Flying with Babies: Us Vs. Them

Flickr: Photo by jyri
My family is moving across the country in two weeks which means a six hour flight with a four-year-old and my one-year-old. I'm not looking forward to it, but apparently my fellow passengers are really not looking forward to it even more than those of us who have to entertain the wiggly ones for an ungodly amount of time.


CNN recently wrote a huge comment-getting piece about babies on planes. As expected, there were people without children who attacked people with, who are just trying to visit family members, move, go on vacation or any other reason without starting a war in the air.

Why is this such a contentious issue? As someone who has been on both sides (and what parent hasn't?) it is difficult to sit through a long flight with a screaming baby when you really want to relax. It is also difficult to manage an active baby for long periods of time in a small space when the fasten seat belt light is on 80% of the trip, and it becomes increasingly difficult as other passengers shoot daggers your way.

But whether there are ten screaming babies or you're on a plane full of meditating Buddhist monks, air travel is not the luxury it once was. Between paying $50 to check your luggage, shuffling through security with your shoes off, and having to pay for almost-edible food, we're really just riding Greyhounds in the sky.

My favorite passenger and parent tip from the article was this one:

Always make an effort to quiet a crying baby. "If other people see you trying, even if you're not succeeding, they will feel at least you're ... doing your best to stop it. And they'll have some sympathy for you," Bartell said.

What do you do to keep your baby happy on a long flight?

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