Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Have you ever been on a flight that had a baby or a toddler among the passengers?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42445points) February 15th, 2017

I follow a page called Social Q. We’ve had a couple of questions recently about manners, so this kind of dovetails in. This was posted today (below the ****). I don’t know the author. I wondered what you all think of it.

Have you ever flown with a baby or young toddler? I did, once, on a three hour flight. It was my middle daughter, before my son was born. She was about 14 months old. Oh, she was a cranky baby on a good day, so I lost some sleep worrying about it. However, we actually survived pretty well, and I was complimented by a few people around me as we were getting off of the plane at our destination. I was exhausted from my efforts though! I really felt lucky I had escaped that bullet.

Below is an experience witnessed by someone else.

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THIS WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ME. I DID NOT EXPERIENCE THIS.

(She wrote) Here’s an air-travel experience that I had this weekend, on a flight from LaGuardia to Ft. Lauderdale. The flight was full, of course, and seated behind me was a woman in the window seat (let’s call her B), a man in the middle and on the aisle, his wife with their 13-month old daughter on her lap. As we sat on the tarmac waiting to take off (and as the wings were being de-iced), Mother took out a small electronic toy to entertain Baby. The toy made sounds and musical tones and Baby loved it. However, Ms. B did not. She said to Mother, “You HAVE to turn that toy off. I am NOT going to sit here for the entire flight listening to that toy.” Mother apologized, and said that the toy was helping to keep Baby entertained and happy. B said, “I don’t care. The toy is annoying and you HAVE to turn it off!” The two of them went back and forth, their voices escalating. I don’t know why Father didn’t say anything (and I wasn’t about to turn around and find out!). Mother did turn the toy off and Baby began to fuss, at which point, Mother said to Baby, “That’s right, make as much noise as you can!” in a sing-songy voice. Oh boy! B then said loudly to Mother, “YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE! You just told your baby to make noise! I can’t believe this!” Mother denied doing so (she said it…I heard her plain as day…). The two of them at this point were SCREAMING at each other. Again, no idea why Father was completely not involved! Very weird. Flight attendants came over at this point, due to the screaming, and calmed down both women, and then asked if anyone would volunteer to switch seats. About 4 rows up, a woman in the window seat said she’d switch with B, but…B said, “I’m not changing my seat, this isn’t MY problem!” At this point, things were at an impasse, but mercifully, at that moment, the de-icing of the wings was done, and we were cleared to take off, which we did a few moments later. Baby fussed a bit as we gained altitude (probably her ears were bothering her), but Mother gave her a bottle and Baby then fell asleep shortly thereafter. B also fell asleep for the rest of the flight, so that was the end of that. But wow! It did get pretty crazy, and I suspect that had Baby not been on her mother’s lap, it might have become physical. I have to say, that the toy was a bit annoying but once the engines were truly revved up, you really couldn’t even hear it that loudly. And yes, Mother was totally wrong in loudly encouraging her baby to make noise just to antagonize B – oy vey, that was pouring fuel on the fire!! However, I think B was wrong to initially demand that the toy be turned off. She could’ve used much more diplomatic language. When a total stranger gives a command, what’s the first reaction? “Oh hell no – you can’t tell ME what to do!” So it was doomed from the get-go. Anyway, the whole thing is just another example of how stressful and ungracious air travel can sometimes be.

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31 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I have been on lots of flights with small children on board, and also took both my kids places at young ages. I am not very tolerant of those who get annoyed at kids. I know that the parents are most likely doing their best, a screaming child is hard or harder on the parents than anyone else.

YARNLADY's avatar

I was once on an international flight and there was a family with 2 toddlers and two babies The Dad spent nearly the entire flight walking the aisles with one or the other of them. I have traveled with my grandchildren many times. I agree with @zenvelo as well.

Tablets, smart phones and DS have changed travel with kids for the better.

canidmajor's avatar

I am on board with @zenvelo and @YARNLADY. I traveled a lot with young young children, and I have little tolerance with the criticizers of the crying babies. I off ER my help to the parents, and verbally stand up for them if rude people don’t understand that the parents are not actuall pinching the babies just to disrupt the flight.
Thank god for gummie Bears in those days, and the dis tractors that @YARNLADY mentions in this day and age.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And for tiny marshmallows! I also agree with you all. But you also get those parents who just scream at their kids to shut up but don’t take any proactive steps to try and distract them. I too walked a thousand miles on that flight with my daughter, just so she could move around a little.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I have been on a flight with a child who kept kicking the back of my seat and crying. I just put my headphones in and didn’t say anything and tried to ignore it the best I could because the parents were already handling it. I have a nephew and when he throws tantrums it is mentally exhausting to try and deal with. I try to let parents deal with their kids because it is a very hard thing to handle. And in every case I’ve experienced, the parents were trying to stop it.
Also, It’s just not my business to get involved in another families issues. If it was my nephew I would do something but otherwise, I’d let it go.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ I agree @SergeantQueen. However, I’m afraid I would turn around and sternly tell the kid to stop kicking my chair.

Stinley's avatar

I took my older daughter on a flight from London to San Diego. 11 hours. She behaved herself very well there and back. We had a bit of turbulence on the way there and the flight attendant practically ran down the aisle so that she could get her out of the seat thing on the bulkhead to sit on my knee.

On the way back we had the neighbour from hell. He complained bitterly to me about my baby being potentially noisy and that the flip down shelf for her seat took up too much room. He would never have asked for that seat if he’d known there would be a baby next to him. He spent the night with his feet sticking out into the aisle and into the doorway to the next compartment so that when anyone went past the curtain would fall on his feet. So then he would angrily kick the curtain away. I spent the night wide awake. Husband and baby slept like babies…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Assholes will be assholes, @Stinley. God I’m sorry.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I don’t like seeing parents blow up on their kids for crying or whatever. In certain situations, I guess, like at a funeral or something, but otherwise, I find that screaming at a child just worsens the situation.

