Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

Flight Attendant vs. Baby

Just in time for summer travel comes another story of a flight attendant frustrated by a traveling child.

In fact, it was about a year ago that a D.C. mom had a tiff with TSA officials over water in a sippy cup. And it was last July when a Continental Express flight attendant told a mom to "shut your baby up." Both of those followed incidents in which a tantrum-throwing child and a breast-feeding mom were both yanked from flights.

This time around, the family is the Concepcions: Mom Amber Cistaro Concepcion, husband Bien and their two children were returning to the East coast from a trip to Phoenix in early May. The long flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia went well, Amber says. But the 45-minute from Philadelphia to State College, Penn., on a US Airways flight operated by Piedmont Airlines was much harder on 13-month-old Caroline, who cried on the runway and during takeoff and landing.

The small plane that held about 3 dozen people sat on the runway for about 20 minutes before takeoff. During that time, the noise of the propellors, which Amber describes as much louder than bigger jets, caused travel-weary Caroline to cry. Amber tried nursing her, giving her apple juice and giving her water, but they didn't calm the little girl. When Caroline started crying, the sole flight attendant on the plane came to their seats. At first, she was friendly. When Caroline didn't calm down, though, the flight attendant became harsher, at times yelling at the parents, Amber says.

"You need to get her to stop crying. Don't you have a bottle? I can't believe you don't have a bottle," Amber describes the flight attendant as saying during a conversation in which Amber explained to the attendant that the baby isn't bottle-fed.

The flight attendant kept getting more agitated and wouldn't leave the parents alone enough to calm Caroline. "She was saying, 'I can only give her a few more minutes to calm down,' " Amber says, relaying that she was worried the flight attendant was going to kick the family off the plane. When the plane finally began moving on the runway and the fasten seatbelt sign was lit, Amber reports, the flight attendant tried to get the parents to take the baby to the bathroom. The parents refused. The attendant then tried to take the baby out of Dad Bien's arms and take her back to the kitchen, saying, "This is bothering everyone. This is so unfair to everyone on the plane."

US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant says the airline is looking into the matter and pointed out that a fellow passenger on the flight complimented the flight attendant for "going out of her way to make passengers comfortable." The main airline's flight attendants go through training to address how to interact with customers and potential situations flight attendants may encounter. The airline "absolutely wants to have training policies across the board for wholly owned subsidiaries," Durrant said.

After the Concepcions complained to US Airways, the airline e-mailed them coupon codes for 20 percent off their next flight. The family can only hope to get flight attendants like they had on a previous trip to San Francisco. During that flight, Caroline, who was even younger, unexpectedly came down with a stomach virus and vomited every 5 minutes during the entire six-hour flight. The flight attendants on that flight, also a US Airways plane, were helpful and had paramedics waiting to meet the baby as soon as they could get her off the plane -- holding back all other passengers until the baby was safely in paramedic care.

Each of us has our good and bad flight stories. What can we do to make air travel more family friendly?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 18, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
Previous: A Lesson of Death | Next: Who's Harder to Raise?

Comments


"What can we do to make air travel more family friendly?"


Keep people like the Concepcions off of the planes! The world doesn't revolve around their kid!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Luckily for me, and the rest of the traveling population, my family is local so we never needed to take my daughter on a plane. We kept our family vacations relatively local, too. Her first flight was when she was 7 and understood the need to be quiet and polite.
A friend of ours has family in Arizona so they fly cross country a couple of times a year. Their daughter is 3. They have no control of her on land and, from what I've heard, even less in the air. This child stands in her seat, throws food at other passengers, runs up and down the aisle, etc. All while my friend, who I previously thought to be an intelligent person, smiles as if her daughter were the cutest thing on the planet. Her husband is mortified but has little say in the raising of their daughter (topic for a different day). He has told me that he is surprised that they've not been kicked off a flight yet.
When I fly for business I try to pick flights that are less likely to have children on them (certain types of flights, times of the day). If there are kids, I try very hard to stay away from them. I'm not sure why other people cannot understand what is so simple to me: while I love my daughter and find her chatter interesting, I realize that she is not the center of other people's universes. Therefore, she needs to keep the volume in check, sit at a window seat while on a plane (so I'm the only one she can bump into), and in general attempt to not interfere with other people's travel.

Posted by: 21117 | June 18, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

I live in my husband's European country. We try to go to the States to see my family and friends at least once a year. Our son, now 4, has been in transit with us and now we'll also be taking our newborn daughter along.

Many airports (and I've been in a lot) don't seem to have facilities for kids/families. My son would be less wanting to run around, say, a crowded waiting area, if there was some little play area (like the ones at McDonald's, for example) where he could run/play off his energy. I do pack toys, snacks, etc.- but small kids aren't used to so much sitting.

Also, the liquids rules don't exactly help matters. Usually I fly out of the U.S. in Chicago, an airport where the food and rinks are all before the security lines before getting past the checkpoint to enter the int'l terminal-- so there is no place to, say, buy my apple juice, milk, etc. (even with the inflated airport prices!) since I can't bring this stuff-- and some airlines have been nicer than others about giving me stuff before takeoff for my child. (Which again-- I used to pack/provide this stuff myself before the liquids rules came into effect.)

Posted by: American mom abroad | June 18, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

"I do pack toys, snacks, etc.- but small kids aren't used to so much sitting."

Oh, no! Heaven forbid that a small kid would need to sit for more than a moment. Sheesh!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

21117: There's a big difference between a 13 month old crying because of a loud, unfamiliar noise and an out of control 3 year old. I think it's "business travelers" who need to realize the world doesn't revolve around _them_. People with babies sometimes need to travel too, and guess what: sometimes babies cry. That's life.

Posted by: ged | June 18, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"...heaven forbid a small kid would have to sit for mor than a moment..."

1. Obviously written by someone who has no children.
2. Also apparently has never been in an airport and had to wait "a moment" to board their flight.

Posted by: ged | June 18, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

The planes should designate the rows in the back as a family area and encourage all the people traveling with kids to sit there. It would keep the clamor contained.

The liquid rules are insane. You can't bring water, apple juice, or breast milk through security. On my last flight I kept my toddler in his seat for two hours. Then there was a delay at the airport, so we circled for another forty minutes. I'm glad he ran up the aisle screaming - I felt the same way!

Posted by: Cranky Dad | June 18, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

"There's a big difference between a 13 month old crying because of a loud, unfamiliar noise and an out of control 3 year old."

Oh, brother.
At 13 months old my kids could walk and talk. They were easily taught to be quiet.

Who's in charge??

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

"The planes should designate the rows in the back as a family area and encourage all the people traveling with kids to sit there. It would keep the clamor contained."

Better yet, have "No Kid" planes.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

If you don't like the sound of babies crying, get off the plane and wait for one without a baby on it. It's very selfish to expect an infant to conform its behavior to your diva like expectation that no one every annoy you anywhere. How about on a bus? On the street? In a restaurant? Parents with small children can be found in all of these places and sometimes their babies will cry. You did it too when you were a baby. As someone said above, it's called life, get used to it.

Posted by: An Dliodoir | June 18, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

"The planes should designate the rows in the back as a family area and encourage all the people traveling with kids to sit there. It would keep the clamor contained."

There is no reason to relegate all kids to the back of the plane. Families with children don't get a discount on their airfare - they should have the same right to try to get better seats throughout the plane as others.
Controlling antsey toddlers is one thing and parents shoulder responsibility for that. A crying baby, on the other hand, is no fun for anyone - including the parents - but it happens!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

"At 13 months old my kids could walk and talk. They were easily taught to be quiet."

Ah, one of those parents that takes every opportunity to point out how there child is superior to all others. Though your children could walk and talk at 13 months, I assume you're intelligent enough to understand that not ALL children develop at the same pace? Thus, SOME children can't. Those unfortunate children who are not as gifted and wonderful as yours were at 13 months will grow to far superior to yours in all measures of development. So your smug air of superiority will be fleeting. Oh brother!

Posted by: An Dliodoir | June 18, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

We've travled by air with our kids but not until they were at least 3 (read, old enought to threaten and bribe!). I vote against the family section of the plane. My kids are great, they play their video games or watch t.v. and cause a lot less heartache than the yahoo who jams his seat back for the entire 6 hour flight. Frankly if there were a bunch of kids all together I think that would just encourage rambunctious behavior. We just travled abroad and had kids (two infants) on each leg who were perfectly behaved. My experience is that these awful kids are the exception rather than the rule and the bad kids are certainly more memorable than the awful ones. If you are going to complain about the bad ones make sure to compliment the good ones. A little external reinforcement can go a long way in encouraging good behavior in kids.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 18, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

"If you are going to complain about the bad ones make sure to compliment the good ones. A little external reinforcement can go a long way in encouraging good behavior in kids."

Honestly! Are you & your kids that needy for approval/attention from strangers? Pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"If you don't like the sound of babies crying, get off the plane and wait for one without a baby on it. It's very selfish to expect an infant to conform its behavior to your diva like expectation that no one every annoy you anywhere."

Excuse me, but you are clearly insane. It is in no way selfish for a plane full of people to be annoyed, inconvenienced, and upset by one crying child. Rather, it is beyond selfish, 'diva like' and self absorbed for parents to expect the rest of the flight to put up with and accept a loud, obnoxious disruption on a crowded, uncomfortable flight.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Good lord. We're not talking about some out of control kid kicking the seat and shrieking for a Gameboy.

There is no guarantee in life that you will not encounter:

- a crying baby
- a senior citizen going slowly
- a person talking on his or her cell phone
- someone snoring in the seat next to you
- etc.

What is WRONG with people that think they have some kind of right to never be bothered by a small baby crying because s/he:

- is scared
- is tired but can't sleep on a plane
- has pain in his/her ears from the altitude & pressure shifts

No one has a "right" to never be bothered by anything.

Also, from a pragmatic point of view, getting upset at the parents is much more likely to make the parents tense, which even a very young babe will pick up on, and cry the more. Some kind words might just help the situation.

Flyers who have no patience, reach for the zen. One day you may be elderly or disabled and have to depend on kindness of strangers, you know.

Posted by: Shandra | June 18, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm not anti-child as I am soon going to have my first and I realize that children are not always easy to control. But I have been on planes where the child sitting behind me kicked the back of my chair non-stop for close to an hour and in another instance when the child sitting in front of me stood on his seat facing backwards and proceeded to tossed his Cherios at me for about 20 minutes. In both these cases, the parents were sitting right next to the child and did nothing. I think that most flight attendants know where to draw the line between a helpless baby and a child who is allowed to misbehave.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

One day you may be elderly or disabled and have to depend on kindness of strangers, you know.
_________________________
Shandra - we can only hope that the karma comes around.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 18, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Flying is a really miserable experience now, regardless of one's age. Everyone has to bring enormous patience to it. I don't have children and because I've been in dicey situations, I'm a nervous flyer, so a crying baby doesn't help me much.

That said, I have much more sympathy for the parent who is trying to teach the child than the one who expects total accommodation.

I once flew from DC to Boston with some preschooler kicking my seat back, but his mother was heroically trying to get him to stop, distract him, etc. It was an evening flight and the kid was overtired. Ultimately, i think she was more stressed than I was.
I'm a childless person, but I don't see what a parent flying with a distressed child can do beyond apologizing profusely and trying your best.

One suggestion: if you can find the time/money and you're on the Northeast Corridor, try the train. It's so much easier on kids. They don't have the ear issues, you can walk up and down the aisles with them, they usually have ample snacks and drinks available, and train personnel rarely raise their voices. They're much nicer than the airlines. If you have the choice, I highly recommend it.

Posted by: onceateacher | June 18, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

"At 13 months old my kids could walk and talk. They were easily taught to be quiet."

BVLLSH!T!

"It is in no way selfish for a plane full of people to be annoyed, inconvenienced, and upset by one crying child."

Yes it is. Babies cry, it is a fact of life, dumbasz. The world doesn't revolve around your need for perfect quiet on the plane. You are probably the kind of person who yammers loudly on the cell phone in restaurants, anyway.

Posted by: STFU Liar | June 18, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"Usually I fly out of the U.S. in Chicago, an airport where the food and drinks are all before the security lines before getting past the checkpoint to enter the int'l terminal-- so there is no place to, say, buy my apple juice, milk, etc."

The concessions court in Terminal 5 at Ohare is most certainly past the security lines.

Posted by: TSA | June 18, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

"One day you may be elderly or disabled and have to depend on kindness of strangers, you know.
_________________________
Shandra - we can only hope that the karma comes around."

Must be Christians...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only who's appalled that any family would bring a sick child on a plane? They mention that the little girl had been sick and vomiting every five minutes on an earlier flight. Unless that stomach bug coincidentally showed up the second the baby was strapped into the airplane seat, the family should have known better and canceled the trip. San Fransisco would still have been there in a week.

As for flying with kids, it takes a lot of energy and attention to keep an infant or toddler behaving well on an airplane. They don't naturally know not to kick the seats or stand up or yell. It's the parents' job to teach those lessons and enforce the rules. Yeah, it may take a dozen reminders that we don't put our feet on the seat in front of us, but it's worth it.

(except for when the seat in front is taken by some jerkoff who thinks it's ok to lean his seat back the whole way and make it impossible for my kid even to move. Then I let her kick.)

And I agree with the person who wishes more airports had kid play areas. We flew through Cleveland once, where there are playhouses, slides and other distractions every few gates. It was wonderful.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 18, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Noise cancelling headphones and an ipod.

Posted by: solution | June 18, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

"Noise cancelling headphones and an ipod."

And a Valium.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I haven't noticed any drunk toddlers lately, to name one behavior that is probably responsible for the highest number of fracas on planes -- indeed, the airlines sell liquor. I have travelled with my children since they were six months, and they have never bothered anyone more than I have (as in, accidentally kicking the seat in front of us), and I have never been on a plane where children were the most obnoxious passengers on board. I know it happens, but it seems to attract much more commentary than it should given its relative rarity.

Posted by: Barbara | June 18, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Of course babies cry! No one's saying they don't or shouldn't. But that doesn't mean I have to be ok with it or pretend it's not annoying.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"One day you may be elderly or disabled and have to depend on kindness of strangers, you know.
_________________________
Shandra - we can only hope that the karma comes around."

Well I don't wish disability on anyone but I really believe that these things do come around.

I would like my son to grow up considerate of others, which includes being aware that a child under two may cry a lot in unfamiliar situations, and extending kindness to the family coping with travel.

It may even mean being kind to people that he doesn't agree with, like a family that's not controlling their 4 yr old because (perhaps) they are travelling to a funeral grief-stricken and out of it, or something.

I don't know, I just think that COURTESY is not about demanding! that! my! plane! ride! be! quiet! but about extending to others the consideration one would wish extended to oneself.

It certainly helps when others have modelled that. My son's actually a really good flyer (the engine noise seems to put him to sleep) but we all have our moments.

Posted by: Shandra | June 18, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

At 12 and a half months my baby cannot yet walk and only knows one word. It is not badly behaved of a baby to cry, flail, etc. It is what they do, and they are part of society and always will be. I completely agree with not allowing older todlers and even older children to misbehave and bother others. But there is no way to stop crying if the baby won't be soothed. That mentality is how some people end up killing babies; they figure if they talk enough, then yell at the baby enough, then shake or spank enough, the baby will "behave". A baby will die before it understands that its crying is driving the abuse. So yes, as much as it sucks, sometimes adults have to just deal with the annoyance of a crying baby if they want to interact with general society. The same should not be said of a badly behaved toddler, who can be taught behavior. And yes, the parents feel badly about the crying baby and its impact on innocent bystanders. But sometimes there is nothing you can do, and the most mannerly thing is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and search deep for some sympathy-the parents for other adults and other adults for the parents and baby.

Posted by: ljb | June 18, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"that doesn't mean I have to be ok with it or pretend it's not annoying."

If crying babies are the ONLY annoying thing you're not OK with on a plane flight, you should be profoundly grateful.

I'm not OK with your annoying whining about how annoying crying babies are, either. Are you the adult or the baby, for God's sake? Part of being the adult is having some self-control, which babies do not have.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

This doesn't really happen all that often, given the millions of passengers subjected to air travel each year. So the solution might be to get rid of the few bad apple flight attendants who rear their ugly heads each year. Or let them change places with a deserving ramper, at least. Then the first time they take out their aggressions on an expensive piece of equipment, they can be sent down the road permanently. Obviously, just abusing a passenger or two doesn't seem to be punishable.

Posted by: Bill Mosby | June 18, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"Noise cancelling headphones and an ipod."

And a Valium.

for the kid!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"Well I don't wish disability on anyone but I really believe that these things do come around. "

In what way?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"yes, the parents feel badly about the crying baby and its impact on innocent bystanders."

I don't feel all that bad. I have had to listen to other people's screaming kids, now it is everyone else's turn to listen to mine. =)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Let me add to my previous post to say that we have managed to avoid flying with baby so far and hope to avoid it for the next few years, by which point I expect her to be able to behave herself on a plane. But not all families have choices.

Posted by: ljb | June 18, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I second the noise cancelling headphones, great invention!

Since I used to travel 50% of the time for work I've been on my fair share of flights with children, both good and bad.

I had the flight where the mother asked to switch seats (from middle to window) so she could breastfeed in private, which I of course switched with her. But, then she never once breast fed on the 4 hour flight. She did, however, pull out a bottle. My co-worker who was breast feeding at the time was appalled someone would play that card just to get a better seat.

I also had the kid behind me who stood on the seat the whole flight (even though the flight attendant politely asked the child to sit down several times) and pulled my hair and my neighbor's hair.

But, there have been great parents who have done everything imaginable to make the child behave. I've felt bad for the parents battling plugged up ears, and those with kids overwhelemed and scared by the noise. I definitely compliment parents of well behaved children telling them they've done a great job, because they have!

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I was on a flight out west for work and there was a baby behind me crying during take off. The mother looked like she was going to drop from exhaustion. The stewardess was a baby whisperer and distracted that baby like a champ. She gave him a plastic cup to chew on (new and more interesting than his own stuff) and periodically would come and take him around the cabin for a walk. That woman deserved a medal.

I sat in front of an obnoxious six year old on the say home who at the end of the flight started telling everyone that they needed to hurry up and get off the plane while his parents just smiled at us all. They must have been terrified of him because he essentially bullied them the entire flight.

Generally though, I'm fine with kids on planes. I like sitting next to them cause they don't use the arm rest or crowd my shoulders. Coloring books and gameboys seem to work pretty well.

Posted by: Em | June 18, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Why are poeple flying around the world with little babies? Wait to travel until they are older!

Posted by: bnichols | June 18, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"At 12 and a half months my baby cannot yet walk"

Maybe because you think of it as a "baby"

"and only knows one word"

Thank God.

Posted by: Is this normal? | June 18, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I have a question about flying with babies- at some point soon, we'll be flying back from Korea with our newly adopted baby. So not only do we have to deal with the LONG trans-Pacific flight, but also the flight from the West Coast back to DC. We're terrified! Hopefully all will go well but this baby won't know us at all. We think we'll probably overnight in San Fran or wherever to take a break before continuing home. Does anyone have any tips for this possibly difficult time? Besides earplugs for fellow passengers? :)

Posted by: Cubeland | June 18, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't feel all that bad. I have had to listen to other people's screaming kids, now it is everyone else's turn to listen to mine. =)

I hear what you're saying, but when DD was younger, she could scream for 6-8 hours nonstop. I could barely stand it during that 2-month phase, and I would be lining up behind others if they complained. "Yep, folks, I'm with you. But I can't give her back and I can't make her stop. Sorry folks, but there is nothing I can do. Push me much further and I'll start crying, too. Step right up if you think you have any ideas besides homicide!"
Doctors couldn't do anything. We had to let the neighbors know of her condition. You think it's bad being next to a screaming kid on a plane? To paraphrase an old quote, if I were my neighbors and owned their town house and hell, I'd rent out the house and live in hell. LUCKILY we never had to travel or even shop with her during that period, so she didn't bother the general public.
Anyway, she's much better now. She hardly ever cries. But there's just no controlling it at the younger ages.

Posted by: ljb | June 18, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I have been on both sides of this particular discussion: traveling with a baby, back in the days when air travel was fun and dignified (my mother flew from Indianpolis to Washington to help me with the flight back to Indianapolis) AND flying post 9/11, usually solo, with no accompanying minors, when all dignity and fun had evaporated.

Babies cry. This is what they do. They may be frightened (I'm frightened some times, especially when I see TSA focusing in on diabetic grandmas, instead of drunken 20 somethings), or tired (I'm usually tired) or otherwise cranky (as I have every right to be, the umteenth time I've been singled out for the "going over" by TSA, including being felt up by some man.) This is just a fact of life, and I suspect most parents do everything they can to get the babies back to sleep.

Toddlers like to run around. This is another fact of life.

One of the writers below identified a big problem: there is a small minority of parents who think their darlings can do no wrong, and who don't even make the effort to get them to behave in a semi civilized fashion. However, we need to be careful not to extend this label to most parents.

As for the outpouring of grief from the business travelers, you remind me of people who shop in discount chains like the Costco and then complain because there's no one paper bags. You get what you pay for. Even though I hear your pain, I suggest that if you don't want to travel "bucket class" (which is where most families will be found) that you pony up for business class.

Given the size of the United States, and $4 plus a gallon gasoline, flying is the ONLY alternative for most of us.

Posted by: VA_Lady2008 | June 18, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

It's hard enough on a larger jet.
I can imagine that a screaming kid would be pretty bad on a small one.

