

"We waited, and next thing our bags are getting taken off the flight. The hostess told me 'you won't be flying today because of the behaviour of your son'.

"We were very upset and arguing at the gate - I said 'you can't refuse a flight because of a two-year-old'."

However, Ms Kreutzer says Jetstar staff "repeatedly advised this family that them being denied boarding had nothing to do with their child - but in fact because of the way they spoke to cabin crew."

Jetstar told the families they had a choice between waiting until Friday or taking a full refund on their flight.

However on Friday they say they were told they were suspended from all Qantas and Jetstar flights indefinitely, and were forced to pay over $5000 for new flights and accommodation.

Jetstar denies family's account

In a statement provided to Newshub, Jetstar says "the decision to not carry these passengers was due to adult behaviour towards our crew on two separate occasions, not a child".

"On 11 February, our crew reported disruptive behaviour on board by an adult passenger who did not follow safety instructions on a flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island," a Jetstar spokesperson says.

"On 22 February our crew reported disruptive behaviour by adult passengers at the boarding gate at Hamilton Island Airport.

"Due to the disruptive behaviour the group of travellers was not accepted for boarding and advised they would be able to travel on the next available flight instead."

Jetstar has reviewed the situation, and say the passengers are not banned from future flights.

"Safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority and Jetstar does not tolerate any disruptive or anti-social behaviour," the spokesperson says.

"Thousands of infants and children fly with us every day and we do not ban a passenger from flying due to a child’s behaviour, and we have not done so in this case."