People are so rude to families with children! Those people have obviously never had a child of their own. They would hopefully be much more sympathetic if they had one.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve been on lots of flights with infants and toddlers. Never once has a baby (I’ll use baby to include toddlers) ever cried or acted up for an extremely prolonged time. Yes, I’ve been on flights where babies cried for 20–30 minutes, especially on desent, but it’s still very rare I’ve encountered it. The parent can’t do anything for that, so I certainly am understanding if the baby’s discomfort.

Once in a blue moon, mid flight, a baby cries, and the parents don’t do enough (in my opinion) to quiet the baby fast enough. Like, stand up and walk a little, that sort of thing, but overall my experience is parents usually do everything they can to keep the baby and surrounding passengers comfortable.

I was on a flight from Tokyo to Chicago, long flight, with twin baby girls just caddy corner to me, and another what I assume to be Chinese baby girl, a few rows behind me, and the babies did just fine. I mention Chinese, because it’s likely these are new adoptive parents taking home their babies.

I can honestly say I’ve never had big problems with babies, or any children on a flight.

The one time I had a problem a schoolsge girl, maybe 7 years old, was kicking the back of my seat. I asked her mother to have her stop, and the mother said, “oh, I didn’t realize someone was sitting there.” The plane was packed! Plus, why is ok to put your feet on the furniture? Still, she never kicked the seat again, so it was no big deal in terms of my comfort.

I really don’t see how people have so many bad trips with children they need to complain about it. I don’t doubt that it happens sometimes, but I fly about 3–6 times a year, and I can’t complain. My husband used to travel 50% of the time for work throughout Latin America and parts of Europe, and he has never come home with a story about an annoying baby on a flight.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think blowing up under any circumstances is appropriate @SergeantQueen. I’m not saying I’ve never lost my temper, but I never screamed at my child to shut up. In church, if the marshmallows didn’t keep them preoccupied, I took them into the foyer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie I think some people are just jerks. They even see a baby and their jerk bells just go off.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I think that’s true. Maybe the person is having a bad day. You never know.

chyna's avatar

My ears hurt and pop on planes and it breaks my heart to hear a baby crying because I imagine their ears are hurting too, but they don’t know why and what to do about it.

Seek's avatar

Some adults barely earn the word with their behavior.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Exactly. I can tell when a baby cries in pain, or is just being whiny. Poor babies. How can anybody not have some sympathy for their discomfort, and the parents in that situation?

janbb's avatar

I’ve been on planes with my two young ones tons of times and on planes with other parents. A crying baby is an annoyance but a fact of life and I feel empathy for the parents.

canidmajor's avatar

What a nice change this thread is from the “A crying baby on a plane ruined my life” discussions that so often ensue.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do too, especially when it’s obvious the parents are doing every positive, possible thing they can do about it. If I see a parent struggling to control a child, in an obviously caring, thoughtful way, I’ll give them a smile and a thumbs up.
I don’t feel empathy for parents who just scream at their kids, and whack them to shut them up. I feel sorry for the kids.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Never a plane, but four days on a bus once, with a two year old. He aquired three Dutch girlfriends who kept him, and themselves, entertained for over half the trip. They were sweet, and loved that he was learning to read. Before the trip I had worried about him becoming bored. What a relief to share the ride with friendly passengers!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, a bus ride could certainly be hell! I’ve heard they’re hell all by themselves.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@chyna I was advised to give her a bottle or something to suck on at take off, so I did. I was still letting her drink water from a bottle at that age.

Cruiser's avatar

I give out squeeze flashlights as promotional items when I go to trade shows and I have probably given out a couple dozen to loud crabby toddlers on planes who instantly go quiet when they get one to play with. Mom and or dad have been very grateful.

chyna's avatar

I love those flashlights.

ucme's avatar

I’ve said it before & by gum i’ll say it again, they should bolt seats to the wings & put the little buggers there.

Zaku's avatar

Well that argument between baby-women sounds pretty entertaining… at least, when I’m fairly rested and have plenty of leg room and can get up and move freely. Tired and crammed in an evil airliner chair with bad air for hours, shoulders crammed into others’ shoulders etc., it might be less amusing.

The actual child sounds like it wasn’t much problem.

I’ve been on many flights with children. Seems like usually they are not a problem, and often they’re fairly charming. Sometimes they do make a lot of noise, and then I feel for the parents, usually. Rarely have I seen anyone brazen enough to antagonize the parents. The most common annoyance I have from fellow passengers is actually people (usually grown people) who kick seats or bounce or make annoying repetitive sounds or something. Mainly though it’s just the experience of being a large man confined in a small seat with bad air for too long, that tends to overshadow all other complaints.

AshlynM's avatar

Yes, many times. I just try my best to ignore it.

If a kid is ever kicking the back of my seat, I usually ignore that too but I wish I had the guts like Arnold in Kindergarten Cop. “If you don’t stop messing around back there, this is what I’m going to do to you.” Snaps pencil in half.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I love that scene. Cute movie.

Pandora's avatar

I can handle babies just fine or an upset toddler. But once they get to be about 5 and they kick the back of my chair. I can tolerate it if it seems the child has some sort of mental problem. But I once had a bratty kid kicking my chair and I had to say something because the mom was fully ignoring the childs tantrums. The kid wasn’t kicking her seat so she didn’t care.

jca's avatar

I think in the Social Q’s post, the issue was that the mom told the kid to make a lot of noise, due to the neighbor insisting the mom take the toy away from the child.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They were both assholes.

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