Everybody needs to chill. Other passengers should pull out their earplugs and count to 10 before thinking the worst about the family with the screamer.

The family with the screamer should do their best to quiet screamer. This includes loud pleas for child to quiet down and obvious statements about "we don't want to bother everybody else!"

Families can also travel with everything imaginable to amuse children. I mean everything. Stupid action toys, markers, games that you'd never buy because their junk, snacks with lots of inorganic ingredients that you're ashamed to be seen purchasing! ANYTHING to amuse your kid. Then the parent needs to put a little elbow grease into engaging the kid in the distraction. Plane travel is a good time to fulfill all your quality time quotas.


I was on a Green line train last week with some kid who insisted on screaming. I don't know why. He was with his Dad, who, as far as I could tell, wasn't doing a darn thing to quiet the child. In situations like that you need to at least appear to be trying to do something - not just sitting/standing there like a bump on a log.

Posted by: RoseG | June 18, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't have kids and have no desire to do so, but I have to say that I think the idea of a "family section" in the back of the plane is an idea that, while perhaps suggested with good intentions, would become problematic because anyone with kids will be expected to sit back there, even if the kids know how to behave. Think of the "comfort room" or "cry room" that many churches provide. The intent of the room is that a parent with a squawking infant can take the child there until it calms down, at which time the parent would rejoin the congregation. In all too many parishes, people with kids go into the "comfort room" immediately upon arrival, or else receive dirty looks from other people if they don't. That's not how it's supposed to work, but if it happens there, I imagine the same phenomenon would happen twice over on aircraft.

The part of the original blog post that I find outrageous is the stewardess allegedly (after all, who knows if this is all true) trying to take the baby away from the parent. That's absolutely absurd and I hope any parent would fight back, to the point of taking a swing (yes, I know that means they'll summon the cops upon landing).

With all that said, there are two sides to every issue. No, you can't control the baby's crying, and it's unrealistic to expect you to do so. At the same time, the people who say that some parents of infants act as though everyone should kow-tow to them have a point too. Ever go to Tysons when the mothers with the strollers are out in force? They expect YOU to move for THEM so they can walk three abreast (pun intended) whilst chatting. Sorry, ladies. You can walk on the right the same way everyone else does.

Posted by: Rich | June 18, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I've travelled with my kids since they were babies. I would have liked to wait until they were 3, i.e. old enough to be reasoned with and distracted easily but I was lucky enough to have grandparents still alive when they were born. They were not well enough to travel and I really wanted them to meet their great grandchildren. So we braved the airways. Baby daughter had trouble with her first take-off, ears, but then calmed down and was quiet and happy rest of the flight. Baby son was awesome, slept the whole time. He was a pill on a flight when he was 2 though, again to go see great grandparents in Florida, when we taxied out to the runway and then sat for 45 minutes. He wanted to get up, wanted to take off. The flight attendants never came over although he was crying loudly. I did everything I could to try to calm him and absolutely made sure he was not kicking anyone's seat. The other passengers were very sympathetic and I apologized profusely. I think some candy and a book finally did the trick but there was definitely a period of intense crying that was no doubt very annoying to the other passengers or at least those in close proximity.

On one flight another family told us their child had cried the whole time but we were 15 rows back from them, behind the wing, and didn't even hear it. I agree that a kids-only area is not a good idea. We travelled through one airport that had a kids play area and it was great, definitely need more of those.

I agree with Shandra on the karma thing. Have a little sympathy and understanding. And, hopefully someone will for you when you need it.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | June 18, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm really tired of the world revolving around children. Last time I got on a plane - there was huge line for security - a family with a child walked up to the front and cut in - I pointed out that there was a line; the father retorted - yes, but we have a child, that makes us special. And you know what? That is the attitude of most parents these days. And I am finding that in reality, these kids who scream and cry, pull my hair, throw food, yank on my seat, spill crap on me all with the parents smiling like its the cutest thing (or just ignoring) are becoming the rule - it's the parents that actually discipline their children and have the slightest amount of respect for other travelers who are quickly becoming the exception. And don't tell me it isn't possible to teach a child to be well-behaved - many of my close friends and colleagues have children that I absolutely adore that I rarely see throw one of these undisciplined tantrums. It's called good parenting. As an adult who has chosen not to have a child - every once in awhile I'd like not to have to deal with ill-behaved children. But parents with bratty, ill-behaved kids have taken over the airplanes, the restaurants, the movies, the shopping malls....I really wish someone would create an adults only airline. I would pay for that opportunity.

Posted by: vicky | June 18, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Is this normal?"

Well, DD was born without her esophagus connecting to her stomach, so she had to spend the first 5 months of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit until they could do surgery. As a result, she is a few months behind, but catching up quickly. Doctors say it's normal and that she's actually ahead of where they expected her to be at this point. By next year she should be completely caught up. But even so, my understanding is that it isn't uncommon for 12 month-olds to not yet know how to walk. She is 12 months and eight days old.
As you can see, I've decided to treat your question as a genuine inquiry and not a mean-spirited reflection on her abilities or our parenting.

Posted by: ljb | June 18, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Children cry when they are in pain. There is very little parents can do except do their best to try and calm them. While I do not have children, I do empathize with parents who have crying children on the plane. We should all be a little more understanding. I always bring a pair of foam earplugs with me on flights for just this reason. I'd advise those who have little tolerance for crying babies to bring earplugs -- they work quite well.

As for these rude flight attendants, they really need to find other jobs. Crying babies are part of the package. If they can't handle that, then they are in the wrong line of work. Children are not small adults -- they are children, and they cry, and sometimes there is little that can be done about it. They have no right to kick parents off planes for crying babies, and they certainly have no right to attempt to take babies out of the hands of parents.

Posted by: Steve S. | June 18, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Link for the article, please?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Vicky, I totally agree. My brother and I traveled as young kids and knew the drill. There was no kicking and screaming, period. We behaved because there was no other option. I also don't get all the complaints about liquids through security, etc. My parents are European and we NEVER had this constant eating/drinking thing going on. What the hell is a sippy cup? Kids running around with those make me crazy. We had 3 meals a day, a bit of fruit in between and got water to drink--but not every 15 minutes. No wonder this country has an obesity problem. Whenever I see young kids anywhere, they're stuffing their faces. Enough already!

Posted by: Silver Spring | June 18, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

""At 13 months old my kids could walk and talk. They were easily taught to be quiet."

Ah, one of those parents that takes every opportunity to point out how there child is superior to all others. Though your children could walk and talk at 13 months, I assume you're intelligent enough to understand that not ALL children develop at the same pace? Thus, SOME children can't. Those unfortunate children who are not as gifted and wonderful as yours were at 13 months will grow to far superior to yours in all measures of development. So your smug air of superiority will be fleeting. Oh brother!"

Superior? Maybe where you're from. In Asian and Europe that is expected and normal behavior.

Posted by: Bern | June 18, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Business travelers are the worst. I am one. The whine and complain. Try to sneak their laptops past security. And then want to stretch out on the plane so they can do PowerPoint. These are also the clowns that want to use cell phones on planes.

Baby crying versus salesman on a cell phone??? Give me the baby any day of the week.

I've had to sit next to many upset kids over the years. They don't bother me. They are children. Every one of us did the same thing at that age.

You people complaining need a reality check. Try talking to the parents sitting next to you. Most little kids will calm down when a new person makes a funny face at them.

Posted by: frequent traveler | June 18, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"But even so, my understanding is that it isn't uncommon for 12 month-olds to not yet know how to walk. She is 12 months and eight days old."

Sounds like your daughter's doing just fine. "Normal" walking age for kids is anywhere from 9 months to 15 months. It's not until the kid reaches 1.5 that many pediatricians will start worrying if she/he isn't walking yet.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 18, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Barbara wrote: "I haven't noticed any drunk toddlers lately, to name one behavior that is probably responsible for the highest number of fracas on planes -- indeed, the airlines sell liquor."

Great point Barbara. Made my morning.

Posted by: perries | June 18, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse


"Oh, no! Heaven forbid that a small kid would need to sit for more than a moment. Sheesh!"

Actually, they AREN'T meant to sit for more than a moment. Or 3, 4, or 5 hours. Neither are we. DVT anyone? Seems the kids have more sense than the grownups do.

An airplane is a flying bus. Technically, your vacation doesn't start until you get to your destination. If you get there safely, then what's the problem?

Airlines have made it harder for parents to bring aboard the things they need to keep their kids happy (and quiet). Then you've got crazy attendants trying to take your baby out of your arms.

To all you folks who look down upon us breeders for allowing our kids to wreck your holiday....Just remember, when you are old and gray, those same kids will be the ones running your nursing homes, cutting your grass and being good neighbors by looking after you because you don't have family of your own to do so. So be nice. The world DOES revolve around (or because of) people like Conception and her kids. No kids, no future. Sorry, that's how it works.

Posted by: Kay | June 18, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Vicky, it is VERY obvious from your stupid comments that you do not have a child.

Personally, I am tired of self-righteous nincompoops who think they are morally superior because they "chose" not to have a child, and who also think they have a right to perfect peace and quiet.

Posted by: JJ | June 18, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Throw them off the flight! Charge fat people for 2 seats so their fat isn't hanging on my seat. If you travel with children and cannot control them, the airline should throw them off. Also, this family is a pain, kid gets sick, everyone else waits. No wonder US Air/Piedmont/Alleghany or whatever the dreadful airline is now called loses so much money.

Posted by: dossier | June 18, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Why are poeple flying around the world with little babies? Wait to travel until they are older!

Posted by: bnichols | June 18, 2008 8:42 AM

Yeah, really. My first flight ever was at 16 and a half -- from JFK to the UK with a group from my HS.

When we actually went on vacations, my parents drove the 2-door Chevy Nova (one time from Long Island to Orlando), later the 4-door Buick that actually had AC (what a treat!). No DVD player, no tape-deck or CD player, etc. I survived.

Posted by: Only child, too. | June 18, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"Normal" walking age for kids is anywhere from 9 months to 15 months. It's not until the kid reaches 1.5 that many pediatricians will start worrying if she/he isn't walking yet."

In the USA.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

vicky - you would have loved the flight I was on recently out of DC... a family tried to board the plane first even though their "zone" had not been called and the attendants told them no. The dad was furious and kept calling them stupid, but the flight attendants said sorry, we don't do that anymore. ha.

JJ - with that attitude your kids will NOT be the nice ones looking after the elderly with no family - they will be so self-absorbed and entitled that they will likely spend most of their lives making the world a WORSE place. So, no, your kids are not our future.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

ok since everyone else is whining and opining rather than helping, here's an actual tip that helps with small children on planes: pretzels. Give them to the kids about 1/2 hour before takeoff without drink. They'll be thirsty around takeoff and want their bottle/sippy/whatever. The drinking will keep their ears stable and it won't hurt as much. But no caffeinated sodas! Also, make sure to blow their nose before takeoff. For long flights it helps to have a grab-bag of calming things for them to do: earphones for playing lullabies, crayons, books, etc but NOT toys that squeak, beep, roll, fly, etc. Everyone does need extra patience on flights these days regardless of kids, but don't blame kids; it's usually the parents. Give the parent some space if they're working on the issue. If the parent is ineffective for whatever reason, sometimes the distraction of a fellow passenger playing peekaboo with the child is a helpful non-confrontational way to change the dynamic.

Posted by: practical for a change | June 18, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"If you travel with children and cannot control them, the airline should throw them off."

Also eject the whiners who are too delicate to fly unless they are in a soundproofed bubble.

Posted by: JJ | June 18, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

he father retorted - yes, but we have a child, that makes us special. And you know what? That is the attitude of most parents these days.

Where the heck do you live? I have NEVER encountered this attitude from "most parents." You'll have to give more than one stinking example to back up this.

THe fact is we live in a world that is completely self-centered. Yes, this DOES apply to those w/o children too.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"Normal" walking age for kids is anywhere from 9 months to 15 months. It's not until the kid reaches 1.5 that many pediatricians will start worrying if she/he isn't walking yet."

In the USA.

-----

Actually no. Believe it or not, this is universal.
Für die Zeit der ersten deutlich zielorientierten Bewegungen gibt es kein Regelalter. Einige Monate nach der Geburt können die Babys mit dem Rollen, dem „Sich-Drehen" beginnen. Sie schieben sich nach vorn und nach hinten und setzten sich schließlich auf. Sie rutschen auf dem Po hin und her. Der Zeitpunkt der ersten Fortbewegungen ist bei jedem Kind sehr individuell, genauso das „Sich-Aufrichten" und schließlich das Loslaufen. Irgendwann zwischen dem 8. und dem 18. Monat machen die meisten Kinder ihre ersten Schritte.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

After reading here about bad parents being the rule and not the exception, I guess I'm incredibly lucky to live in a community where attentive parents are far more common than bad parents. Please keep your eyes open for the attentive parents. As others have said here, it's much easier to notice the bad ones than the good ones.

Posted by: Takoma Park | June 18, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"Though your children could walk and talk at 13 months, I assume you're intelligent enough to understand that not ALL children develop at the same pace? Thus, SOME children can't. Those unfortunate children who are not as gifted and wonderful as yours were at 13 months will grow to far superior to yours in all measures of development. "

How do you know?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

How about if we separate discussion of the unruly old-enough-to-behave children from discussion of crying babies.

The issue here is that a flight attendant allegedly made some atrocious mistakes. She asked the parents to take their baby to the bathroom during takeoff, people. She tried to take the child away from the parents. If I were that parent, and the flight attendant had just asked me to endanger myself and my child by taking her to the bathroom during takeoff, I certainly wouldn't trust her enough to give the child to her so that she could endanger the child herself. Who knows what she would have done. She certainly was adding to the tension that was causing the child to cry. If she can't handle the job, she shouldn't be a flight attendant.

And yes, while it is annoying to sit near a child who is crying, think how annoying it is to sit near a prima donna. If people would simply acknowledge that a crying child is annoying without asserting that they have a right to a no cry flight, no one's feathers would be ruffled.

But to bring the discussion back to unruly children, yes, parents must stop children from wilfull inappopriate behavior. Crying does not fall in that category, but there are plenty of children who engage in inappropriate pursuits on airplanes.

And as for the poster who wanted to know if it is normal for a child to be 12 and a half months old and not walking/saying only one word. Yes, it is. Typically, children begin to walk and talk at about 12 months old, but there is tremendous variation in that--some children are walking at 8 months, some not until they are 14-15 months old. Same with talking.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

We're flying for the first time with our 16 month old this weekend. I've got the sippy cup and snacks in his bag, new books and toys to distract him and he's going to have his own seat in order to strap him into his carseat. Any other ideas/hints from the experienced parent-travelers here?

Posted by: M | June 18, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I fly rather frequently and take the Metro almost every day. I've heard my fair share of screaming babies and crying children over the years. Although it's distracting, I have to acknowledge that it's more difficult for the parents than it is for me - I can put on headphones or read a book, but the parents have to be there with the children 24/7. Even if a child is screaming and the parents don't seem to be doing anything, I can't know what's really going on - have they been traveling for 40 hours and are simply exhausted? Are they (as another poster mentioned) on their way to a funeral? I don't know. What I do know is that, as an adult traveler, I can prepare in advance for such flights. I'll bring a book or my knitting. No problem.

I'm not a parent (yet), but I do feel for parents on a flight who can't get their kids to stop crying. Babies (and toddlers) cry, and sometimes there's just nothing to do but wait it out. What I can do is be empathetic and understanding - the last thing frazzled parents need is my complaints. I would imagine that 99% of parents would prefer that their children not cry on flights - no one's actively trying to annoy anyone else. I hope that, when I am a parent, if a time comes where I have to fly with a baby, other folks can be understanding, too. As long as the baby's crying isn't distracting the pilot, I'm not going to waste the energy being annoyed about it.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: LDC | June 18, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

There are two things everyone needs when flying: compassion and ear plugs.

If everyone on every plane had each of these every experience in the air would be better. Everyone gets cranky on planes, flying has become hellish. Bring some love towards these kids and if their parents aren't discouraging the little monster from screaming, the it's time to pop in the ear plugs and pull out your novel...

Posted by: 2 things | June 18, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

People need to be more patient and understanding. Sure, a baby's crying may be annoying after a while but that's what they do and it's how they communicate. Think about it, each and every one of you did it!

Let me share a brief story. I was on a flight with my 2 year old last year in which she was excited to be watching her videos that I brought on the plane. Mind you, she was not crying, not being loud, but was expressing joy over watching her videos. The passenger directly in front of my daughter started to express frustration and eventually turned around and told her to shut up. Startled, my daughter asked me why "she is yelling at me". I could do nothing more but say that she made a mistake and didn't mean what she said. It was heartbreaking for me to see another human being treat a 2 year old child in that fashion and it was a disgusting display of human behavior. Needless to say she got a piece of my mind.

And for those of you that think young children don't belong on a plane get a reality check. This is a free country and I will never deprive my children, friends, or family from enjoying our company or from taking my family on a vacation. If you don't like it, you are more that welcome to get into your private car and drive to your heart's content.

The last time I had a child crying next to me on a plane I played with them and made a new friend. Go figure, it actually felt good to help out another person.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Simple solution, children under the age of 5 ride in the baggage compartment.

Posted by: PJ451 | June 18, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

It really depends on the child's temperament. And sometimes there is no way to rely on previous behavior as a gauge for that, since small children are unpredictable. We have been lucky enough to have our daughter be a terrific flyer (so far, and I am knocking quite hard on wood right now). But she's had a few colossal freakouts in the car that I would have been mortified by on a plane. We arrive early and run her hard in the airport, are immensely grateful when there's a play area, take tons of toys and other diversions, and schedule flights for naptimes, even when it costs us more. We have taken our 2.5-year-old on multiple flights because no one in our family lives anywhere near us. Flying was the only way my dad got to meet our daughter before he died. If we'd waited until she was even one week older, that meeting would not have occurred.

Yes, families have a responsibility to control and entertain their children and keep them from disturbing others in public places, especially confining ones. Parents should train their babies to take a bottle from an early age, even if they're exclusively breastfed, for just this type of situation. But sometimes, babies cry and refuse to be comforted. Bring earphones and try to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a change.

Posted by: restonmom | June 18, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It seems that folks feel that infants and toddlers MUST travel. And it simply is not so.

(These often are the same people who insist on bringing their little ones into and allowing them to run about restaurants where wait-staff are trying to move around with armfuls and platterfuls of very hot food and beverage. Not only is this a risk to everyone, it is an unreasonable infringement on others who have taken an opportunity to visit with family, friends, business associates in a an adult environment.)

If children are not ready for flight or other public environs, please keep them out of those environs until they are.

The rest of the world does not need--or want--to experience their little darlings.

Posted by: JG | June 18, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

To the person who suggested biz travelers fly biz class - this perk is generally limited to people working for large firms with big travel budgets ... I was a road warrior for almost 4 years and the only time I flew biz class was a fluke - the last minute fare in economy was the same as biz class.

Definitely second the suggestion for train travel - an added perk is that if you are sans children Amtrak has a quiet car! It was my haven. Plus the seats and legroom is more plentiful than coach class, the handicapped lavatory is 3 times the size of plane lavatory.

Posted by: Kate | June 18, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

We should differentiate between toddlers and infants. Infants, which I define as babies that cannot walk yet, are unpredicatble. They get sick and they cry, and the airlines' liquids rules do not help with this situation. Airlines should encourage parents to bring (dry) formula mix and bottles onto the planes, and the airlines should promise to provide hot water as soon as possible so that the baby can be fed.

Toddlers are a different story. In my experience, toddlers behave well if their parents do. I've seen a mother stuff her two children into one seat so that she could have two to herself. I have seen parents ignore their toddlers as they walk around the plane.

However, I have seen parents that bring books and snacks to entertain their children. These parents put their children first, and, in doing so, make the flight much more enjoyable for everyone else because the toddler is quiet and entertained. At the same time, toddlers are still a little unpredicatable, and people should have grace for parents that are doing all they can but still have a crying toddler.

I think instead of kicking people off planes or having a kids-only area, the planes should abandon the rule allowing parents to keep their children on their lap. There should be one seat for every breathing person, be she 1 week old or 100 years old. I also think that children should be required to ride in a "car-seat" on the plane if they would need to ride in a similar seat in a car. Finally, for infants on small planes, airlines could designate seats that are quiter with less vibrations. As an adult, I sometimes get sick from the vibrations of prop planes sitting on the runway, so I can only imagine what those vibrations do to an infant.

Posted by: Stephen | June 18, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Kay

"To all you folks who look down upon us breeders for allowing our kids to wreck your holiday....Just remember, when you are old and gray, those same kids will be the ones running your nursing homes, cutting your grass and being good neighbors by looking after you because you don't have family of your own to do so. So be nice. The world DOES revolve around (or because of) people like Conception and her kids. No kids, no future. Sorry, that's how it works. "

No, it doesn't. There is a long, long line of educated adults with skills, from other contries waiting to get into this country. I don't have to deal with ANY of their childish antics and tantrums.


Old people with MONEY do the best. It has nothing to with being "nice". Sheesh!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

LDC-sweet post

Posted by: BOBby | June 18, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"Parents should train their babies to take a bottle from an early age, even if they're exclusively breastfed..."

