All too often, E-hell is chockful of stories of terribly behaved children and their even more ill-mannered parents who pay them no mind while their special snowflakes wreak havoc on unsuspecting and innocent bystanders. This is the opposite of this, a story of traveling with 2 very young children who behaved well and providing them with ample supervision and adults behaving badly.
A few weeks ago, our small family (2 parents and 2 young children, aged 4.5 and 16 months) traveled across the country on a vacation. My DH and I put a lot of thought into planning the trip and our stay to maximize not only our children’s comfort and our own but to be of least nuisance possible to others around us. We booked a direct flight to avoid the hassle of boarding and deplaning multiple times with young kids, and we timed the flight around lunchtime on a weekday to maximize the chance of our kids taking a nice long nap mid-air (they typically nap right after lunch) and to minimize the annoyance factor for busy business travelers who typically fly early in the morning or other vacationers who typically travel on the weekend. We talked to our preschooler and our toddler about the trip, packed ample snacks, books and toys and even put together small packages of toys from the dollar store that they would be surprised with on the plane. A tablet was charged up and prepared for viewing cartoons, and all of our supplies packed according to FAA guidelines and those of our airline. We arrived at the airport early, checked our luggage curbside, went smoothly through the security lanes (it helps to be over prepared to not slow down what is already a cumbersome process), and arrived at our gates. The airline that we traveled (Southwest) does not assign seating; it assigns boarding groups. In the past, families with young children or those requiring additional assistance were allowed to pre-board; however, presently, you have to rely on your boarding position. Fortunately, by nature of arriving fairly early, we had one of the first boarding positions. When boarding was announced, we went to stand next to a sign for our numbered boarding position, and found multiple middle-aged and older adults, boarding passes in hand jostling for position in front of us. Several of their boarding passes were visible, and their boarding positions were after ours. However, they would still jostle to get ahead of us as a family. We did not say anything to them and waited for airline personnel to intervene, which they, thankfully, did. These travelers looked visibly annoyed to be told to get back in line behind a family. In fact, one gentleman, who looked to be in his 60’s or thereabouts, shoved between my DH who was pushing our young daughter in the stroller, and me who was walking hand-fast with our son, shoved my hand out of the way (I was holding out all of our boarding passes to the gate agent) and pushed his boarding pass in front of the gate agent. He made it to the gate 2 whole feet in front of us.
Once we were on board the plane and seated, another middle-aged gentleman in the row in front of us, turned to me and said, “Your kid had better not kick my seat!” He was still in the process of sitting down and stowing away his carry-on, but he just assumed that a preschooler was going to kick his seat. I said, “Don’t worry, we’ll keep our eye on him”, thinking that this would be the end of that conversation, when the gentleman said, “You better”. (Really, was that necessary?) My son turned to me and said, “Mommy, why is that man yelling at me?” I said, “You did not do anything wrong. He is making a bad choice. You don’t have to worry about why he made a bad one, as long as you make good choices”.
The kids did wonderfully well on the plane. They ate lunch and fell asleep soon after take-off (no kicking the seat, either). Our son was in the window seat, I held our daughter in the middle, and my DH was in the aisle seat. The kids napped for most of the trip, and when they woke up, they watched videos, and we read books, ate snacks and played with toys. No screaming, no running around hollering, no disturbing other passengers. Same story on the way back, when we were returning from vacation. Again, the middle-aged adults jostling for position to avoid being stuck boarding a plane behind the family (different adults this time). Then, nice long naps and good behavior. However, when the plane began to land, our daughter began to cry (she had been sipping water consistently at take-off and landing, but I guess, she was not sipping at that particular moment, so her ears popped). As soon as she started to cry (and I was holding, rocking and shushing her), a woman another row over said, “Shut that damn kid up”. Neither my DH nor I reacted (frankly, at that point, we had very low expectations for the adults around us). Fortunately, another passenger did. She told the woman, “The baby can’t help crying. You can help acting like a jerk”.
While our trip for the most part was lovely, and we enjoyed our family vacation, traveling left a bad taste in my DH’s mouth and in my mouth due to the outrageous entitlement from the Baby Boomer travelers we encountered along the way. We understand that people our parents’ age have long ago finished child-rearing and may have forgotten that babies cry on occasion, or that lugging kids, bags and a stroller across the terminal will make for slower moving than walking with a light carry-on, we went through the work of minding our children well and modeling appropriate behavior. It was disappointing to encounter entitled, spoiled and downright boorish behavior from the adults around us who we had expected to behave reasonably politely.
One final point, yes, there are rules of appropriate behavior that are important to teach to children and adhere to as adults. We abided by those rules. However, it seems that some adults not only believe that they are above or beyond those rules, but also that rules of politeness do not apply to children, or that children are not also, people who deserve respect, integrity and polite treatment. 1124-15
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Well done for teaching your children the right behaviour. Kids are generally good learners if they have the right people to learn from.
For some reason, this put me in mind of a time when my son and I were returning from Las Vegas (my sister’s wedding) he was 6 years old. We were flying back into Philadelphia, and I pointed out the football stadium below. I think the Eagles were doing well that year (I never pay much attention). So my son launches into the Eagles’ fight song at the top of his little lungs, and no amount of shushing could get him to stop.
Fortunately everyone on the plane seemed to find it adorable, and applauded when he was done. Someone told me that there was some professional sport person on the plane who actually said he enjoyed the rendition. Thank goodness for good-humoured people!
(My son is 18 now, so thanks for letting me indulge in a cute story from his youth!)
I can’t agree with with this “Kids are generally good learners if they have the right people to learn from” I was taught from an early age what was acceptable behavior, and what was not, and whenever possible, if I didn’t behave, I was removed from wherever we were.
and the fight song story is cute!
I don’t travel all that much, but I generally try and cut parents and kids some slack, IF if its obvious that the kid is maybe hungrry, ears hurt, overly tired, or just generally cranky. While I may not like hearing them shriek and scream, sometimes it can’t be helped.
what I don’t have any patience for, is kids who continually act up, obviously, and their oblivious parents, who do nothing.
I agree with removing misbehaving children from places, but you can’t do that while you’re flying on an airplane.
I suspect siamesecat wasn’t saying they should be removed from the airplane, hence the “whenever possible” part of that remark. But yes, *when possible,* misbehaving children should be taken out of the situation.
Awwww, we live 45 minutes out from Philly…..
I would’ve have loved to hear your son sing “Fly, Eagles Fly!”
Even though he is 18, and doesn’t know me, please high five him for our Philly lovin’ family. 🙂
Ever since the airlines started charging for baggage, getting on the plane has been a horrible land-rush style ordeal. Southwest makes this worse by not assigning seats. Regardless, I’m amazed at the preemptive rudeness of the passengers around you! I certainly understand being annoyed by ill-disciplined children, whose parents WON’T stop them from kicking / hanging off seats in front of them, yelling, etc., but to complain before it outrageous. Sorry it took some of the fun out of your trip!
The thing with that airline is, you can check two very large bags for free, so there is no need to rush on the plane with a carry on. Even airlines that charge fees for baggage, if you get on the plane with your carry-on and they’re out of room they’ll check it for free for you (in my experience). I like the airline because I always check in early so I get the pick of the plane and I always check my bag so I only have my purse/coat to deal with in the airport. I’ve also always had good experiences with the gate personnel handling people trying to cut the line or board out of order.
Personally I think it would be nice if people traveling with children got to board first and they could all be seated in rows together, that way people that didn’t want to sit near children could then select seats in another section. OP – Southwest has family boarding after A group, so even if you don’t get there super early, you can still board and sit together.
I just flew Southwest and boarded between groups A & B with the baby. Skated in just as they were about to board B on the way back, she pooped just as they made the start boarding announcement so I was running to the restroom to change her. the guy at the desk had told my husband that he would let us cut into the B group as soon as I returned with the baby.
Very true! I recently had to fly Southwest, and was flying stand-by so I was literally the last person on the plane and I was able to find room for my carry-on both times. The first flight had only 10 seats left and was fairly crowded and I was lucky enough to get a window seat in the back of the plane (next to some lovely young women from a local university’s basketball team – the one in front even asked me if it was ok to recline her seat mid-flight, which wasn’t necessary but I appreciated being asked). I even could put my bag in the overhead right over my seat, and I saw several empty areas while walking to the back of the plane. I had been sure I was going to have to gate-check it! I usually check my bags when flying Southwest but couldn’t because of flying standby.
On the flight back, there was far more room, and I sat next to a young woman and her 8 month old. I saw several people walk by and not take the aisle seat because it was with a baby. I took it because I was missing my own son (5 months). The baby cried some, mainly during take off and landing, but no one around complained. Frankly it’s so loud on those planes from the engine noise I’m surprised anyone can hear a crying baby enough to complain about it.
The self-righteousness is strong with this one.
While I completely see her points regarding other adults and I’m glad her children were well behaved, I was thinking the same thing.
So glad I’m not the only one put off by her tone!
I’m kind of thinking that too. The fact it went so seamlessly kind of makes me quirk an eyebrow. I just flew half way across the country last year on a non-stop flight and I swear as an adult I was dropping stuff, fumbling around trying to find things and just over all flustered. I have two kids (6 and 10) and I know for a fact there isn’t any way I would be calm, cool and that organized and have a trip of the OP’s caliber go that uneventful….no way. A corpse flower may be beautiful but it still smells horrible.
I’ve flown with two kids under 4 from London to New Zealand and things went fairly smoothly. We were organised with supplies, toys, charged tablets, arriving early, etc. Living in London I knew quite a few parents who also fly long distance with young kids and that sort of prep is very common. In our case Miss 21months did have an outbreak of exhausted crying at one point before she dropped off to sleep, but that was it.
As for dropping things and flumbling for things and getting flustered, well, I knew we had so long on each leg of the flight that I had ample time to pick up anything I’d dropped and ample time to do anything else like fill in forms, so not the sort of circumstances I get flustered in, although everyone is different.
Agreed. I don’t understand this, “Oh, I’m running around like a chicken without a head, dropping things, etc.” I fly frequently and I’ve never had this issue. I plan ahead, get to the airport early, have my carry-on well packed and a binder with my itineraries and all of my documents inside.
This seems like a case of, “That’s not MY experience, so you are lying!” *golden boobs judgmental mommy stink eye duck face* If you’re a hot mess when flying, maybe take care of that personal problem instead of projecting onto others.
My first thoughts too!
I’m glad someone said it!
I’m sorry but I have to agree, it left a bad taste in my mouth
Oh come on. If she’d left any of the details out, a good portion of the comments would’ve been “well your kids probably did” (misbehave, cry throughout the flight, kick the seat etc) “you just must’ve left it out”.
This comment subthread is just further proof to me that, no matter how you try, you can never win. She and her DH planned the whole trip to the last detail, worked hard to make sure their children wouldn’t inconvenience anyone on the plane, posted tons of useful planning information that could be valuable for families flying with young children, and this is the thanks they get?!
FTR my children are 20 and 23, so, no, I’m not projecting here.
I’m with Goldie. We’re going on a family vacation in April, and I’m planning obsessively beforehand to make sure all goes as well as it can on the place. (One of our sons is special needs, and if he gets upset, there’s only so much I can do … but you can believe I’ll do the best I can to avoid it and, if it happens, deal with it.) Last time we all flew, I did it too … and the boys were great, but the adults around us were much like the OP described.
Parenthood. Can’t win.
So do your best, as the OP did (albeit looking for an audience for her Good Deed), and let it the rest go.
I was put off by the self-congratulation too, but I do think you’re right–sometimes you really do need to include EVERY. DETAIL. of what you did in order to avoid accusations of selective storytelling.
Hello Pot? It’s Kettle.
You know what? Sometimes, as a parent, when you do a good bit of parenting, you have to give yourself a high five and a pat on the back, because sure as hell no one else will (as proved by this very particular thread of comments).
