Babies On Planes: Don't Apologise

Babies On Planes: Don't Apologise
7 January 2017

Ah, January. The time of year when we all start looking wistfully at holiday sites and wondering where might be warm in April.

If your mind has turned to holidays too and you're thinking about travelling abroad with a baby this summer, I hope you're not put off by the thought of taking a baby on a flight.

More specifically, I hope you're not one of those parents who feels the need to hand out treats or 'sweeteners' to the other passengers to apologise for inconveniencing them with your baby's presence.

I was queuing to board a place recently when a mum cradling a tiny baby leaned in close to me and whispered 'Sorry, I promise he's as good as gold'.

When I realised she was apologising simply for bringing a baby on board the plane, I pointed out that the threesome trailing far behind me were my own darling offspring. 'And I can assure you they are far from good as gold,' I said.

It was a funny exchange but it made me feel sorry for that mum. Why, in this day and age, should any parent feel compelled to act apologetic about bringing a baby aboard a plane? She – and her baby boy who was indeed as good as gold – have as much right to be there as anyone else.

And had he not been good as gold but in fact screamed his way through the flight, he'd still have had every right to be there and not a single person would have had any grounds for complaint. Babies cry. It's what they do, and there's something very wrong with a world where we feel we have to contain that so as not to upset someone's moment in a cramped tin tube with an overpriced glass of wine and minuscule packet of peanuts.

I was debating this with colleagues today after someone shared yet another one of those stories on social media of a family handing out sweets and other treats to surrounding passengers after boarding a long-haul flight with their young baby.

Why should a parent feel they have to compensate other passengers for the presence of another human being? I've put up with plenty of inconsiderate behaviour from other airline passengers before now and not one of them has even handed me a goody bag or an apology note in a bid to inconvenience me less.

If you're dreaming of sunnier climes this summer, do me a favour and book the flight. And don't apologise for bringing your baby with you - good as gold or otherwise.

40 comments

  • Lisa K.

    100% agree. Im not appologising for my children, they are not rude or nasty, I cant controle them which means I cant stop them paddying. I will try my best to entertain them, but it isnt always possible. If people dont like it then tough, deal with it the same as anyone else on the plane has too.

  • Kathryn M.

    I don't see any adults apologising for being damn right rude and ignorant. I was heavily pregnant when a elderly man pushed into me to get off the airplane faster his wife apologised... I apologise to her as it's not me that married to him x

  • Samantha W.

    I doubt someone with poor personal hygiene would hand out apologies with air fresheners, or someone who talks too much would hand out ear plugs, so why should people with babies apologise? If someone can't accept that a child will wriggle, sing, shout, cry, burp, be sick, talk too loudly and be 'a child' then that's their shortfall, not the child's or its parents' .

    • Sarah O.

      Because there's a difference between a child genuinely being sick or just being a child, than a parent allowing a child to kick the back of your seat for a whole flight... Not everybody on a flight prepares themselves and their children for it sadly....

    • Samantha W.

      Sarah O'Neill but those parents aren't too likely to be making apology bags either... Sadly.

  • Anne W.

    I think the bigger risk is me getting abusive with tutters! No apologising for me, if you want to pick the people on your plane then charter one! X

  • Emma D.

    We were coming back from Disney in December and there were lots of babies crying and a woman made a comment that people shouldn't bring small children on planes . The mother heard the comment I thought a war was going to erupt on the plane there and then lol

  • Kirsty C.

    My daughters first holiday was to Dominican Republic at 4 months followed by a holiday to Egypt at 5 months. My sons first holiday was to Dubai at 3 months followed by Cape Verde at 6 months. They are 3 and 20 months and have been on many flights since. I have never apologised on behalf of them and never will. I have found it was much easier with a child under 9 months as they are not so keen to get up and about, you can give them a bottle and cuddle them in and job done...on my kids first flights they slept the entire flight from a few minutes after take off until just after landing. We returned last month from a 2 weeks holiday to Cape Verde and they didn't sleep a wink, climbed all over my husband and I and basically were a nuisance....did I apologise...did I heck...we had paid a lot of money for my two smalls to be on the flight so they have every right to be there. As long as parents are trying to entertain their kids or comfort their babies then there's not much more they can do.

  • Jen C.

    It has to depend on your child/children and what works for you. My 3 year old struggles to sit still so why would we take him on a long flight? He'd hate it, we'd hate it and so would everyone else on the flight. We want to travel with him but, for the time being, we'll stay closer to home. That suits us but I'm not going to judge others for their choices.

    • Danni N.

      Im exactly the same with my lg so we're holidaying in the UK again this year

  • Marlena B.

    People more and more becoming selfish. They don't think about others and don't even try understand others situations. Everyone deserves holidays, same children and if you have a problem that a child having bad moments in the plane, you're not human being. Because if you were then you know that you're having bad moments in life too and others dealing with it too. So no, no apology for my child being a human, just deal with it, it's only few hours, surely it's not ruining your holidays!!!

    • Sarah O.

      But also then parents need to not be selfish and think of others when they take children on a flight, it works both ways respect... adults might also have issues. I'm a foster carer and take children on holiday but always make sure they and I am prepared for it, I do all I can to keep them occupied and happy which sadly lots of people don't bother to do, so I can see both sides of this situation... if a child in my care is being a nightmare then I would acknowledge to people that..

    • Marlena B.

