Please Stow Your Baby in the Overhead Compartment.

– Posted in: Mean People, Parenting, Travel, Worst Mom Rants

So the other night, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:  “Dear baby, it is some kind of federal offense to cry on the red eye.”

To which I replied: “Don’t hate on crying babies on airplanes. It’s bad karma. Trust me.”

And then a friend of his said: “But seriously, who takes a baby on a red eye? There’s a reason the people who are on it are on it.”

Before we had kids, we traveled a lot. And we used to joke that when we actually did have kids, the airplane gods would surely spare us any horrendous plane rides. Because every single time we set foot on a plane, we’d be one row in front of or behind the screaming baby or unruly child. For the most part, we just laughed it off. On several occasions — I’m not gonna lie — it was completely annoying.

Now that we’ve personally experienced the joy of parenting on planes, my usual response to the sound of a crying child is, “Poor bastards. Thank Jebus that’s not me.” We’ve had our fair share of harrowing situations (despite banking points with the travel gods). Our son let out a raptor scream that actually silenced an entire cabin full of people right before takeoff. And our daughter had chronic ear infections so we basically walked on board with the Eustachian tubes stacked against us.

Anyway, in all my years of traveling, with and without kids, the one thing that never crossed my mind was, “Red eyes aren’t for babies.” I mean, maybe I’m cuckoo, but last time I checked, people with kids sometimes had to fly long distances. And, last time I checked, kids also slept at night (unless they’re my kids, in which case they sort of go to sleep really late, wake up at 2 a.m., come into my room under the guise of having a bad dream. . . but that’s another story).

Whenever people on planes get ticked off at crying babies, I always wonder, do they think the parents brought the kid on with some well-timed, evil plan to ensure uncontrollable screaming? How can you get pissed at totally stressed out people who’d probably choose strapping on a parachute and jumping out of the emergency door over staying locked in a big, humming tube and being glared at as they paced the aisles and dodged cranky flight attendants. That’s like getting mad at the guy who collapses from a heart attack and forces the plane to make an unintended stop.

I guess my point is, we live in a society. And societies, whether you like it or not, happen to be filled with other people. It’s nice when those other people do their best to keep from being obtrusive and annoying to everyone else, but the fact is, there are some things you just can’t get around. We stopped globe hopping after we had our screaming children. But once in a while, we had to put them on a plane to visit family or go to a wedding. Life can’t completely stop just so the red eye can feel like a communal sensory deprivation chamber.

Besides, isn’t that why they made those Bose noise cancelling headphones?


16 Comments… add one

XLMIC August 19, 2011, 7:01 am

People who are opposed to flying with children at ANY time… well, they should take the freakin train… or if it's overseas… get on a boat! Did you ever see the joke pics on my blog of my babies in the overhead bins? lol It's a family tradition. Also, kids/babies can sense the stress around them. Hence, jerks who hate flying with babies/kids always wind up on a flight with a crying kid. It's their own darn fault. That's the word from a mom who has traveled a LOT with her kids 🙂
My recent post Major Mommy Meltdown…

Sandi August 19, 2011, 10:26 am

AMEN! Children are children! We cannot control their emotional responses when they are very young any more than our mothers could control ours. I agree, in today's world of great technology, there are headphones for those who are sensitive to the noise of others. Thanks for sharing. May it send some warm karma out today as we hold those who are traveling with babies.

MultipleMum August 19, 2011, 10:29 am

Travelling with children is a nightmare. Why not share the love I say? It makes other red eyes seem so much better when they don't have a screaming baby to contend with. I hope you are travelling again now x

Clara K August 19, 2011, 12:58 pm

Overnights are the best flights for kids/babies, they usually sleep. And it's my fault that my parents live in England but I can't afford to? I think not, my friend. I am not taking my one year old to London for fun, to show her the red buses. If I didn't absolutely need to see my parents twice a year, I would never hazard to take a toddler through the busiest airport in the WORLD!