We have four kids ranging from 6th grade through college.
When they were smaller, especially if went out to eat where there are no happy meals, the eye rolling and sighs just SEEING us walk in were very rude.
Our kids certainly aren’t perfect, but they do know how we expect them to act, especially in public.
They still have good manners, lots of please, thank you, and yes ma’am/sir and may I.
Am I proud of them? 100%!
Do we think we did a good job of raising respectful human beings? Most days, yes.
Parenthood is DEFINITELY the only career where you are held guilty for the crimes of others (your children)- and perhaps justifiably so (from a long-term perspective). BUT, if parents are held to a standard that says “no matter what the situation is, you’d better have your children under perfect control”- then I’m thinking there’s no way that standard is based in the real world. And maybe teaching/ tutoring/ care giving should be lumped in to this category. Heaven knows that if children don’t perform on tests or act up in class it’s the fault of the adult in charge. (Ahem, small bit of irony intended…)
Um, unfortunately, that’s already happening…
Wait, now parents want a pat on the back? I thought the parenting is it s own reward or maybe there is no gift like the love of a child. It is really odd to expect a high five or other reward for the common act of parenting.
ALIFA she clearly meant that parenting is a hard job and does not always go to plan and she has a right to be proud of herself that she managed to keep young kids in control during such a crazy event as travel. I find it incredibly sad when you are not allowed to be proud of your assests or even small achievements without being accused of being self righteous or up yourself. Its like everyone has to feel like they can do better at all times and to think you are winning at something is something you need to keep to yourself. Like, if you aren’t struggling or ashamed then your not trying hard enough?
@ALFIA: Speaking for myself and my husband, well, no.
I certainly don’t think my kids are the only ones on this planet to have good manners, and I don’t expect a brass band to appear when they use them.
Are they perfect? No.
Are their dad and I perfect? Of course not, we have made mistakes in our approach to child raising, a lot of them.
I have told my kids from little on up that if someone compliments them on their manners or actions, it means more to me than someone telling me I look pretty, etc.
It means a lot to me when strangers, or family, say what nice, polite kids they are.
In my book that means I’m doing my job as a parent right.
Maybe not for common parenting, but a little recognition for a job well done on occasion (like a family trip that went smoothly) certainly is nice. Shouldn’t be expected, but nice to receive.
Yes, parents do occaisionally need a pat on the back because at the end of the day, wether you have your own kids/like kids from a far/dislike being anywhere near them, the parents of today are raising the children that will either be the kind of adults who, when you are 112 years old, will change your nappy, organise your finances, walk your dog or provide you with needed medication. Or, without some support, can raise the kind of adults that steal your TV. Which one would you prefer?
I’m very lucky and blessed to be a stay home mom right now.
Over the years, I’ve had jobs outside the home.
But, for right now, child rearing (and LOTS of laundry!) IS my job.
I’m “on call” 24/7 and I love it.
When one of my kids gets into a bad situation, that is all on me, I can’t claim I’m too busy at the office to not handle things properly.
When they screw up, that’s my fault….but if they do something right, I’m proud of being a good parent.
My kid is three and a couple years ago I stopped counting how many flights he’d been on, we were up to over 30 at that point. He literally holds elite status on our favorite airline and gets first class upgrades now. In that time we’ve had a few bad flights, most of them were my fault and the trouble started before we even got off the ground. That said, I still stand behind your comment. There’s just something off about this whole story. Yes, you can plan perfectly. You can have a flight with a well behaved kid that doesn’t annoy anyone and other passengers might be rude to you anyways. But in my experience most other passengers don’t just assume my kid will be an annoyance. They’re usually happy to see my kid, which is weird since the internet is just littered with stories telling you people will be livid if you bring a kid on a plane.
I don’t think this lady is bad or a liar. But I do think she is deliberately remembering what she wants to remember from her flight.
Well, bad experiences do stick with you more than good ones, oftentimes. Extremely good experiences also stick, but bad ones don’t have to be so extreme to get lodged in your memory.
Of all the flights I’ve taken my kids on, the ones that really stand out to me were instances of extremely generous people (the lady who befriended my 7-year-old on a late flight when I was stuck alone across the aisle with the younger two kids, the flight attendant who snuck my kids some snacks on a flight that normally charged for them, etc.) and instances where someone seemed to take a small annoyance and blow it out of proportion (the lady who sat next to me on an overnight flight when I had a lap-child barely a year old, and who decided that my sleeping child twitching a couple times was grounds for a meltdown and switching seats with her husband; the lady was pregnant with her first child so I suspect she’s had to deal with similar situations by now as the parent, and hopefully has some insight into how much I was trying to keep my child from disturbing her in such cramped quarters).
I understand when babies and toddlers act up on a flight, they really can’t help it in most cases.
What I can’t stand is when a child, in my humble opinion, is old enough to know better and is being a brat.
I was on a flight many years ago (luckily a short flight), where a boy (about 7/8 yrs) was totally out of control the whole flight.
Where was his mom? Right next to him with eyeshades on….sleeping.
After about 45 minutes of this kid’s obnoxious behavior (running up and down the aisle, talking to every person rudely, begging people for food/candy, someone finally got fed up and told the kid to SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET PLEASE!
Cue a major tantrum and screaming complete with tears, “I don’t WANNA sit down!”
A fight attendant came over and after a few unsuccessful attempts, the mom finally woke up and pulled off her eyeshades in an annoyed manner and asked the flight attendant “What the HELL is your problem?!? I’m TRYING to SLEEP HERE!”
“Your child is disrupting the entire flight, do something please!”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake! I took two sleeping pills and he is FINE!!!”
No…He is not!
I think also the caliber of customer on SW air has a bit to do with it. Great job family!
And what caliber of people would that be? Could you be any more condescending to millions of people you don’t know?
I don’t disagree with this, either.
I have a funny story about travelling with my DD and about the kindness of other passengers.
I’d say she was about 18 months at the time and I was travelling alone with her. We had been stuck at O’Hare (God, I hate that airport) for hours so by the time we boarded the plane neither of us was in the best mood. I did my best to entertain her throughout the flight as did some of the other passengers, waving at her and playing peek-a-boo.
After 4 hours we began our descent and she began to get fussy so I encouraged drinks and snacks. Literally, the second the wheels touched down she burst into tears and our entire section of the plane applauded. lol When everyone was able to stand they all leaned over & commented, “You did it! You made it!”
One lady said, “At this point if it were socially acceptable for me to cry, I would do it too.”
That’s an awesome story!
OP, thanks for taking the time and effort to raise good kids and show great consideration of others, and I’m sorry your flights had their share of old “kids” who must have been raised badly. You went to all kinds of effort to make the trip pleasant for yourselves AND the people flying with you — it’s a shame some people assumed you were out to ruin their trip at the sight of your (horrors!) kids.
I hate getting my seat kicked as much as anyone, but I took a child to a super fun concert that was great for all ages, and the lady in front of us said a few times, audibly, “That child behind me is kicking my seat!” to the man next to her. Only the child wasn’t. The little girl was just the right height so that her little legs stuck out straight on the seat and almost reached the back of the seat in front of her, and when she moved a bit (the concert action popped up all around us, even erupting out of one of the rows across the aisle from us and once behind us) to see the next song, she touched, not kicked, the seat a few times. I know, because I was watching with an eagle eye. I had her fold her legs and sit cross-legged until that grew too uncomfortable for her, then sat her on my lap so her legs could hang straight down, until my legs went asleep. At one point I said to the child, just as audibly as that woman, “C., thank you for trying so hard to manage your feet. It’s hard to do in these seats, isn’t it?” And still the woman complained to her companion, once even when the child was no longer behind her, but sitting on my lap behind someone else.
It’s hard when one really tries and is treated with rudeness, OP. I hope you have better flights in the future!
Please don’t let a few rude people spoil an otherwise great trip. The airlines have done all they can to make traveling miserable.
I just do not care for adults that don’t remember they were ever a kid once… And have less manners. Hence this site is full.
A little kid doing a little fussing happens on planes, trains, and busses, it’s what the parents do about it.
Sometimes parents do ridiculous things to children. I saw parents put their toddler in a window seat and tell her to look out the window. Both parents were seated elsewhere. When the plane left the ground and she saw how high it was going, she had a total melt-down, scared to death.
The mother got the child and seated her next to her while the husband took the window seat. They had decided a little girl would enjoy the window seat during takeoff and were amazed that she got upset.
Depends on the kid. My son LOVED looking at how the ground dropped away and how high we went. The first time he flew, I had to stop him taking his seatbelt off. He wanted to kneel on the seat for a better look. Someone thinking their kid might like to watch isn’t stupid, or a bad parent. They just misjudged.
I would agree that it’s not a bad idea per se, but I do think it was a bad idea for the parents to not sit with such a small child, when they weren’t even sure how he would react to it.
Was he a toddler? An older child might well enjoy it, but most two or three year old children would not enjoy having to sit away from his/her parents and certainly seeing the ground moving away would frighten a child that young.
I would not have left her alone in a seat until I saw that she was comfortable being alone. Come to think of it, I would not allow a child that young to be seated away from me under any conditions.
Your little one is very unusual to be so young and to be happy not being with you on a plane.
Frankly, I’m more horrified that a child that (supposedly) young was left to sit alone while the parents moved elsewhere. My children, even as toddlers, loved watching the ground drop away. It’s really a kid-by-kid basis. But my husband and I didn’t have one of our kids sit by herself until she was 8, and “by herself” was “one row away from us because that’s how the airline split up the seats and we had two other little children to sit by.” By that point, of course, we could trust her to behave herself and basically spend the entire flight reading quietly and eating snacks while Hubby and I tended to the younger two.
Sadly, I can top that.
I am a nervous flier who gets travel sick; I cope by getting to the airport absurdly early, doing everything at the earliest possible opportunity [to avoid stresing myself], and having a small brandy at the bar [it calms my stomach]. I also take ear plugs & an eye mask so that I can sleep on the plane for as much of the time as possible.
I was travelling with my ex, and we were in the lounge by the gate and there was a baby happily being a baby – so chatting and burbling, occasionally shrieking, but *absolutely* not being any kind of problem…
Apart from the occasional shrieks’ pitch was my “resonance frequency”. We quietly moved away from the people, didn’t say a thing, were just getting me a bit further from the sound that was raising my anxiety levels.
Well, that was a *huge* problem to these people, for some reason. They followed us, yelling at how we were horrible people, and proceded to bounce/joggle the child until (s)he had gone from happily burbling to actively screaming/looking very unhappy.
As moving once had provoked such a reaction, we just sat there as quietly as we could, ignoring all the insults. This was in the days of assigned seating, so I’m sure you can guess where we were sitted in relation to the people [parents, child + another man]?
If you guessed right behind, you’d be spot on!
So that continued to fan the flames, and they carried on winding up the poor child as much as possible. I just put in my ear plugs, put on the eye mask, wrapped myself up and relaxed as much as I could. It was a success; I slept throughout the whole flight.
When we were getting off the plane, the people were just ignoring us, so I assumed they’d got over whatever was bothering them.
But my ex told me [when we were *well* away from them] that they’d upset that unfortunate baby enough that (s)he was screaming the whole flight, red in the face, clearly distressed, and then vomitted all over the father. He handed the baby to the other man, and he threw up all over him, too.
After that, they stopped trying to make him cry, and my ex said the whole plane heaved a sigh of relief!
But seriously, who would do that to their own child? And why?
We didn’t say a word to them, and were just trying to go away on a relaxing holiday; the child wasn’t a problem, we hadn’t complained, I still don’t understand it at all.
Remind me of a story about a dad who would tickle his daughter until she cried and screamed and then called her a baby for getting upset. The last time he did it was on her birthday when she had a stomach full of cake and ice cream and he suffered the natural consequences.
