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From years of experience, I know that whenever I write about this topic I’m going to start a heated discussion in the comments. There are typically 2 camps — first, it’s the baby-haters who often don’t have kids and feel like children should only be allowed on airplanes if they never move, wiggle, or talk. Then there are the parents who do whatever they want and don’t seem to notice, mind or care when little Johnny is whacking the seat in front of him for an entire transatlantic flight

Flying with kids (especially babies and toddlers)

The truth, as is so often in life, usually falls in the middle. I strongly believe that families and children have just as much right as anyone to fly on an airplane, and that as adults we should show a little compassion and if that fails, to just suck it up. On the other hand, parents do have the right to consider if the timing is right for their kids to fly or not, but I trust the parents to make the right call for them.

Sometimes you gotta go to grandma’s funeral even if the timing isn’t great. I’m much more willing to be patient with the baby that is crying or even the kid who keeps kicking my seat than I am with the mom or dad who is chatting or watching a movie and IGNORING the fact that their kid is kicking my seat.

I do NOT believe (and am very strongly against the idea) that parents should feel any societal pressure to give out goodie bags to fellow passengers

(SEE ALSO: Children are not the most annoying people on a plane; are you?)

George Costanza had it right when he said “We’re living in a society! We’re supposed to act in a civilized way!“. Yes, being seated next to a screaming infant or toddler sucks – no questions asked. But giving the harried mom the stink-eye isn’t going to help anyone feel any better.

My experience

I didn’t really get into the miles, points and travel world until my kids were out of the baby and toddler stage, but I do remember one flight when my oldest was about 2 years old and we also had a 3-month-old infant. Flying a late-night flight to a family reunion, after connections and delays, we arrived at our final destination at around 1 a.m. (i.e. WAAAAAY past bedtime). We had finally gotten my 2-year-old asleep, but when we landed and the lights went on, she started screaming and NOTHING would console her. It was an awful feeling to be stuck in the last row of the airplane with a screaming toddler and having to wait for literally everyone else on the entire plane to deplane before we could get our bags and get anything to help her.

With practice and with age, our kids have now gotten much better about flying, though there was the time a few years ago when a fellow passenger called my kids “monsters” and told my wife and I that we were “the type of people that shouldn’t have children”. Yes, those are both direct quotes.

New parents flying Southwest with a 9-day old infant

All of which is a long preamble to a very heartwarming and encouraging story that came out of the Washington Post a few days ago. Dustin and Caren Moore were midflight on Southwest Airlines from Colorado to California with their adopted 9-day old infant. The baby started fussing and the couple started talking with a flight attendant. When the flight attendants found out the Moores’ situation, they secretly passed out pens and napkins to the other passengers, and had the entire plane write out well-wishes for the new couple

Then the flight attendants got on the intercom to welcome their special passenger and the entire plane erupted in applause

What a great story about all that is right in the world of travel.


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