Virgin Blue has admitted the incident did take place, but claims that it was a case of bad judgment on the part of the flight attendant. According to the airline, the boy's father was playing peek-a-boo with the boy when the flight attendant joined in.
The incident took place on a flight from Sydney, Australia to Fiji. According to Natalie Williamson, she, her then 17-month-old son, Riley, and her now estranged husband Shayne were on the flight, when the flight attendant picked up Riley, placed him in the overhead bin and closed the door. She said,
"My husband, Shayne, was standing one metre behind my son, Riley, when the air steward picked him up and placed him in the overhead compartment. I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said 'Get my son out of there now,' " was devastated. I was absolutely devastated. I was crying. My husband was in shock. For days on end I was crying."
A Virgin spokeswoman said,
"We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated."
Williamson said Riley, who is now 20 months old, has seen various specialists since the incident and suffers from anxiety and withdrawal. She said he will not leave her side. It is unclear if the split between herself and her husband is related to the incident.
Virgin Blue has offered her free flights, but she has said she is too shaken by the incident to redeem them. In addition, however, Virgin said they had provided the couple with a full refund for the return flights from Fiji to Sydney.
Image: Virgin Blue Website