Flight crews can restrain passengers or even divert flights when violent behavior erupts midair, but when the situation involves a parent potentially abusing a child, the decisions are not so clear cut.
A 5½-hour JetBlue flight earlier this month continued to its final destination after three passengers reported a mother mistreating her 8-year-old son, including grabbing him by the neck and shoving him against a window as he cried.
The same day, the airline diverted a flight to Las Vegas after a man reportedly hit and bit other passengers.
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The airline did not respond to requests for comment on the incident involving the child, and a federal complaint against the mother does not say whether the flight attendant who received the passenger complaints intervened.
While it may vary by airline, flight attendants are trained in how to de-escalate violent situations under widely accepted