Many a passenger has endured the wails of an infant who is too young to understand how to make that ear-popping pain go away. A slightly smaller population of flyers has actually had to deal with A) the messily frantic yet fruitless application of apple juice, B) the guilt for torturing a hostile captive audience, and C) the utter sense of panic that your child is in pain and you can’t do anything to make it better. Having experienced this on long family trips to the Philippines when my guys were younger, I can absolutely empathize with the struggling parents and am often tempted to comfort them. But, it doesn’t make the screaming any more pleasant.
Today, there are increasing numbers of airlines placing restrictions on air travel for families with young babies. No little ones allowed in first class and even child-free flights. I know some parents are a little offended by this idea.
I actually think it isn’t a bad one, but I’d like to take it one step further: I’d like to see a family-focused airline. Maybe the restrooms would feature enough room for real changing tables. There could even be a separate section for parents to take their crying little ones or for moms to nurse. And everyone on the flight would be as understanding as possible when the child in seat 23A starts sobbing. Maybe the flight attendants could pass out pacifiers with the pretzels and double as nannies! (I realize the latter might be taking it too far.)
Ultimately, to those first class passengers who complained and to any passenger that threw me a dirty look as I tried to calm my own babies, just know that it really isn’t fun for us parents either. But, inevitably, a parent will have to fly somewhere quickly, baby in tow. And we’d be happy to fly separately from you too!
What are your thoughts? Should planes ditch their baby-on-board stickers for first class passengers? For all passengers? Or do travelers sans children need to lighten up a little? Also, how do you think can airlines become more family-friendly?