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I was a little disturbed by JetBlue’s recent ad, FlyBabies. It was marketed as a “heartwarming” ad, where on a specific JetBlue flight, every time a baby cried, passengers on the flight would get 25% off a future flight, up to a total of 100% off
Yes, I get it. When a baby cries, it is really annoying. And on a plane, when you can’t get away from it, it’s super frustrating. But…. it’s just part of life. Sometimes babies cry when you’re on a plane, and sometimes you sit next to the group of twentysomethings who are starting their Vegas weekend bachelor party early. Part of being an adult is accepting the fact that sometimes things happen that you don’t like, and instead of thinking the worst of someone, we show compassion to our fellow humans.
And we’re not even talking about if kids should be allowed in business class (which is a whole NOTHER story, right?)
I’ve written about similar topics before – Why parents of children flying should NOT give “goodie bags” to fellow passengers. Trust me, 99% of parents with crying babies / toddlers are stressed and doing everything they can to keep their baby from disturbing you and the rest of the people on the plane.
I thought this Huffington Post article captured my thoughts well – “JetBlue’s FlyBabies misses the mark” – a quote from the article
It was not ‘caring, even a simple smile’ that improved the situation for everyone. What improved the situation on that flight was you offering monetary compensation to people, which in turn caused them to ‘show a little caring, even a simple smile.’ JetBlue, you showed me that we need to be paid to be compassionate in moments of inconvenience
So who’s with me here? Can we just show compassion to our fellow humans without having to get paid?
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Because new generation are being taught to be “about themselves” instead of what you said “showing compassion”.
You have very noble thoughts which would work in an ideal world, Dan; but showing compassion to a fellow human being who is perceived to not care at all about the people around him or her can be quite difficult at times…
…and as conscientious a parent as you might be, there is that small percentage of parents who simply do little to nothing to mitigate a situation with their child which creates discomfort to those around them — and that is where the problem lies.
Yes, there are those who are childless who can be equally as insensitive; and there is no excuse for that either…
…but despite the degree of difficulty, the simple act of expressing compassion and respect would help to mitigate an otherwise unpleasant situation the majority of the time.
There’s no doubt, the world is a better place when we treat each other with empathy and compassion, and in my experience, that’s what happens the vast majority of the time. The thing is, that behavior doesn’t get publicity.
Several years ago my wife’s father died unexpectedly and we had to drop everything and fly to Nicaragua with a 6 month and a 2 year old. It was quite an ordeal to get this trip done, but we did it. As we were lining up to exit the plane the passive-aggressive guy one row behind, one row over and sneered out loud in a voice intended to be heard, “I can’t BELIEVE parents bring kids on planes.”
Ugh… That is the worst. Traveling home from my father’s funeral alone with my then two month old and 18 month old kind of changed my perspective on things…
I was struggling as it was and then throw on the fact that I was traveling alone with two under two… We were flying Southwest and a very nice lady offered to move so I could have the row to myself.
She didn’t know what was going through my head or that my dad had recently passed but that simple act of kindness really helped me feel better.
I think the biggest thing is that people act as if it requires some huge amount of effort on their part to accommodate others. In my experience, the nicest thing someone can do when I struggling with a child on a plane is to smile at me or wave at my child. Those things take two seconds but always bring my stress level down a few notches.
We live in a country where being selfish is considered a positive attribute. Not surprised at all that people behave the way they do!
And about 20ish years ago, I endured a 2 hour flight which during the ENTIRE time the child sitting behind me kicked my seat.
The entire time.
The mother ignored my pleas to make her child stop kicking my seat.
The stewardess ignored me.
So for two hours, I had a kick placed to my lower back. Which resulted in pain. And a major headache that lasted much longer than the flight.
So yea, sometimes screw compassion. I want compensation for what I endured in order to get from point A to point B. If that is considered selfish, so be it.
My wants and needs matter too!
Here’s my question: if an adult cries for an entire flight next to a parent with small kids, will the parent show that stranger compassion or tell them to shut up because they are disturbing their kids??
And part of being an adult is NOT accepting things that you don’t like, but doing something about it. Being an adult is standing up for yourself. Stop being a victim. Show compassion for those that need it but not to parents that refuse to accept responsibility to govern their kids.
And when did everyone’s life start revolving around “the children.” Let’s do what’s best for “the children”. Blah, Blah, Blah. I chose to not have kids; I shouldn’t be punished for other people’s choices to have them.
There’s crying. And then there’s crying during a temper tantrum in which the parents have spoiled their child thinking that he/she should be the center of everyone else’s universe.
That first scenario gets my compassion. The second scenario gets exactly the response from me that it deserves.
Wow. I just re-read what I wrote.
That sounded REALLY harsh. Which wasn’t exactly what I intended.
