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Gardner Quad Squad Is The Latest Baby-On-Plane Drama Tale

Coming on the heels of Something Navy‘s airline-vs-baby media blitz is Ashley ‘Pantry Twizzlers’ Gardner, who went on Ellen and complained about how she was treated when she was trying to board her free flight.

Evidently she and the adult male Gardner (and two other quad wranglers) hauled their four little miracles up to the gate thinking the toddlers would be babes-in-arms. She tells Ellen that Zuul the Gatekeeper of Gozer promptly informed them the children were too old to be lap babies.

So we get there, the girls were screaming the entire way to the airport – and through the entire airport…and the lady at the gate is like ‘oh you’re not getting on this flight, you need tickets for all of your girls’…so we did not get on that flight…they were like ‘get out, we don’t care’.

Ellen’s response was “So that lady’s mean” – presumably referring to the gate agent. Well that gate agent showed up on Ellen’s facebook page with a response of her own.


I was the agent that helped this family at the airport. They came to me in the middle of boarding and said they needed to add their 4 lap babies to their flight. I told them they needed documentation and explained to the mother to quickly get a photo of their birth certificates. While she did that the dad and I started to fill out their info and I quickly realized they were already 2 years of age. I explained the FAA requires anyone over 2 years to occupy their own seat and said we didn’t have any extra seats on the flight and it was too late to oversell the flight. I did everything I could to help them get to their destination before I even knew why they were going. I didn’t even recognize her. I offered to send 2 of the babies with 2 adults and sending the others on a different flight. She said she didn’t want to do that. Saying you had everything booked and that everyone knew they were all flying is incorrect. The children weren’t even booked to fly at all. Whomever books your guests should find out what’s required for children to fly. I was very helpful and tried my hardest to help out but our flights were all full. I even found them in the airport later and told them I let the night crew aware of the situation and to help them out and was told by the Mom that they were just going home. I was never mean and never told them to get out. This “version” of the story is completely innacurate.

Well then. This is what happens when people don’t ‘recognize’ you, I guess!

  1. Dicktip Hair

    Even if these toddlers qualified as lap babies, it would be downright negligent to allow 2 adults to fly with 2 babies on each of their laps. They were clearly trying to grift some free seats by showing up with their "famous" quads.

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    • ernst

      I think they had 4 adults, but still, they were over 2 so they couldn't legally ride on laps (and why would the adults want them to - that would be terrible for everyone).

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    • wolf in sheeples clothing

      Yeah, that's why there are 4 adults. It says that twice.

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    • BlissfulIgnorance

      The Ellen show booked the flights, obviously without booking the kids. I think the gardners (whoever the heck they are) realised when they went to board and that's when they tried to add them. Which would have been fine (it says there were 4 adults so it would have been one baby per adult lap) if they were younger.

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  2. Sweetie Darling

    Good for the agent for standing up for herself. *claps*

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  3. Sweetie Darling

    Also, now I want Twizzlers.

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  4. a world of no

    Oh, FFS. Checking your particular airline's rules for babies is Flying With Infants 101. You cannot just show up AT THE GATE with a baby and be like "LOL, she's gonna sit on my lap, that's okay right?" Really glad the gate agent posted the actual story.

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    • Ullll

      This! How does one not check the airline rules? That's insane. I'm also wondering when these parents thought the lap infant (keyword, infant) thing ended. I flew with a one year old on my lap. Never again!

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    • ? did they even get through TSA? They always made sure my ticket said "lap child" on it.

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      • Fruit Sticker Crisis

        Yep, even if you have a child on your lap that doesn't have their own ticket, they are still listed on the ticket of the adult that will be holding them. No clue how they got through TSA.

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  5. Purple21

    Ellen says in the interview that her team arranged the flights, so it looks like they were responsible for the muddle. There would be someone on staff who would be responsible for arranging flights for guests like this, and that person made an error by arranging for the toddlers to be put onto laps when they are way too old.
    Maybe Ellen's team made the error on purpose so they'd have an angle for their story.

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    • Al Dente

      Or maybe they'd booked enough seats for the family but the entourage they took with them to help took the seats meant for the kids?

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      • Alice

        I don't think you can just show up with a ticket meant for someone else and swap the name on it anymore. Things are pretty locked down these days. If the tickets were for the adults then the show probably bought the tickets for the adults on the word of miss pantry whiner that the kids were young enough.

        However the mix-up happened I still don't understand why that story was even included. "Gosh diddly bullwinkles Miss Ellen we just had a gosh darn of a time a-gettin' here!" WTF did it have to do with anything about their youtube show or whatever? But I'll admit I don't 'get' the Ellen Show at all so maybe this whole thing is the kind of gigglefilled first world problem 'you deserve a prize for managing to reproduce' bullshit segment her audience loves.