My father thought it fun to slap the stairs as I was going up to bed to startle me, and I hated it. I started trying to run up the stairs as fast as possible and he’d move to do it anyway (I was about four). He thought it was funny, mom had yelled at him to stop it a few times. One night he did it, I was about halfways up on all fours so I could go faster… and I just froze and screamed at the top of my lungs, just as loud as I could. Mom seen my big white eyes and the scream of pure terror-I think the neighbors heard it. She drug dad to the kitchen doorway (nearest place that was out of sight) and released him then helped me get to bed. He never did it again (elapsed time about 3 weeks from when he started it to when it ended-and I had managed to get up those stairs a few times before he knew I was going so he ‘missed’ so no THUD) I’d say the little girl that got tickled got ample revenge, I just hope it wasn’t years before she finally got her point across.
Oh, they remember being a kid — that’s why they’re so rude about it. They themselves used to be the unruly screaming kids whose parents did nothing. And look how they turned out! Is anyone surprised?
No, I don’t see that–usually, the older adults who complain about screaming kids (or really, anyone younger than they are, who does anything that annoys them in any way, or that they disapprove of, even if it doesn’t affect them), are the generation who got spanked for everything.
Exactly. My dad was raised “children are to be seen and not heard.”, my grandparents were militants about it.
Thankfully my dad and his rebellious brothers went the other direction. My dad loves kids and says most of their noise is just “them having fun, Im glad they’re having fun”. He will give the dad face that gets most kids to shush when their throwing a tantrum or misbehaving. But thankfully he loves kids regardless of that upbringing, I lucked out. There were spankings sometimes but mostly I’m still a daddy’s little girl.
@Becca: Ah, yes…the “kids should be seen and not heard” grandparents.
My mom’s dad and step mom were of that mentality….we hated sleeping there when my folks went out.
Our other grandparents were a hoot, and we always had a fantastic time there.
We loved them all, but when the “fun” grandparents weren’t around and we had to sleep over at the other grandparents house, it was get ready for liver and onions for dinner and polka shows on tv!
We went travelling with our child who’d just turned three years old. Our return flight was delayed by three hours, and she’d had it. It was getting late, and she was hangry. She started moaning and crying before we entered, and in the plane she started screaming and thrashing, especially when she had to be in her seat belt. Poor thing was exhausted. There was a mother in the seats in front of us, and she was the only one who reacted: she smiled reassuringly at us, and that was it. No one complained!
We took our two daughters to see the play Peter Pan when our girls were about 2 and 4. They loved the play and were very quiet and well behaved…..or so we thought. At intermission, the women in front turned around and asked our daughter (looking at us for approval) if a sucker would help her to not kick the seat in front of her (we hadn’t even noticed). Our daughter happily agreed, continued to enjoy the play and the women in front of us didn’t make us feel like terrible parents. All of us had a wonderful time….thank you gentle person who helped make it so.
With kids that young, I generally assume the seat-kicking is unintentional unless they keep doing it after you’ve asked them not to. I see a lot of little kids idly swinging their legs when they’re trying to concentrate on something or trying to sit still for what is for them a long period of time; some accidental seat-kicking can happen then. It’s only a problem if the parents shrug it off or don’t try to make sure it stops happening once their attention has been called to it, imo.
Yes, adults often forget how hard it actually is sit when your feet won’t touch the ground. Your thigh muscles get tired really fast and it gets quite uncomfortable! Pair that with seat depth being all wrong for kids, so no wonder they start swinging their legs. Not that kicking the front seat should be accepted because of that. Just saying, quite often it’s not the kicking kids are after, but trying to sit comfortable themselves.
I took my oldest three to see a Beatrix Potter play a few months ago. The mom behind me had to step out with a fussing baby, leaving two preschoolers alone in their seats. Well, they were those flip seats, and one of the preschoolers managed to get herself trapped in the seat! She got a leg jammed down inside between the back of the seat and the bottom. She was freaking out! I felt just a bit nervous sneaking back, ascertaining that she was stuck, and pulling her out (how it would look to others), but afterwards I couldn’t help smiling to myself. It was pretty hilarious, after all! And I got to pretend to be a hero for a minute.
I am very familiar with that type of “adult”: it’s all “me, me, me”, zero consideration for others and then they have the nerve to complain about “young people having no manners”
Gee, considering *you* raised us, I wonder whose example “we” followed?
I never understand people who act as though all children are whiny brats who exist solely to ruin everything for childless adults. Sure, kids can display rude, entitled, annoying behavior, but they don’t have a monopoly on it. It’s no worse than an adult acting the same way.
True, but if an adult is being an insufferable jerk, you can tell them so and/or make a polite request to make the situation better. I’ve had parents yell at me (and my friends) for asking their child directly to nicely, please _____ (stop kicking my seat, use your inside voice, stop running, don’t hang off my shopping cart, etc).
Children must be corralled by their “keepers” (be it a babysitter or parent) while adults can be reprimanded by other adults.
Please do not lump Baby Boomers together in one group. Rudeness knows no age, color, faith, gender or nationality. Their name is Legion.
I went out Trick or Treating when I was twelve years old and a nasty old man threatened to call the police because I was Trick or Treating. I was still very much a child and looked it. That was 1962, so he was not a Boomer.
As to the man who didn’t want your child to kick his seat, I would have had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from saying, “Oh, she never does that. I do it and then I blame it on her. He, he, he!”
This account reminds me of two items:
1. Several years ago, my daughter (age 10 or so) and I took an overnight train trip to Chicago. Unfortunately our trip back was much more crowded than usual (it was Valentine’s Day weekend) and when we arrived at the station an announcement was made to the effect that the train was running late and that it may not be possible to obtain seats together and there may indeed be standing-room only. As my daughter had just recently recovered from the flu (noncontagious but still tiring easily), I was bound and determined to get her a seat and had to endure a mad dash when the train did come. I don’t recall any rudeness but it was frustrating and worrisome.
2. The headline of “When Children are Better Behaved that the Adults” conjured up unfortunate memories of my children’s school — a Catholic school, to boot. The children were well taught as to proper church and assembly behavior (quiet entrances and exits, no talking during services or presentations, etc.)
I wish the parents had been as well taught:
There were many times when, before Mass, other attendees could not hear Rosary (which is done as a group – a leader for the first parts of the prayer and the rest saying the remaining portions), because parents would be chit-chatting.
At school concerts, which took place in the small historic church for lack of a larger place, the children would sit with their classes and their families would sit where they could. The noise levels were atrocious — from the parents, not the kids. At one point, I asked the principal to please put a note in the program to the effect of, “Thanks for being here as we offer our Christmas gift to the Lord, but please remember this is a house of worship with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Your respectful behavior is an excellent model for your children.” The principal always refused because “it was not welcoming.”
The most egregious individual I recall was at a school Mass. At Communion time, before the choir could start (and thus perhaps muffle the sound), an older woman (i.e. at least 50 years old or more) was coming back from Communion when her cell phone rang. “Yeah? Oh, hi! I’m at Church right now! yada, yada yada…” in a normal speaking voice for the whole congregation to hear. (For those who are Catholic and would understand the implications — yes, she was speaking with the Host in her mouth.)
I’m far from perfect but I just don’t get it when the adults are the boors.
I have a similar story to your point 2.
One of the schools that was part of my school’s football league had the WORST parents. The actual team was fine. I’m not really interested in being a spectator so I either hanged around or worked the concession stand. The team members who would come by before or directly after the game were always nice and polite, smiling and pleasant during any mingling, and so forth. I don’t recall anyone in the school or on our football team ever saying anything even mildly bad about the team members or the coaching staff.
As for the parents, the announcer had to threaten to cancel a game mid way through because they would not get off the edge of the field after being asked four or five times (there was no fence but there was a good six feet between a ditch and the edge of the field, marking the area pretty clearly). It is an actual league rule that only coaching staff, waterboys, cheerleaders, and etc. are allowed on the edge of the field because it is a safety issue. (I’m sure most everyone has seen an instance where the cheerleaders or couches or someone had to dodge out of the way during a game) These people were literally massed right on the edge all the way down that side several people deep, people actually standing and in some areas actually standing several feet PAST the white line. If a player was tackled out of bound he would’ve taken out 4-8 people easy. They stopped the game for five minutes in the middle of everything threatening that everyone would be sent home and the game would be listed as a loss for that team before people would back up and go back to the bleachers. After that season the school installed a fence specifically because this was a habitual problem with these people.
On another occasion the team lost and one parent decided to be petty. Tiny school out in the country, our football field was way back behind the school. There was plenty of parking back there, but the only way to get to it was to drive down a gravel path only wide enough for one car. The road is also a raised a good four-five feet above the surrounding area for a good 30 yards to prevent it from being washed out (surrounding area being a fenced in playground and the baseball and track fields). Game was played and that team lost, with the actual team taking it calmly. Some parent rushed to their car towards the end of the game, started leaving, and then parked in the center of that impassable stretch. They blocked everybody in, trapping them for a good 25+ MINUTES! You couldn’t even try to drive beside that road as all the fields were very wet and chances were good that you would get stuck, never mind tearing up the fields. One of the police officers who were there to direct traffic leaving the game (way around the front of the school at the actual road, unable to see this and therefore wondering why no one was leaving) had to come around and threaten to arrest this person if they didn’t move and let everyone leave.
The saddest part was that the team was always apologetic about the behavior of their parents. I remember a bunch of them coming to clear out the last of the burgers from the concession stand before they got on the bus to leave that time when the game was almost cancelled to get people off the field. Several high school boys were telling everyone they could that they were sorry their parents were acting like this, with the couch shaking his head over the adult’s behavior and saying that it was such a shame.
The county redrew districts for basketball and there was one school nobody wanted. I don’t mean to be derogatory but it was the school right off the reservation and between my home town and the county seat and it was a pretty ugly fight over who got them and we lost. First basketball game they lost so they literally tore the inside out of the girl’s locker room (for PE) which was the guest team’s locker room. Thousands in damage. They laughed when presented with the bill. Us ladies had to use the weight room to change and no showers for a month while that got repaired. It had to go to court and the other school finally had to pay and put up a damages DEPOSIT to continue playing or be thrown out and have to go to the County Seat to play. Who didn’t want them back and had had the same problems. Parents, I remember some tearing up the front school lawn with vehicles every time they lost until our school fenced it off.
(at college I had a friend that went to college ‘later in life’ as he had to work to save up tuition. He really wanted to be a high school English teacher. He completed his degree, looked for a job, and found one at that school. A few days later, a gathering of friends, he’s poured something to toast because he found a job right off, and announced the town name. My glass hit the table with a thud and I said Oh. My. God. You Poor Person! Everyone froze. I explained what I knew of the town, the school, and more from my days of yore (about 3 years after I’d graduated and left the area). He set his glass down pale. We didn’t make the toast. He lasted four months. It was even worse than I had relayed by then. His father in law needed a person in his business, honestly, and offered him a twice the salary job. He later thanked me for the warning and had wished he’d talked to me a few days sooner, before he’d accepted that one. From the parents, students, school board and even the superintendent and principal, I guess it was (unprintable). And by then the county seat had them back, too, for sports.
I can see this from both sides- I’ve traveled with and cared for kids, youth, adults and seniors. Each demographic seems to have its share of those who are boorish, entitled and difficult. That said- you did everything you could to make the trip go well. What do the expectations of strangers matter? Not a whit. The sad fact is that there is an expectation that kids will misbehave that is largely fueled by popular media and the tendency that we all have to paint with a broad brush. As you yourself said to your son, it’s the choices YOU make that are generally determinate of outcomes for your family. A++ for your family (and you reaped the benefits, for the most part). F– for Mister and Ms. Grouchy-Pants making Preemptive Pronouncements as to their expectations of others. I wouldn’t let it get me down. And you or your DH can always practice the Frosty Freezy Death Glare for those who presume to invade your space. Or the Conscientious Objector’s Exclamatory “Ouch! That HURT!” when someone shoves past you. You aren’t obliged, in the name of gentility, to allow others to assault you unimpeded, though it’s impossible to prevent or answer every boorish action…
Bravo to you and you husband!!!
