Screaming Kids and Aeroplanes.

By Posted in - Featured Post on October 4th, 2011 A can of ginger ale from England.


Editors note: While I don’t have children, I certainly feel for any parents who find themselves in this situation. My hat goes off to you. It’s got to be a tough situation, but you guys have a way of keeping your cool that I’m not sure I’ll ever have.

A can of ginger ale from England.

Ahh ginger ale, my favorite cure-all for flying.

Ahhgggh! Ahhgggg! Hhhhm…hmmh….hrrgh…AHHGGG!

It’s as if an exorcism is being performed at 30,000 feet. And better yet, the demonic cleansing is happening 2 feet from my head.

The shrieks and screams, akin to fingers on a chalkboard, slice through my body and overshadow a young Mick Jagger’s voice.

‘Surely there must be heading spinning and vomiting occurring behind me,’ I think. Just then Beth leans over and says, “Isn’t she so cute?”

Glancing back through my seat slit, I’m shocked at what I see. No puke, no bulging eyes and certainly no heading spinning, only a red-headed Madeline with soft green eyes and rosy cheeks.

As I turn back around, I hear the flight attendant jokingly say to the parents, “Oh, she’s a spicy one,” and then offer them complimentary drinks, before handing little Madeline some pretzel sticks.

It’s quiet now. The pretzel sticks must have worked. Though, we may just be in the eye of the storm. In my new found silence, the situation got me thinking: As a passenger, how do you deal with a crying child on the plane?

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(13) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Adventurous Kate -

    October 4, 2011 at 4:16 am

    My former boss had the best plan ever — his kids were around 8, 6 and 2, and he would get on a plane and hand out $5 Starbucks cards to everyone around them — BEFORE takeoff. It was like an apology of what was yet to come, but it made everyone surprised and happy.

  • Chris Haughey -

    October 4, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Oh it’s a nightmare sitting on long flights next to crying kids. I usually try drowning the sound out with music but I also try staring the mini-demon in the eyes with a combination of a madman stare and funny faces until they stop crying. It’s quite successful sometimes, just as long as the parents don’t get freaked out.

  • Mica -

    October 4, 2011 at 8:21 am

    OMG, that is my worst nightmare. It’s happened to us so many times, and we keep saying if there was ever a time when an airline would charge more for planes that did not allow children, we would definitely be on them. I can’t stand the screaming! We were on a Jet Blue flight once and this kid would not shut up. Mike, my guy, decides to order double vodkas but I can’t drink on flights so I put on my ipod-not even on full blast could I drown this kid out. I do feel bad for the parents but I feel like they should be segregated to one section of the plane so they can drive each other crazy and leave the rest of us alone!

  • Carol -

    October 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

    It was inevitable that SOMEONE would bring up the “just segregate those pesty kids” crap cause Lord knows those people never did anything as children or even adults I bet to annoy anyone around them. Ever. (le sigh)

    But, to answer your question, as a traveling mom with 3 boys 4, 6, and 13- it’s a process that starts days before the flight -conversations about how long it will take, or personal space, or awareness and consideration of those around us. But on plane we come packed with food and activities, books and games. Then we hope that 1) all goes smoothly with flight (I.e no delays) and that we don’t end up near people like Mica. Cause they just add stress and discomfort and make just being there a bad situation for is all.

  • Tours of the Vatican -

    October 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Oh god, I hate that! It’s the worst when they’re in a row adjacent to yours, because there’s not much that can drown it out at that point… Usually good headphones can do the trick – but good luck hearing anything else… Like the waitress taking drink orders! 😉

  • Erica -

    October 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I just start drinking. Then hopefully I will pass out at some point and no baby will be able to wake ME up.

  • Tours of the Vacation -

    October 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I have been on a few plains with “spicy little ones.” Tip, bring suckers the shut them up for a little… but this might back fire because it is sugar.

  • Aussie on the Road -

    October 7, 2011 at 12:19 am

    My iPhone/iPod is my best friend on a flight. Whether it’s a screaming kid or a too loud mouth breather sitting three seats over, I just drown them out and go to sleep.

  • Morgan -

    October 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

    When I started reading your account, I thought I was on your flight. Then I realized that 1 out of every 3 flights I take end up like this… Something has to be done, and it starts with parents.

  • Vasco -

    October 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    As a frequent or casual traveler this is the part that you just have to cope with. I carry earplugs all the time so if it gets really bad – that’s the way to go. But it’s never that bad. There’s usually a good entertainment system on a plane (especially if it’s an international flight), if no – I just pull out my laptop and catch up on the prerecorded shows. So just distract yourself – it’ll never get to you if you don’t let it.

  • Bethany -

    October 19, 2011 at 1:35 am

    @Vasco, So true! I’m pretty much the same way. -Randy

  • Jennifer Miller -

    December 23, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I love that you didn’t trash the parents or the child!! Kudos for your patient, open minded approach, even when it’s irritating!

    Any parent traveling with a young child needs encouragement, and sympathy, not daggered looks!

    Here’s an idea: Ask how you can help. Show a little patience with your fellow humans (someone once did with you!) Encourage them. Being a parent is HARD work and NO ONE is more stressed by that crying baby than the parents, I PROMISE YOU. The stage does pass. Kids do grow into savvy (read that QUIET) travelers and rarely does a child or a parent ACTUALLY die of temper fit or embarrassment at 30,000 feet.

    We’ve got four, aged 9-15 at the moment… and I flew with all of them from 6 weeks onward. Sometimes sharing a little love goes a long way!

  • charu -

    December 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I simply watch some inflight entertainment and turn up the volume. Distraction rules!