Recently, a self professed “stressed out” woman on a short Delta flight from Syracuse, New York to JFK asked to be moved away from a crying baby. When her request was immediately denied (and rightfully so) by the flight attendant, she went into full on ballistic “I am way more important than YOU” mode, and proceeded to tell the flight attendant that tomorrow she would no longer have a job.
Scenes like this play out daily in the now not-so-friendly skies, where evidently the community child-raising sentiment of “it takes a village” instantly becomes null and void when you’re at 30,000 feet — or even still on the tarmac. It’s no secret that airplane travel these days is no pleasure cruise, and everyone — both business and pleasure travelers alike — seem to project their flying frustrations onto anyone and everything around them.
Unfortunately, babies and young children tend to take the brunt of their impatience and sensitivities, because lest we forget that babies WHINE and CRY, and energy-filled stubborn toddlers don’t like to sit for too long in one place. Sadly, people’s harried and stressful lives spill right over into airplane cabins — and that can be a recipe for potential disaster.
The last thing anyone wants while traveling at 500 mph 10,000 feet in the air is for someone to totally lose their shit and potentially endanger hundreds of innocent people. For that reason, the flight attendant — unsure of how volatile the crying baby situation could get — promptly requested the woman be removed from the aircraft (a request any crew member can make at any time).
The scene on the Delta flight begs a couple questions: Why are we seeing an increase in passengers who are unable and unwilling to sit near small children? And what, if anything, do airlines plan to do about it?
As for people who refuse to be seated next to babies and small children, I have two words for them: TOUGH. SHIT.
Unless your name is literally on the side of the plane, or you’re flying private charter, you really don’t have a choice. Really. The simple act of purchasing a ticket gives you no special privileges or rights — only a ride from one location to another. It is totally up to the discretion of the crew to move you if they see fit, and if another seat is available. If you want to pick out your seat after you’ve scanned the cabin and seen who is onboard, I suggest you fly Southwest.
Enjoying the benefits of getting somewhere pretty damn quickly also means you’re going to have to deal with other humans (and that includes human children). Let’s just say it comes with the territory.
And about that territory… any chance a U.S.-based airline will ever offer kid-free zones on their aircrafts? According to the air travel site airfarewatchdog.com, the answer is no because of the potential PR nightmare would garner. Some international airlines like Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia do offer “kid-free” zones, selling tickets with the promise that no children will be seated around them. And even though a 2017 survey found that over half of people surveyed said they think families traveling with children aged 10 and under should be relegated to their own section of the plane, there have been no significant efforts or ideas for doing that among any domestic airlines.
Of course, the irony in all of this is the fact that most small children are better behaved than your average adult — stressed out or not. Grown ass adults who throw temper tantrums because their 45-minute flight may entail a few minutes of crying by another young human need to check themselves. Lacking the kind of mature self-control that is necessary to literally function in adulthood, does not give you the authority to impose your impatience and distress on the people (and toddlers and babies) around you.
How about you grow the hell up and sit down in the seat you bought, eat your damn peanuts, put your headphones on, and meditate your ass all the way to JFK. Can’t do it? I heard there’s this new thing out there now called Uber. Ask for a kid-free ride.