You sound like you did EVERYTHING possible to ensure a safe and happy flight for your kids, with minimal disruption to others around you. Great job!!! 🙂
I’m shocked at the “you better!” comment….And even more so at “shut that damn kid up!”
Holy Cow….what horrible manners….Good for you for not “engaging the crazy” I’m pretty sure either my husband or I would’ve been able to restrain ourselves in throwing back a few choice words to those comments.
Although this has nothing to do with kids, my husband won a five day trip to Oahu from his company.
On the way from Honolulu airport to LAX, we had some plane trouble and got into LAX at 2:30 in the morning.
Another flight from Hawaii was also delayed, so there we two plane loads of very tired and cranky folks all standing in lines waiting to make other flight arrangements or get hotel vouchers.
All told my husband and I waited in line for a good hour and a half before we even saw the end of the line coming up.
Off to one side was an Asian family just sitting by the end of the line, I was assuming they were just waiting until the crown dispersed a little.
When my husband and I were maybe three passengers back from our turn, the Asian lady saw a “break” in the action as the folks who were just helped were gathering their things to get out of line and made a BEELINE for the agent who was waiting for next in line.
From the back of the line (which still had a good 50 people still patiently waiting their turn) we hear a man who saw this lady butt in line yell, “Hey!!! Wait your goddamn turn like the REST of us, YOKO!!!”
Politically correct??? Absolutely not.
Funny? God forgive me….but yes….even the ticket agents burst into laughter, then composed themselves to carry on with the task at hand.
Sounds like I got dropped off at the airport at noon for my 1:20 flight that was already delayed two hours I find out as I arrive. 3 other flights ahead of it. Weather channel feed showed half the US painted RED with bad weather. I am flying from a burg to a hub then I have ONE chance at a feeder that goes to my destination. I have 7 hours to try to get my rear to that hub. I find out the first flights out heading to that hub were the only ones that left on time. I tried, I was rebooked onto #4 my original flight after several tribulations. Only prayer I had during the flight was the hub was zorched with weather too and maybe my feeder would be late. I buzzed the stewardess and asked at the time that flight should have been boarding could they call and see if the hub was having weather delays, gave her the flight number. Pilot did call in and she came back to tell me it was in the air. I missed it by over 20 min by the time we touched runway. There was rumor they’d found a hop jet and the several of us that missed that one could get the hop if we got our rears off that plane and a few more than that that had their flight boarding as we were connecting. Stewardess announced there was about 15 runners, their flights are boarding. If you are not heading to X or Y, STAY IN YOUR SEAT and let them off. I was on safety exit row on a 737. I had a laptop as luggage. I hit that aisle and most of the other runners were behind me. Three rows up on the other side a couple with toddler and kid in carrier, the guy gets out of their seat, he gets into the aisle with the toddler, and starts pulling crap from the overhead!
I was an e hellion. I swept my right arm and put him right back in front of his seat, did a swivel step to get around the kid and was doing about flat out and bounced off something chromed at the front with the same arm to make the turn. I had about a dozen behind me going about as fast.
Come running out, and the hopjet was there and ‘dead’. So six of us were stranded. The other eight made their flight because one long legged guy made the counter just as they were about to close the jet door, so they got those people on.
I was sitting there when that couple got off finally, and he was going to hit me I thought, and said (expletives removed) why did you shove me. I said the stewardess SAID to stay in your seat and let the runners off first. I’m stranded because what I was trying to make, ‘broke’ and they’re repairing it. Most of the rest behind me made their flight. He said some more words and I said YOU DID NOT DO WHAT THE STEWARDESS TOLD YOU, I will say sorry for removing you from the path but I’m not sorry on how I did it. We didn’t have time. So I’m an ehellion but 8 people made their flight. Next morning they had the hopjet fixed except the plumbing, no bathroom (and they had door shut, taped and it smelled pretty vile) We took the offer to get home. (the couple disappeared to either luggage claim or rentacar, thank everything)
@NostalgicGal: Very good chutzpah on your part!
I’m glad rude guy didn’t escalate his anger towards you.
Why on earth (some) people think “this announcement is for everyone BUT ME!”….I’ll never understand.
I’m hoping it was because airport security was still on duty and he didn’t want to talk to them too. As it was he probably thought I was getting karma-ed by having to spend the night in the terminal.
Instead I approached the counter lady and politely (right after she’d got screamed at one of the hopjet hopefuls-she told him to come back tomorrow morning to rebook) asked if there was any way I could be rebooked for tomorrow, please? (because of one of the list of tribulations, I was farther up on a standby list and gave the spot without being asked to a woman heading for London for surgery. She could still make NYC and her connection, if. That standby would have gotten me home-they were probably going to offer me some goodies but I had been talking to her before that and as the agent started to say a few words, (we’d both been called up together and I was ahead of the lady in number-I just said She has to make London and left)) I got supper voucher, breakfast voucher, and a complimentary night in a 3 star near the airport. She called the hotel service shuttle to tell them they needed to stop at X on (their last run out) and pick up one more. I got reticketed too.
The screamer slept at the terminal, I got a real bed for 6 hours and two meals.
@NostalgicGal: in my story above, we too got vouchers for a nearby hotel.
After getting charged twenty dollars for a three block cab ride, we get to the hotel where there is one girl (who was new, apparently, as she was sobbing….poor kid) checking in angry travelers.
The line went out of the very small lobby around the building in pouring rain.
After 20 minutes of not moving an inch, my husband said “screw this, we will catch a nap and some breakfast back at LAX”.
At this point, it’s barely four am, and security didn’t open until five.
They wouldn’t let us upstairs, and none of the shops opened until then either.
I have a photo of my husband napping on a long metal table waiting for security to open.
I was too afraid and too upset to sleep in the airport, so I kept guard of our stuff.
Closer to five am, one of our kids got up to use the bathroom at our home on the east coast (my folks stayed with them the five days we were gone) and texted me “I miss you! Have a safe trip home…..hope you’re having FUN!”
I texted back the photo of their dad sleeping on the metal table and said “yeah…daddy and I are having a BLAST! Lol.”
Preach it! Sometimes virtue HAS its rewards in addition to BEING its own reward!
The guy ignoring the flight attendant’s orders bugs me whenever I see it happen. It’s the mentality of “The rules don’t apply to me.”
Most recent was on a United flight, where they’re notorious for mandating gate-checking of carry-on bags for the last two boarding groups at *least,* if not more (even when there’s enough overhead space to manage). My family and I ended up in one such boarding group, and dutifully gate-checked our bags despite not wanting to (United is also notorious in our family for routinely misplacing luggage they’ve checked, including gate-checked bags and carseats). We get on the plane and are settling in our seats when I see a woman ahead of me shoving her bag into the overhead compartment…with the gate-check tag clearly visible in all its bright pink glory. She basically got it tagged for checking, then didn’t bother to actually put it on the cart for checking at the end of the jet bridge.
Not cool at all. There’s a lot of reasons that guy may have stood up and how did you not know he was a “runner” as well? And with a kid? No way to act.
Had he been a runner none of us would have made it. He had no urgency at all to what he was doing, hence I moved him.
Because I did meet him after deplaning, I did find out in that split second I had been right. I would have been a double e-heller if he’d been a runner but. Better strategy was to let the fastest off to give him more time to get his act together and off the plane. The rest of us were literally small carry bag in hand and moving (note I said I didn’t even slow down for the turn, just bounced literally off something up front and changed vector that way? As it was, the guy behind me must have been 6’4″ and all leg and he made it to the other gate just in time so they didn’t close the door to the jet and those eight heading for the other place thus made their flight. Had we waited for Mr. Didn’t Sit Down And Wait A Few Moments they wouldn’t have made it either.
I’m not saying what I did was right. I labeled myself an e-hellion right off for doing it.
Unfortunately air travel nowadays is very stressful. Between the additional security, the reduction in amenities by the airlines, and people carrying their bags on board to save some people get very cranky. I definitely can get a bit cranky. I try and catch myself and relax and in particular I get to the airport early to avoid the stress of rushing.
I feel the adults were a bit overly “proactive” in asking the OP to mind her kids, but I understand where they are coming from. I’ve seen way too many parents plug their headphones into their ears (or something similar) and proceed to ignore their kids as they raise hell.
I would be just as annoyed. Don’t fly with a baby. It’s not the other passengers faults that you can’t make other arrangments. Your self-described polite older kids are fine and it sounds like they are very sweet, but babies should be kept at home. To me, flying with one makes you the rude one, precisely BECAUSE the baby can’t help it if it throws a crying fit. Don’t fly, just drive, or leave the baby with a sitter/familymember. And whatever you do, don’t call adults who don’t have kids rude for being annoyed with your little bunde of screaming joy. It comes across as very selfserving and rude as well. No one is obligated to care about your kid or your life-choices.
I think you come across as rather self-serving and rude, Julia.
I’d much rather have a baby on board as a passenger than a rude entitled adult.
Children and babies are members of society, you don’t get to choose who is or isn’t part of society.
I’m in total agreement, Katana. It seems that intolerance is a bad thing but it’s perfectly fine to announce one’s hatred of children, and be annoyed at their very presence.
I politely disagree. In every instance a baby should be refused flight service? Such as in the circumstances when a family member is dying, parents should spend three days in a car to try and say goodbye? That the life choice of a dying relative negates their ability to fly? A three hour flight is three hours of your life. In a week, inconvenienced travelers will have moved on, but to a person who just lost a close relative, those three hours gave them more time to say goodbye.
Perhaps you meant in terms of vacations, families should never fly with infants. But, many times it can’t be helped.
As the mother of a toddler and a baby about to be born, I can promise there are many other places I’d prefer to be than a locked metal tube with my screaming child and a bunch of angry people.
I also disagree that infants shouldn’t fly. Yes, on vacations when you one isn’t visiting distant relatives, maybe it can be avoided. However, my mom had to fly with myself and my sister as infants many times. Mainly because of my Dad’s military service we lived far from family and in order to go see her parents she would end up flying with us from Michigan, California or Wisconsin to Seattle. She certainly wasn’t going to drive that with two small children.
Also, sometimes during a move, my Dad would have to go on ahead and drive our only vehicle with a trailer and my mom would fly with us later. She said those were nightmarish trips, but couldn’t be avoided.
You’re nuts. Seriously, you have issues. Infants and toddlers exist and are a part of society. It’s not possible to avoid public transport or air travel with a baby. I’ve witnessed elderly people and disabled people crying and making loud noises on public transport and planes. Should they be hidden away from society as well?
This seems a little harsh. Sometimes it’s necessary to fly with a baby. “No one is obligated to care about your kid or your life-choices” sounds pretty uppity to me (for lack of a better word that I can’t think of at the moment). I’m sure that there are a lot of parents who would rather not fly with a baby, but must do so to attend a wedding, funeral, or other important event. Distance/time off work can make driving impossible, and you can just leave the little one home.
I think the solution is for parents to do everything they can to make the experience pleasant, as in the OP, and that the rest of us give them a break.
Doesn’t it seem a little haughty of you to assume that everyone always has an option to just CHOOSE not to fly with a baby? There are people who don’t have relatives they can drop their baby with, or can’t afford a babysitter for however long they’ll be gone on their trip, or can’t just arbitrarily drive across the country because of not owning a car or not having the time to make the trip. Maybe it’s an emergency, maybe someone is dying and the person is rushing to see their loved one before the end, and preparations simply just could not be made in time.
