In the past three years, we’ve seen a shocking amount of unbelievably bad behavior in airports. Just this year alone, there have been some of the most appalling incidents like the young mother at Miami International Airport who destroyed a gate agent’s desk by pulling out the electrical devices including the computer screen and throwing it at her head (here’s the video). And then there’s the other woman who flipped when she was busted for stealing food from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and started spraying the cops with a fire extinguisher (here’s that video).

Well, what happened in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport this week is entirely different but an example of even worse behavior. According to CNN: “A couple abandoned their baby at an airport check-in desk in Tel Aviv, Israel after arriving without a ticket for the child.”

The story is so disturbing that I debated whether to even write about it because I feel so bad for this poor child. But details are below including video. The Israeli Airport Authority told CNN in a statement: “A couple and an infant with Belgian passports arrived for a flight at Terminal 1 without a ticket for the baby. The couple also arrived late for the flight, once the check-in for the flight was closed. The couple left the infant seat with the baby and ran toward the security checks at Terminal 1 in an attempt to reach the boarding gate for the flight.”

Business Insider tracked down a 23-second video which was published by local news outlet N12 and appears to show the moments after a baby boy was abandoned in a carrier left at an airport check-in counter as airline staffers behind the desk gather around the baby. A woman can be heard saying “I’m in shock” and “Poor thing. She left him here! [I swear] on my mom.”

The couple was flying Ryanair, which is a European low-fare carrier and per their website: “Infants (aged 8 days to 23 months inclusive) travelling with us must be accompanied by an adult aged 16 or over (one infant per adult). Infants aged 7 days and under cannot be accepted for travel on Ryanair flights. If an infant reaches the age of 2 years prior to their return journey, they must pay the applicable adult fare, taxes, fees and charges for that flight.” They also note: “Infants can be included in a flight reservation during the online booking process. An infant can sit on an adult’s lap (an infant seat belt is provided by the cabin crew).”

My wife and I almost missed our son’s first flight even though I double checked everything. Here’s the frustrating story but the short version is that we were traveling from Los Angeles to Toronto on American Airlines. Fortunately, I learned a few weeks earlier that you have to notify the airline you’re traveling with a lap child and that you need to pay around 10% of the fare on international flights. But somehow the paperwork got messed up between the downstairs check-in counter and the gate agent and we showed up to the gate right when they were starting to board. The agent gave me attitude but fortunately, I kept my cool and have elite status and another gate agent scrambled to put in the information. We didn’t miss the flight. But leaving the baby behind? Unconscionable.

It’s not clear if the Belgian couple didn’t want to pay the fee, were trying to find a safe place to abandon the baby or they were so frazzled for showing up late they ran to the gate and forgetting their most prized possession.

It sounds like the latter is what happened because according to the Israel Police in a statement to Insider: “There is no active investigation due to the fact that the police officer who arrived at the scene found the parents and the infant together. After the officer’s preliminary investigation and accordingly, no further investigation was needed.”

Some lessons to be learned when traveling with a lap child:
-Always tell the airline in advance your plans and find out if there are any fees.
-Call the airline a couple of days before to make sure everything is correct.
-Show up extra early not only to the airport but to the gate and double check all the necessary ‘paperwork’ is in place.
-Keep your cool.

If you’re an aviation geek and want to keep track of your kids’ flights, get a junior logbook (some airlines have them for free) and ask the flight attendant to have the pilots sign it when they get a chance.


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