Kids at the office: Good or bad idea?

By now you’ve probably heard about Glenn Duffy, the air traffic controller who twice last month let his children direct pilots at New York City’s JFK Airport. Duffy and his supervisor have been suspended with pay pending a Federal Aviation Administration investigation, while the kids are now presumably left without access to one of the world’s coolest offices.

The events have ignited yet another flight safety debate. Released audio recordings of the JFK incidents suggest an overly permissive “Airplane”-esque environment led by someone resembling Lloyd Bridges – at least to the average air traveler. However, a number of pilots have expressed disbelief over the controversy, calling it a non-issue since Duffy never actually relinquished command of the process.

Is it a big deal or a big problem? What are your thoughts on bringing children to work in general? Is it a nuisance or a valuable teaching tool?

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10 comments Add your comment


March 5th, 2010
8:44 pm

Keep your kids at school/home where they belong. Kids should be seen, not heard.


March 6th, 2010
10:21 am

no smoking. no cell phone. now we need new sign NO KIDS and it is about time.


March 6th, 2010
10:31 am

If the appropriate permissions had been granted by the FAA and the JFK ARTCC Manager, not a problem. But an improv of SOP’s without having done it correctly shouldn’t be tolerated. Air Traffic Control is a deadly serious business and JFK has a large number of International Flights with Flight Crews who are not 100% fluent in English(Search YouTube for China Air JFK). The Controller in question was directing departures which isn’t as bad, however the distraction of having a child in the Cab might have led to an error.


March 6th, 2010
10:47 am

I worked for a boss that used to bring his children in to the office every Friday, then expected me to watch them while he worked. They were little monsters and their father was a huge jerk for imposing the extra work on me. It’s one thing if your kids come to your office at the very end of the day and YOU keep them under control so they aren’t running up and down the halls shrieking or getting in the way and risking injury, or if you’ve had a new baby and want to bring it to the office to show off a little – and I’m fine with this. But dumping your kids on your office manager to watch? NOT cool!

Beverly Wittler

March 6th, 2010
10:52 am

Took my pre-teen daughter to work with me occasionally, let her learn the copy and fax machines. Later I had her load information on my laptop at home, and then she started paying my bills for me…for a fee. Now she’s working at home on the company computer, know she got an early start hanging out with Mom at the office.. (Sounds to me like the kid directing the plane was just repeating what his Dad told him and no one was in danger.)


March 6th, 2010
12:08 pm

I think this is a big issue. Kids should be at home or school. If they visit your workplace, they should be supervised and able to function in an office without being disruptive to the normal flow of business. Parents know whether their kids will be able to behave or not. What if the kid would have misheard his dead and given the wrong instructions? This was a poor decision.


March 6th, 2010
1:21 pm

The kids in the control tower equates to poor judgment by the air controller father, irregardless of if the kids were only ‘handing off’ to a departure. No added distractions for pilots commanding a vehicle of hundreds of passengers,where the cabin environments have deteriorated into dangerous scenarios already.

At the office, keep the kids at home. We’re trying to work, and your effort of sharing your kids with us would be better served at a weekend barbecue. Because so often the kids are ill-behaved when brought to the office, its just a poor reflection of the parents, and an unwanted distraction for the rest of us. Bring the kids by the office on a Saturday, if you must.


March 7th, 2010
4:50 pm

Having children at work is OK and educational, unless management does allow that, for whatever reason. However, in this case, allowing the kids to transmit on the air was a violation of FAA Orders. Period.


March 8th, 2010
8:45 am

I think people should leave their kids at home too.


March 10th, 2010
9:59 pm

Truth be told, my first reaction was “what was He thinking!” and then I though back to my childhood. My father is an astronomer (as in physics, not garage). I used to accompany him to one particular telescope in México (a 2meter12cm mirror), wich is very secluded in a mountain. By the time I was 13, I had been taught to use a radio, work the photo plates, basic electronics and could even handle liquid nitrogen (with supervision). Today, I run a Molecular Biology lab (and no, my six year old does not work the pippettes, yet). Give it a rest, you are under-estimating young people, they can be trained and they can learn and we should be encouraging them to do so.