This is going out to a restaurant where bringing the kid is an optional thing and the person could just choose to stay home if their plans fall through. Flying is sometimes an absolute necessity and people with babies have just as much right to it as you do. No one is obligated to care about you or your choices either.
OK, you know what? I don’t know if yours is deliberately a troll post or what, but at any rate it’s out of line.
I am not a big fan of kids myself (sorry, but I’m just not) but there are times when you can have an expectation of adult-only space, and times when you cannot. Travelling on planes, trains, buses, ferries, and other public modes of conveyance, you have no reasonable expectation to restrict certain age groups. Maybe that family needs to travel to see dying relatives. Ever think of that? Or maybe they’d just like a vacation and they are entitled to one if they want one.
I think bringing a baby to a movie, or an expensive restaurant where ambience is key and others have paid good money for that ambience and in fact may have paid for babysitters themselves, is rude (but others may disagree), but on a plane, no matter how much the sound of an upset toddler irks you, you need to just grit your teeth and keep your irritation to yourself.
Rebecca: I love little kids, and I agree 100% with everything you just said. Parents of infants are not all entitled morons, Julia. Most of us don’t bring infants to adult spaces where they don’t belong. If you seriously think that we should never, ever fly with a baby, then YOU, dear, are the baby. You can’t have everything the way you want it all the time.
So….parents should just drive 3,000 miles cross country instead of flying and arriving in 5 hours? Or perhaps they should drive across the ocean to other countries??? When my friends relocated to Australia, I suppose they should’ve just hopped in the car with their 16-month old, eh?
Oh lordy, I do believe I detect the essence of a troll. Coming to an etiquette website to demand a portion of the population be hidden away until such a time as you deem them worthy to be presented to society? Doesn’t sound very polite, or rational, to be honest.
Obviously not. According to Julia, you should just suck it up and pay for a babysitter for the next two years until the child is old enough to qualify for Julia’s expectations of flying.
(Tongue firmly in cheek, here.)
I do hope Julia’s post is a troll post. Public transportation (including airlines) just doesn’t fall into the same category as a movie or a restaurant. Movies and restaurants are less expensive initially, and only involve being away from the baby for three, maybe four hours at most. Air travel, whether for vacations or more important life events such as weddings and funerals, may only involve a three or four hour flight, but then there’s the rest of the time spent away from baby. Which may not be so feasible when you factor in the cost of airfare, the cost of the babysitter for several days, and the fact that some babies are exclusively breast-fed and must be with their mothers (unless Julia honestly thinks women should be forced to miss out on weddings, funerals, and family vacations if they’re breastfeeding exclusively). Not every baby can just switch to a bottle. My oldest absolutely refused bottles up until the day we introduced her to cups and cow’s milk. She would have starved if she couldn’t travel with me.
But as others have mentioned, most women take care to try to make the travel situation as painless as possible, and lumping them in with the just-don’t-care crowd and demanding they spend gas and wear and tear on their cars instead (if that’s even a possibility in the first place) is less than fair.
There is annoyance, and there is cursing at your fellow passengers. The remark by the woman who objected to the crying baby was rude and abusive, no matter who it was directed toward. Of course, everyone is annoyed by our fellow passengers sometimes. We don’t get to dictate they all stay home.
Many people with health or neurological issues make unplanned noises. Are we going to ban all of them from flying as well? How about service animals or comfort animals? Nobody can guarantee that they will never make noise or cause any disturbance. The list grows the more you think about it.
Perhaps the people who should stay off planes are those who can’t manage to cope with the rest of humanity.
I do not agree with Julia but I have heard of a few airlines offering adult only flights on very heavily travelled routes during certain times. Julia, if you can’t find one of those flights, take earbuds or watch the inflight movie.
Drive all the way across the country because you have a baby? You do realize that people are allowed to mingle throughout society once they’ve reproduced?
Wow. I’m going to go out on a limb and say you must be very naive and inexperienced with the realities of real life. Not necessary young, just clueless. This reminds me of a colleague who–while a very, very nice person–makes blanket statements about people without any regard to situations and circumstances. He says things like “There are plenty of jobs out there if you are willing to do manual labor or work the night shift. People just don’t want to work.” He never considers that some people are incapable of that type of work, may not have transportation, can’t find daycare in the middle of the night, etc. As a lifelong bachelor, he is especially clueless when it comes to family obligations. There is no excuse for bringing a baby to a movie or a nice restaurant and then allowing the disruption of the primary purpose of the outing. Traveling as a family on vacation or other wise is clearly not the same thing. There is no expectation of privacy or that you will be able to exist in your own personal airplane bubble. You know ahead of time you will be in a cramped space within inches of the rest of humanity in all their smelly, loud, and irritable glory. If people bother you so much–DRIVE. Evidently everywhere worth going is in a drivable location according to you.
You certainly don’t sound like a very pleasant person. Babies have the same rights as anyone else. That includes the right to civility from those around them. I’ve had many flights where someone’s little one cried through the entire flight, and no one was more embarrassed and unhappy about it than its poor parents. Since you can’t stand crying babies, why don’t YOU just drive to where you’re going, or stay home with a family member?
I do not particularly like being around children, but your statement is ridiculous. A crying baby on a plane is no big deal (although I feel bad for the parents). The engine noise tends to largely drown it out.
The only time I’ve been annoyed by a child on a plane was when two parents couldn’t get their awful 7 year old to stop whining for the 2 hours that we were stuck on the runway. Then, they delayed takeoff even more because they couldn’t get her to put her seatbelt on. It was annoying because she was old enough to know better and they had no control over her.
You need to learn to chill out and share the world with others.
Airplanes are for anyone who can afford them for a variety of reasons.
Maybe you should drive everywhere. Save us your nastiness.
If you could’ve had it your way 19 years ago, my family would have missed our chance to move to America.
Sometimes people just have to fly whatever condition they’re in: babies, old people, special needs, overweight… It’s a means of public transportation, not an amusement park or something else you can always opt out of. When you’ve got to fly, you’ve got to fly.
PS. the word “life-choices”, when applied to children, pushes all of my buttons.
Having children is a “life-choice”. There are no requirements for everyone to have children. If someone has children it’s because they made that choice so how is that not a “life-choice”?
I don’t know about Goldie, but the term bugs me because it’s usually bandied about (in regards to children) by people who have themselves made a “life-choice” to NOT have children. But they don’t see the hypocrisy of calling out one person for their life-choice when it could easily be turned around on themselves for their own choice.
Sigh. Julia, your comment is way out of line no matter how you look at it. Like it or not, airplanes are not private space…they are public. And babies have just as much of a right to be there as you do. As others have pointed out, there are many valid reasons why babies must be on planes. But, frankly, parents don’t owe you any explanation of why they’re there. Maybe they just want to be. And that’s ok.
It can be annoying when a child cries or acts out, but they don’t yet have the capacity to understand how their actions impact others. That’s what parents are there for. A parent’s job is to raise them to ultimately understand which behaviors are and are not acceptable. It is not rude to bring kids on planes knowing that they might act out, just as it’s not rude to feel annoyed when they do. Where rudeness can creep up is in one’s reaction. If the parent does nothing and ignores the kid, if the other passengers hurl glares or unwarranted insults…THAT is rude. Those individuals have forgotten that they are in a public space, and that they must respect their fellow travelers, however difficult that may be.
Now that I’ve put my POV out there, some background…I have a 22 month old, and another one on the way. When I take the little one out, I do not assume that everyone will find her as adorable as I do, nor do I expect that anyone will applaud my life choices. Instead, I respect those around me by teaching my daughter how to behave. With family all over the place, we have been on planes. On a trip that we took a few months ago, I took all the necessary steps to keep her calm. She fidgeted, but I did not let her kick seats. She fussed a bit, but I was able to calm her before she got out of hand. As we were getting off the plane, other passengers complimented us on her good behavior and said she was a pleasure to fly with. I did not expect it, I did not need it…but, it sure felt good.
This is simply not relevant advice in today’s world. My husband found employment across the country from our family. It is sad, but this is a mobile world and family’s must follow the jobs. Driving home is not an option and I am not denying elderly relatives who can no longer travel themselves the chance to know their great-grandchildren. So, certainly, I will do my best to monitor and control my young children. But I will be flying with my kids. And I will delight in the sight of my grandmother holding my sons.
When my brother killed himself, we were living in Japan. My husband was on a business trip in Europe. I had to book a flight within 24 hours and travel alone with my 18-month old son on a 12 hour flight back to the US. Should I have missed my brother’s funeral or being with my family in such a tragedy to leave my son in Japan? (With whom, anyway?) Unrealistic, to say the least.
I don’t know if was that flight, as I traveled often with him as a young child, but on one flight, I was getting into my seat and an older woman took one look at us, rolled her eyes, and said,”Oh great, a baby.” It was so uncalled for. He didn’t make a sound the entire flight. And many kids don’t.
My daughter was born in Japan two weeks after the 2011 earthquake. It was terrifying. We also ended up moving back to the States two months after she was released from two months in the NICU. What was our option there?
People don’t travel just for vacation. And it is not always possible to drive. Most parents do their best because the screaming child bothers them as much, if not more, than it bothers people around them. My babies’ crying was excruciating to me, but now the sound of other babies crying doesn’t really bother me.
But as someone said above, I have far less patience with irresponsible and inattentive parents than I do with children. And there is never a call for a preemptive judgment against anyone, including children and babies.
I’m so sorry about your brother.
Me too, so sorry about your brother….a good reminder too that people are traveling for many different reasons…not just vacation.
May I say also, I very much admire you for not laying into “oh great. A baby.” woman.
You have restraint that I probably wouldn’t have in the same circumstance.
“We are flying home for my brothers FUNERAL who committed suicide, but hey….Thanks for the snide comment”!
My husband’s brother committed suicide almost 15 years in his home, after his wife asked for a divorce on Christmas Day.
According to the police report, he had “booby trapped” all the windows and doors with broken glass and jagged shale above all the doors and windows.
I could not believe the people who came up to me and my husband at the VIEWING to ask about the booby traps, and “oh my gosh! What’s this about the broken glass above all the windows”?!?
One such person came up to get all the “juicy details” while we were sitting next to my MIL, his mom.
I said “are you kidding me? THIS is NOT the place to ask about that!!! It’s PRIVATE family business….get away from us!”
Julia, I would be cast forever into the depths of EHell for what I want to say to you right now. How about this- why don’t YOU not fly? Just drive. Because, really, who cares about your choice to remain childless? It doesn’t entitle you to a life filled with peace and quiet. I hope karma plants a screaming infant right beside you on every flight.
@Julia: as mentioned above, we have four kids.
When they were little and we had to travel, my husband and I never once said, “Oh, GOODIE! A five hour trip! I sure hope all of our children scream and cry the whole way!!!”
I know no one wants to be near a crying baby, or toddler throwing a tantrum, but neither do the kids parents.
This exactly. Julia’s “life-choice” to remain child-free doesn’t entitle her to a baby-free flight any more than OP’s “life-choice” to have children entitles her to a pat on the back or accolades from others. Public transportation is just that: public (and airlines are public transportation). Therefore families with babies should be allowed on them just as much as anyone else.
After all, as others have mentioned, older folks and mentally disabled folks can make loud, disruptive noises. Should we prohibit them on planes too? Any adult can kick a seat (I’ve had mine kicked and jostled by adults far more often than children). Should we exclude all seat-kickers, and how would you even check for that? People who get drunk are frequently reported as getting rowdy and disruptive. Should we prohibit all alcohol then? (I’d love to see people try that one.)
I think the moral of this story is ‘don’t travel Southwest’ (or, in the UK, don’t travel RyanAir).
I don’t know, I read it more as don’t be “middle-aged and older.”
I think it was “Being middle-aged or elderly doesn’t give you a pass on manners”
I think you summed it up best, Last Dance.
