• Milusha

    I must agree with you on this Sarah. We have a 4 year old boy and my husband and I are very aware of how he behaves in public and about being polite and well-behaved. This might cause some feathers to fluff but too many times adults sit by placidly while their child is in full bad behaviour mode. I still cannot deal with the seat kickers!

  • guest

    Wait a second — doesn’t the adult have a responsibility to RESPECTFULLY let the parent know that the child’s feet are bothering her, particularly in the case when it might not be obvious? That was the main problem with DanielleTodd’s response (i.e. being a monster) and in the situation described in christine’s post… Does an adult behaving like a monster (no matter how justified in annoyance) deserve respect and apologies in return??

  • Mack N. Cheese

    once, on a cross country flight with an 11 month old (the baby and the x-country flight were both our first), our kid was so out of control that the flight attendant kindly suggested we buy a round of drinks for the airplane. it was quite possibly the worst 5 hours of my life. we seriously considered renting a car and driving ACROSS THE COUNTRY on the way back, to save if not ourselves, then others from the pain. i GUARANTEE you nobody felt worse about the situation than i did. i spent every minute i was legally allowed to do so bouncing the baby up and down the aisles in attempts to soothe him, passing out apologetic smiles to everyones’ stink eyes, and being on the verge of tears myself from the combination of humiliation, exhaustion, and the physical and psychic torture that is a screaming baby in an enclosed space. i guess that is my karmic retribution for the fact that i used to be a d*ck who mentally cursed the mom with the crying baby in the seat behind me. i get that it sucks for you lucky “child free” people too and i get that you wouldn’t know this until it happens to you, but TRUST ME, we are TRYING. it’s not like i’m setting the little devils loose on the plane while i knock back airplane bottles of sutter’s home chardonnay. trying to convince a hysterical baby/toddler to be quiet/behave is like negotiating with terrorists who don’t speak your language.
    oh and the people who claim that it is our CHOICE to fly across the country while wrestling screaming angry octopi (which we generally only do when it cannot be avoided and is in the name of familial obligations) can go … sit in front of a couple of toddlers who just drank big gulps of coca cola and forgot their iPads.

  • Kimberly Wydeen

    I agree. The mother should have said something calmly about the kicking. Absolutely.

    But the fact that she said anything at all is not bad. Also: if you want compassion because children can be difficult to deal with, please know that children are not the ONLY stressful thing in life. Far from it. Who knows what that woman in front of her was going through.

    My point is this: I think we all agree that we should give each other the benefit of the doubt, especially in situations like air travel. But having a child is not the only difficult and stressful event in life.

    Sometimes parents have to give other people the benefit of the doubt, too.

  • guest

    Thank you, Nicole. It’s funny that complaining is so much easier than thinking, for these folks.

  • http://rybcrib.blogspot.com/ AmyRyb

    This post is awesome. And very timely, considering I will be taking my seven-month-old baby (and my five year old) on a plane next month. I am terrified, despite the fact that my baby is the sweetest kid ever. But you’re right about the “Yay, it isn’t mine” vs. “Oh God, No,” because even after just having kids (not even traveling with them), I immediately pitied anyone with kids on a plane. Although, before I ever had kids I had a woman steal my window seat on a plane because she wanted to nurse through takeoff. It was Mother’s Day, no less, but I was still pissed because the only other seat was the first row and I wanted my stuff! If you want my seat, ask…don’t just take it. Even now I can say that adamantly.

  • Joe Dorner

    We ended up on one of those computer planes when we flew to Vancouver. Couldn’t figure out why the flight from Seattle up was 20 minutes and the flight back 90 minutes. Until we walked out to the plane coming back and found that one of us was in the copilot seat, and the pilot climbed in the window. Fun when we stopped at a small airport for customs check and we handed our passports out the window. We had a full plane, 13 passengers, but no kids, or flight attendant. or copilot (not counting my wife up there)

  • Kate S.

    “Lots of crappy parents out there and their kids will annoy wherever you
    are but trapped in a metal box is a time for love and compassion, not
    hate and bitterness.”

    This.

  • Abby

    When I was pregnant and traveling to California with two toddlers , (yeah I know, cray), anyway, we hadn’t even taken off, the plane was loud with engine sounds and a man across the isle, spread out over three seats, said to me, “can you make him stop”, he was referring to my two year old playing with something that made a slight wrrrrr sound. I said to him, that he would soon be asleep, and I would put it away”. He then called me a Fat Bitch, which felt literally like a punch. Had I not been with child + 2, I would have killed him. I held in so much rage, that I really shouldn’t have. I did hear sharp intakes of breath from all sides, but no one stepped in to do anything. My kids slept the entire trip, but that was before they changed the ingredients in Dimetapp.

