Travel etiquette tip: Don’t get between a mom and her baby

Yesterday I flew to Utah, which took approximately ten hours of travel time. That’s no small amount for a domestic trip!  I flew 5-6-14 strolleron Southwest, and overall my flights were good–in fact, on my final flight I had the exit row all to myself. That never happens!

The summer travel season must be starting early. I have seen more kids on flights recently than ever before during this time of year. Yesterday as we were boarding, a mom was a few people in front of me, pushing her toddler in a stroller. I paid attention because he looked to be about the same age as the Mini Warrior, and had the same high level of energy. I smiled at his adorable antics, watching him pat his toys and babble. Once we reached the entry to the plane the mom scooped him up, then set him down to collapse her stroller. Even as his little feet hit the ground I knew it was going to be bad. He immediately ran for the airplane door. The mom grabbed him and held his arm while struggling with the stroller. Again, she let him go for a second and again he took off. She got the stroller collapsed and lunged to grab his arm. But those toddlers are quick and he scooted around the person in front of him to walk onto the plane. Are you with me? At this point, there is a lady in between the mom and her little boy. The mom tries to scoot in front of the woman, going to the side of her.

And here is where it got weird for me. It seems to me that no matter what you think of the mother’s actions, at this point you would get out of the way so that she could catch her toddler before he ran onto the plane. But no. Instead, this woman got in the mother’s way so she couldn’t pass her. I don’t know if she didn’t see the tiny person dashing in front of her, and thought the mom was just some strange person cutting in line, or what. Again, the mom tried to go around her and again the woman got in her way. After several tries the mom just moved past her, not really trying to be polite anymore, grabbed her son, and boarded the plane.

We can argue all day about kids on the plane and what parents should and should not do. But in this situation, it was ridiculous for the woman to not let the mom past. What did she think was going to happen? She would miss out on that one perfect seat?

As for the mom, I strongly recommend that if you’re traveling alone you have a stroller that can be collapsed with one hand. We have the Maclaran Volo umbrella stroller and it is fantastic–incredibly easy to fold and unfold while holding the baby. Another option is a carrier so that you can bypass the stroller all together. Yesterday I was too far back to assist in any way, and when I saw that small child racing for the plane door my stomach dropped. There are so many things that could go wrong in that scenario! Glad it all worked out, and hopefully things will go more smoothly for everyone next time.

Readers, do you agree with me?


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  1. Of course it wrong to block a mother from her child, as you point out it is a dangerous situation to have a small child unsupervised on/near the boarding door. But as wrong as the blocking woman was, it was the mother who allowed her child to be in that dangerous situation.

    Giving the blocking woman the benefit of the doubt, did the mother ever tell her about the child that the blocking woman maybe didn’t see?

    After retrieving her child did the mother return to her “place in line” by letting the blocking woman by? The blocking woman being rude/inconsiderate doesn’t give the mother permission to cut her line….

  2. Well I am one of those crazy moms who occasionally travel alone with two young kids.

    My two year old has easily been on 100 flights and my one year old is gaining more and more.

    When I flew alone with them a few weeks ago, I took our double stroller to help carry kids (and stuff) through the airport.

    When it was getting close to boarding time, I took everything and everyone out of the stroller and collapsed it so I could drag it to the plane instead of collapsing it when I got to the door. It mostly worked a lot better.

  3. People have an odd way of ignoring kids around them when they fly. I understand that two wrongs never make a right but I would have done the same thing to ensure my toddler wasn’t running alone onto the plane – which would give people something else to complain about!

    But I totally agree on the stroller that folds one handed!

  4. People are going to judge me for this, but if you have a child that age, who is prone to running away, why not put him on a leash? My mother did it to me, and I was not damaged by it, and it may have saved her a lot of stress, and me from repeatedly getting lost. I’m not emotionally scarred in any way.

    Sure a one-hand stroller will solve part of the problem, but tethering your child is the solution no-one will name.

    Also, given SW’s boarding procedures, I’m not surprised that the “other” woman refused to let her get by. She probably did not notice the little one, and most likely was probably just protecting her place in the seating pecking order. (or she though his dad was further into the plane and he was running after him?) I doubt there was malice intended.

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