Should parents have to apologize for their kids crying on flights?

By Andrea Romano
March 01, 2019
Emma Gibbs/Getty Images

A mom with a baby handed out 200 pairs of ear plugs to her fellow passengers on a flight, and the act has sparked an internet debate.

Many travelers complain about sitting next to a crying baby (or any baby) on a flight, but there are some people who dread flying with a crying baby more than anyone else: their parents.

As Scary Mommy points out, calming a nervous, uncomfortable, or fussy child on a flight can be harder than you think, if not impossible. Between ears popping, odd hours, strange meal times, short attention spans, and just the overwhelming nature of traveling around hundreds of people (face it, even adults want to cry on flights sometimes), a young child often doesn’t have the skills to handle the pressure of flying.

And most parents really are trying to do everything they can to make traveling a calmer, more pleasurable experience for everyone. But sometimes, despite their efforts, they still end up with a fussy baby on board. As much as other passengers don’t want to hear crying, flying with kids is way more exhausting for mom and dad.

That’s why a mom decided to pass out 200 goodie bags, complete with ear plugs, to everyone on her flight from Seoul to San Francisco, SFGate reported.

The bags came with a note explaining that her baby was only four months old and that it was their first time flying. The note went on to apologize in advance if the baby made noise.

A fellow passenger, Dave Corona, posted a picture of his goodie bag on Facebook, saying it was a “very touching gesture by the mother but as you know when you have kids expect the unexpected.” He added that the baby was perfectly quiet through the 10-hour flight.

Many people on Facebook commented, commending the mom for being prepared and considerate: “Some people have class - some have a sense of entitlement. Very nice gesture,” said one commenter.

But others pointed out that the mom in question shouldn’t have to take time out of her busy day to make goodie bags, or even apologize for her baby just doing what babies do.

“That was a nice gesture, but I think people need to be more understanding on flights and not make parents and their children feel so “unwelcome” on flights. We were all babies at one point in life,” said a commenter.

“Not necessary, most people understand the stress of traveling with children,” said another commenter.

KTRK reported some parents online thought this grand gesture sets up “unrealistic expectations” for non-parents on flights.

While the goodie bags are certainly a thoughtful gift, a better solution may be for non-parents to not only be more understanding, but also in control of their own reactions when they see a kid on a flight.

And maybe bring their own ear plugs, just in case.

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