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    • Ullll

      Wouldn't you still double check the tickets though?

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    • BlissfulIgnorance

      Even with lap babies, you have to book them on to the flight (that's been my experience in Australia, anyway) but the gardners had to add the babies- sounds like the Ellen team just booked the four adults and didn't book the kids (probably because they just presumed you just take them on. But even if you don't need to pay for a seat for them, the airline still needs to know how many people are on the flight etc)

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  6. Al Dente

    I'm in Europe, so maybe it's different there but hiw can she expect to show up at the airport without having booked the kids onto the flight? I have travelled a lot with my toddler and before she was 2, I still had to pay a small fee for having her on my lap and provide her passport details when I booked my own ticket. I don't understand what this special snowflake expected? You don't provide details of all kids flying on flight, then you don't get to fly. My kid is still very small and when we flew with her at Christmas, they asked us to show her ticket as they thought she was still under 2. These people are just doing their jobs to ensure a safe flight for everyone.

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    • Apologetically Feministy

      In Brazil is also like this. You cannot travel with a minor without their ID, birth certificate, a formal acknowledgement from the airline that you are traveling with a lab baby (even if it is for free) and, if you are traveling without one of the kid’s parent, a written authorization of that parent.
      That is done because EVERY passenger, even toddlers, has to be accounted in the flight manifest in case something happens.

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    • Elle

      My experiences with flying in the US with children has been that the rules are ridiculously lax. There is a box to click while booking tickets that indicates that you have a lap baby but that was about it for me and I've flown multiple times with lap babies. During one trip, my husband forgot to click the box and they still just let me through, I didn't even have to argue my way in, just said that he had forgotten and they had no issue with it. It was actually really disconcerting, thinking that anyone else in the airport could have grabbed a random baby prior to boarding. I've never had anyone check my children's birth certificates or passports unless we were traveling internationally.

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      • Seaside Honey Fantasia

        Whoa, you are right that is really disconcerting. We've flowing with ours under 2 but only in car seats because the stork didn't deliver these babies that happily fly on laps for hours. So we had actual tickets. It's scary that someone could just fly away with a baby like that and check nothing.

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        • Seaside Honey Fantasia

          Flowing. Christ on a cracker. Let it be known I have no flow. I mean: FLOWN.

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          • Unflattering Schnoz in Wineglass

            Former airline employee chiming in here. Everywhere in the world, lap babies have to be "booked" and ticketed, and they have to be manifested. The reason being is that there has to be an oxygen mask for everybody on the plane. Not every row and seat has extra oxygen masks. Thats also why only one adult can fly with one lap baby. There is also a limit to how many lap babies can be allowed on a flight, limited to the number of oxygen masks. And no, not since 30 years ago or so, can you show up at the airport with your previously unbooked lap baby.

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            • stevegomi

              When I flew with my baby this year, we did not need any documentation (on American). I did call to provide his name though nobody asked, and it was on the line that the agent told me I didn't have to do or bring anything else. Just check "yes" for a lap infant when you check in...

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              • Kris

                Actually you need to bring proof the are under 2. But if the children is obviously little they may not ask. The famliy is wrong. The other goofy thing is even if they were lap babies they would need the extra grown ups to be dispersed throughout the plane due to the airbag issue mentioned earlier. If they knew that, then they read the extra places that 2 was the age you need a ticket for each child. I'm sure they were frazzled. It takes a ridiculous amount of effort to even get to the gate today.

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              • stevegomi

                Don't nope me. I'm telling you what happened. Obviously if my kid was older than 2, it would be a different story.

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            • Elle

              I'm sure you're right about the current rules but I just wanted to clarify that the baby from my story above is just now five years old so it definitely wasn't 30 years ago.

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      • Melanie

        Yeah, but you weren't traveling with 4 children all at once with a whole entourage of people. Those types of groups can cause trouble for airports and airlines, and so they tend to get followed a little more closely

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  7. #iloveyouandimeanit

    I can't see the comment on the Facebook post anymore. Did they take it down?

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    • Alliecat30

      Yep! Someone said the airline attendant did a radio interview, and had to take her comment down because of death threats (it really said that - what the heck???!!!) ... and that she had over 500 messages. I thought the Gardner fans were all about love and light. Hmmmm.

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      • #iloveyouandimeanit

        Jesus f***ing christ.

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  8. K1900

    This doesn't make sense. Whenever I've flown with an under-2, we had to indicate that they were lap infants at the time of booking. The first time we didn't know to do that and the airport employee who checked our bags said that security wouldn't let us through without documentation on the boarding pass that our baby was a lap infant. It was no problem to add her, but they were very clear that we had to do it before we got to security or we'd be sent back to get it done. How'd they get through security?