Unnecessary advice - most moms know how to discretely breastfeed and doing so accomplishes the same goal as drinking from a bottle. (I'm a bottle feeding mom, but think there's no reason to be discouraging breastfeeding - even on an airplane.)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

NewSAHM: Just to clarify, the Concepcions' flight to San Francisco was an unrelated trip to their Phoenix trip. They didn't realize their daughter had a stomach virus until after takeoff.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | June 18, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

One tip for traveling moms comes from a friend of mine. (we're also lucky that we haven't had to travel by plane with kid - yet. We have far-off relatives griping that they haven't met him, but they can also fly to us.) Anyway, buy the extra ticket and put the toddler/infant in his or her car seat. Most kids understand and are used to the fact that once you are strapped in the car seat you don't get up and run around. If they're just in the airplane seat, they may think it's acceptable.

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | June 18, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I are frequent world travelers. Once I'm seated I watch everyone coming on the plane and try to magically influence the parents carrying kids down the aisle from sitting near me. : )

If a kid kicks my seat, I tell the child to stop it. Not nasty, not cooing, just directly: stop kicking my seat. This usually works.

Once a lady traveling with multiple kids tried to enlist my husband into helping her by holding her baby for her. He politely declined to hold the child and she got angry. My husband is a musician, has long hear, wears leather....normally people don't try to hand him their kids.

I think sometimes parents think the village has some duty to assist them, but they are mistaken. I don't dislike kids, but I do think parents and children need to at least try to make an effort not to bother other travelers.

I love to travel. Let's all go somewhere. : )

Posted by: Minnen | June 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I cannot wait to bring my two screaming toddlers on their next airplane trip. I used to feel bad, embarrassed and slightly anxious whenever they would start fussing. I would do everything I could -- within the rules -- to try to soothe them. Ironically, that approach seems to be a universal one. Parents do what they can to keep a baby/toddler happy - and if it means they are yanking on the seat in front of them or talking a little louder, then so be it.

After reading all of the comments from anonymous childless folks out there, as well as the smug and smarmy comments from Mr. "My kids were walking/talking at 13 months", I will no longer feel bad about my children's shortcoming on a plane. I will embrace them as only their father can, with a smile on my face, a drink in my hand, and a set of headphones on listening to my favorite music.

Posted by: Chris Murphy | June 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Cubeland - You didn't say how old your new baby will be for the flight, and the tactics change depending on age. For a small infant, a pacifier, teethers, and bottles work well. So might a portable DVD player with some Baby Einstein DVDs geared toward her age. If she is very small, it is likely that the engine noise and vibration will lull her to sleep. If older, still try a portable DVD player with kid videos, small toys that are new to her, and if all else fails I have actually used Benadryl to help my toddler take his nap on a long flight when he just wouldn't sleep otherwise. It's a LOT of work traveling with small children, but sometimes there is just no other option. You try hard and hope that all goes well and that the people around you understand that you are doing your best. Usually the flight crew is helpful with children and not angry at you - we have had pilots pass out chocolates pre-flight, flight attendants give us containers of milk for drinking during take-off, and lots of patient passengers who smiled at my son as he toddled up and down the aisle waving, on cross-country trips. I wish you lots of luck and congratulations on your new baby!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

As the parent of a 3-year-old who's flown five times with no problems (because both of his parents work to keep him calm and courteous to all around him), a little patience goes a long way for all involved.

That said, if a flight attendant tried to take my child away from me while I was working to keep him calm, there would be both 1) a complaint filed with the airline and 2) a national shortage of whupass once I got through with that flight attendant.

Posted by: dirrtysw | June 18, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"Unnecessary advice - most moms know how to discretely breastfeed and doing so accomplishes the same goal as drinking from a bottle. "

That's news to me. At this weekend's Father's Day barbeque, 2 of my giggly SILs stripped to the waist to breast feed in the yard 'cause "It's too hot" and "We're all family - who cares?'

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

fr NewSAHM:

>...except for when the seat in front is taken by some jerkoff who thinks it's ok to lean his seat back the whole way and make it impossible for my kid even to move. Then I let her kick.)

It is NEVER ok to let a kid kick the back of the seat in front of them. Rest assured if your child did that to me, I WOULD be requesting that YOU make your little darling stop it.

Posted by: Alex | June 18, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"After reading all of the comments from anonymous childless folks out there, as well as the smug and smarmy comments from Mr. "My kids were walking/talking at 13 months", I will no longer feel bad about my children's shortcoming on a plane. "

Huh? How long have you been reading this blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

It really is not that unusual for flight attendants to carry babies up and down the aisles or back into the kitchen area. For one, it gets them moving around a bit which calms them down. I think that anyone who is that against someone else touching their child is insane. Let other people help you!

Secondly, even if the child is breastfed bringing a bottle (for water or juice) would still make sense. The sucking motion would calm them down and help with the ear problems.

Quite frankly, to me these parents are annoying. And reading between the lines of this story- which generally you have to do when parents are telling a story regarding their own children. I think they came onto a flight ill prepared, and were annoyed with the flight attendants offer to help. As they acted annoyed she got more agitated. And so on. AND the fact that they got so angry with the attendant for OMG! offering to touch their precious child when THEY are allowed to walk around and YOU are not, makes me think that they are in the camp of that insulated family who refuses to take other people's feelings into account all or acknowledge that not everyone is in love with their children.

Posted by: kim | June 18, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Designate some flights only for families with squawling, annoying kids and their parents. Designate others for adults and civilized people. Or wait until the plane gets about 25,000 up and push those uncontrollables out the hatch.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm sure that screaming flight attendant was helping matters real well. That's a great way to calm a baby down. Get all tense and start screaming. Yeah, that works.

Morons.

The parents were doing the best they could. Any attention you force them to give you takes away from attention they could have been using to try to soothe the baby. Think about that the next time you "helpfully" remind a parent that his baby is crying.

Posted by: Bob | June 18, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Getting upset over a sick or scared child on a shared method of conveyance is asinine.

Take a deep breath, do a little healthy downward social comparison ("At least I don't have to deal with it..."), and distract yourself.

I've had sick and scared children next to me on planes before; heck, I've been vomited on by one little girl. What do you do when that happens? Get a paper towel from the flight attendant, wipe yourself up, and see if you can help in any way.

Anything else just makes a bad situation worse.

Posted by: Glover Park | June 18, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Well, this flight attendant needs to be moved to a job that doesn't involve dealing with the public, because she obviously doesn't have the patience for it.
In general, I think anyone that gets this wound up about a baby crying probably needs therapy, and maybe a little Ritlin, because we are obviously having a little trouble dealing with stress and normal life distractions.
To everyone here who has complained about having to listen to a baby cry on a plane, welcome to life, it's noisy, messy, and inconvenient, and if your lucky you'll get to hang around and be annoyed by it for a good eighty years or so. Those with such a narrow comfort zone might consider staying home, buying a pair of headphones, valium, or taking up meditation. But whatever you do, stop your whining, because you're not the only one on the planet, or the plane.

Posted by: rumicat | June 18, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I think the difference between your average infant meltdown and the incident with the Concepcion family is that the flight attendant was exacerbating the problem. By constanatly haranguing the parents and then trying to remove from them, she added to their stress level.

A 13 month-old may not have fully understood the conversations; but, in an environment in which loud noises were already frightening her, sensing her parents' agitation can only make her feel more insecure.

I think that a lot of these incidents wiht infants and scared/tired toddlers would be avoided if people either gave the parents a hand or backed off while the parents are dealing with the child.

In the cases of out of control toddlers whose parents are oblivious, a polite request to see to the childs needs would be appropriate. Followed by a firm (but NOT RUDE) statement by flight attendants that the family will be removed if the child isn't attended to.

Posted by: CJH | June 18, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Bob

"The parents were doing the best they could. "

How do you know? Has anyone else's version of the story been released?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

No- what this flight attendant needs are for people to realize that this is a story told by the parents involved which of couse is going to be told in a way to make them look as good as possible.

I don't really think other passengers would have complimented her if she really was screaming at them. That would have just added to the noise level and annoyance factor of everyone on board.

Use some common sense.

Posted by: kim | June 18, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Where do all these rage-filled adults come from? I believe they're probably as common as out-of-control kids, and since I've never seen either on planes, I'll count myself lucky. I'd be much happier pushing a rage-filled adult out of a plane than an unhappy infant. You people need to get control of yourselves, or there are likely to be a homicides charges in your futures.

I have to say, infants are easy, and at least by 3 they can be reasoned with or bribed. It's the 15 month to 3 period that has me worried. We're taking our first flight in that dreaded age-range in August. She has her own seat, and we'll come prepared, but I pray some kind, kid-loving passenger will take to her flirting and flirt back. So far it's worked beautifully, but she's getting prickly.

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Flight Attendant vs. Baby"

McCain vs. Obama

Posted by: chittybangbang | June 18, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

atb

"She has her own seat, and we'll come prepared, but I pray some kind, kid-loving passenger will take to her flirting and flirt back."

Little kid "flirting" with strangers on a plane? Weird & creepy. Creepy & weird.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think a little compassion can go a long way here, folks. Babies cry and people are tired and want peace and quiet on flights. Sometimes people have to fly with babies, especially if they have elderly grandparents living far away. I am not saying it is easy for either party - but have a little heart! And this is coming from someone who was on a flight with a father flying alone with a baby who cried all the way from Amsterdam to Amman. It was painful, but I survived. Actually, the best part about that flight was that an older woman, who was clearly someone's grandma, got up and spoke VERY sternly to the baby's father (they were speaking Arabic, so I don't know exactly what was said) but the dad did get up at that point and walk with the baby, which helped to lessen the decibel level of the cries!

Posted by: GenXer | June 18, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

For M, the soon-to-be-flying-parent-

In addition to what you've planned (all good) I've found the best thing to do is one parent boards almost last with the kid(s). Minimizes the time in the flying tube. Parent one should board first, with all the "stuff." Parent one gets to stow all the stuff, install the carseat, etc without parent two trying to juggle the kid in the aisle. At the end, just before the door closes, parent two comes on board and straps the baby into the carseat, and you're ready to go. Everyone's happy.

Funny, but I found out after having my own kids, hearing another one crying doesn't bother me. Been there. If I'm close to the upset kid, I try the funny face thing (easy when you're born looking like I do)

All the annoyed folks, aircraft are noisy, dry, and confining, unless you're in first class. It's better to reduce your expectations, and be pleasantly surprised if your trip turns out to be like an afternoon in the library..

Posted by: ctchipper | June 18, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"The world DOES revolve around (or because of) people like Conception and her kids. No kids, no future. Sorry, that's how it works."

Oh Jeez, that's the kind of self-centered, holier-than-thou crapola that makes me want to *never* have kids. G-d forbid I'd turn into someone with that kind of attitude.

Posted by: mccxxiii | June 18, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think there are alot of people posting on this blog who just were not held enough as children, and have obviously never learned how to comfort themselves, therefore everyone on the planet, including the 13 month old infants, must devote themselves to filling their needs, and making sure that they are happy.
To borrow a line from Maria Montessori,we live in a culture that values things and uses people, when it should be the other way around.
My general observation is that adults who have never learned how to calm themselves down have a particularly hard time ignoring the screaming babies.

Posted by: rumicat | June 18, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

There is absolutely not ime ever that you need to travel with a child that would disrupt the plane. If a child is sick, take a flight later when its better, if they can't behave, you don't have some right to take that vacation thats far enough away to require a plane, and have your family visit you. It may be more expensive or inconvenient, but you chose to have the child, not the rest of us on the plane. I don't believe anyone should have the right to disrupt a flight for anyone, so if a business traveler is being diruptive, to me its the same, though the truth is that has never happened to me in my hundreds of flights, but babies and badly behaved children sure have. I have also flown many times with well behaved babies and children though, so its not a blanket "no children should get on planes" idea. But its probably these same people who are on here saying we're the selfish ones for expecting a peaceful flight who have the problem children. People have the right to do whatever as long as it doesn't bother the other passengers. My sitting on the plane quietly doesn't bother your child, therefore its not me who should have to accomodate anyone. As for expecting children to not cry being unrealistic, it is, thats why parents should find alternatives, because they should know their children.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

It seems very obvious that the flight attendant was is a racist.

Posted by: Mike | June 18, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My daughter took her first flight at 7 weeks old (to visit grandparents in Florida) and her first international flights at age 2 (D.C. to ATL to Frankfurt, then on to Bucharest, then back to Paris to ATL to D.C.) She flies at least three or four times a year. I have *never* so much as had another passenger complain about her, let alone a bad encounter with a flight attendant. I'd like to chalk this up to her good behavior plus the fact that by now, she knows what to expect on an airplane. I think it's ridiculous to suggest that parents who pay good money to fly with their children should be relegated to the back of the plane (we've flown business/first class with our daughter about half the time) or to suggest that *well-behaved* children shouldn't be flying at all. The key is the child's (and parents') behavior.

We were all young once, folks.

Posted by: Anon for this one | June 18, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Gee, it's not just that kids cry on planes, which I know, is no fun for anyone.

How about the selfish bastard in Economy Plus, in the first row (so he has even *more* legroom* who reclines his seat all the way?

I'd rather endure a crying baby for 6 hours than that bastard!

Posted by: Remove the rude customers | June 18, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

These rage-filled adults would be equally as irritated about a happy child chattering and laughing. I think these people should be the ones who have to stay home. Their hatefulness is just as likely to ruin a plane ride as a flying baby. If they can demand total silence, I can demand total happiness.

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Whoever said 'earplugs and compassion' had it right. It does need to be acknowledged that spending any length of time strapped into a tiny seat in a big machine with a howling baby nearby is not just an irritation but a miserable and headache-inducing ordeal. But it also stands to reason that the misery and headache experienced by the parents are as bad if not worse. Finally, the baby is crying because it's miserable and, very likely, in pain. Unlike healthy adults, babies don't know how to clear their ears.

The fact is, everybody suffers. That's where the compassion comes into play. All the adults on the airplane have the ability to think ahead, and that's where the earplugs come into play. Headphones are better. Noise cancelling headphones are best. Earplugs are cheapest, and a good value for the money.

We are a society that flies. Business travellers have to fly. So, often, do families with infants. It's not always a choice. As parents or fellow travellers, all we can do - and what we should feel obliged to do - is be civil and gracious toward one another, even and especially toward those who fail to reciprocate.

Otherwise, we're just a travelling Jerry Springer show, and who really wants that?

Posted by: Rosie | June 18, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Any other ideas/hints from the experienced parent-travelers here?"

Portable DVD player with Tom and Jerry DVD (no need for sound, and 16-month-old is usually too young for headphones).

We also prepare our kids for the flights well ahead of time, explaining what's going to happen over and over again, reiterating the basic rules for days beforehand, and talking our way through the trip as almost a running monologue or Q&A session ("what do we do now?" "Buckle up!" "And what's the number one rule?" "No kicking!!"). IMHO, toddlerhood is the hardest -- they're old enough to be mobile and vocal, but too young to really be able to sit still for 3-4 hrs. But if they hear "no kicking" 50 times before the flight, and you repeat it every time they start to kick on the flight (with an arm over the legs), they start to pick it up.

You also need like 50 different things to entertain them. Which, btw Silver Spring, is what the food and drink is all about -- no, we don't constantly snack at home, but if cheerios, pretzels, goldfish, and a cup of apple juice (with a straw!) can each keep my kid entertained for 15 minutes, that's an hour of precious silence I just bought for the rest of the plane (and the old "you kids be quiet or I'll stop the car" isn't a very effective threat at 30,000 feet). But nothing's ever perfect -- although I get compliments 95% of the time, they've each had one horrible flight (in both cases because they just refused to nap that day). So I try to extend that understanding to other families; I don't tend to get annoyed unless the parents don't seem to be trying to fix whatever the problem is, and I'm happy to make silly faces if it keeps a toddler entertained.

My other trick is to fly Southwest, so I can pick a fairly empty area of the plane (or an area by other families), which lets the folks who don't want to be near kids avoid me unless the plane is totally jammed. Bulkheads are the best -- no kicking worries, and a little floor spacce for when they need a break from the carseat.

Our best experience was an international flight I dreaded when my daughter was 4. We knew she'd have to fly without the carseat (she'd outgrown the one that fit on the plane). So we made a really big deal about what a special treat it was, about how only big girls get to fly without a carseat, and about how she'd have to sit quietly in her seat for a really, really long time or we'd have to go back to the carseat. She was SO intent on proving to me that she was a big girl that it was one of our best flights ever.

Posted by: Laura | June 18, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

two words: TicTacs. It's amazing, but I always fly with an extra, unopened pack of TicTacs. They make the best rattles EVER, and the parents are generally surprised but thrilled when I hand the TicTacs to them and suggest that they make a great rattle to distract the baby. It works BETTER than earphones, I swear. (as always, don't offer anything directly to a child, offer them to the parents.)

Posted by: newslinks | June 18, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

When my kids were small, I knew our limits as a family. I tried to avoid situations that I felt were too much for them.

When I did travel by plane when they were small, we were taking short flights, that were manageable.

The flight attendant in the story was a nutcase. You can't make a child stop crying by putting pressure on the child or the parents. It only makes the situation worse. At the same time, I think some parents expect too much from small children, in that they think they can take them on very long trips.

I remember buying a ticket for my son when he was about 2, and as the plane was filling up with people, one flight attendant after another asked us to move him. I had to keep repeating that we had bought a ticket, so I was not going to move him onto my lap.

Posted by: Kate | June 18, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

If you can't stand other people traveling with their children, perhaps you should look into a private jet.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Look, flight attendants have to take their power where they can get it. It is unfortunate that a few of them make scenes like this, but until some kind of law is passed that babies can't fly, they're going to have to shut up and deal. As are the rest of the passengers. If you want a silent flight, go charter your own friggin' plane.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 18, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

We flew to Hawaii with our 2 year old grandson. He of course was less than cooperative with the seatbelt issue. We had to laugh when the attendant told him sternly that he had to sit down and wear his seatbelt. Of course we know we have to make him cooperate so we actually had to hold him in the belt while landing, taking off and on bumpy parts. It seems that some of these attendants don't know very much about children. A little training is in order.

Posted by: priscilla | June 18, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Most flight attendants are fine but some are uneducated monosyllabic waitress bee-yotches.

Posted by: Rick | June 18, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Sh_it happens. Deal with it! Parents please make every effort to calm your kids. Other folks be patient. I have been on both sides and understand everyone's frustration. Make no mistake about it, if someone told my kid to shut up or tried to snatch my child, I would call my lawyer and then start kicking some ass!!

Posted by: ASJ | June 18, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The best part about the mid section of NW DC is so very few children live there! And many of the restaurants in that area don't cater to children either. There are certain places you should take your children, you do not have the right to take them everywhere. Not all places have room for your strollers, for example, so it is perfectly right that they don't allow them.

As for the person who says business travelers should fly business class - umm, its the company who is paying for your ticket, so you don't get to choose what they are willing to pay for. In some cases like mine, with non profits, you don't have a choice because your funding limits you to only economy tickets.

As for the one about traveling with sick children - the air on airplanes is stale, why should I be exposed to germs? So now I spend my vacation or time trying to work, sick? Doesn't seem fair to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why everyone is taking the Concepcion's story as if it were fact. I am sure there is another side to the story, as they say.

As for the general issue on children and travel, I can see each side. I have traveled with a 1 year old on a plane that did not want to sit down and was just as irritated as the other passengers, sometimes kids can not be controlled. I have also been the recipient of seat kicking and being climbed on by kids while parents read or slept. Each is equally irritating.

Posted by: Get Real | June 18, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Wow - yet another round in The Battle Of Who Could Be the Most Selfish A-hole. I think the Post just puts articles like this out there to up their comment count and intentionally start a flame war. Once again, common sense is the answer to this problem.

I'm a parent of a now-21 month old who started flying at 2 months. We have had nothing but compliments about her, she makes friends on every flight we take. This is easy for us to say, however, because she's very good natured and is our only one at this point. We can double team her. Parents who let their kids kick seats, throw cheerios, etc, are in most cases just rude (with a big asterisk for those whose situations are just terrible - funeral, flying for cancer treatment,etc). Again, it's just common sense and a matter of common courtesy that you not let your child kick, pull the hair or throw things at fellow passengers. That said, it's also common sense to not be surprised when children - yes even older toddlers - cry on planes. As the previous poster stated, 'anyone with any ideas other than homicide, step right up and give me a hand, thanks!'. Sometimes babies and kids just cry - ask your mom, she'll tell you all about how you did too as a kid under 5 years of age.

If you can't be compassionate with a child that is scared/exhausted/distressed in an environment that tests most adults, then congratulations, I hope you enjoy whatever the great spirit/karma/big dude in the sky brings you at some point in the future. What comes around goes around, and if you're an @ss to a crying baby, let me know how that works out for you!

Common sense on the part of parents and common courtesy on the part of childless travelers would go a long way towards making flying a lot more tolerable for all. Remember - it's TSA/aribtrary airline policies we all need to be uniting AGAINST, not each other! ; (

Posted by: Sarah | June 18, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I read this as my family and I are decompressing from a six hour cross country plane trip ON MILITARY ORDERS. Tonight we do the international part of the trip and, while we will do our best, can't guarantee impeccable conduct from overtired 4 and 2 year old children.

Not flying with the kids? Not an option. Sorry. If you business travellers don't like it, videoconference. And stop yapping on your cell phone around me at the airport while you are at it. Like I really care about your revenue projections. It bugs me about as much as my kids bug you, so you should get used to the idea that you can't have an isolated comfort bubble in a public space.