The thing I hate about the internet is that it lacks the nuances found in real life interactions: facial expressions, body language, voice tonality.
I just wanted to present the opposite side of the equation- and I did so rather poorly.
But I did get the underlying point of your post, I think: sometimes we need to use less personal emotion and more empathy when out in public. Raise up humanity rather than lower it.
I just read Brian’s post about his Mom. It truly humbled me.
It’s Mother’s Day. I should have just kept my mouth shut today. Any other day, speak up. But today, I should have just have swallowed my pride. I was focusing on my viewpoint instead of another’s point of view.
Another lesson learnt; isn’t that the heart of your post today? Compassion. I failed today. 🙁
I think you guys are missing the point. This was a pure marketing ploy by JetBlue to drum up attention and revenue (“Oh wow, look at what JetBlue did. Maybe we should fly with them!”) It was brilliant. It got a lot of people talking (including yourselves) and more importantly, talking about JetBlue. The airline will never offer this discount again became it doesn’t have to. It has accrued so much “goodwill mileage” from this campaign that it can cruise for a while while Virgin America Elevate members sweat over how Alaska Airlines will screw them over. Nice work, JetBlue!
I have a severe allergy to children, and my symptoms have been known to flare up simply by hearing the sounds of a child. I thank JetBlue for acknowledging the pain of a small but important minority. For too long we’ve had to suffer in silence.
Whatever happened to the rule that when you inconvenience others, it is just plane rude?
I get that sometimes it is not possible to control children. But when parents give their little darlings the free run of things without even trying to control them, then screw compassion.
I was on a flight from China in BC a few years ago, and the seats were reverse herringbone. A young couple did not know this and booked the two center seats to be able to better take care of their infant. My trip up to this point was a mess, and I gladly moved so the young family could be together. And there were no problems.
On another flight to China I was coach and there was a 5 year old and her mother next to me. I gladly handed over some paper and pencils so the child could occupy herself. Again, no problems.
Then there was the mother and her six year old brat who was making a fuss because of a delay on the tarmac. Mother did not do a thing to get her to be quiet. I shot her the evil eye and told the kid to “shut up”. She did and there were no more problems even though the mother was pissed.
I routinely move if it will help to accommodate some special situation. But those people have a responsibility to make sure there is less disruption.
If you simply must breed and bring another useless mouth into the world, your spawn better be seen and not heard. Being a parent means teaching your spawn to respect others at all times.
I agree with most of what has been posted. The only thing I have to add is that I believe that in most circumstances it is inappropriate to have infants and very young children on a plane. If it is impossible to get the new grandchild to meet grandma by car (e.g., grandma lives across an ocean and for some reason SHE cannot travel), then it is necessary to put the baby on a flight. But funerals?! I still believe what I was brought up to think: children under 6 (more or less) have no business at a funeral. They have no concept of what is happening and will only distract from what is important.
I think the “compassion” should start with the parents of the infant/toddler. Weigh how important it is to put that child on a plane (which, by the way, is no picnic for the kid or you) against a plane full of people each fighting their own battles. How critical is it that you put your wee one, yourself, and everyone else, through this?
I agree with most of your comments, and agree with what you said about funerals too. When my grandpa died a few months ago, we decided that just I would go with 2 of my kids, because we felt like the others wouldn’t understand, like what you said. BUT… in this case, while my wife probably would have liked to go, she couldn’t go (to stay with the other kids). Had it been a funeral of someone closer where both my wife and I really had to go, then if it’s a choice between the kids all coming or one of the parents having to stay home (if a babysitter is not an option), then you take the kids.
I also agree that parents should exercise restraint on taking babies and young kids on flights. But sometimes it really does just have to happen (And I think I’d draw my line not quite as far as you do), and maybe it’s okay to give the other parents the benefit of the doubt that they did consider it.
Of course, there are certainly parents that are jerks and don’t consider anyone but themselves, but there are plenty of non-parents that do that too 🙂
Generally, deaths are not scheduled and parents cannot get a baby-sitter for three days on short notice. For that reason, it’s common and often necessary to bring kids along for the funeral if it involves travel.
Funny…it’s always the oppressors who are asking the victims to appease them…
The idea that parents (or airlines!) should have to appease other passengers because a child cries on a flight is one of the things that annoys me most! Children of all ages have as much right to be on a plane as anyone else and no-one should feel that they have to hand out goody bags or compensation of any kind just because a baby is on board.
What a ridiculous and stupid comment. It’s not innappropriate to have small children on planes under any circumstance. I’m not going to drive across the country so my in-laws can meet their grandson when I can fly there in 2 hours just so that I don’t inconvenience you. Get over yourself. My child has the right to be on that plane just as much as you. Flying 2 hours is much more a “picnic” than driving in a car for 15 hours. It’s really not that big of a deal.