Commentary | If you have ever flown in an airplane, you have most likely felt that deep dread in the pit of your stomach when you take your seat, stow your carry-on, and look up to see someone walking up the aisle with a diaper bag slung over one shoulder and a baby on one hip. “Please don’t sit next to me, please don’t sit next to me…” you mutter under your breath, only relaxing when they pass you by and become some other unlucky passenger’s companions. Flying with babies has been a point of complaint and compassion since air travel began.
But, what if the parent with that baby was passing out goody bags to everyone on the plane? One set of parents passed out bags of candy, earplugs, and a note of apology to every passenger on board while flying for the first time with their 14 week-old twins. When another passenger wrote about these parents’ act of generosity on their blog, the comments ranged from outraged to enthusiastic. Some were livid that babies (and parents, for that matter) are looked upon as a hassle and inconvenience for other passengers, so much so that these first-time parents felt the need to over-compensate by bribing everyone else on board. Others felt that this was such a brilliant idea that all other parents should take note.
A little candy and some free earplugs might be enjoyed by other passengers, but does flying with small children really necessitate bribery? Do all passengers have a right to a peaceful flight, uninterrupted by a slobbering, gurgling bundle of joy? What are “the rights of a baby on a plane”?
What do you think? Would you appreciate a note of apology when seated by a screaming two-year-old? Or do you cast weary parents a sympathetic glance, put your headphones on, and enjoy your flight?