And behind us on the flight yesterday was a mother travelling alone with her 13 month old. To her parents. Because her army husband was being deployed to Iraq. The kid was absolutely great, for a 13 month old, but I think she has the right for all of you nonparents to cut her and people like her some slack, thank you very much.

Posted by: get over yourselves, business travellers | June 18, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"The part of the original blog post that I find outrageous is the stewardess allegedly (after all, who knows if this is all true) trying to take the baby away from the parent. That's absolutely absurd and I hope any parent would fight back, to the point of taking a swing (yes, I know that means they'll summon the cops upon landing)."

They could call the cops all they want - if some stranger tried to take my son from me they better be ready to rumble.

I just wish people would realize that children are a part of society. They don't come pre-programmed with all of the social niceties you wish they had. You have to train them. There are issues that come up that you don't know how to handle. All parents can do is try their best (and that may include ignoring a screamer, as sometimes they're doing it for attention, and responding, even negatively, can actually increase the problem), and everyone else just try to ignore it and show a little compassion.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Why do people without children, who have decided not to have children, feel compelled to post snide remarks on the "On Parenting" column? Clearly your only interest in parenting is that it be done in a way that you will never have to see or hear a misbehaving child. We get it. But kids are a fact of life in society, not some sort of indulgent luxury. 90% of parents are mortified and are doing everything they can to stop a misbehaving child (and if a child old enough to know better is disturbing you, ask the parent and child to stop). But they aren't little adults, and they are still learning proper behavior. That said, I know several 3 year olds who are much kinder and thoughtful than several of the commenters here...

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"What is WRONG with people that think they have some kind of right to never be bothered by a small baby crying because s/he:

- is scared
- is tired but can't sleep on a plane
- has pain in his/her ears from the altitude & pressure shifts"

I guess I never understoon why parents would subject their kids to a plane if they know they can't handle it. I always feel bad for small children on planes. Why knowingly set your kid up for a meltdown? Visting grandparents isn't an excuse. The plane goes both way.


Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"The part of the original blog post that I find outrageous is the stewardess allegedly (after all, who knows if this is all true) trying to take the baby away from the parent. That's absolutely absurd and I hope any parent would fight back, to the point of taking a swing (yes, I know that means they'll summon the cops upon landing)."

Has this story been "reported" anywhere besides this blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Someone said that the suggestion to not fly with little children was bad because some people have "no choice."

We all have choices. Even if there is a funeral, even if the grandparents are too frail to come to you.

These parents chose to make a very long trip with an infant twice in one year. This makes it pretty clear that they are putting their own desires ahead of their child's and their fellow passengers' well being.

Call it what it is, they were doing what they wanted at everyone else's expense and hiding behind the baby for excuses.

Oh, and I have two children and waited until they were over 3 and reliably well mannered before flying with them. There is always a choice.

Posted by: Annapolis | June 18, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

For those who are thinking of flying with little children, I find a little courtesy goes a long way. I've sat on flights near little ones aged 6 months on up, but as annoying as they can get, when you see their parents are making some effort to calm them down and/or get them to behave, for some reason, it's not as bad. Likewise when babies do things you can't control like cry when they're scared, just having the parent sitting next to me mouth a silent 'sorry' makes it much more tollerable, like the kind of thing that just happens in life, and so we deal with it.
What is intollerable are the parents who willfully act oblivious as their child throughs a tantrum, kicks you, tosses stuff around, etc. That makes even typical little kid behavior unacceptable.

Posted by: Shank | June 18, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"I guess I never understoon why parents would subject their kids to a plane if they know they can't handle it. I always feel bad for small children on planes. Why knowingly set your kid up for a meltdown? Visting grandparents isn't an excuse. The plane goes both way."

Well let's see.

1. People have to move, for example. Or in our case we took our son to see his great-grandmother, who was bedridden, before she died (which she did a few months later).

2. I don't think you have kids if you make this remark. Kids often have meltdowns even in situations they have handled fine before. Also, sometimes kids melt down over situations they HAVE to go through, like going in the carseat to see the doctor.

Part of being a parent in my opinion is to do everything you can to avoid a meltdown - try to travel at the best time of day, bring distractions, try to prep your child for the travel - but then also, if necessary, to let the meltdown happen.

Otherwise the message you are giving your child is "if something is uncomfortable or embarassing, Don't Ever Do It" which might be a fine lesson for etiquette but is a poor lesson for life.

Posted by: Shandra | June 18, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"These parents chose to make a very long trip with an infant twice in one year. This makes it pretty clear that they are putting their own desires ahead of their child's and their fellow passengers' well being."

if I need to get somewhere across the country, with my child, I frankly don't give a crap about you. Flying is the public transportation of this century, not some rarefied experience only the childless and rich get to have. Get over yourself and learn to live with it.

Posted by: Mazarin | June 18, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Annapolis says:
"We all have choices. Even if there is a funeral, even if the grandparents are too frail to come to you. "

Yup. Just not choices that are reasonable to have to make. You have a choice too. YOU don't have to get on that plane with the children.

Posted by: Get over yourselves, business travellers | June 18, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree. Make air travel family friendly by keeping young children from shattering the sanity of the other innocent families around them. Perhaps airlines could take the initiative to section off a "family" area for people traveling with small children.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"Why do people without children, who have decided not to have children, feel compelled to post snide remarks on the "On Parenting" column?"

Dunno.
Why do the breeders feel compelled to brag about their "Gifted" children ad nauseum on this blog? I'll strangle someone if I ever hear how wonderfully Junior is doing in his AP courses ! Why do windbags feel compelled to post about their defective chidren on thos blog? Why do hags congratulate themselves for having "looker" kids on this blog?

Posted by: It's a free forum | June 18, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey, stop ganging up on business travelers. Some of us are nice people, some of us love kids, most of us hate flying for work. I was the person jealous of all of the vacation travelers because they get to enjoy the destination while all I get to do is be stuck inside. I prefer sitting with traveling families because they break up the bordom of the flight and are generally pretty friendly.

I also wish they still gave kids the little wings to pin on their shirt, and let the kids go see the cockpit of the plane. That was so much fun as a kid.

Lets all try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt rather than ganging up on people. Some travelers are going to funerals, some have been traveling for 30+ hours, etc. And lets be nice to flight attendants who have had their pensions cut, benefits cut, and could loose their jobs tomorrow.

Posted by: former business traveler | June 18, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I were looking to sit down with our 3 yr old twins in first class. My wife found her seats and sat down with our son next to her and when I found mine the one next to mine was occupied. There was one other seat a few aisles up requiring me and my daughter to be separated. The woman sitting in the seat and I had the same exact ticket. The flight attentdant said she would see who had the correct seat number. Neither woman wanted to give up there window seats. The flight attendant came back and said the woman had the correct seat assignments and that my daughter and I would have to split up. Neither woman moved they just both turned there head to the windows to avoid looking at us. So I said OK. which one of you want the 3 year old. Boy did then move fast. Airlines create a lot of their own problems by not using common sense and lying to people. IE: we can't assign seats until flight time because of FAA rules. Code for the flight is ovebooked and were going to wait to see who shows up before we bump someone.

Posted by: rlsrd | June 18, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like a column like this to bring out all the intolerant freaks from under their rocks.

Had that flight attendant tried to grab MY kid like that, I'd have pimp-slapped that beotch and stuffed her in the beverage cart.

Two words people: Ear plugs. Or even head phones. And a little tolerance for the future adults who will one day be driving the ambulance that takes your decrepit self to he hospital, or defending our country, or maintaining our roads, etc....

Posted by: Andy B | June 18, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I just traveled to and from Mexico with my two children, including my toddler son. Let me tell you, it is no picnic trying to keep my son in check.

This is not like with my five-year-old daughter, who knows how to sit still and actually understands when you tell her to keep it down. My son likes to move around, and does not take it well when we won't let him walk up and down the aisle where other people are trying to go by. He's at the age where he's still learning basic rules of behavior. Most of the time, he's good. But sometimes, he loses it, and there's nothing we can do to calm him down, not with milk, water, food, DVDs, toys, etc.

Bottom line -- sometimes, when babies and toddlers cry, there's nothing you can do about it. They'll just cry no matter what. I was mortified the other night when my son started screaming on the descent and wouldn't take a bottle and a pacifier wouldn't work. Believe me, I hate it when other kids start crying, too. But realize that most of the time, those parents want the baby to shut up as much as you do.

Posted by: KLeewrite | June 18, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Shandra -- You make good points. I wasn't trying to suggest that parents should never travel w/ their kids, but that parents should minimize it until the likelyhood of a meltdown is more remote.

But don't be so quick to dismiss etiquette. It's these social skills and graces that teach us how to deal with the uncomforable and embarassing situation in life.

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Dope 'em up on Benadryl and they'll sleep through most, if not all, of the flight. Where do parents get the idea that the world revolves around the fruit of their loins?

I flew on a trans-Atlantic flight this spring and a mother had four youngsters with her on that flight. Triplets and one other kid, all under 5. The husband/father was meeting them at Dulles so she had to deal with them the entire flight. Those four kids behaved better than the high school chorus group that was on the same plane. The mother kept the kids entertained, they played board games, she read to them, they watched the movies, we were fed about three times, the flight attendants gave them candy to suck on during take-off to keep their ears from hurting. I can't compliment Virgin Atlantic enough for the hospitality. Domestic airlines can learn a lot from both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse


Andy B

"Had that flight attendant tried to grab MY kid like that, I'd have pimp-slapped that beotch and stuffed her in the beverage cart."


Down, boy! We don't know what happened. Is there a link to the story?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

As a parent of a 19 month old, we've flown four times now, on domestic flights of less than two hours. He's been great, either sleeping or playing quietly. Sure, he talks too, but the sound is more than amply drowned out by the engines. If he does act up or try to do anything disturbing, it's my responsibility to address it. I'd also be pro-active and appologize to those around me and let them know I am doing my best. Heck, I'd even consider moving seats to a less crowded area, if he's really bad. But let me say this to all those who think it's their right to speak directly to my kid, whether yelling or not. Do it and I'll get in your face in a nasty and ugly way. You got a problem, bring it to me.

Posted by: Bob | June 18, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Dope 'em up on Benadryl and they'll sleep through most, if not all, of the flight."

Listen, moron, Benadryl has the reverse effect on many kids, including our oldest. If we gave it to him, he would be dancing on the ceiling the entire time. Why do you assume that you know more than we do?

And to those who suggest that the planes go both ways, sometimes people aren't just visiting grandparents. And even if they were, I GUARANTEE you that you would rather spend a flight next to my kids, even on a bad day, than my mother.

Posted by: Get over yourselves, business travellers | June 18, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

People who talk too loudly should be also kept off planes. We could start by banning anyone from New York. Can't stand that accent.

Posted by: bethesda | June 18, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Last year DD were regular commuters on the metro before she started elementary school.
She would look at me and say "I can't do that can I Mommy" at all the bad behavior around us, like yelling, swinging on the polls, eating, drinking leaving the garbage on the metro etc.

In fairness I tried to point out the well behaved children especially elementary school aged and what I expected from her. If she was good we would stop at a park on our walk on the way home.

Fortunately her first flight was at age 5. Before age 1 I am sure her crying and screaming would have gotten us kicked out of most airplanes.

Posted by: shdd | June 18, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that some people can be so easily upset. Babies cry and people with babies take airplanes sometimes. It's a free country and no one is guaranteed a peaceful or comfortable flight. I've been on flights with children who were behaving less than perfect and have even been annoyed by said children, but that's life and the price you pay for not having a private jet. If you travel a lot for business or whatever, I would think you would have in place coping mechanisms (like earphones) to deal with the inconveniences associated with being confined to a small area in cramped seats with a bunch of strangers for a few hours at a time.

Posted by: cdfromwa | June 18, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

In addition to what you've planned (all good) I've found the best thing to do is one parent boards almost last with the kid(s). Minimizes the time in the flying tube. Parent one should board first, with all the "stuff." Parent one gets to stow all the stuff, install the carseat, etc without parent two trying to juggle the kid in the aisle. At the end, just before the door closes, parent two comes on board and straps the baby into the carseat, and you're ready to go. Everyone's happy.
_______________________________
Great tip, but be careful. We got bumped that way once. I was on the plane 5 mos. pregnant and my husband and son got bumped at the gate. So I had to drag everything off the plane, it was a nightmare!

Secondly, I don't know how your child is with snacks, but we had good luck when they were little with the pretzle necklace. Small twist pretzles on a piece of string around their necks. Portable, tidy and lots of fun.

Nursing moms, don't bother with a bottle, just nurse during take off and landing, same thing, more portable.

The thing is that there are inconsiderate people and bad parents wherever you go. At the end of the trip, they haven't given you another thought and many of you are apparently carring it around still. Who wins?

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 18, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

JJ says: "Vicky, it is VERY obvious from your stupid comments that you do not have a child."

Very astute, JJ, considering I specifically said that I chose not to have children. Wow, I am really impressed with your obviously superior intelligence. I probably shouldn't even bother to offer my opinions because I realize now that they are stupid and worthless. But I guess I just don't know any better, so......

I didn't choose not to have children because I think this makes me morally superior - it doesn't. It makes me a human being capable of recognizing that I don't have the patience, the time, or the resources to raise a child properly.

This debate really fascinates me. Yes, babies cry - and yes, I feel sorry for parents who are obviously making every effort to appease a child who has an earache or simply is frightened. Frankly, I'm often the person trying to make the funny faces or find things on my keychain to entertain the kids when the have parents given up.

But what I'm frustrated with as of late are the parents who don't even try. Another poster suggested one example isn't enough....man, I encounter this kind of stuff every day and I'm sure many of you do too. But within the last three months:

On the metro, I watched a little girl pee her pants (she was about four maybe) because her mother was too busy on the cellphone to listen to her urgent pleas that she needed to use a restroom. Then the mother screams at the kid once she sees what happened, who in turn screams for the rest of the ride. I have countless screaming child experiences on the metro, one every couple days at least - that's probably the worst place for bad parenting/misbehaving children incidences.

At a restaurant last week, I watched parents ignore their brood of small children who were entertaining themselves by tossing food at nearby tables.

At a Target - parents doing god knows what (couldn't even see who the child belonged to) while their little darling runs up and kicks me in the shin. Several times.

In the doctors office this woman talked on her cellphone the entire time, completely ignoring her screaming toddler. Who, by the way, I ended up picking up and calming down. Not that the mother noticed - I could've walked out of there with the kid and she would have still been talking on that phone, oblivious.

On several flights this past year I've had toddlers pull my hair, spill juice on me, smear chocolate (at least I hope that's what it was) on me, repeatedly kick the back of my seat etc etc. Run up and down the aisles, nearly tripping flight attendents. Draw on the walls with the markers given to them.

I'm not without sympathy. I do recognize that there is a difference between a new baby (and most of the time the babies are the ones who seem to do well on the flights) and a toddler. And frankly I have issues with adults who aren't respectful either (as one person pointed out, business travelers who try to sneak in laptops or talk too long on cellphones). I don't expect to fly "in a bubble."

But give me a break - there is a line.


Posted by: vicky | June 18, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

But give me a break - there is a line.


Posted by: vicky | June 18, 2008 11:33 AM

Nope, there's no line. Not until there's a law. Sorry, go charter a plane.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 18, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

For all those who are so upset by crying children, how about just being grateful that flight transportation is so readily available and affordable (less so these days, but still). Otherwise you would be spending many more hours on a train or ship getting to your destination with the same families and the same "horrible" problems.

I do think that many people's outrage and feeling that they are entitled to never be exposed to anything unpleasant is a symptom of our society's move away from community and towards isolated individuals. Between this trend and the increasing control we have over so many aspects of our lives (through technology, medicine, etc.), I think people do tend to forget that life is NOT trouble-free by default, and that all things cannot be controlled--and thus have forgotten how to deal with the unexpected or unpleasant with equanimity.

Posted by: PQ | June 18, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

If your children can't behave in public, don't take them out in public. Don't take them on an airplane; put them in your car and see how you enjoy their screaming as you cross the country.

Posted by: sscritic | June 18, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Way to go, Vicky!!!!......(APPLAUDS LOUDLY DROWNING OUT SCREAMING, UNRULY KIDS) Couldn't have said it better myself.

Was on a flight with a mother whose toddler ran up and down the aisle the whole flight. The attendant asked her to strap him in during landing and Big Mama said 'I'm trying, but he won't let me.' Who is in control here?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

To Why?

"But don't be so quick to dismiss etiquette. It's these social skills and graces that teach us how to deal with the uncomforable and embarassing situation in life."

Oh, definitely agreed in the grand scheme of things. When we go anywhere with my son (almost 3) it is a learning experience in greeting people, saying thank you, holding doors, etc.

But I do know people who won't go anywhere with their young children lest the children misbehave. And my sheerly anecdoctal observations are that these are the same parents who give in to the tantrums (thus training the child to have more) because they are so darn embarassed about them.

My own belief is that being willing to withstand the public meltdown gives my son the clear message that it won't be effective.

I think that's what I find disturbing about this story. The baby was crying - not running around misbehaving. Just crying. If we make it a "stop the crying at all costs" situation I think we might end up with worse behaved kids in the end.

And I also think the etiquette in the face of a crying child in the care of his or her parents is to ignore it, not yell at the parents. :)

Posted by: Shandra | June 18, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to giving kids Benadryl before a flight to make them sleepy? Good Times.

Posted by: Because alchohol is illegal | June 18, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I think there is a difference between an infant crying and a child who is old enough to know and be taught what is acceptable behavior and the actions of their parents in that situation.

Posted by: LP | June 18, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sure not everyone is visting grandparents. I just wish people would take a second and ask "is it absolutely essential that we get on this plane today" with our child who may not be able to handle it? That's a decision each family will have to make, but I would set the bar pretty high.

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

How arrogant to assume that those of us making comments about obnoxious kid and parent behavior don't have kids themselves. I would wager that a lot of us do. Perhaps we just have different standards.

Posted by: Silver Spring | June 18, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I flew with my daughter every two months from the time she was a month old.

I have found that the behavior of so-called adults is far more disgusting than any child I have ever seen on a plane. There was the man who demanded that I be moved because he was unaware that he would have to sit next to a baby. There was the man sitting in front of us who demanded a refund for his ticket because my baby's car seat made it hard for him to recline. There was the woman who whined so loudly about a crying baby (not mine) in the back that MY baby was unable to fall asleep. My favorite was the flight attendant who informed me that she was unable to heat milk for my daughter's bottle because I was not sitting in First Class. Ah...elitism is alive and well.

Honestly. We're adults. We have the grown-up ability to adjust our behavior appropriately. It's called maturity. After witnessing some of disgusting behavior displayed by adults on airplanes and after reading some of the vicious posts on this board, I can honestly say that I would far rather travel with a plane full of children.

Posted by: veteran mommy flyer | June 18, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Vicky, for choosing not to have kids! The gene pool is better off for your decision.

Posted by: for vicky | June 18, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Shandra

"I think that's what I find disturbing about this story. The baby was crying - not running around misbehaving. Just crying"

We don't know that.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm a very frequent business traveler, and I have FAR more problems with the behavior of other "adults" on the flight than with kids. The vast majority of children are quiet and well-behaved, and when you do get a crying baby or babbling toddler, just slip on your noise-canceling headphones. Anyone who travels and DOESN'T have a pair of these is a moron.

I have far more problems with the "adult" idiots who will sit next to me and drunkenly "make conversation" during the entire flight; the travelers next to me who have gobbled down sleeping pills and then fall asleep on me; the people who want to work on a giant laptop while they're in the middle seat in coach, taking up half the space of seats on either side of them; the people who think it's perfectly fine to watch porn on their DVD players right next to you; etc. etc. etc.

I'd take a crying baby over most of my "adult" fellow travelers any day of the week.

Posted by: BizTraveler | June 18, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"I just wish people would take a second and ask "is it absolutely essential that we get on this plane today" with our child who may not be able to handle it? That's a decision each family will have to make, but I would set the bar pretty high."

Do you own the airline? Are you selling me the tickets? When you are then you get to set the bar. Until then, if you don't like who you fly with then you can find your own alternative transportation.

And to all of you with the stories about children and parents behaving inappropriately, which I am sure they are, you should feel free to complain to the flight attendents if you like. Keeping order on the airplane is their professional responsibility and most of them have the experience and discretion to distinguish between out of control children and selfish business travellers. I say most, becuse the one mentioned in the story at the top obviously didn't.

Posted by: Get over yourself, business travellers | June 18, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hear hear, Veteran Mommy Flyer!

Although I do think, as Vicky seemed to be saying before, there is a line between those situations where parents are trying to keep their kids in check but those kids are too young or too tired or hungry or just too far gone to calm down; and those situations where the kids clearly have been raised by wolves.

And I think this goes toward what Veteran Mommy Flyer was just saying: The situations Vicky cites seem to have been engendered by parents who don't have enough respect for the people around them or even their own kids to keep them in line. After all, it's up to us as parents to try and raise our kids to be decent, polite, well-mannered people.

Posted by: KLeewrite | June 18, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"Has this story been "reported" anywhere besides this blog?"

No, a Google search for this topic turns up only this blog.

Apparently the Concepcions are friends of Stacey's who complained to their friend about the treatment they received.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

So a baby is crying. SO WHAT. Babies cry. I can't believe how some of you think the whole world should lick your anus clean for you.

