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What to do? You're flying at 30,000 feet. Your kid is having the mother of all tantrums, and your seatmates are anything but happy. In fact, they ask you to get her under control. The nerve! Our readers weigh in.

chld crying on airplane

Well said! It is baffling that other travellers think that parents WANT their children to be screaming like maniacs and somehow are withholding the solution to silence. It is one thing if a child is kicking a seat or throwing things, but tantrums and the like are not in a parent's control. A little compassion can go a long way. -- Cheryl

Bless your heart, what a nightmare ... I usually try to pack a few special new things that I can pull out in an emergency like this one ... If none of our other tricks work and we've tried everything, usually a new book, M&Ms, or something will capture my son's attention ... I know, total bribery, but when you are confined and traveling, there isn't much you can do! -- littlepeapie

If a parent is going to fly with a child too young to control his/her behavior, you are going to have to expect other passengers to become annoyed. Perhaps a better idea is to have family fly to you, if their health permits, until a child is older. You could even offer to pay for the tickets. A 2-year-old isn't old enough to remember much about Disney World or Bermuda, so postpone the trip until they are older. I would never have put my children on a plane until they were old enough to understand that their behavior affected other people. I think parents of children under 5 should be charged a hefty "annoyance fee" along with their plane tickets. If the child doesn't end up being a screamer or a seat-kicker, the fee could be refunded upon landing. I love my girls as much as any other parent loves theirs, but I wouldn't put other people in the position of having to "put up" with my little darlings. -- tennmom

Before I had kids, I was really annoyed with little ones screaming. Now whenever I hear it, I am filled with compassion. I am just so thankful it is not me, and I feel really bad for that parent with the tough job of quieting down a toddler. -- Katie

As a military mom of two well-seasoned young travelers, I understand that it's hard to keep little kids quiet. My children have flown to Germany several times, we always bring lots of toys and videos, plus we fly at night. While I sympathize with the mom in this article, I also understand the other passengers' point of view. Not everyone wants to hear your child scream for 2 hours, and as paying customers, they have a right to be annoyed. Why not take the child to the restroom, or switch to a seat in the back of the plane, or fly at night? -- Liz

Gee, I wish I was one of these moms insulting the writer, with a perfectly behaved child and living in a world that surrounds her schedule. That would be nifty. Where can I sign up for that? I hear someone squalling and I think "Oh no, someone's not happy!" And that's it. Especially if you can tell the parents are pulling out all stops trying to get the child to quiet down. I get it, been there, done that, have the T-shirt. But then again, as stated above, I'm not one of those perfect mommies with a perfect child, so maybe that's why I'm so patient ... -- MarMar

If we are going to charge an "annoyance fee" for children, may I propose one for the obnoxious people who 1) bounce around in their seats to the point my drink falls in my lap, 2) get DRUUUUUUUUNNNNNNKK, 3) keep chatting on their cell phones long past the time the flight attendants have asked for electronic devices to be turned OFF, 4) take off their shoes and share that funky smell with the rest of us -- et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. To date, my twin boys (now 2) have been the LEAST annoying parts of many flights. So much so that people comment about how good they are. My day is coming, I know, so I have nothing but compassion for those who are doing their best when flying with children. -- Christina



next: Yes, You DO Have Time to Work Out!
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
jo November 5, 2009, 9:54 AM

id whoop some butt

Bronwynne May 25, 2010, 12:37 PM

No it isnt pleasant to have a child screaming during a flight, sometimes it is unavoidable. That said moms with screaming kids its just tough luck, the people on the flight will not be scarred for life! They will get over it, you wont see them again so if you cant travel at night or if you do and they still scream, just to bad! Dont stress yourself out over it! One day you will laugh about it im sure! Its important for you to remain calm, the more hyped up you get the less capable you will be to handle the situation anyway! Im not saying ignore it, try your best to bribe or anything that may work!

emma January 31, 2011, 12:59 PM


ikr! i am 13 years old, and i HATE when babys cry on a plane!! so as a parent u should not scold them, yell, or ignore them. that will only make them more upset, plus the people around you. so be extreamly kind, even if you dont want to.

chellP April 22, 2011, 2:26 PM

I had to take a trip to AK to see my family because they refuse to visit, and demand i come up… my parents. My daughter was 10 months she was ok, she had to sit in our laps at that time, it was difficult, and i will never sit another child of mine in my lap because during then i felt so unsafe but couldn’t do anything about it. there were other children as well, that were not doing so well, pain in the ears, etc. My daughter was pretty good on all 4 flights, and i felt bad about when she did cry, but i did my best to keep her quiet. ITs a daily thing though, if we had our own airplanes to fly people would stop their whining, but its unrealistic. Now its just me and her going this May, i bought her a seat because i was highly stressed about traveling with her on my lap and her being the size of a 3 year old when not even 2 yet, again i was demanded to AK… when i didn’t want to go, This will be the last time, because i dont care about my parents money, they dont care about mine obviously, but during this trip, im doing all i can to keep my child happy, by giving her her own seat, and entertainment, and doing it at night where she should sleep. so if people want to whine, i will say, blame it on my selfish parents.


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