Have you ever been on a flight with a screaming toddler or baby? I certainly have. My babies have even, at times, been the screaming culprits. Thankfully, my children generally travel well.
I’ve been embarrassed for other parents when I’ve seen them struggle with their toddler who didn’t want to buckle up when the fasten-the-seatbelt-light was on. Honestly, I’ve also been annoyed. However, since I entered the world of parenting five years ago, I have become more patient and compassionate of such situations.
It seems, though, that children get a bad rap when it comes to flying. Who says that the young, honeymooning couple without kids, the elderly, or even the business man should get priority?
For whom are these public flights designed? I was shocked to hear that there was even a discussion about whether or not kids should be allowed to fly.
I understand that everyone wants to get to their destination safely and comfortably. Everyone – including families with young children. Without the ability to fly, these young families would instead endure endless hours of driving to their destination, or boating across the Atlantic. Not always a feasible option.
Shouldn’t a little more consideration be given for every traveler? That bright screen on the laptop might keep the baby awake across the aisle. That tall guy’s long legs might be crowding your foot space. Two other women may be telling stories so loudly with colorful language which you’d prefer your eight-year-old not hear.
There’s got to be a way for everyone to fly together. Here are a few of my ideas:
1. Air travelers need to realize that since it is public transportation, there might be a few inconveniences. Those inconveniences might include sitting next to a man who is taking up one and a half seats, listening to a baby cry for half of the flight, or having to stand in the lavatory line for 10 minutes. Public anything means that you have to deal with the public.
2. Parents should do their best to control their children. This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen parents who let their kids run up and down the aisle unattended, throwing things, and bothering passengers. Sure, there might be a baby who cries on the descent because her ears are hurting. (Breastfeeding on the plane is a great way to curb this problem.) But toddlers shouldn’t be allowed a free-to-roam pass from their parents during the flight. Instead, parents should play airplane games and keep them busy.
3. Notice a need that someone has and help them. If an elderly woman can’t lift her carry on to the overhead bin, jump up and help her. If there’s a single mother traveling with kids, at least give her a smile. Better yet, play peek-a-boo with her toddler for a few minutes. Keep your voice quiet so the tired business man can get some rest. In short, have consideration for other people.
Public travel means we all have inconveniences and we all have obligations to help each other make the trip as comfortable as possible. If you’ve chosen to take public transportation, such as a plane, decide to make it a better experience for all travelers by going out of your way to help others instead of getting annoyed or upset.
And if you don’t like it, you should consider buying your own private jet.