Posted by: Fred | June 18, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

..."it's up to us as parents to try and raise our kids to be decent, polite, well-mannered people."

Well said, KLeewrite. Children behave the way we allow them to behave, and they model what they see. So when adult flyers behave in such an awful manner, what exactly are those children learning?

Posted by: veteran mommy flyer | June 18, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Please be aware that if I detect even a hint of annoyance on your part at my well-behaving toddler, that I have the ability to unleash her on you to the point that you'll want to kill everyone in a 12 foot radius. I'll get out the elmo books with sound, and ask her her animal noises. She gets so excited, she ends up yelling them. I will do this as retribution for you being a callous pr!ck in a situation that nobody can help. If you try to give me the stink eye, I'll give it back and tell her to blow a kiss to the jerk. Then I'll get her to say Jerk as loud as she can. There is no possible way that snide comments or the stink eye from you will upset me. The balance of power is in my favor.

Frankly, all the people who get upset are too cowardly to actually say or do anything because they know it's wrong, yet they will persist in whining and gnashing their teeth about it on a frigging blog. Do something, coward, or stop whining about it.

Posted by: Analyst | June 18, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Shawna, actually the message you are giving your child is "if something is POSSIBLY uncomfortable or embarassing, Don't Ever Do It." I totally agrees with you that this "might be a fine lesson for etiquette but is a poor lesson for life."

What's all the stuff here about karma and getting a disability? do people here believe that people with disabilities probably deserve it-- that it's karma and that they must have done something to deserve it? Ii think "bad stuff happens to good people" is more likely-- I've seen some very bad people have very good lives. People should do good because they want to, not because something bad will happen to them if they don't. Luckily, most people actaully do want to do good!

Regarding the husband that was asked by the mother of multiple children flying alone to briefly hold a baby and refused-- WTF? why not just do it, if for no other reason than it may help keep things calm and quiet for your husband's own happiness? Or if he really must refuse, could he have helped out some other way-- "I don't feel comfortable holding your baby, but I'll flag down the flight attendant for you. Or is there anything else I can do to help out" I hope we all consider that a minor thing for us can be a tremendous assistance to someone else.

Posted by: good point! | June 18, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sandra:

"I think that's what I find disturbing about this story. The baby was crying - not running around misbehaving."

Absolutely, it's the misbehaving on planes that really bothers people (at least me)because we're all trapped.

But when people see a parent teaching a child "in greeting people, saying thank you, holding doors, etc" they are much more forgiving/understanding (at least I am).

I guess my point is on the ground you have a lot more options -- an exit strategy -- to address a situation that are not available there on a plane. Most suggestions listed today are about pacifying the child, which seems to be the opposite of sending a "clear message that it [the meltdown] won't be effective."

This leads me to question why parents would opt to travel unnecessarily and not delay the vacation until the child can not only handle the flight, but really apprecaite the trip.

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

You really had someone watch porn on a laptop next to you during a flight? Yikes - THAT'S a person who was raised by wolves.

As both a business traveler and a parent, I am (a) gratified by the majority (of posters thus far) who realize that common sense and tolerance will get you through most situations, and (b) disgusted at the extremes on both sides (parents and childless travelers alike) that remind us that rampant self-absorption is alive and well and modern society, and not dependent on parental status. In other words, if you're a twit, you're a twit, whether you have kids or not.

Posted by: DCD | June 18, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Clearly this flight attendant doesn't understand young kids. I have a 3 kids -- the youngest is a 13 month old child -- it is very common this age to have a strong fear of strangers. If someone he didn't know came up to him when he was upset and tried to take him from us and walk away with him he would scream like he was being gutted. Kids do a pretty good job of reading people at this age and he would have picked up on the fact that the flight attendant was not happy with him -- causing the child to be even more scared and upset. The only hope was too give the parents anything she could to help distract the kid.

I find the sound of my kids crying causes me much anxiety if I think they're bothering other people and I'll do whatever I can to get it under control. But the sound of other people's kids crying doesn't really bother me -- I'm just relieved that it isn't my kid. Read your magazine, listen to your music and just be glad it isn't you that is ripping through your bag of tricks to find the 10th thing to distract a cranky baby while the people around you shoot you death stares as you travel to see your grandmother before she dies.

Posted by: Fedmom | June 18, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

there is a fine line between children who cannot be controlled and a child who is exhausted, crying, and cannot be consoled. for the children who cannot be controlled and reasoned with, that is annoying, frustrating, etc. and I hold the parents responsible. But, we are talking about a child crying and the parents trying to get the situation under control. For all of you people who think they need to get off the plane, be berated, sit in a special section, get a life and stop thinking that you are so wronged. Yes, we can reason, cajole, make faces but sometimes, when they cannot be reasoned with and just cry it out, there is little you can do. There will be a time in your life though many of you who seem to think you can control every single aspect of your life and everyone around you that you will be confronted with something uncomfortable or not to your liking but being a jerk, b*tchy or rude about it only makes you look like the idiot in the situation. Again, a line between those kids who clearly have no supervision or clueless parents and those who are trying their best to deal with kids who are tired, crying, and cannot (because of their age or whatever reason) be quieted down. Take a deep breath and try not to jump to conclusions or be so wronged.

Posted by: gc | June 18, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow -- I guess stating "That's a decision each family will have to make, but I would set the bar pretty high" didn't make it clear that while I would forgo travel I do not expect everyone else to make the same choice.

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I think former business traveler had it right - we all need to respect each other. Would you treat an ill passenger this way? No one wants to listen to someone else vomit on an airplane, but we've all probably had to. It isn't pleasant, but you know the person doesn't want to be sick. Likewise, the majority of parents try very hard to keep their babies and toddlers quiet and well behaved.

The best experience I ever had was with Delta. At the time my daughter was 9 months old so I was still breastfeeding. One of the flight attendants noticed that I was nursing and gave me a huge 32-ounce bottle of water and said she knew I'd need the fluids to keep from tiring out. I was amazed that she gave away such a huge bottle - of course, that was in the days before they started charging for everything!

Posted by: dkgannon | June 18, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"except for when the seat in front is taken by some jerkoff who thinks it's ok to lean his seat back the whole way and make it impossible for my kid even to move. Then I let her kick."

That's a great lesson: someone inconveniences you? Kick 'em! By the way, what are you going to do when your kid inconveniences someone else (by crying, screaming, throwing things)? Are you going to allow that stranger to kick your child? Or his or her seat? Is your theory of retribution extended to everyone, or is it exclusive to your child?

Also, how gigantic is your child? I'm a full-grown adult, and people routinely tilt the seat all the way back in front of me. Those seats don't lean back very far. I can still move freely. I won't be doing the can-can or anything, but I can sit comfortably without kicking.

Posted by: Mona | June 18, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse


Take a moment to think about the situation and put yourself in the other person's situation. We have been a society of shortcomings and criticisms.

Would you act differently if this was your family member, close friend?

No amount of good parenting and preparedness sometimes will change the situation of a small child. (Infant/Toddler)

Tip from a Mom who has taken her 21 month old already on 6 airplane trips: If you can afford to, buy a seat for your child under 2, especially for long flights. This will give everyone a little wiggle room to move. Always buy/pack food, drinks, treats, and toys for the ride.

I also disagree - why should parents with young children not fly?

Posted by: Tilda | June 18, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks, Vicky, for choosing not to have kids! The gene pool is better off for your decision.

Posted by: for vicky | June 18, 2008 11:53 AM"

I thought personal attacks were considered inappropriate? Does this really add anything to this discussion?

By the way, I think "Why" really nailed it. About a month ago I was in the Miami airport about to get on an escalator to the ticket counter. There was a large family traveling together, I saw that one child, a boy probably about 5 or 6 years old was lagging behind and I waited to get on so that I wouldn't separate him from his family. He said, in the cutest voice - no, after you ma'am. I made a point of complimenting the mother on her fine little gentleman.

That's the kind of experience that tells me that children are capable of manners so long as the parents are willing to teach them.

Posted by: vicky | June 18, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

oh mona...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Also, how gigantic is your child? I'm a full-grown adult, and people routinely tilt the seat all the way back in front of me. Those seats don't lean back very far. I can still move freely. I won't be doing the can-can or anything, but I can sit comfortably without kicking
----
Mona, the kid is (presumably) in a carseat which makes it much easier to reach the seat in front. The same happened to me - my 9 month old insisted on kicking the front seat, and when I did not let her, she started screaming. Thankfully, the person in front of her was really understanding, and after a couple of minutes she forgot all about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm expecting my first baby at the end of August, and I'm truly surprised at the level of antagonism towards children shown on this blog.

I will have to fly with our baby this Christmas, when she is 3 months old. We are skipping Thanksgiving this year but will make the flight to Texas for Christmas. To see all of my family, including my grandparents who cannot fly, we will make this trip. Living in the D.C. area, I would think that more people would appreciate how hard it is to live half the country away from your family and friends.

It will be very inconvenient for us, our baby, and for the people on our flight if she does cry. However, the 4 hours of inconvenience is COMPLETELY WORTH the several days of my family and friends meeting our baby for the first time ever and spending the holidays together. Flights are TEMPORARY, even if painful, whereas the destination and the time with family is PRICELESS. Can't people understand that?

I think there is a difference between "annoying" and "rude." It is annoying to sit behind a crying baby, but it is rude to let your child kick or otherwise accost strangers. Adults can easily deal with annoying behavior with earplugs, ipods, laptops, etc. And for rude behavior, they can tell the parent or child to "please stop doing whatever it is."

I don't see how a crying baby is any more annoying (or unexpected, honestly) than a loud talker, smelly seatmate, overweight arm-rest hogger, overly chatty passenger etc. Planes are public places and we all have to deal with each other.

Posted by: Nicka | June 18, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I've traveled with kids and without kids. Either way, I've found flight attendents for the most part to be far from helpful. While some here insist parents should raise and control their children, I believe there's a lot of room for improvement at Stewardess Academy.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 18, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Mona | June 18, 2008 12:17 PM

Mona, one note: the problem is actually the carseat. Basically, you're elevating the kid and pushing them farther forward, so their short little legs stick out to within a few inches of the seat in front. So when the guy in front puts his seat back, just the basic fidgety legs will contact the seat. Once they get out of the carseat, the problem pretty much goes away.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't condone the "let 'em kick" response, and have been known to practically lie across my kid's legs to stop it. But I'd think it would be basic self-preservation on the part of the passenger in front: you don't like getting kicked, don't stick your chair right into a toddler's legs.

Posted by: Laura | June 18, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I fly 2-3 times/month for work and shudder at the thought of encountering the following people on a plane:
1) 5'1" woman who needs to recline all the way back into me
2) Drunk, middle-aged guys going on their middle-adged field trip together who think they're so hilarious the whole plane needs to hear their unfunny jokes.
3) Crying baby...nuff said
4) Fatty Arbuckle...buy 2 seats!
5) Dude blasting sh**ty techno on his iPod loud enough for the pilots to hear.


To all those with crying babies...it's called travel-sized Nyquil! Give some to the baby and it will shut up!

I'm so tired of selfish a**es on plane. And no, it's not selfish when I want a baby to shut up because I'm with 99% of the people of the plane who are being affected/disturbed vs the 1% (parents) who think they deserve more than the 99% of people on the plane!

Posted by: Daz | June 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're talking about forcing parents and children to sit in the back of the plane, I propose several other segregated sections:

1. Stinky feet flyers who insist on removing their shoes.
2. Neuortic cell phone users who frantically dig out their iPhones the minute wheels touch down so they can yell, "YEAH, WE JUST LANDED AND IT WILL TAKE ME, LIKE, 20 MINUTES TO GET MY BAGS BUT I'M NOT SURE SO WHY DON'T YOU JUST WAIT FOR ME.....BLAH BLAH BLAH"
3. People who can't seem to find what they need in their overhead bags so they get up and down, up and down, up and down.
4. Pizza eaters.
5. Women who wear too much lotion and aggravate everyone else's allergies.
6. Pompous businessmen who move your bags in the overhead bin so they have room to lay their sport coats down flat.

Wait, you know what? There are obviously sooo many annoyances about flying that maybe we should just shut up endure the ride. We all paid too much for the tickets anyway.

Posted by: back of the bus | June 18, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

You should be pleased with the crappy economy and higher airline prices. It should weed out some of the riff raff!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Analyst - You are baaaad. But I like it. The part about blowing a kiss to that jerk over there is just too funny.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Vicky, your experience was with a 5-6 year old, who, yes, should be capable of some manners at some point. But, you seem to imply that all children of any age should be similarly capable, which is simply not the case for very small children.

Frankly, yes there are annoying parents and children but there are just as many annoying adults who do annoying -if not outright rude or nasty- things and who should no better than a young child. I was about to point some of those out (including adults on planes) but see othere already have done that.

While I personally choose not to fly with my almost 13 month old (b/c it would stress ME out), I do not think that families with children should be barred from doing so. And, the person who suggested that there was a choice involved with not seeing frail or dying granparents -all to not inconvenience some random group of people who feel they have the right to travel in complete silence- is just stupid. That's not a reasonable position. Alternatively, you could hire a private jet to cart you where you need to go. You don't do that? That is your CHOICE, isn't it?

I just cannot believe the intolerance of some of the people on this blog (while requiring absolute adherence to your subjective "rules" for transportation). I really can't. I also cannot believe that people have such expectations of children in terms of behavior when it is developmentally out of the question for most little ones. Yes, my daughter can walk and point out things using some rudimentary words. But, I assure you that she cannot reason and understand in the way that some of you think she can or should be able to.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

the pizza thing just reminded me- my number 1 annoyance after flying for the first time since all airlines stopped giving out food. The fact that now you are supposed to bring your own food on the plane.

Inevitably someone is going to bring something stinky and having to deal with that is 1000% worse than when someone reheats fish in the microwave at work for lunch.

And for that matter- way more annoying then screaming children.

Although- anyone ever fly direct to SLC, Utah. Those flights have more children on them then any other I've found, a smaller parent to children ration and yet are some of the best behaved children. But then I've also noticed that they do not react as badly to people helping them out, talking "directly" to their children or flight attendants offering to hold a child. Funny- being less uptight means that everyone is happier. Who would have thought?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"The attendant then tried to take the baby out of Dad Bien's arms and take her back to the kitchen, saying, "This is bothering everyone. This is so unfair to everyone on the plane."

I would have knocked the "b!tch" out and gladly went to jail. She should be fired. The other people on the plane who were probably to fat to sit in their seats, stink, have bad breath, talk the whole flight or, like people on this blog, are just plain rude should look at their selves and their actions before they look at the child's.

Posted by: Kidding me | June 18, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Flights are TEMPORARY, even if painful, whereas the destination and the time with family is PRICELESS. Can't people understand that?"

The birthday party I'm throwing for myself next door to you this Thursday night with loud yelling drunk a**holes, blasting music, and people pi**ing in your yard is PRICELESS for me, for you it's only TEMPORARY.....why are you calling the cops, can't YOU understand that?

If everyone had the attitude, the homicide rate would be 50%....

Posted by: Daz | June 18, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

My feeling about plane travel with kids is the same as any other kind of travel with kids in a public conveyance -- it's "public" transportation; if you want a little bubble of privacy, then go in your own car (or plane). Parents don't want their kids to cry, but sometimes children do! If you can't take all that goes with being in a public place, then don't go there.

Posted by: lawyermom | June 18, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Years and years ago, I traveled with my senior silky terrier, who was my baby at the time. She behaved pretty well, but was flatulent during the entire trip. Luckily, it was not obvious where the smell was coming from, and I pretended to be just as indignant as everyone else in my row.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I wish that flight attendant was on my last flight from DCA to LAX. The child 2 rows behind me screamed for the entire 6 hours. I had noise reducing head-phones on, but that doesn't seem to drown out the sound of a child's scream. And, as usual, the mother did absolutely nothing to try to quiet her child. I'm sorry to be so stereo-typical, because there are a few parents that do try to control their children. Unfortunately the vast majority of parents these days do absolutely nothing to control their children or teach them how to act in public.

Posted by: g963 | June 18, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

When we travel, we have a sack of books, snacks, little crappy tchotchkes, etc. We take walks to the bathroom and pretend we're explorers seeking out new lands. We also have "races" in the airport in an effort to tire her out. We carry the stroller but we make her walk beside it, so that she gets lots of exercise walking to the gate. One other thing to do when traveling with your kid is to create some great reward that she or he will love but can only get if he or she is well-behaved on the plane. My daughter has been flying since she was 2 months old (she has been on about 20 flights since then - she's almost 3) and we always tell her that when we land, we will go get ice cream for dessert. We don't eat it at home (I don't really like it that much) but it works wonders - she says to everyone she meets on the plane "Mommy says if I have good behavior I can eat ice cream!" We have been extraordinarily lucky; she hasn't really cried or been upset on planes ever. We always buy a set for her because she's used to her car seat and the extra $300 or so was worth it to me.

Re: porn - We had one man reading a Penthouse in our row about 4 months ago (when I was pregnant). She looked at the picture and said, "Look mommy, nipples!" in a very loud voice. The guy put away the mag.

I am also a frequent business traveler, so occasionally we get bumped up to first class. People get pretty PO'd when they see a kid in first class. Also, re: wings and cockpit visits, my daughter has received wings (stickers, not pins) on both Continental and Northwest airlines.

Posted by: Karinen | June 18, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

186 comments, wow! Here's my two cents. The airline industry is the ONLY industry where employees feel thye have the right ot br rude to their customers. Can you imagine someone at say Target walking up to you and acting this way?

Posted by: get a grip airlines | June 18, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Daz says:

"To all those with crying babies...it's called travel-sized Nyquil! Give some to the baby and it will shut up! "

Daz, you moron, most cough meds are not safe for children. If we gave our children nyquil, we could quite rightly be sent to jail. Other antihistimenes, such as Benedryl, which are safe for children actually make some of them hyper. Don't make the ignorant mistake of thinking that you know something we don't.

"To all those with crying babies...it's called travel-sized Nyquil! Give some to the baby and it will shut up! "

I'm sorry, but I bought my ticket the same as you. What makes your business travelling a** special? And, again, while we are going on about inconsiderate behavior, shut up with the gabbing about revenue projections on your cell phone when you are sitting next to me. Like I care and I would really rather hear a crying baby any day of the week. At least the baby doesn't know better about polite behavior in public.

Posted by: Get over yourself, business travellers | June 18, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Bob,

If your (old enough to understand language) child is kicking the back of my seat, I will turn around, smile at your child, and politely say, "Please don't kick the seat, it hurts my back." If you have a problem with that, that is your problem, not mine. If your child continues to kick the back of my seat, I would then ask you. But if you haven't trained your child to respond to the polite request of another human being, chances are you won't deal with the situation either.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

for the first time mom flying with a toddler - here's a psychological tip. Think of the flight as 100% work time for you. Your job is to keep the child occupied and out of other people's hair, even if that means walking up and down the aisles yourself with the child in your arms all night after a three-hour flight delay (At least that way she won't be able to get her hands in other people's food - as I learned from experience.) In my view, kids get out of control on planes because the parents somehow feel they have a right to relax and therefore cannot be expected to monitor their children every moment. Ain't so, and if you resign yourself in advance to not getting any rest whatsoever, you'll actually feel less frustrated. I did repeated trips across the Atlantic with three small children, and while they all behaved well on the whole, about half the time I never ate a meal. (One flight atendant was so grateful to me for skipping dinner to keep my son entertained that he sneaked me a business class meal after son was asleep.) Finally, don't try to control every single yelp - she'll just get totally overwound. Most people are not prima donnas and will be sympathetic if they see you are paying attention and doing your best. You may even run into someone like the angel who insisted on putting my small child's feet on her lap for the night. (Some genius travel agent had gotten us bulkhead seats - but no aisle seat, so we were hemmed in.) She had travelled across the Atlantic twelve times with four children in her youth. You are not alone.

Posted by: lurker | June 18, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

First off EVERY poster here was a kid. EVERY poster annoyed some adult when they were a kid. Have some compassion. Do you really think a parent wants to be confined with ascreaming kid in a plane anymore than you do? Stop being so high and mighty.

Posted by: show some compassion | June 18, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"The birthday party I'm throwing for myself next door to you this Thursday night with loud yelling drunk a**holes, blasting music, and people pi**ing in your yard is PRICELESS for me, for you it's only TEMPORARY.....why are you calling the cops, can't YOU understand that?"

If you can't distinguish between public and private spaces then you are just too dumb to intelligently converse with.

The law as well as social norms protects me from such behavior in my house. It does not protect you from being around children on an airplane. Sorry to have to clue the clueless, but that's the way it goes.

Posted by: Get over yourself, business travellers | June 18, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Kidding me

"The attendant then tried to take the baby out of Dad Bien's arms and take her back to the kitchen, saying, "This is bothering everyone. This is so unfair to everyone on the plane."

I would have knocked the "b!tch" out and gladly went to jail. She should be fired. The other people on the plane who were probably to fat to sit in their seats, stink, have bad breath, talk the whole flight or, like people on this blog, are just plain rude should look at their selves and their actions before they look at the child's. "

Before you go to jail (nice example for the kiddies), keep in mind that this is ONE version of this story.

Posted by: Chill out | June 18, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Daz - awesome - LMAO right now. I really was trying to be respectful earlier in my comments while at the same time highlighting what I feel are some valid frustrations. I was careful not to generalize; to point out that some parents/children are capable of behaving well. I never suggested that children shouldn't be permitted to fly, nor that they should be segregated - only that parents ought to take some responsibility in the matter of bad behavior and at least make an effort to control it.