Kelly O\'Sullivan August 19, 2011, 5:06 pm

I've got no patience for baby haters. I say hop the kids up on sugar and let them kick the seat in front of them. OK so maybe I don't do that. I am, in fact, keenly aware of the people around us when we fly and use all the tools at our disposal based on how much our seat neighbors can stand. Sometimes you get a sweet grandmother type who coos and all is well. Other times it's a grumpy old man and I have no choice but to whip out a breast. That shuts both the baby and the old man up.
My recent post We Need an “I Need to Kick Someone’s Ass” App

kassie August 19, 2011, 7:08 pm

I totally agree. My first reaction now is thank god that isn't me. Thank god i am flying by myself this time. It totally changes your perspective… to your fb friend… it is WAY worse for the parents. way worse.
My recent post Right There

letmestartbysaying August 20, 2011, 11:07 am

We've flown a lot and flown a lot with a baby then a baby and a toddler then a 2 toddlers then 2 little kids. IT IS NOT FUN. So when people act rude because I don't tranquilize my kids before take-off (I wish!), i smile at them and say "we were all babies once!" with a look in my eyes that says "have a soul, bitch, I'm doing the best I can".

Flights are flights and they are getting more expensive by the second. It has never crossed my mind to not take a particular time slot because I have offspring. Would I take my kids to a fancy restaurant at 10pm? No. Their asses need to be in bed and that's past my bedtime anyway and those late-night grown-ups deserve to dine in peace. But planes are fair game.
My recent post How to Survive a 48-Hour Quarantine With 2 Kids

ginger August 20, 2011, 2:56 pm

I have a friend who is childless…but just re-married, and is planning on having kids. She posted on Facebook about how annoying it was that there was a a screaming child in front of her and how the mother should not take said child on a plane. Well…..let's just say she was reprimanded by us parents big time. There was more sympathy for the Mom than her.

I have flown with both my children. My oldest, has always flown like a pro. We have been complimented by flight attendants and fellow passengers. Comments like, "Wow, we didn't even know you had a baby!" Not so blessed w/ our second, whose ears are really bothered by the pressure. We live in Colorado, travel to Los Angeles a lot. And the flight is only two hours. Let's just say screaming at take off and as we descend is awful. And landing into Orange Co, CA. is the worst. The pressure was so bad, it woke her from napping. She was screaming like I've never heard her scream, the flight attendant came by and asked if we had any Benedryl. Like giving her that, as we are landing would, take effect in time. Like I want to drug my 6 month old w/ Benedryl when it isn't even recommended by her DR. at that age. We have driven the last 2 times. Just seems easier.

As to the Red Eye…that makes total sense to me. It is far easier to travel w/ a sleeping child than one who is itching to run up and down isles. I have always tried to book flights at nap time so they might sleep through most of the flight.

But planes are not friendly for kids. We once made the mistake of taking the car seat to put our kid in during flight. There was so little room, between our daughter's car seat and the seat in front of her, she could not help but kick it. Then the person in front of her, laid the seat back and it was in her face. She spent the entire flight standing up between my husband and me or sitting in our lap. There are no friendly skies out there when you travel w/ young children. The only thing I recommend is to take lollypops and lots of them.

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:10 am

Yeah, I don't know about you, but I can feel the energy when I walk into a room. Into a plane, even worse.

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:11 am

I've always disliked it when people say that a baby is "good." You can't be a "good baby." Babies aren't trying to be bad.

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:13 am

We are traveling now. We're in that sweet spot — 7 and 8. They can take care of themselves and they still like us.

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:14 am

See, I always thought overnights were a good idea, too. But then this comment made me start second guessing myself. And I'm always amazed by my friends who travel overseas with kids. It would've killed me.

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:18 am

I used to breast feed on planes without a second thought. I think I just didn't give a damn by that point. I was tired, desperate, and frankly, my boobs never felt like they were really mine then anyway.

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:19 am

Same thing when you're staying with people who have kids. You hear someone cry in the middle of the night, realize it's not yours, and blissfully put your head back on the pillow. . .

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:19 am

I love that: "We were all babies once."

PartlySunny August 24, 2011, 6:22 am

Car seats and planes are like some sort of evil joke. They advise you to bring them, scare the hell out of you if you consider NOT bringing them, and then make it impossible to use them. Pure, pure evil.

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