And where did Michael O’Leary learn all he knows about commercial airlines? Yup, you guessed it.
(although in fairness, I travelled on Ryanair back in 1993 and think post-O’Learyification the staff are nicer)
Personally, I’ve found Southwest is usually a pleasure to fly with (though I suppose it could be different if you have a family unit that has to stay together). United is one I’ll never fly if I have a choice — not because of other passengers but because of the rudeness I encountered with the gate agents during one flight.
Definitely with you. I’ve encountered a few awesome gate agents and flight attendants with United, but had far more issue with rudeness (not to mention their tendency to lose our luggage and, worse, car seats) that I’ve told my husband I refuse to fly with them again.
Get away! I love Ryanair!
Great job OP! I am impressed. And I love the line: The baby can’t help crying. You can help acting like a jerk.
As a parent, I cut other parents/kids some slack. The exception is when the parent fails to actually do their job. My DD is 15 now but when we traveled with her when she was young, I did what you did (with the exception of the tablet). Never had any problems. When she was 18 months, I had to travel with her to Tennessee from Massachusetts to help my mom out. No direct flights. Between the car seat, the back pack with toys/games/spare clothes/diapers and her (no stroller), I got quite the workout. I was lucky to met helpful people along the way who offered to carry the car seat. My DD essentially conked out on both flights. I could see the terror in people’s eyes as we boarded and see them visibly relax when they realized that my DD was well behaved.
We can control our behavior. We can control how we react to a situation. Unfortunately, we cannot control the attitude or actions of others. We just can’t let it get to us.
You could not have done a better job in helping your children behave well during your flight.
Cutting in line with numbered boarding positions-wrong. If positions are numbered, then that is the order of boarding. Period.
Telling you your kids better not kick the seat before you even sat down. Not cool. The guy had no right to say it to an adult. He has no right to say it just because a child sits behind him. In my books, everyone is presumed innocent until they actually do something wrong. Kids included.
Nasty comment from passenger when child cried due to pressure change at landing-I would have called the flight attendant to handle this one.
I would report my experience to SW Airlines Customer Service. They want good passengers like you on their flights. Your feedback might give them some tips on attendant training to handle these situations.
This story made me sad! I travel frequently and although I do find it stressful to try and make sure that I can stow something in the overhead compartment, I am not about to meet rudeness with more rudeness. And although I never had children of my own, I do love them and I know full well why they are crying on planes. My heart goes out to parents who need to fly with kids. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of “stuff” that it takes to do that. My hat is off to them. I can promise you, OP, that if I see someone being rude to the parents or the kids, I am going to say something! Not everyone is like that, thank God.
OP you and your family did great! I don’t understand how some people act like inconsiderate beasts. I was on a trans-Atlantic flight a few years ago. An infant, about 9 months or so, was seated in front of me. An older gentleman, about 60, was boarding the plane and as he walked past the baby, started to groan and complain loudly for probably a minute or so. “Oh, great. Isn’t this great? Is this what we’re going to deal with the whole flight? This is just great.” The baby didn’t make a peep the entire flight. I wanted so badly to go up to him afterwards and point out that he made more noise than the baby.
When a story is so one-sided and excessively detailed, I look for other things to get a feel for its authenticity. A couple of things stand out to me.
“Fortunately, by nature of arriving fairly early, we had one of the first boarding positions.” Except it doesn’t work that way. Most people check in online 24 hours before their flight. If you don’t check in until you reach the airport, you will be nowhere near Group A, probably not even in Group B. So this detail doesn’t ring true.
I’ve flown SWA many times and have never seen the boarding behavior you describe. Quite the opposite, actually: I’m always surprised by how orderly people are when lining up, determining their “place” in line, etc. Despite what SLR thinks (see unkind remark, above), nice people fly budget airlines too. (Just as an aside, your husband should have been holding his own boarding pass.)
Finally, the attempt to point a finger at an entire generation indicates a big ol’ personal axe to grind.
I had to wonder about the description of Southwest as well, because we just flew a few weeks ago, and paid the extra fee to be in the first boarding group, so it had nothing to do with getting to the airport early. On each of our recent flights, families with children were allowed to board before the regular boarding groups. There was only orderly lining up by group and number, and has been each time we’ve flown Southwest for the last several years. Perhaps it depends where one flies from.
Does the airline require you to line up in actual number order now? I’m genuinely curious, because the last time I flew Southwest, the numbers basically just sub-grouped you within your lettered boarding group (so the first 30 of group B would line up in one spot, the second 30 in a different spot), but you weren’t expected to actually line up in numerical order.
So maybe you could clear that up for me. I don’t fly Southwest right now because it’s rarely been in a convenient airport to us and the in-laws have an American card that they use to get flight miles, so when they spot our tickets we’re with that airline instead.
The last several years, in any airport we’ve boarded Southwest from, they have a cattle-herding area with numbered signs (e.g., 1–5, 6–10, etc.), and people line up in actual numerical order (or close to it). The numbers are fairly large on printed boarding passes, so you can often see the numbers of those around you and indicate that you should be ahead of or after them.
Ah, thanks for the clarification. 🙂
It’s more like groups of 5. They tell you 1-30 on this side 31-60 on the right. Then they have little stands every so often,1-5, 6-10, etc. Everyone usually compares #s too oh you are 18 I’m 19 so I’ll get behind you. That’s what we fly. Even did it with DD when she was only about 10 months old. She did fine. Nobody was rude or pushy.
Those smaller signs must have been implemented after the last time I flew Southwest (like I said, it’s been a while). That clears things up, thanks. 🙂
I picked up on the “Fortunately, by nature of arriving fairly early, we had one of the first boarding positions” comment as well. I always check in at Southwest the second you are able to online, and almost never get an A boarding pass – those are mostly reserved for the people who pay the extra upfront for early bird check in. And all I have ever seen at Southwest (and I fly a lot for business) are people being very polite about trying to find the correct position in line.
I almost exclusively fly Southwest because of the price and the proximity to their airport (Dallas has two airports, one near downtown and one way out in the burbs). I recently flew them for Christmas, and due to some mechanical issues with the plane, we had to deplane after boarding and no one had their boarding passes. Once we were ready to re-board the plane, they had everyone line up on the ‘honor system’ and checked people off the manifest manually. There was no pushing, or cutting lines, and once on the plane everyone pretty much took the exact same seats.
The most boorish behavior I ever see is people leaving baggage in the middle seat to make it appear ‘occupied’ but once the flight attendants say “look to your right, look to your left and take the first seat because its a full flight” they have to move their belongings.
I was thinking the same thing, along with the part about no family boarding which SWA does have. I think either this is a much exaggerated story or the letter writer was not as perfectly prepared as they thought they were. I have flown SWA many times and never seen these kinds of behaviors, at least not repeated.
I actually think Southwest is an interesting study of how not treating people like cattle and letting them work out their own seating and everything actually makes things go faster and ends up with more pleasant people.
The “no family boarding” comment may also be an airport-by-airport basis. I know when I’ve flown other airlines (United and American most recently), some gate agents will mention early boarding or even pre-boarding for families with young children (in addition to military, disabled, etc.), while others will be hard-line “you can only board with your boarding group, even if that means trying to get your toddler settled as part of the very last boarding group when we’re trying to get everyone seated as fast as possible so we can leave.” I’ve learned to ask at the gate if they allow early boarding for families because of how inconsistent it is within a single airline.
Sometimes even gate agents don’t agree with each other. With one flight, we asked at the gate if they had early boarding options for families with young children. The gate agent told us yes, that we could board right after all the priority boarding (so again, military, disabled, and all the platinum- and business-level passengers), which was with Group 2. Our boarding passes had us in Group 7 originally. So we line up with Group 2 as we’d been told, only to have the agent actually checking boarding passes (a different person) give us a glare and tell us to wait for our number to be called. The agent we’d asked was even standing right next to her, but said nothing when this happened. So we had to shuffle off and wait until the last group and then get grumpy looks because we were settling three kids and stowing our bags and coats under seats when most people just wanted the plane to get off the ground already.
I’m an administrative assistant and I book a lot of travel on Southwest for the people I support. I am also one of those that is hovering on the website while watching the clock on the computer so I can hit that button the second I can. I started noticing a while ago that my people (and I) tend to get B group spaces but people that check in at the gate just before the flight were getting A spaces. It made no sense to me. So, one time when I was on the phone with Southwest dealing with other matters, I asked about it. It turns out that they hold the A group spaces for people that pay to upgrade to that group, however, they rarely sell out all or even half of the A group. When it is getting close to flight time, they give those unsold A group spaces to people checking in at the gate. It could easily have happened just as the OP said with the OP believing that it was because they arrived at the airport really early when the reality is that they got the space because they checked in at the airport instead of online.
I don’t fly all that often but when I fly domestically for a short-haul trip, Southwest is my airline of choice. They get me where I want to go at a very reasonable fare, without charging for 2 items of checked luggage (I never have more than one). Also, if you’re booking a flight that requires a stopover with change of planes, they automatically schedule enough time between flights so you don’t have to rush much (unless your incoming flight is really late). And even though I’m tall, I can handle the cramped seats for ~90 mins per leg of the trip.
Would I fly Southwest cross-country? Probably not. But I’d fly them before I’d fly any of the “low-cost” carriers who nickel and dime you to death.
I’m 25, but my mom did her best when we would fly cross country at random times growing up.
I had my gameboy, my books, etc. If I cried my mom was able to calm me down (Only twice, as a toddler and an 8 year old cause the pressure ear pain was bad then)
People around us were pretty understanding.
I now have flown roundtrip internationally as an adult a few times, and those with babies and toddlers are usually doing great. It’s been singular adults who were more of a problem.
I’ve traveled my whole life, from a small child to an adult, and I have to say, hands down, that adult passengers are ten times more bothersome than a crying child. Babies cry. Toddlers get cranky. Little kids get bored. It’s just what they do. It’s how their parents handle it that can make or break a trip. Preparation is key, as is smart packing. Trying to lug all of your kids toys into the passenger compartment is just setting yourself up for failure.
I didn’t realize how awful adult passengers were until I traveled with my own child. I’ve had people recline their seat almost completely back into his lap and then tell me he didn’t need the space. I’ve had a passenger complain about my son to a flight attendant b/c my boy was potty training and had to go a lot. We had told him at boarding about the issue and my brother, who was seated across the aisle from us offered to switch aisle seats with him, but he refused. I had a drunk man mock my son’s crying when his ears wouldn’t pop during landing (telling a 4 yr old to “man up” at 1am on a 4 hr delayed flight is just cruel). I witnessed another passenger on a different flight mutter racial/ethnic slurs at the parents of a crying child and threaten to lock the sobbing toddler in a bathroom during a red-eye flight.
Nine times out of ten, alcohol was involved in some way. I will always take a crying child, a bored child, a cranky child, over a rude, loutish, or drunken adult passenger any day.
(And for those people who say “just don’t travel with little ones”, sometimes it’s unavoidable. You simply can’t drive across an ocean. For example, I flew with my family from NYC to Berlin, Germany with a plane load of families that included two sets of twins and a set of triplets under the age of two. They were all military families. You honestly can’t expect a family to be separated for 3 years so as to not inconvenience passengers with crying babies)
I think you did wonderful with your kids – here’s to more parents following your considerate lead! 🙂 As for the boars who deserve the pits of ehell…. they have to live with their own misery, so pay them no mind.
I travel a lot, so I have had my fair share of kid seat kickers. That gentleman was just rude to make assumptions, and his words were uncalled for. And, if it had happened, simply politely ask the parties to stop. It usually works. I did have one kid who just kept on kicking despite my stern looks to his parents, and they did nothing but lamely say once for him to stop.
