‘Deadbeat dad’ slammed for swapping seats to make himself child free

‘He enjoyed a kid-free flight’  (One Tough Mother/TikTok)
‘He enjoyed a kid-free flight’ (One Tough Mother/TikTok)

A man who decided against sitting with his family on a flight and left his children with their mother has been criticised for “shirking his responsibilities”.

Kristine Sostar McLellan, who posts on TikTok as @one_toughmother, shared a video detailing how, after boarding the aircraft with her two children, she saw a woman struggling with luggage, a newborn baby in her arms and a toddler beside her.

They were sitting in the same row as Ms McLellan, who describing the situation as “a lot”.

The father of the children was seated a few rows behind, and when the TikTok user offered to swap places so he could be with his family, he apparently replied “great, thanks” – but sent another child to sit with the others and remained where he was, away from the group.

“He enjoyed a kid-free flight,” Ms McLellen added in the clip, which has been watched more than 4.6 million times at the time of writing. The caption to the video reads “a little Sunday rage for ya”, and she used the hashtag “DeadbeatDad”.

In a follow-up video, she said that the “story of a dad shirking his responsibilities and being sh***y is not far fetched”, and claimed she watched the father turn his back to his partner and speak to her in a “chaotic” way.

Many users on TikTok were sympathetic to the mother left with the children, responding to the clip with stories of their own experiences.

“My dad was upgraded to first class once and he just left my mom with three kids in economy,” said one commenter, while another said: “I’m a flight attendant and I’ve seen soooo many mothers looking after the kids the whole flight while the father sits away or doesn’t help. It’s crazy.”

Another viewer wrote that their ex-husband “refused to acknowledge me and kids for a nine-hour flight. They were 1.5 years and four months at the time.”

However, some took aim at Ms McLellen and the critics of the father, saying they were all “assuming the worst about a family they know nothing about”.

One comment with more than 2,600 likes asked: “What if he were the stay at home dad and mom was finally looking after the kids so he could have a break?”

This incident is the latest in a series of debates around family flight etiquette. In May, people urged a woman to divorce her husband after it was revealed that he flies first class while leaving her and their children in economy.

Meanwhile, a passenger shared how she found herself at the centre of a mid-air row between a married couple after a husband flew in first class while his two children and wife were left in the cheaper section of the cabin.