Expert baby-dodgers share their tried-and-true travel tips.
We get it, babies are cute and all, but sitting next to one on a long-distance flight can be nothing short of torture. Sure, their precious little face will get them a few brownie points, but the second that infant wakes up and starts wailing, all bets are off.
And we aren’t the only ones who think this way. According to a 2011 TripAdvisor survey, about one-third of fliers would willingly pay a little extra to avoid sitting with children. Sadly, this special airline upgrade isn’t available just yet. However, according to experts, there are a few ways you can work the system and avoid sitting next to a screaming toddler on your next flight.
"While there's no escaping (or blaming) the shrill of an upset child, you can lower your odds of sitting directly next to one by choosing a seat that's located far from the partitions on board,” one Reddit user shared on a thread revealing airport secrets. "These partitions, which go by the technical name 'bulkheads,' are the only places on an aircraft where a parent can safely secure a baby's bassinet — and are, therefore, where most children under one year old will be situated."
On another message board, user Kate Gregory suggests booking your seat somewhere that may be inconvenient for a parent traveling with a small child.
“Try to choose flights that are more of a hassle for parents. Generally this means night flights - some parents may be sure their child will sleep (and not bother you) but others are worried the child will not sleep and will cry. So they take a daytime flight and are willing to entertain them for the length of the flight,” Gregory wrote.
Next, she added that buying a more expensive ticket, like those in first, business, or economy plus, could help you avoid a baby seatmate as well. “And do what you can to improve things at whatever seat you have,” Gregory said. “Bring noise cancelling headphones in addition to earplugs.”
Lastly, you could always try paying off a fellow passenger to switch seats.
“Bring $20 - $50 cash,” traveler Fabio Beltramini suggested. “After you board, if you happen to be near a toddler, find a more preferable seat that seems to have a solo passenger in it, and make an attractive cash offer to the person who currently has that seat to switch with you. Be upfront with your reason for wanting to switch, as they will likely be suspicious otherwise.”
And if all else fails, take the flight as the perfect opportunity to perfect your peek-a-boo game and just give in to the kid’s otherworldly adorable charms.