My weirdest experience with rude travelers in Japan. Nearly 100% of the people I met there was super polite and courteous. It wasn’t until I was in the airport on my way back that a travel group was behind me. They had one a group shirt so it was clear they were from another certain Asian country. Another line opened up in the Immigration area, and before I could even move, this lady that looked about 60 pushed me, and her finds her so bony that they felt like nails being pressed it my back. It was sudden and sharp I yelped. What appeared to be the groups leader gave a passing sorry, but the older lady just glared at me and looked ready to push me again. I’m ashamed to say I glared right back at her, before moving up.
Sorry about the many typos! My keyboard had some issues. 🙁
This reminds me of the time I was coming from a post-operative meeting at a hospital. I was exhausted and stressed. My oldest daughter was about 10 months at the time and also tired. We had to take transit home, so I decided that before doing so we’d nip into the nearby McDonald’s so that I could have a coffee and give R a snack before the hot bus-ride home. I’d purchased my coffee and was sitting down when R became fussy (I think she wanted to nap). I was trying to calm her while chugging the coffee (I wouldn’t be able to take it on the bus with me), when the man sitting at the table next to ours growled, “Can’t you just get her to shut the f— up?” I was shocked. This was a McDonald’s, after all, and I was doing my best to calm her and leave quickly, which, incidentally, we did.
Wow, really? I mean, it’s McDonald’s…there’s a playground on most, for goodness’ sake. If I go to one and there aren’t loud children running around, I’m shocked. I expect the same thing at Burger King, Chik fil a, etc. If I don’t want to deal with it, I can go through the drive though and eat my food at home or in my car.
Kids are people too. Only thing I wish they would disallow is the kidlet in lap. Offer a steeply discounted ticket if needed, but babies and toddlers need to be in restraint in their own seat. A flight I heard of had turbulence and an 11 month old got bounced off the overhead, a row of seats, the overhead again and ended in the aisle. The pilot diverted to the nearest hospital and the airport was so small he could barely land the 747. They stabilized the kid and chopper flew it to a bigger hospital.
In a crash, that is the same thing, wildly flying projectile.
I wouldn’t mind if they switched to a policy of “no lap children, have a steeply-discounted seat instead,” but let’s face it. Airlines aren’t going to do that so long as they can sell that seat for full price instead, and until then, I will have to fly with my under-2-year-old in lap because I can’t really afford an entire additional adult-priced seat and an airline-approved carseat.
If they would even offer some kind of additional restraint to prevent the kid from becoming a projectile (clips to the seat or parental restraints. Even if they charged to rent it (like earbuds or (surprised me that they did..) pillow and/or blanket.)
This doesn’t make sense, they are restrained in your lap?? They have a special belt meaning they are pinned to you.
There is no way if they were belted in as they should have been this could happen.
Lap children are not restrained at all. In fact, if you try to wear them in a baby sling or strap-on carrier during take-off or landing, the flight attendants will actually tell you to take them out. Supposedly it’s more dangerous for the infant to be strapped to you (I guess they can get squished or something?) than it is for them to be flying around loose if you lose your grip. I honestly don’t understand it, since if they’re strapped to me I only need one hand to support their head instead of using both hands to hang on and hope I don’t let go. But no, there is no “special belt” (at least not on domestic U.S. flights) to pin the child to you.
Check out the show Mythbusters. They did an episode with crash dummies and rows of seats from (junkyard) but commercial passenger jets in both economy and first class seats, on what happens to a body in a crash. (Whether it was better to assume the crash position they encourage you to or not)
There was no room for a lapkid in that sort of situation. At the end the three that were ‘second string hosts’ rode the drop rig in the seats in the position-voluntarily. All of them got their knees and shins beat up. And one said you might have two broken legs but you’d survive.
What it did really show too, there was no extra room for someone curled up like that to hold a child or toddler, through that, or hang onto them on impact.
The trip where I mention I moved someone because we were running to maybe make connections, on the way TO the big burg I came into that airport just a few days after a major crash happened at that one. To get a window seat about all that was left was safety exit row, and I had to affirm I was of good health, decent mobility and strength and understood what that meant to sit next to the door. Stewardess watched while she was giving the safety lecture (I read the door carefully and identified all the important bits, and glanced over my shoulder to see her watching me.)
Only other bonus about exit row seats, the row ahead of you will not recline. They do not want to seat old, infirm, children, etc on that row as that one is important to be able to evacuate.
I’ve seen that episode of Mythbusters, actually. I do recall some details, including them not necessarily testing for lap children (not holding that against them). I do know that in most airplane seat-back safety cards I’ve seen, the diagram for how to assume crash position shows the standard “hug your thighs” position, as well as positions for airplanes where the seats are too close together to fold over completely (for me, that’s most airplanes) so you cross your arms on the seat-back in front of you and brace your head against that, and the position for lap children, which is much like the “too cramped” position only holding the child against you with one arm while you brace your head with the other. Which is why I mentioned that I honestly would feel much safer if we were allowed some sort of additional restraint other than just *one arm* to hold the child in place, to prevent them from getting loose and becoming a projectile.
I’m aware of the regulations for exit rows. More leg room, but can’t have the kids there because they would just get in the way during an evacuation, so I haven’t been able to ride in one for the past 9+ years.
The kid is sitting loose in the lap or being held by the adult in the seat.
I have never heard of any sort of special belt. A lap baby is simply that, a baby on its caretaker’s lap, held on place solely by gravity and the caretaker.
It’s more like a belt extender. You strap it through a loop to your belt and then around the child. I’ve used it plenty of times but I am not sure if every airline provides it.
As far as I’m aware, domestic U.S. flights don’t have them. I’ve flown on some of the most well-known airlines domestically with lap children and not one has provided or even mentioned such a restraint, even when the flight attendants specifically point out to me that I need to adjust my oxygen mask before my lap child’s (or similar lap child specific instructions).
I’ve flown London-NZ and back again twice with babies, and we got the bulkhead seats with a bassinet for the kids to sleep in but whenever there was turbulence the staff actually insisted we take the baby out of their bassinet and have them on our laps (with an additional seatbelt of course). Eventually I just gave up and had baby sleep on me full-time.
Some people just seem to be looking for an excuse to get grumpy and they think kids will fulfill this need. I once took a flight with two small children. Immediately after takeoff, one kid was asleep and the other was completely still, absorbed in a movie. This is as unobtrusive as kids can possibly get, and is probably less noticeable than many adults sitting behind you.
The middle-aged guy in front of me kept turning around to look at them. At first I assumed good will and that it was just someone who likes kids, thinks they are cute etc, so I smiled, but he never smiled back. It quickly became creepy. He never said anything and kept his expression totally neutral at this point. He had brought a magazine, but he never opened it. This seriously continued for an hour and a half. Since he wasn’t doing anything other than looking at them, I didn’t feel like I could tell an attendant. I just tried to ignore it.
The baby woke up at the same time as the movie was ending, so I had a bit of a juggle for a moment and the baby got fussy. Not even crying level fussy, just “why are you helping my sibling instead of only paying attention to me” fussy.
The guy in front of me immediately began rolling his eyes and sighing loudly, and kept it up the entire rest of the flight, which was luckily only about twenty minutes.
This constant stream of negative feedback flustered me and I’m sure contributed to my children acting up more than they would have otherwise. At the very end I lost it a bit and snapped “look, I’m trying my best” and he muttered “it’s been so very relaxing,” whatever that means. I have never been so glad to get off a plane.
Hey Nonny Nonny, I think you did fine. Actually, it might not even be your kids that set that man off–maybe your baby’s fussing was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. For all we know, he might have come from another flight with kids who were really misbehaving badly, or encountered a scenario like that in the airport, or he was coming home from a miserable trip where other things went wrong. That doesn’t make it right for him to passive-aggressively sigh at you, but my point is, air travel can be a P.I.T.A., and some people’s “coping mechanism” is to be a P.I.T.A. to other travellers. I put air quotes around “coping mechanism” because I don’t think it’s a very good one.
I remember this book from my childhood:
It’s a little dated, but I think it could still help prepare a toddler, a preschooler, or a young school-age child for the experience of flying on an airplane.
I know a lot of people are anxious travelers and that can come out as bad attitudes to easy targets. My reaction to unnecessary warnings like that “don’t kick my seat!” is “Oh, youre psychic? Well you’re a bad one, so don’t quit your day job, nobody was planning on kicking your seat, ya grump.”
These people are used to being intimidating. Don’t let them.
I don’t have kids and I really hate to hear them cry. But until I was about 7, I had excruciating ear pain during landing, no matter what my mom tried (gum, decongestants, etc.). I would cry for probably 5-15 mins straight until the plane landed. So as much as it grates my nerves to hear babies/kids crying on a plane, if it’s during landing I have all the sympathy in the world for them (and their parents) and just turn up my earbuds. I agree with one of the commenters that some (most?) adults forget they were kids.
Some years ago, I had to travel for work. The flight back home was delayed, and the terminal where we were waiting was…not comfortable…to say the least. It was loud, echoing, and crowded, and naturally the person with the most annoying voice was the one making a ton of announcements over the PA.
So by the time I finally did get on the plane, I was tired, grumpy, had a headache, was missing my husband (I’d been away from home for almost a week), desperately in need of peace and quiet after dealing with people all week, and altogether Just. Wanted. To. Be. Home. And then a screaming toddler was then carried on to the plane. Most of us have probably seen something like it…red face, mouth wide open, tears, and screaming “NO!!!! I WAAAAANNNTTTT DADDDDDDDYYYYYYY!!”
Fortunately, there’s a happy ending. The little girl feel asleep shortly after takeoff, and there was blissful silence for the rest of the trip. But I’ll admit, I likely visibly cringed when they boarded. Not because of the mere presence of a small child, but because I could just picture said screaming continuing for the entire flight. I try to give parents and kids the benefit of the doubt most of the time, but I don’t have that much patience for prolonged screaming, tantrums, and the like. Especially in a confined space.
Still, I try to give the parents credit if I see that they’re trying to calm the little one. I can remember times when my younger sister just wasn’t having it, despite my parents’ (and sometimes my) best efforts. Still, it is unpleasant to be trapped in that situation, and I appreciate it when parents acknowledge that.
I’d also say, if people do look dubiously at you and your small child boarding a flight, try not to take it too personally. They don’t know you, don’t know your child, and very likely have prior bad experiences flashing through their minds. Just do your best to NOT be one of those experiences, and enjoy the pleasure of proving them wrong. People shouldn’t be rude or complain before anything has even happened; that’s definitely out of line, but a little understanding from everyone goes a long way.
One more quick story – my city has some light rail transit. I was on a crowded train one morning, and one little girl got very upset because there were no seats (and no real to get to one even if someone had offered – it was that crowded). I was metaphorically gritting my teeth and enduring, when I heard the mother say, “[NAME], stop it. We all want to be 3 and scream.” I managed to stifle my giggles in the sleeve of my coat, but it wasn’t easy. I grinned all day after that.
Sometimes kids learn a lot from a really bad example. When our daughter was 9, we had been traveling with her for a while and she was, on the whole, a cooperative traveler but she had her little moods. I took her to Disney with my husband’s cousin and her 3 kids. Those kids, in particular the middle child, were so bratty the whole time that my daughter and I were pretty miserable being around them. After that, when we traveled my daughter was really cooperative, because I think she realized just how awful it is to be stuck with someone who won’t stop whining and crying.
Readers might like this timely column from the British newspaper The Guardian. Please don’t read if you’re offended by the term ‘a**hole’.
OP, you did well with your children, teaching them the proper manners. Good for you!
Just love the lady who told off the passenger ‘the baby can’t help crying. You can help acting like a jerk’. That’s golden!!
I’m reminded of when we lived in Texas and my husband’s father went into what turned out to be a fatal decline. We had to pay $700 (22 years ago) for tickets back to North Carolina and get ourselves onto a flight that evening.
With our 1-month-old son.
I don’t think I could have stood it if someone had been rude about traveling with an infant.