  • Manisha

    I live in Minneapolis and my parents recently moved to Tampa. My first flight with my daughter was to visit her grandparents. The flight there was just fine and I was totally thanking the sweet baby Jesus the whole time even though I am not a Christian, but I can appreciate a good deity looking down on us. Our flight back started to become a nightmare half way through but the woman sitting next to us was a saint. And I got lucky because all the people around us were great, too and very sympathetic. It made all the difference in the world! I so appreciate flying with people like you! And, yah, so you should check out all the lakes that MN has to offer – we’ve got 10,000 to choose from!

  • CommentingPeg

    Oy. Husband and I fly from SAT to STL tomorrow with our 1y/o twins. 1. Hadn’t considered the possibility of vomit on a flight. 2. Yet feel somewhat bolstered by the thought that kind strangers like this man might be flying with us.

  • Lin

    I have a kid with ADHD and he would be crazed on a plane flight and probably kicking too. of cours I know things to distract legos, ice, etc. but he could be that awful child behind you. I think parents of kids with brain issues etc get it more than others.meanwhile I carry cheerio packs and balloons everywhere I go. if a parent wants help I am there. including and up to vomit …cause it never happened but it could have. and let me tell you SO FRUSTRATED about stinky diapers hello the line to the bathroom, not being able to stand in line anymore..just insane.

  • thought bubble

    Thank God I never had to travel with mine on a plane when they were young – once, I had to take a bus from NS to PEI with my 18-month-old, and THAT was bad enough. He hated not being able to get down and walk, hated not having his milk warmed up, HATED (of course) the books and toys we had selected to bring, and pretty much cried the entire time while we frantically passed him back and forth between us and tried to keep him happy any way we could. To their credit, not one other person on that bus said anything or gave us the side-eye or sighed or emitted any sense of annoyance, except the driver. He eyed us in the rearview the entire time, and when we got off at a rest stop, I had the pleasure of being in line to buy coffee directly behind him while he told the cashier ALL about the young mixed race couple with their fuckin’ annoying baby ruining his day, though he didn’t put it -quite- like that, if you get me. Talk about humiliating.

  • MichelleToo

    Teary too!

  • Jojo’s Mom

    My husband,16 month old daughter and I recently travelled to San Juan, PR a couple weeks ago. The second leg, Baltimore to San Juan, was a four hour flight arriving in PR at 12:30 AM. We were a little stressed about bedtime and getting our daughter to sleep (she usually goes down at 8:30pm).
    What we should have been worried about were the 3 people behind us that got completely wasted for 4 hours and got louder and louder. Laughing, clapping, constant talking and yelling. The attendants did nothing but offer them free drinks because “they ran out of their favorite kind of alcohol”. It was annoying.
    Screaming babies aren’t enemy #1 in my book.

  • Rachel Sea

    I think that even though people hate it, everyone mostly gets that there is no escaping being touched, and bumped by strangers, a lot. There is, however, a big difference between the nudges of wiggly little kid feet (or grown-up knees), and the full-on rhythmic, spine-jarring, whacks of a bored, and petulant child.

  • Rachel Sea

    That is the best airplane story ever.

  • sue

    original poster of this comment here. This is not the kind of situation i was describing. If a child is kicking my seat (or if an adult is repeatedly pulling on my seat for that matter), my first response is to engage the offender and politely ask them to stop. If it is a child I ask the child but make sure the parent is aware as well. If it stops, no problem. It’s when it doesn’t stop that i have a problem.

    In your particular situation you make it sound like there was no compromise, either your child was comfortable all flight, and kicking the woman’s seat whenever he moved, no matter how unintentional, or he was sitting crosslegged, and not kicking a seat. There was probably some middle ground somewhere, and i somehow doubt you would be so willing to allow someone else’s child (or even your own, for that matter) to kick your seat for 5 hours.

    Her response was overblown and not appropriate, but it IS irritating.

    All parents aren’t heroes and all childless people aren’t assholes, and vice versa.

  • Rachel Sea

    I don’t understand what windows, and nursing have to do with each other. She should have stayed in her own seat.