But, at this point I see there is just no reasoning with people that really do seem to believe that society owes them something extra for being capable of procreating, whether or not they are capable of parenting.

Daz, can I come to your party? :)

Posted by: Vicky | June 18, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Also, a lot of people you travel with a pretty sympathetic. I always can find something to help distract a cranky baby - keys, maybe, or a crinkly plastic wrapper. I sacrificed a pad of Post-it notes for the toddler I sat next to once -- 40 cents guaranteed about an hour of distraction. Not that everyone else has this handy, but most people are sympathetic.

g963, how do you know that "the vast majority of parents these days do absolutely nothing to control their children or teach them how to act in public." I think this is how every generation sees the one that follows. And I think you are exhibiting what behavioral economists call 'availability bias" - you remember the bad kids while the myriad good kids never entered your consciousness.

Posted by: Linda | June 18, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"I really was trying to be respectful earlier in my comments while at the same time highlighting what I feel are some valid frustrations. I was careful not to generalize; to point out that some parents/children are capable of behaving well"

Vicky, let me point out that the child in the original story was 13 months old. The concept of good behavior with regards to a 13 month old simply does not exist. A 13 month old has no control over their own behavior.

You may not have kids, but you were once 13 months old. (Although by whay you are saying, you might not yet have passed that emotional stage yet yourself.) I guarantee that you annoyed someone when you were that age. If you say otherwise you are flat out lying. Being around crying children is the price you pay for once being a crying child.

Posted by: get over yourselves, business travellers | June 18, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Before you go to jail (nice example for the kiddies), keep in mind that this is ONE version of this story."

Chill out must not have kids or be one of those hippies who thinks that everyone can/will/does have the right to touch other people's children.

I think it is a better example to protect your kids no matter what then let some rude flight attendent take them to the back without a seat belt. I fly enough to know that turblence does happena and I don't want some stranger holding my kid when it does.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe babies should be flying at all. Until my child could carry on with a cognizant conversation and knew there were consequences for misbehaving they were not allowed to fly. If you desperately need to be somewhere with your child then drive!

Posted by: Mom of 2 | June 18, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"The concept of good behavior with regards to a 13 month old simply does not exist. A 13 month old has no control over their own behavior."

Strange. There are a lot of 13 month olds who manage to "control" their behavior every Sunday at Mass. We must attend a different church.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If your children can't behave in public, don't take them out in public. Don't take them on an airplane; put them in your car and see how you enjoy their screaming as you cross the country.

Posted by: sscritic | June 18, 2008 11:37 AM


Okay... How do I teach my children appropriate public behavior? I thought the answer was, take them to public places, set a good example, and correct them when their behavior was not appropriate.

Seems you're a subscriber to to bung-hole theory of child-rearing: when they're born put them in a barrel and feed them through the bung-hole. When they turn 18 decide whether to open the barrel, or to drive in the bung.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

YOU KIDS KEEP OFF OF MY LAWN!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Strange. There are a lot of 13 month olds who manage to "control" their behavior every Sunday at Mass."

And there are a lot who don't. And the parents have some control over the situation in making sure that the kids aren't hungry or uncomfortable. But aside from that, there is nothing the parents can do to control the child's disposition at that age and not much the child can do either.

You obviously haven't been around children that much and are confusing 3 years old with 13 months. Until children can understand and communicate, there is no such thing as behavior, good or bad.

Posted by: get over yourselves, business travellers | June 18, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly the issue: "And, the person who suggested that there was a choice involved with not seeing frail or dying granparents." There absolutely is a choice and you have options.

1) Go with you child
2) Go without your child
3) Don't go.

There are obvious pros and cons to each option. You're entitled travel and to take your child. And I'm inclinded to agree that trip in such a case is worth the hassle. But not every trip is. My point is that people should be judisious in electing whether or not to take a trip, given it's a realtively short period time that childhood meltdowns should be a problem.

I'd be curious to to hear back in a few months the soon-to-be mom who maintains "Flights are TEMPORARY, even if painful, whereas the destination and the time with family is PRICELESS. Can't people understand that?"

Maybe you'll think differently in a few months. I see that situation and think "totally not worth the headache." But that's just me and I love my family -- and congrats on your exiting news. all the best and good luck nagivating the apparently not so friendly skys.

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Seems you're a subscriber to to bung-hole theory of child-rearing: when they're born put them in a barrel and feed them through the bung-hole. When they turn 18 decide whether to open the barrel, or to drive in the bung."

Too bad your folks didn't drive in the bung when you were 18. Would have saved the world from years of mediocrity.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Children DO NOT belong on planes. It's not a fair situation to put them in. The parents should drive to their destination, or make some sort of other arrangements, but putting a child in that situation and making everyone else pay too is not appropriate.

Posted by: GM | June 18, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Ages ago someone suggested stickers. The anecdote was that her toddler spend the better part of an hour covering her belly in them. We love stickers at our house, and they make them easily removable these days, so no concerns about getting them stuck to the seats, etc.

And BTW, the stupid party analogy is just that: stupid. Pissing in someone's lawn and breaking noise ordinances and a baby crying on an airplane are not the same things. However, I'd be happy to piss on your laptop on the plane if you piss in my yard.

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"What's all the stuff here about karma and getting a disability? do people here believe that people with disabilities probably deserve it-- that it's karma and that they must have done something to deserve it? Ii think "bad stuff happens to good people" is more likely-- I've seen some very bad people have very good lives. People should do good because they want to, not because something bad will happen to them if they don't. Luckily, most people actaully do want to do good!"

God no, that wasn't what I meant. I had a severely disabled daughter.

What I mean is the rudeness to distressed people - we're all going to be old and frail some day, and if people are rude back, that's the piece to which I was referring.

Posted by: Shandra | June 18, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Chill out must not have kids or be one of those hippies who thinks that everyone can/will/does have the right to touch other people's children.

I think it is a better example to protect your kids no matter what then let some rude flight attendent take them to the back without a seat belt"

Wow! Another person that cannnot READ.
This blog attracks a lot of 'em!

Chill out & several others were making the point that today's topic is pretty much GOSSIP passed on by Stacey. The story has not been verified, unprofessional even by WaPo blog standards.

I wonder what occupation Stacey puts on her tax return? It surely can not be "Journalist".

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

GM- In other words, it's much easier and better to subject toddlers to 20 hours in the car than 3 hours in a plane. Ooohhhh Kaaaaayyy Oh, you mean better for YOU.

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"The attendant then tried to take the baby out of Dad Bien's arms and take her back to the kitchen, saying, "This is bothering everyone. This is so unfair to everyone on the plane."

What is the source of this direct quote?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

GM: "Children DO NOT belong on planes. It's not a fair situation to put them in. The parents should drive to their destination, or make some sort of other arrangements, but putting a child in that situation and making everyone else pay too is not appropriate."

Mom of 2: "I do not believe babies should be flying at all. Until my child could carry on with a cognizant conversation and knew there were consequences for misbehaving they were not allowed to fly. If you desperately need to be somewhere with your child then drive!"

I'm sorry, it's just really, really hard to drive across the Atlantic Ocean. When you work for the Federal Government and they tell you to go to Europe, and then come back when your assignment's over, saying "I'm sorry, but my child is too young and it would upset other people on the plane" tends not to work.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info about car (plane) seats. I had no idea this happens. I've never seen a carseat on a plane. Probably because I steer clear of children in a plane if possible. The only experiences I've had with children kicking my seat are those who are old enough to sit still in a seatbelt, whose parents refuse to teach them NOT to kick. I don't usually lean my seat back all the way, unless it's a red-eye, so I don't think this was the problem.

Posted by: Mona | June 18, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"

"The attendant then tried to take the baby out of Dad Bien's arms and take her back to the kitchen, saying, "This is bothering everyone. This is so unfair to everyone on the plane."

What is the source of this direct quote?"

Stacey heard it at a cocktail party, from the Concepcions or from someone who heard it third or fourth hand from them.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry, it's just really, really hard to drive across the Atlantic Ocean. When you work for the Federal Government and they tell you to go to Europe, and then come back when your assignment's over"

I hear the Queen Mary 2 is lovely :)

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"It makes me a human being capable of recognizing that I don't have the patience, the time, or the resources to raise a child properly."

Nor do you have patience with those people who are trying to raise children properly! Instead you'd rather offer your haughty comments and tell us all how much better you are than those damn lazy parents who aren't even trying!

"give me a break - there is a line."

And YOU are going to tell us all where it is! Because you are better than us! You, who openly admit not having children, should be the arbiter of what is and is not permissible behavior for children! Yeah, that makes sense...

"If your children can't behave in public, don't take them out in public. Don't take them on an airplane; put them in your car and see how you enjoy their screaming as you cross the country."

I'm gonna buy my plane ticket, and if the baby starts screaming, you're just gonna have to suck it up and deal with it. He doesn't scream all the time, but if he does have a meltdown because we've spent the last six hours travelling, that is understandable, and it is also just too bad for you if you have to listen to it.

Posted by: JJ | June 18, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"No, it doesn't. There is a long, long line of educated adults with skills, from other contries waiting to get into this country. I don't have to deal with ANY of their childish antics and tantrums."

Yes, and these people do not or will not have children. Or if they do, they won't be poor white or poor black children, so you and the rest of your elitist, racist child haters can breath a sigh of relief.

Posted by: RiGHTTTTTTTT | June 18, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

GM: "Children DO NOT belong on planes. It's not a fair situation to put them in. The parents should drive to their destination, or make some sort of other arrangements, but putting a child in that situation and making everyone else pay too is not appropriate."

Mom of 2: "I do not believe babies should be flying at all. Until my child could carry on with a cognizant conversation and knew there were consequences for misbehaving they were not allowed to fly. If you desperately need to be somewhere with your child then drive!"

I'm sorry, it's just really really hard for me to care what you people think is "appropriate" or not. A baby has just as much right to be on ANY plane as you do!

Posted by: JJ | June 18, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Babies don't actually come with mute buttons. If only! Some babies are hard to calm no matter what you do, and the air pressure changes can be rough on them. My parents still look horrified when talking about me screaming on a turbulent flight from Toronto to LA in 1969. UGH! (Fortunately a one time occurence.)

Parents need to bring toys, books, and snacks to keep kids occupied and to teach airplane etiquette. Even as a little kid I knew to speak softly, leave the tray table alone, not move my seatback, etc.

We need better play areas in airports. The one in Copenhagen made me wish I was still a kid, and they have a teen area with fussball and video games. Syracuse has the cockpit of an older plane that you can play in -- love it!

Posted by: Former Baby | June 18, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

re: driving vs flying
I just don't understand how anyone can assert that grieving parents shouldn't be allowed to attend funerals if it means they have to travel with cranky children. These events are by definition impossible to plan for - if the only flight with 3 seats that's available at the last minute because of a death in the family means you have to fly during a child's regular naptime, my god people, have some compassion. This is honestly beyond comprehension to me. Most funerals occur 3-4 days after a death. There isn't enough time for me to drive to Oregon in 3-4 days when my grandmother dies, and I do plan on going to her funeral WITH my daughter when that happens. A lot of us no longer live in the same communities with our extended families.

There is no 'right' to silence, and even if there was, you'd still have to address the myriad adult problems that occur on planes to achieve a quiet environment to begin with. It's an illogical argument - people with kids shouldn't be able to fly so we can have some peace and quiet! And neither should drunks, and loud talkers, and Ipod blasters! Ban vast swaths of the public from boarding planes because of their possibly annoying behavior! That's both asinine and impossible.

Posted by: Incredulous | June 18, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Traveling via air with a small child is not always a choice. Sometimes a parent really does have to take their child on a flight, ready or not. I've been traveling with my child for six years, and some of that was business travel (I'm a single parent).


Other tips: I learned this one from a woman on a flight with a three year old (my son was under 2 at the time): Bring a roll of blue painters' tape. It's not sticky enough to do any damage, but it is very quiet, and fun to play with and stick to things. It kept all the toddlers on the flight busy for an hour.

Nurse the baby! It helps with their ears, and they may sleep.

If you have the option, try and get a flight that more or less coincides with nap time.

Steel your nerves and try not to let rude people get to you when they say or do dumb things.

Then there's the old barf bag puppet...

Posted by: Local | June 18, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Given the acrimonious nature of many of the comments here, I want to take it down a notch and say THANK YOU to the business traveler who sat next to my 5-year-old on a flight in mid-April.

I was traveling with a 5-year-old and 2-year-old, and the airline could not seat us together because my younger son's carseat had to be in a window seat (the plane had two seats on each side of the aisle). My older son was in the row ahead of us.

Since I knew this would be the case, I had packed a bag for my older son with books, flash cards, crayons, snacks and my iPod loaded with Junie B. Jones audiobooks.

As I got my younger son's carseat hooked into the seatbelt and got him settled, I overheard my older son encouraging the businesswoman sitting next to him to review the emergency card in the seatback pocket.

The fortysomething woman, who introduced herself as Jenny, told him she thought that was a great idea, and then spent much of the flight reading stories, helping him open his sandwich and chatting away about Stars Wars with him.

Several times I encouraged him to listen to the iPod stories and give Miss Jenny a little quiet time, which he did for about an hour and a half.

I was busy keeping my younger son occupied through most of the flight, and sweating bullets hoping that my older boy wasn't driving his seatmate crazy.

I am eternally grateful to Miss Jenny for her patience and kindness to my son. She talked to him like he was a regular person, and he loved having a grownup conversation. She was lovely, genuinely interested in what he had to say.

Obviously, Jenny went above and beyond. But thanks to those business travelers who take an understanding, constructive approach to their fellow travelers. Flying is brutal for everyone these days, and the more we can help each other, the better.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Children DO NOT belong on planes."/"I do not believe babies should be flying at all."

Sorry, no. I have family all over the country -- used to be in the Southwest with family in MD and TX and OR and CO; now am in MD with family in CO and NC and TX and OR. We do drive when we can, and we have people come to us when they can. But it would be pretty egotistical to expect everyone to come to us all the time (and how, exactly, would that work with my siblings who have small kids themselves -- I guess we're just not supposed to see each other for years?).

If we didn't fly until both kids were "old enough" (under some as-yet undefined standard), my kids would have missed (to date): my stepfather's 60th birthday/family reunion; my dad's 60th birthday/family reunion; Christmas at my dad's with both my out-of-town brothers; Christmas at my mom's with my out-of-town stepsiblings; a visit with my SIL when she spent 2 yrs living in Europe; and my great-aunt meeting her great-great-nephew before she died. Oh, and my kids wouldn't know their cousins at all -- wouldn't even get to meet my new niece for the next few years.

Yes, it's a choice. I choose to bring my family to important family events, because you can't get that back; people without kids choose to fly even though they know kids are going to be on the plane. Like I said above, we do our best to prepare our kids and teach them how to behave, and we've had really good success. But fundamentally, it's public transportation, just like a train or bus. And as long as the airline is willing to sell me a ticket, I'm not going to refuse to do things my family and I consider really important just because someone else doesn't want to deal.

Posted by: Laura | June 18, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm disgusted that the flight attendant's version of events isn't included, just that of the parents of the squalling brat.

Posted by: Jayne | June 18, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"That's a great lesson: someone inconveniences you? Kick 'em! By the way, what are you going to do when your kid inconveniences someone else (by crying, screaming, throwing things)? Are you going to allow that stranger to kick your child? Or his or her seat? Is your theory of retribution extended to everyone, or is it exclusive to your child?

Also, how gigantic is your child? I'm a full-grown adult, and people routinely tilt the seat all the way back in front of me. Those seats don't lean back very far. I can still move freely. I won't be doing the can-can or anything, but I can sit comfortably without kicking."

Believe me, I don't condone kicking as retribution. Usually, it's something we're incredibly strict on, to the point of physically restraining her legs when she forgets the rules.

But frankly, this is one situation where even I was tempted to kick the guy. My daughter was 18 months old and in her carseat in a seat we'd purchased for close to full price. The guy leaned his seat back all the way the second we'd completed takeoff, and kept it there until landing. The top of his seat was basically in her lap. Her legs were completely immobilized, and she couldn't use half of the stuff we'd brought to keep her busy -- he was so close that she couldn't even hold an open book on her lap.

In that situation, the problem isn't the kid. It's the person who thinks that any child should sit still when she literally has someone sitting inches from her. I wasn't about to further restrict her already-limited movement.

And yeah, I did spend most of the flight holding my daughter so at least she had a little wiggle room. Too bad I couldn't use the seat I paid for.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 18, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Re: "squalling brat"

Name-calling of a 13 month old, and the BABY'S a squalling brat? Snort.

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

JJ says: "Nor do you have patience with those people who are trying to raise children properly!"

Jeez. You missed the point. I DO have patience for those who ARE trying. I DON'T have patience for those who AREN'T.

JJ says: "And YOU are going to tell us all where it is! Because you are better than us! You, who openly admit not having children, should be the arbiter of what is and is not permissible behavior for children! Yeah, that makes sense..."

Again, jeez. Never said I was better than you or anyone else. Yes, I who "openly" admits to not having children (as though it were a sin to admit such a horrible crime) believe that it is possible to determine what is acceptable behavior as member of this society. It's not as though you become a parent and magically know what is and is not permissible yourself - did your kid come with a manual that deemed you the all-knowing child rearing god? Besides - I'm really not speaking to the kids behaviour -I'm speaking to the behaviour of the parent, which I believe to be the source of the problem.

As for the other quote - wasn't me. Again, despite my frustrations I do not suggest we suddenly ban children and their parents from plane travel - that isn't fair either, especially to those who are responsible and do make the effort. I'd simply like to see more of those parents though - and hope that the rest of you actually pay attention to their example.

Posted by: Vicky | June 18, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

If your kid is cranky and uncontrollable on a plane, don't take them to see a dying grandparent in the first place. The old person doesn't want to spend their last days on earth being annoyed to death (no pun intended), and the kid probably doesn't know who the dying grandparent is anyway. Leave them at home with a sitter and go by yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow! The incredibly dull windbags are coming out in droves.
How many words does it take to make a simple point?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

If we didn't fly until both kids were "old enough" (under some as-yet undefined standard), my kids would have missed (to date): my stepfather's 60th birthday/family reunion; my dad's 60th birthday/family reunion; Christmas at my dad's with both my out-of-town brothers; Christmas at my mom's with my out-of-town stepsiblings; a visit with my SIL when she spent 2 yrs living in Europe; and my great-aunt meeting her great-great-nephew before she died. Oh, and my kids wouldn't know their cousins at all -- wouldn't even get to meet my new niece for the next few years.

I'm sure they're treasure this memories forever. Provided they remember this even happened.

Posted by: Memories? | June 18, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

and then at what age is one "too old" to fly?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"The old person doesn't want to spend their last days on earth being annoyed to death (no pun intended), and the kid probably doesn't know who the dying grandparent is anyway"

Which is why my great-grandmother, on her deathbed, wanted to see as many of her great-grandchildren as possible. She wasn't annoyed at all, even though some of them were very young and cranky. It meant a lot to her. (I was 12 at the time; I remember it well.)

NEXT??

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure they're treasure this memories forever. Provided they remember this even happened."

Ummm, I don't expect them to. But the grownups we visited do.

Oh, yeah, and I forgot to mention my sister's wedding, in which DD was a flower girl -- which was pretty IT for a 4-yr-old princess wanna-be, and which she still talks about 3+ years later.

Posted by: Laura | June 18, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

What is it about Vicky that apparently makes kids hate her in droves? Her stories might say more about her than the kids in question.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"And, again, while we are going on about inconsiderate behavior, shut up with the gabbing about revenue projections on your cell phone when you are sitting next to me"
Posted by: Get over yourself, business travellers | June 18, 2008 12:53 PM

My BlackBerry is off from the moment I walk onto the plane to the moment I get my carry-on stuff off the plane and I'm on my way. I stop at yellow lights, slow up for pedestrians at crosswalks, and wait that extra minute to use my phone because I know a second or two for these mundane tasks doesn't make a world of difference. You know what makes us business travelers special?? We're the bread and butter of the airline business. While mom and pops and the family of 4 spend weeks scouring for the cheapest ticket there is, we fill up first-class, book at the expensive times (Monday morning/Thursday-Friday evening), and fly into the smaller, city airports. The airlines love us because they actually make their money on us. And like any business, their preferred and frequent customers should be treated special!!

As for the Nyquil, my mom used that at the second I would get fussy on a plane. One little nip and I was quiet and would fall asleep pretty easy. What the hell effects are you talking about? I have an advanced engineering degree from a top tech school so it obviously didn't have any long-term effects on me. You're probably one of those idiots who sends their kids out with a bicycle helmet and covered in bubble wrap every time they leave the house.

Posted by: Daz | June 18, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What? Ban babies from flights? Then my husband would not have witnessed the funniest and most heartwarming scene ever.

It was Feb 2002 and everyone was nervous about getting back into the full swing of business travel. And my husband was seated behind an Arab family--everyone in Arab clothing, head coverings, etc...

He started telling himself not to be nervous, they weren't terrorists but one's mind starts to wander and worry in a moment like that. Then, he noticed that one of the women had a baby with her. A crying baby--one that simply could not be consoled no matter what. The family began passing the baby around from person to person. No one could comfort the baby. At long last, one of the men took the baby, stood up and the baby vomited all over him. Everyone in the family started laughing. The baby was fine after that.