Airline stories bring out the worst of the etiquettely minded here. I get both sides of this. I have kids of my own, but when I fly alone I am bothered greatly by children crying. I’m not so sure it’s so much the noise as it is the fact that I’m so attuned to crying and trying to figure out how to fix it. 🙂 But on my last flight, everyone put in headphones, turned on their phones or video players and I was shocked at one point to take off my headphones and realized there was a child throwing a huge screaming fit. No one knew above the engine noise and our headphones! That said, I wouldn’t be so harsh ( how can you all be so mean on this website?) On the poster that said babies shouldn’t fly. She has a point. I can attest that driving can be a lot less stressful on kids than air flying. It IS hard to fly with babies between checkins, security, dragging strollers and carseats, carry-on with lots of stuff, and then diapers that may need to be changed on-flight/potty training. Newborns aren’t too difficult, but older gets harder. Emergency situations, well there’s nothing to be done there, but if it’s vacation, driving can be so less stressful. I also know that the younger generation feels very entitled to vacations and the idea that every family must take one, regardless of how expensive or stressful — and sometimes changing the first world problem of being entitled to a vacation when you have little ones might be the best for all.
I don’t think a lot of people fly on vacation with infants for the fun of it. Many times, they’re flying because older family members want to see the babies.
As a relatively frequent flier, I’ll gladly put up with crying babies if I could have comfortable seats and aircraft that left within an hour or so of scheduled departure times. Since we can’t have those, I’ll deal with the babies with headphones, and by reminding myself that children do not come with “off” switches.
The busride of hell…. I was on an americruiser (90 passengers) on the Midnight to 6 am (arriving Monday AM) going from big burg to college town. I was in front right seat, else my motion sickness can be iffy. Behind me mom and toddler boarded. He’s bright eyed and mouth is going abbbah dah bebbeh beee bahahaha (just noises not words). Mom had come prepared for this with his blanket, a pillow, his toys, snacks, drinks, everything. Busfull wants to SLEEP because most of us had class later that day. Kid is all wound up, and won’t stop, no matter what mom does. I talk to her about an hour in through the seat crack, she had kept him up all day and no nap and expected him to zonk on the bus. Nope. He didn’t want food or drink, just look around and make continual noise. Toys, nope. Listen to mom try to read to him, nope. Finally about 3:30 I will say she had enough and slapped him. Not whale on him but she slapped his cheek. He cried at about the same volume for a minute. Then shut up. Entire bus exhaled with relief. About a minute later he started up again. Mom slapped him again. Once more he cried for about a minute, not loud wails, and shut up for about a minute. And started up again. Whole bus moaned. She’d told me they were going on another 90 miles to a base as his dad was sent there for a short stint and they were going up to see him. I guess Dad had not seen the kid yet. 6 am, we pull in, and the bloodshot eyed zombies staggered off, got our luggage and went our ways, except her and the kid.
They did have to get off, kid was still going strong, and reboard to leave 90 min later. I was downtown early enough a few days later and asked the driver of the one bus did he remember a mom and toddler on X day (he had replied yes when I asked if he drove that day). He rolls his eyes. He said the kid made noise straight through. I said I was on the xxxx bus so I had ridden for six hours with him. He’d done that that whole trip. Driver nodded in sympathy. He said she got him gathered up, off the bus, went to stand there to collect luggage, and a guy in fatigues stepped up to her. And the kid had finally passed out. He’d finally gone to sleep. [I will swear on my much sweared at college calculus book this is true] I normally don’t advocate giving kids medicine they don’t need but maybe a dose of baby benedryl might have done wonders. I will salute her, she tried.
The Benadryl might have worked…or he might have been one of those rare kids who get wired instead. I’ve heard plenty of pediatricians advise *against* trying to get a kid to sleep with medicine on flights and such because of that slim chance, and my kids’ pediatrician only recommended Benadryl for my oldest because it breaks down the same as Dramamine and therefore would help her with her carsickness. If she *happened* to fall asleep, we should take that as a bonus, but we should never aim for it because it might not work.
Slapping a toddler is never the answer. Never. The Mom had gotten fed up, as all of us are wont to do occasionally, but wacking the child on the face is never the answer. Oh, and keeping up a child to knock them out is also not the answer, as the kid is going to get overtired and stay awake and act up. She’d have been better off letting him take his normal naps. I am horrified of what goes on behind closed doors if she is going to slap her child in public.
I’m sorry, are you advocating child abuse as a method of quieting a toddler? That’s pretty messed up.
I don’t advocate whacking a kid either. I usually don’t advocate ever giving a kid a medication unless the doctor prescribed it. Mom was prepared but the kid just wasn’t going to wind down and apparently went for at least nine solid hours, and from the time I talked to her, longer than that. (before they got on for the first six hour stint).
That was many years ago now and I will never forget it, he probably is welcoming his grandchildren into the world by now.
I used to be a flight attendant for a short amount of time. I ending up quiting for a better job. However, I did enjoy just like I’ve enjoyed all of my jobs. I found that the adults were more rude than the children ever were.
A tip that not everyone knows it that on ascent, and decent are the two main times babies/children are going to cry. This is due to air pressure. I’d usually inform the parents, and recommend that they let their babies suck on a pacifier, or a bottle during these times to help relieve the pressure. Older children to hold their nose, and blow to pop their ears, or even chew gum. So the best behaved child may even cry during these times if the pressure gets to them.
And I agree there is a total difference between a child misbehaving with a careless parents, verses a crying child that the parent is trying to comfort. Now that I have a baby I do everything possible to make sure he doesn’t cry. Maybe I’ve lucked out because he has a good temperment. However, there are times it’s just unavoidable. I really hope I don’t have to fly again until he is older. I’d really rather drive than fly if possible. And that’s not because I have a baby. That’s because the airlines have went down hill so much I no longer find it romantic to fly.
I remember a flight back from Korea to the U.S. There was the screaming middle- aged woman, that thankfully was moved to elsewhere in the plane. There were half a dozen infants on board, and the dads spent a good part of the time, walking the aisles with the babies. Occasionally, a flight attendant came through and ordered the dads back to their seats. Once she left, they were back in the aisle. It was a quiet flight and the parents were very attentive to their babies.
I fly twice a month at least for business. I usually fly Southwest, due to the fact that you can redeem air line miles way sooner with them. I am also a mother of three, the youngest being five. I have seen everything you have mentioned. Baby boomers are the worst, even worse than the babies and teens, from my experience. They will charge up and demand to know what your number for boarding is, and will try to shove aside anyone who is in the way. I have seen business class A boarders bring their Group C families up front, and the gate agents do nothing. The flight I was just on last week, a man in his 60s kept getting up and taking snacks from the flight attendant area, just because he thought he could. It was awful.
OP, what really sucks for you is that those people opted to sit near you (with southwest, you can choose ANY empty seat) but chose to act like jerks to you. Bravo to you for keeping cool and teaching your kids well. Btw- on my last flight, families were still being allowed to pre board.
I’m surprised they let him do that (the guy taking snacks). Last few flights I was on that were over an hour they came along and offered you could BUY snack packages of different sorts. They weren’t cheap but the fellow next to me got the fruit assortment and for his $10 had a pretty decent snack of about four different fruits. They would offer us some soda, water, tea, or coffee ‘free’ but that was it. And the waitress had a swipeacard doodad on the cart, that’s how the fellow next to me bought his fruit. Pass a card, sign the little screen, and get handed his stuff. On the over three hour one you could also buy alcohol, as long as you produced ID for an age check.
My parents fly Southwest frequently and according to them, not only does Southwest let you check a bag for free, they also offer a small snack for free (and, I think, fancier snack packages for a price). Which is more than my family gets on other airlines, which don’t have free snacks at all, only the fancy ones for a price.
I get so sick of people assuming my children will be poorly behaved. My husband and I always make sure that we do our best to minimize others even knowing our children are present. I can think of one occasion where I booked a rental near a lake. When checking in, the lady behind the desk was very rude. She said and did several rude things before saying “YOU need to keep your kids from jumping on the beds!”. Hello lady they haven’t even entered the rental. At that point I told her to give me my check back and I called somewhere else to stay for the weekend. She handed it over saying nothing but rude things until I exited the office. If she was going to assume my kids were brats before we even got settled who knew what trouble followed and I wasn’t about to find out.
As a childless person, it kind of surprises me how people get annoyed with children on planes. With the roar of the engine you can’t really hear them, and even when the child is next to me, I just put in my ear buds or ear plugs and I don’t even notice them. I had one toddler sit next to me on a flight, I took out my DS and started playing Legend of Zelda, he sat mesmerized and just watched my screen the entire three hour flight which didn’t bother me at all.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it’s like this: engine noise is mostly steady. I can more or less filter that out for that reason. (I grew up around farm machinery…and my Dad snoring…which is about a toss-up with your average tractor for noise level…so I’ve had a lot of practice on that.)
A crying baby is not a steady noise, and can be very high pitched. If it’s too close to me, it’s actually painful. So, yes, if it goes on for a long period of time, I’m going to be stressed and annoyed by it. That doesn’t mean I’ll do more than turn up the volume on my headphones or give the parents a look if they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. But it does bother me. If it’s just for a little while on takeoff/landing, I’ll give them a total pass, though, because the ear pressure thing is painful for me, too.
Credit to any parent that does keep the kid quiet and quiets them down when they start to yell. If it is because of their ears hurting, I would love to scream.
Another example of good parents, trip from Boston to Houston about 3 hours 20 minutes. There was a family in the row in front of me. One of the boys was on the aisle seat. 4 maybe? He did need a few reminders to keep his hands in his seat and not to tease his sister. I suspect the latter was also often said when not in an airplane. No yelling, no screaming the sister was probably a year younger. Towards the end of the flight he was squirming a bit more, but so were a lot of the adults.
We landed. The family got up and organized to debark. There was a third kid. Probably 1 or 2 years older than her brother. Never noticed that she was ever there. Kudos to those parents.
The last time I went to Mexico, I was seated next to a lovely couple and their 9 month old son. I love babies, have no problem with criers, and had not said anything to indicate I’d be upset about this.
Before I even had a chance to sit down, the mother was rambling assurances that “He’s really good on planes! I promise! Please let me know if he’s bothering you… etc.” Instant defense mode. I appreciate the mother’s concern for her fellow passengers, but I think it’s a little sad that she was so afraid of people’s reactions to her baby. Travel is already stressful enough without having to constantly defend your life choices to strangers.
In case anyone’s wondering, the baby was a gem. Didn’t make a peep the whole flight.
My parents divorced when I was quite young and my mother and I moved halfway across the country. From the age of 7 I flew as an unaccompanied minor – UM (child under 12 flying alone) back and forth between my parents. At times the flights were extremely long (6 hours) due to stopovers and it was hard to stay occupied. This was quite a long time ago and there were no smart phones, tablets or portable gaming systems to keep children occupied (I had books, toys, stuff for colouring and my parents always made sure I had headphones to listen to music or the in-flight movie). Sometimes there were other UMs on the plane as well and the airline tried to group us together, but I often ended up sitting with some random person. Sometimes I’d luck out and the person would engage me in conversation and help pass the time, other times I was more of an annoyance to the other person and they would ignore me the entire flight and give me nasty looks if I made even the slightest noise. On a few occasions, the other person would make such a stink (Trust me, I wasn’t being loud or squirmy) that the stewardess would be nice enough to move me to empty seats (if available) and I’d just sleep the entire time.
I hate to say it, but one generation is no more polite than the next. Frankly, I have met just as many entitled older people as I have younger people. More often than not, you can tell an entitled, self absorbed older person BECAUSE they are whinging about “kids these days.” Oftentimes, they’re just mad because they’re not being catered to. When people think that others are constantly being rude, sometimes its because they need the mirror turned in on them.