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We Need to Talk about Kids on Planes

I have seen a lot on social media recently about traveling long haul and children disrupting the peace of the cabin of the plane. For example this article in Forbes regarding First Class travel. There is debate as to whether families should travel in a designated ‘family cabin’.

We Have All Been There…

As a frequent flyer, I’ve been there, as I am sure many of you have too. You sit in your seat and settle down to a book, or film.

Five minutes in it starts. The kid who has sensitive ears is screaming in pain and perforating your eardrums in the process. The unruly child who won’t sit still and runs constantly up and down the isles, or, even more difficult to ignore, the kid behind you kicking the back of your seat. What do you do? I have traveled with my own daughter since she was a baby. Her first long haul flight from London to LA was when she was three. But, also traveled on my own before I had her and herein lies my point.

I will never be the person to say to anyone that they need to put up with any sort of unruly behavior. If a child is causing disruption, the parents are CLEARLY not dealing with it and it is obvious that the child has no disabilities that are exacerbating the situation, then you have every right to ask a flight attendant to intervene. You can even ask for help before that if it is really bothering you.

However, I would suggest that if the parent looks as if they are doing all they can to settle the child, the chances are your intervention will only make them feel more stressed than they already are. See, on a previous occasion, it is highly likely that that parent was a child-free flyer like you, in fact sometimes they might still be. Therefore, they will remember, (believe me), what it was like to travel as an adult without kids. They will remember settling down like you do, enjoying that space you rarely have. Inevitably, because of that, they are also likely to recognize the disruption their little darling is causing.

If The Issue Is Not Being Dealt With

Now, on some occasions, as I mentioned before, a child is not disciplined properly during a flight. Some parents do not seem to notice the chaos that their offspring are causing around them. I would encourage you to raise your concerns if this happens, because it is the courteous responsibility of all parents, and everyone else for that matter, to cause the least disruption to other passengers as possible.  Finally, I would like to add, that it is a common misconception that once you become a parent you can tolerate everyone else’s kids. Not true. If anything, although as a parent you may be able to relate to what another parent is going through, you are also more likely to become irritated if the behavior is not dealt with correctly, because you compare it to your own parenting.

So What Should You Do?

If that kid is frequently kicking your seat, politely ask the parent to intervene. A couple of children are running around causing chaos in your cabin of the plane? Call a flight attendant. Maybe a child is distressed and the parents ARE doing their best to deal with it. If so, turn your music up on your headphones until they settle. Possibly even do a good deed for the day and ask if you can help.

Segregating families with kids from adult only travelers into a family cabin on a plane will not work unless it is optional. Some parents may choose this as a preferable choice. Others, like myself, would not. Parents are still adults. Trust me, they don’t want to sit in a family cabin with the disruptive children any more than you do.

Happy travels ladies!

Michelle Barrett

Michelle believes memories make you happy and stuff doesn't. Ditch the stuff and make more experiences. When she is 106, she will cherish those memories and unlikely care that her neighbor has a bigger or better car. You can take memories everywhere you go. You can't take all that stuff. You can follow Michelle on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

1 thought on “We Need to Talk about Kids on Planes”

  1. I don’t know exactly when this was, must have been over ten years ago. When arriving in the plane I got the surprise of being in a seat with extra leg space, totally happy I settled into my seat ready for the long flight home.

    While boarding I noticed a couple of children were being seated next to me by a man that looked like their father. Where he went after that I don’t know, I got sucked into a great movie and the plane departed. After dinner lights went off and it was time to sleep. Then it happend …

    The children started to climb on chairs, run around the plane, started screaming and also started to climb on top of me. I asked them not to do that and couldn’t find the father figure to ask for help. After a while the flight attendant came over and she said that she has received complains about the children and if I please could control them otherwise it would have consequences for future flights.

    Totally shocked I looked at here. She answered ‘You haven’t noticed the misbehaviour of your children?’. Then another shocked face went her way, ‘I would like to help you but these aren’t my children ….’. And off she went. Not long after the father figure came, settled his children and the flight went back to relaxing. Not long after that the flight attendant came my way with some drinks and snacks to apologise. The gentleman was suppose to fly home with his wife and children, unfortunately the wife couldn’t fly with the newborn because of some reason and he ended up flying alone. Because of some error he was seated not with his children. I wish they would have asked me to change seats … For future flights I remembered to always look where the rest of the family is, just in case.

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