We're all human, aren't we?

Posted by: Silver Spring 2 | June 18, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

238 comments! Wow!

Laura

"Oh, yeah, and I forgot to mention my sister's wedding, in which DD was a flower girl -- which was pretty IT for a 4-yr-old princess wanna-be, and which she still talks about 3+ years later."

Not surprised your kid is still talking years later. With your
big mouth, how does she ever get a word in?
Are you sure you have covered every single possible event in your life that you can somehow incorporate into today's topic?

Posted by: Did you peak n high school? | June 18, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"And yeah, I did spend most of the flight holding my daughter so at least she had a little wiggle room. Too bad I couldn't use the seat I paid for."

Why not move the child seat to the other seat where there's nothing reclined? Nicely ask the guy if he'd mind moving his seat forward for a few moments so that you can do this. After all, he has as much right to recline the seat for which he paid as you do to "use the seat [you] paid for."

For the anonymous person who posted at 13:47, was it REALLY necessary to copy and paste the WHOLE page into your post???!!!!

Posted by: Rich | June 18, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

When I sit near a squawking kid on a flight, the first thing I do is buy a round of drinks for the kid and his/her parents. If that doesn't work, I buy a second round of drinks for the kid. Two rounds of screwdrivers usually shuts up all but the most psychotic kid. If that doesn't work, the overhead bin is a great place to stash the kid for the duration of the flight.

People who cut and paste the entire blog into their posts are total douchebags.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"What is it about Vicky that apparently makes kids hate her in droves? Her stories might say more about her than the kids in question.

Posted by: | June 18, 2008 2:19 PM"

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I'm actually a totally awful human being. Yes, that's right, I'm actually pretty sure I'm the devil incarnate. You can tell cause I don't have any kids myself - being childless marks me as the evil one.

Will THAT keep you from letting your kid kick me?

Posted by: vicky | June 18, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading the back and forth, and I'm not sure anymore what most folks are fighting about anymore. I've not heard a single person, parents included, who have defended parents who allow their children to willfully misbehave or who ignore their children on a flight to everyone's detriment; only defending those with youngsters/babies too young to control their behavior and yet whose parents still attempt to keep them quiet and orderly. I think most everyone posting agrees with this.

There are those (I think) few who are saying that no child should be allowed to fly if there is any chance the child may misbehave or make any kind of noise or distraction, and that having children means parents sacrifice the right to ever travel publicly. But I do think that's a small, kind of silly minority.

Posted by: PQ | June 18, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I love kids! They are delicious when charcoal broiled and served with some freshly sauted morel mushrooms.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"I love kids! They are delicious when charcoal broiled and served with some freshly sauted morel mushrooms.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 2:44 PM"

DandyLion/Lil Husky/Fatherof4: Now cut that out!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to sit near Sasquatch on my next flight. But just for the drinks - I wouldn't let him hold my kid.

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | June 18, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"When I sit near a squawking kid on a flight, the first thing I do is buy a round of drinks for the kid and his/her parents."

All joking aside, putting a MINUTE amount of booze into the kid's milk is supposed to help make the kid sleep. I know my grandmother recommended this to my cousin once when my cousin's kid was crying. But I wouldn't recommend trying this on a plane because some busybody would go to the police to report any parent doing it.

Posted by: Rich | June 18, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

If Vicky, Daz and Sasquatch will send me their real identities, I think we can all get together and start our own airline. I'm open for suggestions on a name.

Love their attitude. Free alcohol and Benadryl for kids; parents with uncontrollables ride in baggage.

Furthermore, being childfree does not make you a pariah. It makes you free, happy, unencumbered, spontaneous, and lots of fun to be around. We have lots of other interests besides baby vomit, bowel movements, and nose-picking habits.

Posted by: Slow Day in Cubeville | June 18, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how the civility has declined as the day progresses. Good thing we're not all on a plane together.

This whole debate is about respect for your fellow traveler. It's just as rude to force your way onto a crowded Metro car as it is to knowingly and willingly subject a plane full of people to a disgruntled toddler. Say you have to take 10 trips a year. Does the toddler really need to go on all of them? Maybe. Or maybe he really only needs to go on 5. And i'm sure everyone will say, "my situation is unique and of course he has to go on all 10." No, it's not all about my comfort. But it's not all about your situation either.

Most of us can empathize with your situation, but understanding and tolerance only go so far. It's hard to grin and bear it when you see a small child struggling in a situation that's beyond his capability because the parents decided it was essential they take this trip. It's even worse when they willfully ignore the situation.

Oh, and all bets are off if you're flying to Orlando. You know what that's about when you buy your ticket.

And it's not cool to attack Vicky. Stuff like that makes me wonder if the doctor made you check your common sense and courtesy for others as s condition of bringing the baby home from the hospital.

Posted by: Why? | June 18, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

careful starting an airline with Vicky, sounds like the entire cast of Annie will follow her on the plane. kicking in the shins? i have 3 kids, live in a neighborhood with scads of kids and never once has any of the things you described happened to me. maybe you are the devil incarnate. kids can smell that stuff a mile away.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who actually says he/she is "free, happy, unencumbered, spontaneous, and lots of fun to be around" probably isn't.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"I have an advanced engineering degree from a top tech school so it obviously didn't have any long-term effects on me."

Snort. Be careful about that oversized ego of yours. Maybe you think the Nyquil didn't hurt you, but to people on the outside, there is obviously something wrong with you. Maybe a case of overgrown ego and underdeveloped compassion. You were a kid too, once (probably).

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I really don't understand the problem with knocking little ones out and sedating the older ones.

It's unfair to the kids to expect them to act with a certain quiet and maturity level and unfair for the parents to put them in situations where others will have to deal with that behavior.

Knocking them out solves all the problems with absolutely no ill side effects.

Posted by: Liz D | June 18, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Furthermore, being childfree does not make you a pariah. It makes you free, happy, unencumbered, spontaneous, and lots of fun to be around. We have lots of other interests besides baby vomit, bowel movements, and nose-picking habits."

I have nothing against childfree people. But being childfree or being a parent is no guarantee of anything. You can be a miserable person no matter what your reproductive status happens to be. But you are right about one thing. Some people should not reproduce. Thanks for being so thoughtful.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Slow day in cubeville....thank you! The only point I'm trying to make is when did it become law that we all must bow down at the holy altar of loud and/or annoying kids?

All of us who have the contempt for the screeching baby on the plane have it for a reason....mine was on a flight from Seattle to Atlanta where a baby went non-stop with the loudest, nails-on-the-chalkboard wail the whole time. I asked the mother if there was something she could do besides trying to hush it (ahem, breastfeed it)...her response? "I know you must not have children, if you did, you would understand what the baby is going through and be more considerate" in the most condescending, "You don't have a kid, so you can't talk to me" tone I've ever heard...
My response? "You must not know anything about your kid or else you would know a 2 or 3 month olds ears can't handle the pressurized cabin"...and from that day forth, the wailing baby became my nemesis!!

Godbless if the condom ever breaks for me or I get drunk enough to knock my girl up, if I do, that baby is riding on the Acela!!

Posted by: Daz | June 18, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it is fairly dangerous to drug kids just to keep them quiet. Kids have died because parents mistakenly gave them overdoses of benadryl, and cold and cough medicines. As a matter of fact, labels on cough and cold medicines now state that they SHOULD NOT be given to kids under 2.

So for the people who think that they just might become irritated by the hassles of air travel, why not just take a valium with you and drug yourself if necessary? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"The guy leaned his seat back all the way the second we'd completed takeoff, and kept it there until landing. The top of his seat was basically in her lap."

I want to know which airlines these are that have these amazing seats that go back all the way! The #1 reason I don't nap on planes is because the seats hardly recline at all, and I have a habit of doing the amusing head-bobbing, open-mouthed drooling bit when I sleep upright. (This was not fun when flying cross-country on red-eyes and going straight to work from the airport upon landing, but I'm sure any children who were awake during those flights would have gotten a big kick out of it.)

As I've said, I rarely push my seat back more than an inch, because I don't nap. I'm not 6' tall so I don't really need the extra legroom, and I usually read or work on projects, so I don't need the seat all the way back. But there have been times when I've done so, and if I was around any babes in elevated seats, I was unaware of it. Child-free passengers are usually aware of children in their vicinity (because of the noise), but speaking as one of them, I have been unaware of any children whose lap I was sitting in. It's possible that other travelers are the same. How about tapping that person on the shoulder, asking, "excuse me, would you mind tilting your seat up an inch or so? My baby can't move," and smiling sweetly, instead of instantly wanting to kick the person? I bet the effect will be more positive.

So you see, it's not only us child-free travelers who are the unpleasant, defensive ones.

Posted by: Mona | June 18, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"A woman has agreed to sleep with you? "

Yeah, he pays her enough, anything can happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Slow Day in Cubeville writes:

"We have lots of other interests besides baby vomit, bowel movements, and nose-picking habits."

Lordy, if we factor out those activities, what would Emily have to write about?

Besides, it's 3:30, and time for my afternoon snack. Excuse me while I go looking for a booger.

Emily, it's time for you to be a good girl and get into the overhead bin for the rest of today's flight. Otherwise, we'll have to tranq you, put you into a VariKennel(tm), and have you ride in cargo the rest of the way.

Either that or I'll model a Speedo for you.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

A little nip below the belt would help you more.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Dandylion, is that you, trying to get a rise out of me? I am trying to picture you in a Speedo. It just isn't doing it for me though.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh, Emily! I love it when you get uppity!

Posted by: Excited Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

RiverCityRoller, you know I'd buy you a round even if you didn't have a screaming baby with you. Lizards gotta stick together, right?

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Sasquactch...odds are Emily couldn't fit into all the overhead bins on the plane combined. Still trying to lose all that baby weight from popping out her 6 kids...I'd wager she's about a deuce, deuce fifty...

Posted by: Daz | June 18, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Busted, Chewbacca!!

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

i don't get it. what's the big deal? don't we all travel with ipods now? turn up the volume! if you don't like PUBLIC transportation, get your own damn plane! babies are babies are babies. there is no reasoning with them. all you can do is offer comfort. and then it's a crapshoot.

Posted by: cocky | June 18, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"Furthermore, being childfree does not make you a pariah. It makes you free, happy, unencumbered, spontaneous, and lots of fun to be around. We have lots of other interests besides baby vomit, bowel movements, and nose-picking habits."

Guess what? Even the child-free can be miserable old cranks. And, I know plenty who are a complete bore. Ditto for some married with kids people I know. So, your procreative status is not a guarantee in thei regard.

And, this is now the second or third time that the child free crowd is playing victim. ("We are not animals.") No one is saying that. And, you don't want kids, great. I don't care either way. But, if you don't have kids it is very easy to make sweeping generalizations about what parents/kids should do, when they should travel with their kids, "this is what I'd do if X happened", etc., etc., when you've never had to do it. I can say this b/c I did the EXACT same thing before I had my daughter. It's not condescending and I don't intend it as a slap or a put down. But, I do believe this to be the case (as do many I know.) So, that's why some of us get PO'd when people without kids and who do NOT know my kid's temperment lecture me with what I should be doing or how I should act. And, I will tune you out in a nanosecond.
(And, fwiw, I do NOT think the world adores my daughter as I do and I don't travel by air with her at her age for various reasons. But, I don't begrudge others that do.)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Sorry,
But I don't do it with Pigs. Maybe the hooker on the corner is interested though. Although I would imagine even hookers have their standards. Well, at least you have your hand.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Why not move the child seat to the other seat where there's nothing reclined? Nicely ask the guy if he'd mind moving his seat forward for a few moments so that you can do this. After all, he has as much right to recline the seat for which he paid as you do to "use the seat [you] paid for.""

I would have loved to move the seat. Unfortunately, car seats are required to be used only in the window seat (or so the flight attendants have told us), so that they don't block the access of other seats to the aisle. We couldn't move it -- that's why DD spent most of the flight out of her seat.

And of course we asked him to un-recline his seat (not so we could move DD's seat, but so that she would have some wiggle room). He wouldn't, and as you and others have pointed out, that was his right. Doesn't mean he wasn't a jerk, though.

Bottom line for me is that one should always at least try to be aware of their surroundings when they're out in public, and act as if they'd want to be treated. I think it's rude and inconsiderate for anyone to recline their seat on an already-cramped airplane, and even more so when there's a kid sitting behind you. Likewise, I would never allow my kid to touch other airline passengers, sing at the top of her lungs, run in the aisles or throw things around the plane. Basic common sense and courtesy.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

emily - stop.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

um...why are childless people posting on a blog called "on parenting"??? b/c they are happy and spontaneous? or miserable hags? just wondering...

Posted by: cocky | June 18, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

There is no reason EVER, to take a child under 4 on a plane. Take driving vacations or no vacation at all, but never, ever, take a child on a plane. Never take a child under 4 to a fancy restaurant, never take a child under 4 anywhere that is meant for adults. PERIOD
I have two children who are now adults and I put my life on hold for the first 4 years of each of their lives. If you are not willing to do that do not have children.
For the Trans Atlantic traveler I pray to God I never get on a flight with you and your poor (hurting ears, scared due to strangers and strange environment, not able to move much for 1/2 a day, etc.) children. Flying Trans Atlantic with a baby and a toddler is child abuse.

Posted by: nobabiesortoddlers | June 18, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Why not move the child seat to the other seat where there's nothing reclined? Nicely ask the guy if he'd mind moving his seat forward for a few moments so that you can do this. After all, he has as much right to recline the seat for which he paid as you do to "use the seat [you] paid for."


Rich that is a great idea-- unfortunately it is illegal or against airline regulations or whatever. the car seats are so huge that they must be placed at the window seat-- no other seat is allowable because it restricts traffic to the aisle in case of an emergency. So the better option is for the guy in front of the child in the carseat to either move his chair back up or offer to trade seats with someone. Or the parent can just exhaust themselves physically holding down the child's legs to inhibit kicking. Done that myself once. Wasn't fun, but I was mortified when my child did it so I did it.

If there were a seditative that was safe and effective, I'd certainly use it on my kids. Heck, I'd love a little time for some quiet reading too! But until a doctor tells me something is OK to use, I'm not going to take the risk and instead I'll just plan on being totally "on" doing the flights.

Posted by: to rich | June 18, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Why are poeple flying around the world with little babies? Wait to travel until they are older!"

This has got to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in my life.

Posted by: td | June 18, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I think this entire blog may be the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in my life

Posted by: lurking newbie | June 18, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"I have two children who are now adults and I put my life on hold for the first 4 years of each of their lives." said the future grandma from hell

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"There is no reason EVER, to take a child under 4 on a plane. Take driving vacations or no vacation at all, but never, ever, take a child on a plane. Never take a child under 4 to a fancy restaurant, never take a child under 4 anywhere that is meant for adults. PERIOD"

Um... who declared airplanes to be for adults only?

Fancy restaurants, I'll cheerfully give you. But airplanes are not 4-star events (at least not in coach), they're transportation. People move. People visit aging or ill relatives. People even decide to take their kids with them on vacation or work assignments! Because kids are not puppies to be left in kennels!

Shocking, I know!

Posted by: Shandra | June 18, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Heyyyy, back up off my girl Emily, Daz. You have added nothing positive to this site today and are taking it a bit too far. Scram

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 18, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Ditto Shandra. Some restaurants, yeah. No kids. But airplanes? Not so much.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 18, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

nobabiesortoddlers put her life on hold for 4 years for her kids. Gack. No wander she's so miserable. Well, at least her kids will be lucky and won't have to travel with their kids to visit!

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Good lord people, what is wrong with you? People with children have every right to travel with those children no matter the age. And, yes, there are many valid reasons why someone would need to travel with a small child - for example to care for a injured or ill family member in another state, or to visit an elderly or frail family member who might not otherwise ever get to meet the child. Babies cry, young children cry, grown folks sometimes cry too, get the he77 over yourselves.

Posted by: sunnydaze | June 18, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"There is no reason EVER, to take a child under 4 on a plane."

There is no reason for any person to be this naive and ignorant.

I was born in Germany because the Army told my father he had to go there. When I was 18 months old they told him he and his family (including me) had to go to Colorado.

Was that a reason for me to be on a plane?

(Bearing in mind that US Government travel policy does not and has not for many decades permitted the purchase of ocean liner tickets, which are much, much more expensive than almost all plane tickets.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | June 18, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Daz- Apparently you business travelers aren't quite important enough to the airlines to instate a no families policy! Maybe you should write them with the suggestion, since they're so successful these days and could stand to lose more passengers.

Posted by: atb | June 18, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Cocky writes:

"um...why are childless people posting on a blog called "on parenting"??? b/c they are happy and spontaneous? or miserable hags? just wondering..."

----------------------------------

One of my acquaintances, Elphaba, is a hag, however, she's anything byut miserable, especially when screaming kids come to her door. She thinks of them as take-out delivery.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Sasquatch - You are an instigator. But I like you anyway.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Emily writes:

"Sasquatch - You are an instigator. But I like you anyway."

If you like me, you'll LOVE my neighbor, the GEICO Caveman.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Is this the Emily that packs her hemorrhoids with frozen spinach? And has her husband describe them because she can't see up there? Gad, must be a delightful marriage.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Mona,

Are you the same Mona who took her cat on a plane? If so, please shut up. If not, I am sorry. :o

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Sasquatch - you have out done yourself - I commend you.

Posted by: mango | June 18, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Holycow! What the heck is going on with Dax. Please play nice. Emily, I am sure you are a hot mama. Sorry I missed such a great blog.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 18, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Irishgirl, you would have done the same. In fact, you might have even threatened to beat him up. I know you.

How've you been? How's the baby. Been on a plane lately?

And by the way, Dandylion is masquerading as Sasquatch today.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Sasquatch is definitely DandyLion/Lil Husky/Father of 4. (If nothing else, the spelling errors caused by his voice transcription software would tend to give him away.)

The only question I have is whether or not he's also Dax.

The "Sasquatch" persona is of the offensive-to-be-humorous nature, which is DL's stock in trade. It's the school of satire-a-la-Jonathan Swift.

The "Dax" persona is less so; it comes across as more of the "I'm an arrogant little pecker who will bestow my wisdom upon you lesser humans" variety, which is an area in which DL rarely treads.

But you never know - I'm betting it's the same person.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | June 18, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

You got that right. I was telling him to play nice. What the heck is his problem anyway. I think it is funny that he thinks dandylion is his partner in crime.

My baby is good. No I have not been on a plane lately, if I was I am sure you would have seen me on the news. I would be the one in handcuffs and the rude passengers/airline personel would be the ones with the broken noses.

How's your baby?

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 18, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Emily sez:

"Dandylion is masquerading as Sasquatch today."

heh-heh-heh

Little does she know.

heh-heh-heh

Posted by: The One & Only Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The only question I have is whether or not he's also Dax.

No way ArmyBrat. I know dandylion personally and he wouldn't talk to Emily that way. I don't think the things Dax said were funny.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 18, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"There is no reason EVER, to take a child under 4 on a plane. Take driving vacations or no vacation at all, but never, ever, take a child on a plane. Never take a child under 4 to a fancy restaurant, never take a child under 4 anywhere that is meant for adults. PERIOD"

Airplanes are not just for adults. It is statements like these that show what whiners you are. If you don't like flights with kids, then don't take flights with kids. If you book a flight thinking no kids will be on it and it ends up that there are, rebook on a later flight. Or just drive to your destination. Or take the train with the quiet car. Or just grow up and deal with it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Dax and Sasquatch/Dandylion are the same person. Dax is a really little weenie. Dandylion is a much bigger person.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

AmyBrat shares her suspicions about my identity.

heh-heh-heh

If only she knew....

http://dickipedia.org/dick.php?title=John_McCain

Posted by: Who is Sasquatch? | June 18, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm going to give my best shot at covering some of the repeat blog topics that get people so fired up.
I was blessed with kids later in life, did the older parent thing by choice and for us it was the right choice. Also enabled me to serve most of a very full and rewarding military career protecting the freedoms we know and love. Like blogging.
Because I kept my job after my kids were born (thus subjecting them to daycare), I got an overseas assignment which required me to fly with my baby. Being the gifted child she was, she was perfect on the plane and slept in her car seat the entire trip in a seat I paid for, preventing the person in the seat in front of her from reclining his seat. Oh, wait, I did breast feed her on take off -- that's why she did so well.
Fast forward several years, after spending a part of last summer very pregnant and in my bikini at the pool (and still having a smaller belly than too many of the pre-pubescent boys there) I had perfect child number two who is as magnificent a traveler as his older sister. Yep, you got it, I also nursed him on our latest flight. Their favorite airplane toy? The emergency instruction card and the airsickness bag (the latter makes a great puppet when empty).
DH shares the household chores, DD will go to public school, I choose to continue to work and to travel (where I make it a point to help parents traveling with small kids).
So far, San Francisco and Denver have some good play areas for kids. Works better than drugs for airplane naps -- both kids (yes, I actually recognize, accept, embrace and cheer the fact that they're not perfect or gifted, they're just ours and that's wonderful enough for us; I also know not everyone can stand to be around them) were fast asleep as the plane backed away from the gate.
Superior? No, just sarcastic and enjoying today's debate.
Off to run, my time for myself before I get the kids from daycare. The activity that enabled me to look just fine in a bikini and annoy the crap out of a few bloggers last year.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | June 18, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"My baby is good. No I have not been on a plane lately, if I was I am sure you would have seen me on the news. I would be the one in handcuffs and the rude passengers/airline personel would be the ones with the broken noses.