  • Rachel Sea

    I have nothing but sympathy for everyone who doesn’t fit in airline seats (which on Virgin sometimes includes little 5’2″ me), but have no kind feelings for people who choose to take up an inordinate amount of room. Some men, especially, act like they need a whole other seat for their armpits and balls.

  • Nicolle

    Flying these days sucks. The attitude a lot of you have in regards to kids kicking your seats, etc. is annoying. I have two young children and have been flying with them for years. We’ve had our ups and downs. I HATE flying with my children. It’s insanely stressful and unless you have children you really have no right to say anything about how any parent chooses to handle the situation. Being confined in a nasty metal tube 30,000 feet or so above the ground with strangers all around you is a nightmare for kids and adults alike. Kids kick, they squirm, they move — it’s part of being a kid – they really can’t help it. I try to keep my kids engaged with toys, snacks, movies and whatever just so they won’t MOVE and bother anyone around them, but young kids (especially toddlers) are clueless and no matter how amazing and attentive their parents are, they are going to probably do something that will annoy another passenger. Before I had kids, I was totally annoyed with babies and toddlers sitting in my vicinity. If I’d only known then what I know now. I’ve had amazing help on some flights and absolute cruelty on others. People, it’s hard, really hard to fly with young kids (I have to do it in three days) and I honestly don’t know of any parent who enjoys it. Some parents expend a great deal of energy to make sure their kids sit still and quiet as can be, and that is commendable while others say, “Screw it, I will never see these people again.” I honestly refuse to judge either. If you choose to fly, you choose to deal with children, weird snoring people, bad smelling people, weird noises, etc. etc. – it’s part of transporting yourself through the skies with strangers.

  • Dana

    Whoever keeps downvoting this woman’s comments on the subject is a turdmuffin. With bits of rotten corn studded all through.

    Interestingly, I can see the profile names of the upvoters but not that one… whatever it is.

  • Dana

    Which is what happened. Her POINT is that the woman was amazingly rude considering it was the first time she had said anything.

    People need to get over this desperate desire to control everything and everyone around them in the nastiest manner possible.

  • Dana

    She didn’t just “say anything”, she YELLED. Even if she was having a bad day aside from the little boy occasionally tapping her seat, she made a little boy responsible for everything else that had gone wrong in her day.

    People, if this is how you are, don’t travel. Stay home. No one wants to deal with your irrational ass anyway. I guarantee this woman was sand in the crotch of nearly every person she met on her trip, and not just the mother she yelled at over a few little seat-taps.

  • Dana

    I honestly believe the more rabid “childfree” types were only children, so don’t even have the experience of a younger sibling to go on, or they were the youngest child and ditto, especially if their siblings were considerably older. You tend to be more likely to dislike things and people you have never experienced.

    (It’s what makes me laugh, as an expat Southerner, when I hear another Southerner claim they “understand” black people better than Northerners do, due to having a larger population of them in the region. But if you actually visit the South, in most small towns if not also in the cities, whites live on one side of town and blacks on the other. Yeah… that’s not “knowing” someone. I don’t “know” someone who lives on the other side of town and I’ve never met them.)

  • Dana

    I assure you, there is a huge difference between being by yourself and having to deal with a kid pulling your hair, and being with a small child and having everyone around you giving you shit about it, especially when the child in question’s constantly shitting themselves (as another commenter said, “little bowels and high altitudes”), or crying incessantly. You can bend forward and get away from little hands in your hair if you really have to. You could change a seat if someone’s amenable (I recognize this is not always possible). BUT. You can’t get away from your baby when you’ve fried your last nerve.

    And I wouldn’t want to. I’m just saying. Night and day.

  • pickyvegan

    It’s kind of asshole-ish to assume that people who are child-free by choice essentially hate children. Many of us work with kids all day long and love it- some of us just want to be able to give them back at the end of the day!

  • susankennard

    1. Seriously, this is “the most insensitive post of [hers] you’ve ever read”? How many posts of hers have you read? Like, three?

    2. Let me assure you: parents traveling with young children are WELL AWARE of how “stressful” it is for you to be on the same plane as their children; this is *why* it is so stressful for parents. It’s not the screaming or fidgeting or whining or puking that makes it difficult to travel with children–don’t you see, we deal with this stuff every day whether we’re on an airplane or not. It’s the fact that we know before we ever board a plane that we, and our children, are your worst nightmare and that you will remind us of this throughout the flight (you have no idea how counterproductive this is–it’s like heckling someone while they’re trying to disable the bomb that threatens to blow you ALL to pieces). Most parents are not the narcissists you assume us to be. We see your rolling eyes, hear your sign of relief as we pass your row, and recognize the dread on your face as we near the back of the plane and you deduce that we’ll be sitting near you.

