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August 18th, 2010
Southwest Airlines, Is baby-sitting an extra charge?

A flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight took custody of a baby girl after the child was slapped by her mother on Monday, the Albuquerque International Sunport police told ABC News.

When the plane landed in Albuquerque, the family was met by police.  The parents were questioned and released.

According to a report from Albuquerque police, the parents, Lee Ann and Joseph Cid, were arguing on the flight, trying to get their 13-month-old daughter to stop crying, when the flight attendant, Beverly McCurley, intervened.

"She informed me several passengers had reported that a female subject traveling with a baby and her husband had been observed striking the child on the face in an attempt to get the child to stop crying," wrote the reporting officer.

"McCurley further stated she walked to the rear of the aircraft and observed the mother of the child identified as Lee Ann Cid strike the child with an open hand on the face in an attempt to get the child to stop crying. McCurley further stated the mother appeared agitated with the child and that the husband continued to yell at his wife to shut up due to her screaming at the child."

Police said McCurley did the right thing, and said the parents were not abusing their daughter.

"I think it was a solid move from the part of the flight attendant to take custody of the child," said airport police chief Marshall Katz. "It neutralized the situation, it calmed everybody down."

Southwest Airlines representative Whitney Eichinger confirmed to ABC News that there was an issue on the flight, but denied accounts that the flight attendant took the young child from its parents.

"What you read about the flight attendant taking the baby is not the case. She did it as a 'Would you like me to bounce your baby for you?'" Eichinger said.

"The family on board was having an altercation and their young child was upset. Our flight attendant offered to the parent -- offered to hold the child on board. Our attendants do that from time to time just to soothe the crying babies because they are used to walking up and down the aisles."

A Southwest Airlines spokeswoman told ABC News the local authorities were called "out of precaution for the child."  



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