Screaming Kids on Planes Q&A

The latest in a series featuring your travel questions. Also see Spirit Airlines Fee to Print Boarding Pass.

Q: What should I do when confronted with a screaming baby on a plane? On a recent flight to Cincinnati, the woman next to me made no effort to calm her kid who yelled nonstop. When we landed, she had the nerve to say, “Well, he wasn’t so bad!” I’m a dad myself, so I understand the problems of traveling with kids but this was ridiculous.

A: You are not alone in this frustration over unruly kids on planes. In fact, Malaysia Airlines recently banned babies in first class. However, since I doubt the airline will begin flights to Cincinnati anytime soon, your best bet is enlisting the help of flight attendants who are trained in this area. They’ll likely attempt to get you away from the screamer if possible, though as we all know, there are precious few unoccupied seats on planes these days. In lieu of that, work with the parents as appropriate. Confrontation is probably the worst scenario as you’ll likely end up fuming and one can never tell how parents will react.

Babies on Planes: Yes or No?

One of my employees (a veteran mother) says, “It’s possible the parent was embarrassed about her crying baby, but it would have been nice if she’d said something apologetic just to let you know she was trying.” Parents, please read Five Ways to Ruin a Family Plane Trip, which includes some excellent tips on keeping kids happy and under control during a long flight.

Of course, sometimes little can be done about a screaming infant or toddler, which is why I also asked this question (which got a lot of response): Do We Need Family Sections on Planes? Suggestion: if you can muster the energy, try distracting the screamer with dangling car keys or games of peek-a-boo. Better yet, invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. It’s worked for me many a time.



Published: May 15, 2012