    3. Heather, good on you for reaching out to a humiliated mother and for the reminder: It is okay to procreate, and it is okay to take your offspring in public.

    Signed,
    A woman who recently took her four young children on a 6,000-mile road trip just to avoid assholes like the one in this story

  • Kimberly Wydeen

    Dana: I agreed that her delivery was wrong. I stated that quite clearly. I also think that “seat taps” to you very well may be “kicking directly into the spine” for somebody else. We don’t know because we were not there.

    But your argument of “if you don’t like that, stay home” cuts both ways. If you don’t like it that people do not cater to your kids YOU can stay home as well.

    My point here is pretty simple. If you think parents and kids should get the benefit of the doubt when traveling, then you should give others the benefit of the doubt as well. Nothing more and nothing less.

  • Dita

    I think you handled that ill-mannered person really well!

  • pickyvegan

    Intentional or accidental, it still sucks when you’re the person getting kicked in the spine for several hours.

  • Bonzai

    If you have the window seat, you can turn your back to the rest of the plane to nurse “discreetly” as everyone demands nursing mothers do. Can’t win, although she should have asked, I guarantee if she had stayed in her own seat, someone would have been nasty about her not being discreet enough.

  • pickyvegan

    How is it that child-free people are “lucky?” Having a child in America is a choice, not a game of chance.

  • christine

    Hey, I definitely didn’t imply that there was no compromise, that he MUST have the right to kick the seat whenever he moved during the flight or be horribly uncomfortable. (???) And I know I didn’t imply that any kid should be allowed to kick for 5 hours. Please read more carefully before paraphrasing. Not cool.

    As other commenters on this thread have said — please just be kind and respectful to others, especially on airplanes, regardless of their reproductive status.

    P.S. I’m curious who said/implied that all parents are heroes and the childless are assholes (or vice versa)??? I’m not getting that anywhere.

  • http://www.yourfridayafternoondistraction.com/ Joanne z Filmlady

    When my daughter was two, we flew to Canada from Mass. She refused to stay buckled in her seat and started shrieking when I’d click the buckle shut and try to distract her. She eventually crawled under the seat in front of her before I could grab her. She spent the rest of the flight crying and screaming under there and nothing I did would change her mind OR get her out. Even the flight attendant stopped asking me to get her to sit down. When we landed, the scorn of the whole plane was directed at me by every person getting off the plane. The LOOKS I got. GAK. You can bet I feel for every mom I see on a plane with a screaming kid.

  • Emma

    I flew this past week with my two year old and your post is so perfect I can’t even believe it. I was so nervous and felt so alone during the whole thing. I was incredibly relieved after we landed when the woman in front of my son turned around to get her stuff and exclaimed, “oh, I didn’t even know there was a baby there! He was perfect!” I almost started crying.

  • Priya Kumar Bradfield

    You can do it! I’ve traveled overseas with two small kids too (to South Korea and to India). Visiting new places and family is worth it. :-) Good luck!

  • MominAmarillo

    I have a message for those mean people who don’t want to sit NEXT TO A BABY on an airplane. Stay the fuck home. Your bad karma is enough to make even the safest plane fly itself into a mountain in teh great state of Kansas. Self Righteous assholes. GRRR. Now, don’t we all feel better? You don’t? Well, I do, and today, that’s all that matters. LOL

  • Megan Jackson

    Yes this is true but would that woman have yelled like that if an adult was sitting behind her. somehow I doubt it. She would have, probably, asked them to stop.

  • jenrose

    I flew alone with my oldest child when she was 5 and 17 months old. I don’t think she cried once (I nursed her on all the ups and downs) and yet I ALWAYS ended up with an empty seat next to me. Oddly enough, this includes one sold-out holiday flight. Still don’t know where that person ended up, but seriously, every single leg of the journey I had people astonished that there had been a baby sitting 2 rows away. Flew with my middle child at almost 2… and she loved every minute of it, never cried. Again…nursed on all the ups and downs. Never made a peep.

    Bless you for being understanding.

  • http://rybcrib.blogspot.com/ AmyRyb

    Yes, as Bonzai said, she felt it would be more private for nursing. I had specifically picked the window seat, as I tend to get a little uncomfortable if I can’t see out. That she had commandeered my specially chosen seat was so annoying. But it was Mother’s Day and I knew someday that might be me…so whatever…but I would never do what she did.