    Also, does any parent of littles not know that 2 year olds need their own seat???

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    • Mums

      Let's say T&A didn't realize their children couldn't be lap riders. What about the other adults going? What about the other people in their lives who know they were going? Did it never come up in conversation that the girls didn't have plane tickets? Or did someone point out 2 yr olds need their own ticket but T&A called them HATERS and unleashed Mimi on them?

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    • Ullll

      I was also wondering how they got through security without the girls having tickets. I don't have a lot of experience flying, but in the five or so times I've been through airports security was pretty thorough with our tickets & info. This seems fishy.

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  9. juliasugarbaker

    I've flown with my kid several times--it's not hard to find out the rules for kids. Every airline I've flown (admittedly not every single one, but most of the major domestics) makes you have children over two in their own seat. And, as the parent, she should have verified the ticket information and rules before going to the airport. Her own fault.

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    • Eastshore

      Also, when you make the booking online and enter the traveler's info, disclaimers and lots of rules usually pop up if you enter information for a child.

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      • oh get over yourself Melanie

        I flew with my daughter when she was a baby and after booking my own ticket online I had to call the airline and add her as a lap baby, I couldn't just ~show up~ lol. She even had a ticket of her own, it just didn't cost anything.

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  10. beatrice45

    As everyone has said - this whole story is ridiculous. Even if the people from Ellen booked them incorrectly as lap babies, they would still have had to provide documentation and it seems impossible to me that as a parent you don't know that 2 is the cut off?!

    My husband works in the airline industry - and it is a pain and expensive to fly and services have really been cut back. BUT on almost every flight there is some ridiculous person who thinks they are the only one on board and makes it miserable for everybody that has to deal with them.

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    • JaCrispy

      I don't fly often so I didn't know that 2 was the cutoff (to be honest I would have thought it would be younger) BUT no matter WHO booked my tickets you can bet your butt I would be checking and rechecking and rechecking rules for flying with children. How do you not research what's needed when flying with kids??? Especially when you have that freaking many!

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  11. Eastshore

    It sounds like the Ellen show messed up the booking. Even though it has been a while since I have flown with a lap infant, I recall having to let the airline know I was bringing my son and I am pretty sure he needed a boarding pass. I don't think we have the entire story.
    In Ellen's defense, she only said "that lady is mean" because she doesn't make the arrangements and she is pressed for time on the show and needs to be funny.

    And PP, I also don't get the love people have for the Ellen show. It's boring.

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    • Severus Snark

      +1 to the show confusion.

      She just talks to online trends that appeal to white, middle-class, Christian SAHMs who probably voted against her rights...right? I like Ellen a lot, but the show is enough pandering to make you queasy.

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  12. blairwaldorf

    I really doubt that the mix-up was the fault of the Ellen Show. I think one of two things happened:

    1. The Ellen Show reserved 6 tickets (one for each family member) and left it up to the Gardners to call the airline and provide passenger information. The Gardners used the tickets intended for the girls for their entourage, assuming they could just lie about the girls' ages at the gate and get them onto the flight for free. It didn't occur to them that they would be required to show proof, or that the airline wouldn't make an exception for them if they name dropped Ellen.

    2. The Gardners lied to the Ellen Show and told them the girls were under 2. The person booking the tickets then assumed that the girls would be lap babies and did not book tickets for them.

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    • Top Hat Fancy

      Totally thought option 1. I wouldn't put that past them.

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    • Purple21

      Yes, option 1 makes sense. Then the Gardners would have decided they could sneak the kids in as slightly younger rather than pay more money or jinx their deal with Ellen by asking for more seats.

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      • BlissfulIgnorance

        Option 1 doesn't make sense though because the lady from the airline confirmed there were 4 tickets when she said she could send 2 kids and 2 adults. If there were 6 tickets she could have sent 2 adults and 4 kids and had the entourage follow on the next flight.

        Option 2 is possible but it still means the Ellen show did the wrong thing because here in Australia at least, when you book tickets you book for X adults, X kids then you list the kids ages and if they're under 2, it asks if you want to book them as lap babies or in their own seat. So even if the Ellen show thought they were under 2, they should still have been booked in as lap babies, it says the gardeners had to add them at the counter, not change the booking, and that they were successfully being added as lap babies until the lady at the counter realised they were over 2.

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  13. Denise Armbruster

    my daughter is 23, I've known for 21 years she had to have a ticket to fly. D U M B A S S E S.

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    • The raven ate my jerky

      Are you telling me that 23 is too old to sit on a lap?? These regulations are getting downright oppressive.

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