Colleen Lanin's recent story, How to handle kid-hating curmudgeons on airplanes, struck a chord with a lot of you.
Parent travelers, child-sensitive travelers and business travelers all weighed in with their opinions and experiences. We received more than 100 comments that show this issue is, in fact, a complicated one.
Here are a few select comments that offer some insight on the subject.
(Some posts have been edited for quality or length. To see the full collection of comments, click here.)
“The problem with airplane travel is you can't remove your child from the situation if they have a meltdown, which all children have from time to time. Add to that the stress of handling that meltdown with a plane full of judgmental people and you think that it's hard for you to deal with? What would really help is if people would realize that children are not mini adults and need to be shown the right way to behave. If you act rude and mean when a child is "hassling" you, you've shown them it's OK to be [a] jerk when you don't get your way. Remember those parents also paid for the "right" to fly with their children and have to worry about keeping track of them and themselves …” — Sarah-291974
“You refer to passengers who object to out-of-control children as 'child-haters'? These passengers, many of whom are business travelers, pay for the right not to be hassled by someones child. Besides, the problem isn't really about the children, it's about the parents of the children who seem oblivious to the problems their kids create. Grow up. Take responsibility for your kids, and quit blaming other people for the bad behavior that you allow.” — Jack H. of Destin, Fla
“I realize there is some humor here in this article, but I just want to point out that I don't think I am necessarily a "kid-hating curmudgeon" just because I resent having to be exposed to screaming/crying/kicking/fidgeting children when trapped within the uncomfortable confines of an airplane. As a matter of fact, I don't want to be around that behavior from anyone of any age!” — eight is enough-444535
“I have a 2 year old that I have tried everything with. He is great in many situations, but going out to certain places like restaurants and electronics stores can still be a problem. We bought a little DVD player to help with restaurants -- that helps. We have patiently tried every suggestion the parents with the "good" kids use. He has therapists, and we follow what they say. I have a master's in education, I follow the advice of many other experts, and parents who are successful, and still he can get quite a bit nuts sometimes. So, go ahead at look at me with derision. It does not mean you are right.” — Hellohowareyou
“How about tips for the passenger without children? How does one communicate to the parent/guardian of a young passenger that their child is disruptive - without insult or bad feelings during the flight? I realize it can't be easy for either the child to experience a flight (noise, ear pressure, etc) and it can't be easy for the parent/guardian to control these little passengers. I love it when I see a mom struggling to control the kids and the father is "asleep" across the aisle (what a jerk!).” — Flys enough times
“No matter how much or how little the parent tries, these are children we're talking about. They're bound to misbehave any way you look at it. Your only hope is to pray the kid sleeps the whole way or to be lucky enough to be seated far enough away that the misbehaving doesn't affect you as much.” — Jenny-1680959
“If the parents actively work to bring their children under control, have things for them to do, restrain them from kicking seats, at least TRY, it's reasonably tolerable. I've actually been known to help … However, when the parents just look fondly on their "little darlings" and cannot possibly imagine why someone would find them annoying ... or they just flutter around helplessly wanting someone else to fix the problem ... it's not tolerable and, if it's bad enough, I'll ask the flight attendance to address the problem.— Beth-440386
“I've traveled with my daughter who occasionally misbehaved -- loudly. I felt bad for everyone else. I've also traveled without her while some other child cried and fretted, and it was horrible. I hate when other people's children are noisy, even though I've been in that place. We just have to bite the bullet. That's life. Maybe they should introduce ‘childrens’ flights and put them all together on one plane. Can you imagine?” — Joy-1883026
“I will pack some lollipops in my laptop bag and recommend the ‘Shoes off’ trick on my next flight with kids.” — GoshenBebop
“I give parents the benefit of the doubt when parent[ing]. Not when they just throw up their hands and say, ‘kids will be kids.’” — Wants to know
“I fly a lot, with and without my children, and I have noticed adults behave just as bad, if not worse. I acknowledge this is public transportation and don't become a ‘hater’ of any sort.” — BadgerChick
“I fly a lot. I logged 85K last year and 96K the year before, all in coach. I have never experienced the nightmare scenarios that I read about. Yes, there may be a cranky baby, but that is usually driven by pain in their ears. Nothing a pair of $.39 ear plugs (for me) won't solve. I actually hate the assumption that children will misbehave. I have five kids, and it drives me nuts when we walk in to a restaurant or get on a plane and people assume that they will be noisy monsters. If people assume the worst, do they create a self-fulfilling prophecy?” — Sevenseat
“If people taught their kids manners, and taught them what proper behavior in public is all about, we would have a lot fewer problems. I see too many parents that basically allow their kids to do as they please, and then wonder why those around them hate their kids.” — snicerkdoodle
“When you fly, you gamble. You bought a ticket for a narrow cramped seat in a long metal tube, probably because it was the most efficient and economical means to get from where you are to where you want to be. You gamble that your seatmate showered and used deodorant before getting on the plane. You gamble that she didn't coat herself in enough perfume to lay down a vapor trail. You gamble that the guy built like a Clydesdale isn't sitting next to (and on) you. You gamble that there will be room in the overhead bin and that the airline won't lose your luggage. You gamble that the flight will leave/arrive on time so you can make that tight connection. You gamble that there won't be disruptive kids on your flight. Just like Las Vegas, when you gamble, sometimes you win. Sometimes you don't. Be the bigger person. Smile, put on your headphones/earplugs, and let the rest go. The flight will end.” — Javajunkee560
“Has no one ever thought about a cry room on a plane? If a child must fly and be noisy - there should be a place where the parent and child can go so as not to disturb every other adult passenger (and behaving children).” — Kinki
“ … if you at least are trying to calm your child the rest of us at least acknowledge that you are doing what you can. It's all the parents who just seem to not care that their kid is making everyone else miserable who get the ire of other passengers.” — Robert-1637489
“Kid-Hating Curmudgeons … great name for a rock band!” — Gemartini
Not really on topic, Gemartini, but perhaps a good place to end.
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