How's your baby?"

Smile. Of course they would have broken noses. And I would be rooting for you all the way. My daughter is well, growing like gangbusters, all smiles and sunshine, with two bottom teeth. My son is loving summer camp. Glad to hear you are well. I've missed your irrepressible humor.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, stroller momma!

I remember that debate.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 18, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Sasquatch - I think I love you.

Posted by: luvzSasquatch | June 18, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Emily,

I have been busy and to be honest sometimes I just can't take the meaness of the blog. I pop in from time to time and get ready to post and then think, why bother. However, I thought that Dax was really nasty, so I thought I would offer you my cyber support.

I'll try to check in more often.

Glad to hear that your daughter and son are both doing well.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 18, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

um...why are childless people posting on a blog called "on parenting"??? b/c they are happy and spontaneous? or miserable hags? just wondering...

Posted by: cocky | June 18, 2008 3:51 PM


Because we like f**king with you breeders.

Posted by: child-free and fabulous | June 18, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Because we like f**king with you breeders.

The barren usually do.

So sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually, today was the first really mean day in a long time, I think. The On Balance Blog has been extraordinarily dignified lately. I'm sorry I got in the dirt today. I really shouldn't have. In the end, when you fight with pigs, you only get diry, and the pigs like it.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, don't sweat it, we have all been there. You and I have even been there together.

See ya later.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 18, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Nah, we're not barren. We just have better things to do than spawn.

Posted by: Happily ChildFree | June 18, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Dude, I like kids, I like Sasquatch (I'm from Nor Cal and I know a lot of people who are looking for you, btw), and I like debates. But some of the posters on here are surprisingly vicious.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"In the end, when you fight with pigs, you only get diry, and the pigs like it."

Geeze, guys, just because I'm hairy, stinky, grouchy and fugly in a Speedo doesn't mean that you have to insult my pet pot-bellied piggies.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Nah, we're not barren. We just have better things to do than spawn."

Keep trying honey, it will happen for you if you have a positive outlook.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

:)

Posted by: Probably really ugly and Happily ChildFree | June 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it a full moon tonight??

Posted by: WDC 21113 | June 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

By golly, it is a full moon tonight. Now it all makes sense.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: For the record | June 18, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

WDC asks:

"Isn't it a full moon tonight??"

Indeed. Tonight Ms. Snatchquatch and I will join the GEICO Caveman, and the MensWear Wolf (You'd like to meet his tailor) at Lee Ho Fooks for a big dish of beef chow mein.

You're welcome to come if you're in the neighborhood. But be aware that if you bring a kid and he/she starts screaming, the MensWear Wolf will probably eat the kid.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I find it odd that people with children are never bashing their childless counterparts. Hmmmmm, why is that? Maybe it is because we don't care what you do? Perhaps, you should take a page from our book and just be happy.

Posted by: No need to be nasty | June 18, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

For the record sez:

"Let's play fair here...

http://dickipedia.org/dick.php?title=Barack_Obama

Record, you seem to have mistaken me for another Dick, perhaps Andy Dick.

As Lindsay Lohan would say,
"So many Dicks. So little time."

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Keep trying honey, it will happen for you if you have a positive outlook."

I do have a positve outlook, why do you think I'm child-free?

Posted by: child-free and fabulous | June 18, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Whose stupic comment was it that kids shouldn't *ever* be in fancy restaurants?

Sorry, you are wrong. Just plain and simply flat-out wrong.

My children had their first excursion to a *fancy* restaurant for our 15th wedding anniversary. They were perfect little gentlemen, stayed in their seats, didn't disturb the other customers, mostly enjoyed the food, and loved the jazz combo that was playing next to our table. They were 10 and 5 at the time, but they'd been going out to restaurants regularly since the older was about a week old, and they knew what behavior was expected in a public establishment.

We're lucky that our boys have pleasant and easy-going personalities, but DH gets major credit for their behavior. He was raised in the south and got the southern gentleman thing thoroughly hammered into him.

Not all kids are going to be capable of the same standards of behavior at the same ages - like I said, we're lucky - but most kids can learn the basics eventually.

And yes, I've seen other kids, and adults, who can't or don't behave. I'll usually say something soto voce to my kids about how the ill-behaved person is making everyone around them uncomfortable, and how much I appreciate that they aren't acting like that. Catch them being good!

Posted by: Sue | June 18, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"do have a positve outlook, why do you think I'm child-free?"

Obviously, because you're too mean and ugly to get any. Duh.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Emily- everything is dangerous if you use it wrong. Animal crackers can kill!

But if done properly, there are many methods of sedation which will work with no problems.

Why should we sedate the kids and not me? Because it is unfair to expect the kids to sustain a particular level of behavior.

It is rude and wrong to create a very annoying and disruptive noise in a public space. As the parent, it's up to them to make sure that this doesn't happen or is able to remove them immediately if it does. In a plane, removal isn't possible. So it's up to them to either NOT get on the plane, or make sure it doesn't happen.

If they don't, they are being rude and wrong.

Posted by: Liz D | June 18, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

We're 1st generation Americans, so we've hauled our family back and forth overseas more times than I can count, including when the kids were infants. My number 1 tip for the parents bringing a baby home for Korea is to be as calm and well-rested as possible. I know that sounds impossible, but your baby will (hopefully) pick up on your confidence and positive mood. Plus, if you and/your partner in parenting aren't terribly overtired, you'll have the energy to keep playing peek-a-boo. It's just one day. Nobody will be traumatized for life. Just try to smile, relax, play and have as much fun as is humanly possible and hope your kid goes with you on that.

Posted by: globetrottin' mom | June 18, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"Mona,

Are you the same Mona who took her cat on a plane? If so, please shut up."

Yes, that was me, and I can't resist the temptation of responding (unfortunately). I paid for the extra fare, the fees, the vet bills, the exorbitant flying carriers, and the airline had 6 months' notice that the cats would be there. Trust me, it was not something I wanted to do, nor would I do it again. But I'm not the kind of person who would kill a healthy cat I've had for five or ten years just because I don't want to inconvenience myself while moving--if I were that kind of person, I wouldn't get a pet at all. For the record, both of the cats were silent the entire trip--the only people who noticed we had them were people who saw us in the boarding area trying to sooth them. If anyone else noticed and was bothered by them, they kept their dirty looks to themselves. And I'm pretty that if anyone died from an allergy attack, I'd have heard about it by now.

Posted by: Mona | June 18, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"Keep trying honey, it will happen for you if you have a positive outlook."

I do have a positve outlook, why do you think I'm child-free?


If you can't get any as one of the other posters put it, maybe you can adopt. Although I bet that adoption agencies don't like to give babies to dried up, old hags. Sorry.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Liz D - I have to respectfully disagree with you. I would not sedate my children for convenience. Over-the-counter medications are contra-indicated for children under 2 - you are only supposed to give it to them under the care and advice of a physician, and I can't imagine any physician would say it's okay to give benadryl as a sedative for flying.

That does not mean I wouldn't do all I could to plan the trip in a way to mitigate the discomfort of the child and the fellow passengers. But I would stop short of sedating the kid. Just like children have to learn to behave, adults have to learn to be tolerant. Life is too short to get all bent out of shape because of a crying baby. People who allow that to ruin their day are basically giving up their control. You cannot control what goes on around you. But you can control how you react. At least if you're an adult.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously, because you're too mean and ugly to get any. Duh."

Oh my, I don't know how I will ever recover from such a harsh rebuttal. You're just too clever for me anonymous poster. You have shamed me into getting pregnant right this minute, of course I don't really want kids, so I'll have to drop it off in a dumpster, but hey to prove to you I can "get some" I am willing to make that sacrifice. For you.

Posted by: child-free and fabulous | June 18, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, it doesn't surprise me that you are a hypocrite. Your cats are welcome on the plane, but not kids? That is really messed up. If they would have had an accident, you would have had people vomiting all over the place. If someone was allergic, they could have died.

But GOD forbid someone like you has to hear a crying baby.

Posted by: to Mona | June 18, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Go away. You are such a nasty b!tch.

Posted by: to child-free and fabulous | | June 18, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Irishgirl - good to see you again. You aren't flooded out there in MO are you?

Posted by: moxiemom | June 18, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"You have shamed me into getting pregnant right this minute, of course I don't really want kids, so I'll have to drop it off in a dumpster, but hey to prove to you I can "get some" I am willing to make that sacrifice. For you."

I hear Daz is looking for a date. You two are a match made in heaven.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Whoah, Nelly! This is a parenting blog, right? Hope there aren't any kids reading!

Posted by: parent | June 18, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Go away. You are such a nasty b!tch."

Why do you think I'm on this blog, isn't this where they hang out?

Posted by: child-free and fabulous | June 18, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

To "to Mona"...

I know I'm playing right into your hands by responding, but nowhere in today's thread did I say kids were not welcome on planes. No way am I pulling on that thread. Not until I own an airline can I say who is or is not welcome. Kids are welcome, pets are welcome (on some airlines), angry businessmen on cell phones are welcome. I don't make the rules, the FAA does. All I did was express my ignorance regarding car/plane seats, thank people who corrected me, and then leave a suggestion that parents politely ask people to tilt their seats up instead of kicking them. Check my posts again--nowhere did I say I thought kids should not be allowed on flights. That is a fruitless argument--even if that's what I wished to happen, it never would.

Posted by: Mona | June 18, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Emily- well the reality is that I AM tolerant. How many times have parents ACTUALLY had someone say something to them? I know some have, and I know some are not justified. But seriously, the grand majority of the time, NO ONE says anything. We DO suffer in silence and sad looks.

But that doesn't stop me from sharing on a blog how I feel people SHOULD treat the situation.

And there are many other chemicals out there which can safely sedate other than ones bought at pharmacies.

Posted by: Liz D | June 18, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Check out today's Celebritology comments if you want to know out of which hole Sasquatch and his friends, the lizards, climbed out.

For nobabiesortoddlers, the woman who "put her life on hold for 4 years" - you've hit the trifecta: martyrdom, an oversized ego and condescension, all in one tidy package. She needs to get l**d but no one can stand to listen to her long enough to do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Yo, all you fattys!

Carm down!

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Dudes, it's late and it's happy hour (I can do things like that with no kids to go home to and a SO who's very understand).

Gotta go, this has been fun. Thanks for making my afternoon fly. You guys are great!!!!

Posted by: child-free and fabulous | June 18, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, hon, go drown you sorrows in a nice drink. Get drunk, then you can imagine you have a baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Anon at 5:30 writes:

"Check out today's Celebritology comments if you want to know out of which hole Sasquatch and his friends, the lizards, climbed out."

I didn't crawl out of any of your orifices, Anon.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

OK. He's not DL. Maybe he is Daz.

Posted by: Emily | June 18, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Haven't had a chance to look at all the postings (300!). I once had a flight attendant take my kid when I boarded and told me that she was in charge of the babies, and she had to take care of them. It was obvious that she LOVED kids and she was great with him (he was a good baby, anyway - usually, and after the colic stage...).

So he was that official baby of the flight, and perfectly happy. And we got a few minutes of rest. Most of the time, we've not had any problems flying - we have tried to schedule flights well (i.e., having to wake the kids up in the AM, then they don't go to sleep til they get on the plane cause there's too much to see).

BUT you can't always do that - and yes, there are rude airline employees - just as there are rude parents. This is life - and the problem is the expectations of flyers and the horrible way the airlines treat its employees and passengers (in working for a hotel company they actually said they wanted to be like the airlines - and I said: why? everyone hates the airlines...).

Again, we all need to learn to live together. It's just that simple. And realize that others sometimes are having tough days and need some compassion.

Posted by: atlmom | June 18, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"Your cats are welcome on the plane, but not kids? ... If someone was allergic, they could have died."

What? I have NEVER heard of anyone dying from a cat allergy! (food yes, cats no)

Posted by: CJB | June 18, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Your cats are welcome on the plane, but not kids? ... If someone was allergic, they could have died."

What? I have NEVER heard of anyone dying from a cat allergy! (food yes, cats no)
------------------------------------------

CJB, the poster of that comment and several others have had their hyperbole booster shots today. Things should a bit calmer by tomorrow. :)

Posted by: Lynne | June 18, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

OMG the OP/OB peeps and the Lizards are bonding today! That's so sweet!

If Nyquil, Benadryl, and one of Sasquatch's cocktails doesn't knock your kid out, I'm sure a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick would do the trick. I hear that's his new day job after Huck dropped out.

*Ducks*

Posted by: dc snark | June 18, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

DC Snark, did you bow your head in respect when you wrote "Chuck Norris"?

When Chuck Norris is booked on a flight, there are no screaming kids on the plane. Chuck Norris simply stares at the screaming kid and says, "Yo, fatty! Carm down." And so it goes.

Posted by: Sasquatch | June 18, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Sasquatch -- there was much bowing to be had. Even Dubya acknowledges the power of Chuck Norris. However, I did realize that Chuck may not be allowed on a plane anymore as he is a lethal weapon.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

Posted by: dc snark | June 18, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

"Your cats are welcome on the plane, but not kids? ... If someone was allergic, they could have died."

What? I have NEVER heard of anyone dying from a cat allergy! (food yes, cats no)

Posted by: CJB | June 18, 2008 6:11 PM

I am allergic to cats and some dogs -- an asthma attack is what happens if I'm in a bad situation (and yes, I take allergy medications in preperation for places where I know pets will be).

People DO die from asthma attacks.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | June 18, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

re: adults behavior vs. kids.

Was on a flight from NY to Atl, where there was a guy arguing with the gate agent about his bag (she wanted him to check it, he did not).

Well, eventually, we got the story from the flight attendant that he spit on the gate agent. She indicated that he was not on the flight and the police were on their way.

Posted by: atlmom | June 18, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Some people I know deal with the seat kicking thing by taking a seat and the seat in front of it - so if the kid kicks the seat, it's the parents seat (this usually works when there's more than one parent - and or more than one kid - i.e., two behind, two in front).

Posted by: atlmom | June 18, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

atlmom,

Wouldn't it make more sense to just keep the kid from kicking the seat? I traveled a good bit with my older daughter when she was a preschooler--back and forth to see my parents, two family weddings, to China to adopt her sister (the one who stickered her stomach for over an hour on the flight back). She always had a car seat (except on flights to and from China), and no one ever reclined their seat back on her. I don't think her feet would have even reached the seat in front unless it was reclined, so the only instance in which we could have had a problem would be if someone reclined. And even then, I don't think it would be that hard for most preschoolers to learn not to kick the seat in front. I can see getting the seat in front if you can't be on the same row, but why would you voluntarily split apart?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I've never done it, but I was indicating that that was what I have heard others do.

When I flew with DS a few months ago, we ended up only getting out seat assignments at the gate and apparently were the last ones to do so - we got two seats, one in one row, one in another, and I was exhasperated - I knew that my son would never have wanted to not be near me - I guess fortunately my seat was in the back row and another passenger happily switched with me, but *he* wouldn't have kicked anyone's seat...the other one, I don' tknow....

Posted by: atlmom | June 18, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow the childless people in DC are a bitter lot.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

It scares the bejeepers out of me that some of you people are raising children. Can you imagine the horrible wretched adults those children will become? Look at the parents -- their role models. Gag!

Furthermore, why is this blog restricted to 'parents?' It's a free country. We can read and comment on anything we want to. Just exercising our precious First Amendment right to free speech.

As for fugly childfree people -- get a load of the photo of Stacey. If that's what foaling does to you, I'll pass, thank you very much.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Amen, 9:28, Amen!!!!

My friends that have children are way more fun then this bunch and actually kept their sense of humor after having kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Why do you want to spend your time posting to a parenting blog when you despise and disdain parents and kids? Is this really the most fun way to spend your time? Sure, you're free to do so, but your choice speaks to your lack of hobbies, interests and friends.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I am childless and read this blog all the time. I post rarely. Why? Because I genuinely like children and am interested in understanding them. And I have lots of nieces and nephews (and now, great nieces and nephews) that I love and sometimes care for.

Of course, on posts like today I am not gleaning a whole lot of understanding!

Posted by: Another perspective | June 19, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

fr Sasquatch:

>...One of my acquaintances, Elphaba, is a hag, however, she's anything byut miserable, especially when screaming kids come to her door. She thinks of them as take-out delivery.

and Toto too? Seriously, you gotta be not miserable when you're born with green skin and get shipped off to a boarding school with Galinda from the North! What a snot that Galinda is!

Posted by: Alex | June 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I have been on both sides of the equation, the very tired business traveler desperate for some sleep before a trial and being kicked by an older child who was not being tended to by his parents. I also recently flew with my 21 month old. We got him his own seat so he could sleep, packed all the food/drink the regulations would allow, timed the flight for nap time, feed him before the flight and did everything possible to keep him the model baby. First flight went like a dream - he was a happy baby who napped for most of the flight. Second flight was more difficult - a 2 hour delay and an overtired hysterical toddler who did not want to be locked into his seat by the time we took off. I got the hairy eyeball from the woman in the seat in front of me, so i just smiled pretty, apologized and then explained to her that we were doing everything we could but that the delay was proving stressful. I could tell she was not perfectly happy but she did stop giving me "the look" over the seat back. If anyone were to complain more, I was prepared to take names, write memos, and generally assert my rights - to be free from harassment. While people have the right to politely ask a parent to do everything they can to tend to their child, no one has the right to harrass the parent or intimidate the child. What I find all to frequently in these situtations is a woman traveling alone and being harrassed to please a business traveler - usually male. I think it speaks volumes to the status of women and children in our society.

Bottom line - when using public transportation or other places of public accomodation - albeit expensive public transportation - you can't complain if you must be near crying children, people with disabilities, or the elderly in need of assistance. So, for those gentle souls who want to see "no kid" planes, or "No disability" planes, or "no bad bo planes" - please feel free to charter your own jet but in the meantime when in places of public accomodation deal with others with the respect and kindness you would wish to receive yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow. You people really are giving me a headache. Guess what? Babies are part of life. And they cry. Isn't that amazing? And for all you folks with 'gifted' babies or those whiners without babies who are shocked that a baby dare not walk or talk at 12 or 13 months of age, get a grip. Guess what? That's normal too. Get over yourselves. I can only hope that when you do have kids or have a 'non-gifted' child who would be obnoxious enough to cry, people would be more kind to you than you have been to others. Shame on you.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so I'm the mother in question in this story. First, this flight was not a vacation but rather we were taking our 2 children to see meet their very elderly and house-bound 90 year old grandmother while she is still alive. Yes, we tried to soothe the baby as much as possible and were sorry that she was making such a racket. No, a 13 month old is not a toddler who can be reasoned with, but still an infant! And yes, we did try snacks and sippy cups to soothe her! Obviously, we were pulling out our whole bag of tricks!

Anyways, I do agree that there are some places that are not appropriate for young children - "nice" restaurants and business environments come to mind. However, air travel is a pretty normal part of modern life and is occasionally necessary even when you have an infant. And when you have a breastfeeding infant then leaving them home with a relative is not an option. Children are part of life - you really cannot expect to go out in public and never be bothered by one. This extends to public transportation!

Posted by: A Concepcion | June 24, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Uff, there is very insane people posting here, I hope you never have children, because those kids would be miserable... or maybe, I wish you have triplets and you will be miserable!

Just few ideas for those who want to travel with kids, I have travel with my 2 boys since they were 3 weeks old (yes,people have to move!), they are 3 and 5 now:

-Feed them well, heathly meals, no sugar, no chocolate, PROTEIN!. Keep the meals routine, do not give them food just to keep them busy. Do not take the child-meal at the plane! (I don't understand why they offer chips and mac and cheese, fake juice, which is high fructose corn syrup,a drug! and a whole bar of milk chocolate.

-Set the rules before they are in the plane, and ask them for ideas of how to deal with their wiggles ( they will be more cooperative).

-Give them your full attention!

-We had a song: Planes are for sleep!

-Walk with a crying baby, they have told me to stop, but I ask to do it in the kitchen or another area and flight attendances usually find the way. Being sitting with a crying baby makes things worse. Breath easy!

-Bring your car seat, it is a well known place, it means safety to kids, they know the rules there.

-I usually travel at night (11PM), and keep them active during the day, with their normal routine. I don't give them any food or drink unless they ask after dinner, before being siting in the plane. So during the time we have to wait they are in their car seats, eat their dinner (I ask for adult dinner early, flight attendants usually can warm it up really quick) and then we follow our home routine, books and sleep!

-We arrive next day (usually 12 hours flight) and they are just fine.

-Breastfeeding helps!

-When my older son was 5 months old he had a bad time crying in one plane, I must have walked 10 miles until he calmed down and feel asleep for 10 hours. It was nice that many people in the plane smiled to me, understood and helped! I was devastated and tired. We had a great flight after that. I actually changed the seat because it was the plane were they put all the kids together. The screams of the other kids kept waking up my son...they were older kids, with parents that gave them no attention.

There is a difference between a family that is taking care of their kids and the ones that don't care at all. That makes the biggest difference!


Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

What if a baby dies on board an international aircraft? Wonder what thy responsibility of the airline is? Our 4.5 month old infant died while the flight from Brussels to Delhi (Jet Airways Flight 229) was getting ready to land. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Infant-dies-on-flight-NRI-parents-say-he-was-healthy/325237/1/

Wonder if the airline has any responsibility in such cases at all?

Posted by: Aditya Mohan | July 7, 2008 6:39 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company