Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is taking your child to work a bad idea?

Last month, an air traffic controller reportedly brought his son into work, and allowed him to make transmissions to planes that were navigating around the runway. Did an air traffic controller go too far when he let his son speak to a pilot from the control tower of a New York airport? The incident is being investigated by government safety experts, who say the child talked with at least five pilots preparing for departure. Here's one exchange:

Child (in control tower): JetBlue171 contact departure.

JetBlue pilot: Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job.

Adult voice (from tower): That's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school.

The exchange happened during a week-long break from school and caused no injuries or obvious danger. It's not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work occasionally, but some say that should never have happened in a job where the air traffic controller is responsible for the safety of everyone on a plane. Now I ask you this, is this a major issue, or is the media turning nothing into something?

I, for one, have absolutely no problem with what took place. The young boy, and in another instance, his sister, were simply repeating what their father told them to say. The pilots seemed to enjoy the exchange with the children, and I have not heard or read a single instance where a pilot or former/current air traffic controller sees anything wrong either. Having never been in a control tower, I'm not exactly sure what the setup is or what the rules are like, but if people that are either currently in the position, or have worked in the tower before think it's being blown out of proportion, then I'm going to take their word for it.

I am completely aware of how important a position an air traffic controller is. They have the lives of everyone on a plane in their hands, to a certain extent. This is a high stress job and a person needs to be focused on the task at hand. However, moments like this, where the father was in complete control, are perfectly fine and do not concern me as a traveler whatsoever. For those of you that want to compare it to mom the brain surgeon bringing little Susie in with her to do some surgery is completely ridiculous. Mimicking a few words is much different than making incisions. There are lots of things in the news we can talk about, I don't think this should be one of them. I'm just saying...