You are in charge of your own comfort

bose-earbudsA recent spate of articles about a baby crying in first class have given rise to some strong opinions. Everything from  “Children should not be allowed to fly until they are five!” to “Kids are kids, deal with it.”

Here’s the thing though. It doesn’t matter what you think.

In this case, it truly doesn’t matter what you think about kids flying in first class. It doesn’t matter if you think that children should be seen and not heard, or that they should be free to run the aisles. And sure, it’s easy to point the finger at exhausted parents and say, “You should know better that to fly with your baby at age 3 months/at 11pm/in first class/whatever.

Children aren’t the issue. Parents aren’t the issue either.

Expectations are the issue.

No matter what flight you’re on, unless it’s a private plane, there will be other people flying alongside you. As much as you’d like to, you can’t control what other people do. All you can do is be responsible for your own comfort.

Planes are a public space. There may be screaming children, loud, obnoxious talkers, people who listen to their movie at top volume with no headphones, seat-kickers. Anyone ever been on a plane with an over-served adult? None of these are that much different than a whimpering child.

So let me reiterate, you are responsible for your own comfort.

I’m not advocating for people to be as loud as they’d like on planes, whether they are three months old or thirty. That’s why I spend so much time talking about etiquette!

As travelers we have a responsibility to look out for each other, to try to minimize our impact on each other. Unfortunately, there are situations where that is just not possible.

At those times, you have an option. Contact a flight attendant for assistance if someone is bothering you. They may be able to help, but they may not.

That being said, anytime you’re in a public environment many factors will be outside of your control. This is why I encourage bringing noise-canceling headphones and an eye mask on every flight. Whether someone is talking too loudly, a baby is crying, or you are trying to sleep, these items can help you be as comfortable as possible.

And the next time you’re on a flight with a crying baby, rather than give the parents grief, try to put yourself in their shoes.  If you’re frustrated that their baby is crying, I bet they are too! Just put on your headphones, sip your wine, and be glad you’re not the one who has to quiet that baby down.

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Comments

  1. “And the next time you’re on a flight with a crying baby, rather than give the parents grief, try to put yourself in their shoes. ”

    why should I be forced to be put in your shoes ? your lack of proper family planning should be your problem not mine. not to mention my tax dollars already subsidize your unruly brat.

  2. henryLAX, maybe use some of those post-tax dollars to get yourself some noise-canceling headphones, valium and an eye mask; or a private jet. Its quite simple really.

  3. Wow! That was quite the comment. I’ve flown with all kinds of folks with annoying issues. I find it so much more comfortable to create my little cocoon. I use TranquilEyes goggles – so comfy (especially for migraine suffers) and mitigates altitude dry eye issues, and gives you total darkness with nothing pressing on your eyelids. I have my Bose120qc, travel blanket and pillows collapsible foot rest. All of which fit into tidy little carry on. No checked bags for me, please. I have my cuppa, snuggle in and doze off.
    Btw, RW–love your blog! Dedicated reader for years.

  4. As much as I hate crying babies and rude people, flying involves being in a public place where everyone has the right to be there. I flew from LAX across the country today and there was a loud crying baby in the row behind me. I put my Bose noise cancelling ear plugs in and was able to tune it out. You can’t prevent problems, but you can adjust your response to the problem.

  5. “you are responsible for your own comfort.

    I’m not advocating for people to be as loud as they’d like on planes”

    You’ve just made two completely contradictory statements. You can’t have it both ways.

    Also you are victim blaming. Because make no mistake, being stuck next to a crying baby is tantamount to assault (assaulting your ears, in this case, or worse, if it poops). As it is when your seatmate is otherwise incommodious.

    I love the way every time this comes up, parents get all self-righteous and wail “put yourself in my shoes” etc etc. Well, if I WAS, I wouldn’t be on the plane with a baby. I would DRIVE. That’s what my parents did and their parents before them. They did not inflict their children on everyone else because they wouldn’t have wanted the same treatment from others. When did this change? I don’t know. Probably about the same time it became a requirement for people to drag their offspring to Disneyland at an age where they’ll never remember it, as some friends of mine are doing with their 3yo and 1yo. Never going to remember it. And they are flying 18 hours (or more) with these small children to do it!

    Anyway, I digress. The only reason a child younger than 8 (when they can reasonably be expected to entertain themselves) should be in a plane is life-saving medical treatment. That’s the only one I can come up with that I cannot find fault with. Seeing the grandparents isn’t good enough either. Let them fly to you. If they are too infirm, you DRIVE. And if you’ve moved over an ocean, well that was silly, wasn’t it, to be so far away from familial help?

    And NO, I will not help you with your screaming brat. I want to get as far away from it as possible. And I DO BLAME YOU. Oh yes.

    (PS don’t stick your kid next to me and go sit in another row and expect me to babysit it either. I will not help clean up the yoghurt he spilled all over his seat, no matter how revolting it smells. This last made me livid at the parent and the FA, who acted as if it were my job to do.)

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