  • .ivy

    What a jerk! I didn’t notice it before having kids of my own, but it’s a bit horrifying now to see how many adults don’t think of kids, babies, as PEOPLE. Thanks for being kind to them.

  • Allison

    Christine, I hope you are taking the negative comments with a grain of salt. It sounds like that woman over-reacted big time. She should have mentioned the “kicking” earlier on instead of winding herself up so much that she lashed out at you and your child. I hope your little guy finished his maze!

  • MandaJo

    Adults generally do get the benefit of the doubt. As illustrated here: She looked under the tray table to find out whether or not her son’s feet were actually touching the seat in front of him. Not giving the benefit of the doubt would have been to stand up and yell back, “HE ISN’T KICKING YOU, DOUCHEBAG, HIS LEGS AREN’T EVEN LONG ENOUGH!” … And then a brawl ensues, everyone gets their name hastily scribbled at the bottom of the No Fly List, and the kid grows up to have anger problems and enormous therapy bills. No bueno. I think the real issue here is that people who lose their shit and scream at anyone are assholes, especially when there’s a kid involved. Despite what the childless masses seem to believe, people WITH children aren’t taking their kids anywhere with the intent of ruining your peaceful enjoyment of whatever you’re doing. The acceptable response to a little boy “kicking directly into the spine” of this woman would have been for her to lean around her seat, get his and his mother’s attention, and say calmly, “You’re kinda kicking my seat, and it hurts. Could you stop?” Let him know what the problem is, and what the solution is. That’s not catering to someone’s kid. That’s showing common freaking courtesy to another human being. You don’t stand up and scream at anyone in any situation unless you’re a douchebag.

  • MandaJo

    Lucky to be traveling without children so the entire aircraft doesn’t give you the hairy eyeball and make snide remarks about your kid inconveniencing them, is how. We chose to have children, yes, obviously. And occasionally we must travel with them. You’re choosing to get on the flight we’ve also boarded. We could probably just all get along instead of being assholes, or the assholes could make the choice to get the hell of the plane and wait until a flight comes up with a manifest that’s more to their liking. And I wish them good luck with that.

  • Jan Moran

    Jesus, I know how that feels, I’ve had people call me names in a public setting, it’s so shocking, and bizarre that they think it’s okay to be that crazy and awful. I feel for you.

  • Kristy Beins

    I had my 2 year old (at the time) on a flight from Houston to Boston. It’s a long flight and really she was quite good, until we were, oh, 2 hours out. She got sick of being on the plane and started fussing. Then she started crying, then screaming (about the time we were descending) and she didn’t let up until the doors to the plane were opened. We walked up and down the aisle one time, thinking that might help, but it didn’t. Nothing helped. Snacks, begging and pleading, new special toys, nothing. I started getting “the look” from people on the plane and some comments. Keep in mind I can see my child is screaming, I can hear my child is screaming. In fact, with all the noise on a plane, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s way more muffled to you than to me. It’s loud in my seat.
    My mother tried to talk to this one particularly nasty lady and told her that we were on our way to Boston for my 22 year old daughter’s graduation from college and that I was a seasoned mother having raised 2 kids through, well, college graduation and that my Anna was a big surprise to everyone (basically rambling at this point). The lady looked at me and said, “you should have known better than to have another child, and don’t tell me it was an accident or surprise because you knew what you were doing.”. You know that feeling when all the air just leaves your body. I couldn’t even cry, I was just so stunned. Yeah lady, after having an empty nest for 3 years I intentionally got pregnant at 41 for the sole purpose of screwing up your flight to Boston.

  • Kristy Beins

    That goes under the heading of, who doesn’t like to hold a little baby? If they are fed during take off and landing, they will generally sleep the entire flight.

  • Kristy Beins

    I am so claustrophobic, I would have had an anxiety attack at that one.

  • http://www.glassofwin.com/blog/ Rachael

    I’m single and childfree and frankly, I love sitting next to kids/babies, especially if they’re only flying with one parent since I can chat with both parent and child (if they’re at a chatty age). In 2005, I had a flight smack dab in the middle of summer, and I was visiting my best friend after 6 years of not seeing her so I was extra excited. I wore a strapless, orange-red summer dress with big white polka dots and the 3 or 4 yr. old girl I sat next to thought I was Minnie Mouse. We colored and shared snacks; it was an awesome flight.