      Absolutely agree with you! I also do everything to occupied them as respect others and would prefer if my children are nice behaved and quiet. They usually are but there's a moments when they get unwell suddenly and just having bad day and even if you try your best to keep them quiet there's nothing more you can do to do so. So in this situations I think (or I would even expect) others should try understand parents and children...

  • Rebekah W.

    My 1&half year old at the time was golden on the way there on the way back it was night flight delayed by 2hrs and 50 bloody minutes, on a 4 hour flight so we didn't land until 3am! If we hadn't been delayed my son would have been alright he was over tired and i had to entertain him whilst everyone in my party including my partner slept on the plane. Safe to say i could have used a couple of cocktail sticks :joy: my son decided to fall asleep literally as we were coming in to land was even asleep for the landing. But i didn't even realise we had landed it was that smooth! Nope i didn't apologise to anyone i paid for my holiday too probably more than other people had to be honest. Were not going on a plane this year though. Saving up for Disneyworld :thumbsup: we're going to discover and explore the UK for the next couple of years :relaxed: x

  • Elle H.

    Booked a flight for July with my 1 year old. Not being dictated to! X

  • Miriam B.

    and you tell them :joy:

  • Rebecca S.

    We're on a 9 hour flight in June with our 4 year old and i wont be apologetic at all! We've upgraded to premier seats with movies and will take a bag of bits and bobs with me for him thats all

  • Lora B.

    I had a disastrous flight with my Little boy and was put off flying again with him. Some people were really nice but some were horrible and being on my own was a horrible moment.

    However as we all love a holiday.. i did it again. Weeks before i was having panic attacks... and my boss told me simply "if someone complains tell them that said child may well be the one treating you in a few years, or the one saving your from a burning building or the person who will be wiping your a***" Made me chuckle but made me a more confident during the flight having that in mind

  • Sarah O.

    It works both ways, people have a responsibility to prepare themselves and their children as best they can to learn to travel (depending on age) and look at it from others perspectives too, just be kind. Some of the comments on here are so antagonist and selfish. I have no problem being near children on a flight and will always help if I can to occupy them, but it's when parents openly don't try to occupy their children on a flight and almost seem to goad people to moan at them and then kick off... everyone has paid for a seat not just you and it's everyone's holiday, children and adults.... I'm at trained foster carer and travel with damaged children and put lots of work into taking children on a flight and am very prepared, haven't needed to apologise yet, in fact cabin crew invited our littleys to meet the captain in the cock pit as they were so well behaved..

  • Fiona P.

    I'd never apologies and sure as hell would never give out a little goody bag with sweets and ear plugs in like I keep seeing all over Pinterest :unamused:

  • Bethan R.

    Me, my partner and 18 month son went to America and the flight was horrific, on the way home it was worse (our son did not like having to sit on our lap, it was hot, and just no room) on the way back to England we had an ignorant lady sat behind us trying to sleep, my son was exhausted, we were exhausted but he was so unsettled and wouldn't sleep. And they lady behind us was glaring at us as if she wanted us to just get up and get off plane (like we could do that) I think at one point she was going to say something to us, but my partner looked at her as if to say - you say one thing I'll go off on your arse. It was stressful for all of us. People are so rude when it comes to parents bringing babies, toddlers, children on planes. We all deserve holidays, not just single people! We went back to America after I had my second second son (6 months and my first some was 3) 6 months was easy, I was breastfeeding so literally had him on me every time he grizzled, my 3 year old loved watching the films and because we had a bassinet we had extra room where he could play on the floor. Safe to say those ages were the easiest, 18months not so much :joy:

  • Chris C.

    Went away last October wee one was 10 month on bus to plane I made a comment loud enough as could see my wife getting nervous about the flight short version was if any one has a problem they can came and talk to me face to face , wee one had a great flight out and home . And we should not have too like some one said rude drunk adults are worse

  • Kayleigh N.

    Im going to be the family no one wants to sit near in july :joy::joy: i will be taking my 4 children aged 8,7,3 and 5 months by then. We are visiting the kids grandparents abroad. We have the right to travel as much as anyone else. They should hopefully behave, but they are kids so no doubt will be excited.

  • Cerie A.

    I'm taking my 5 year old away in August... And many does he have a mind of his own.... X

  • Melanie T.

    We've taken my son on a 4 hour flight to Tenerife when he was 6 months old and a 10 1/2 hour flight to cuba at 18 months old and are taking him to Orlando next year when he will be 3. It's hard work travelling with an infant but worth it when you get there. Most people we encountered were nice there was the odd comment but hey ho that's life. Get children used to travelling young and it will make travelling easier.

  • Elizabeth F.

    I remember getting on plane when our baby was 5 months and woman behind said 'oh typical, just my luck' as we were in front! Baby was a dream the whole flight and at the end the woman said something about how good she'd been. My response was something like 'yeah, just your luck, she's such a good girl!'

  • Sobia M.

    People are becoming more selfish and less tolerant , it's about 'me ' how about if you see a family struggling or an elderly person or anyone else rather then judging stop to think how can I help them .

  • Chris S.

    Jus pack some duct tape in yor hand luggage then if you get any kids bawling, kicking th back of yor seat etc u can sort them (and th parents too if thy whinge!!) in seconds an enjoy th rest of yor flight :blush: xx

  • Lorinda C.

    I don't mind a grumpy crying child on the plane I'll probably be the one to offer to mum to take baby on a walk up and down the isles just to give her a break or if they noisy turn the volume up on headphones BUT what got me is child kicking back of my seat that's just not on. They don't have to sit like statues nor be quiet like a mouse but kicking a seat in front of them constantly and parents is watching movies and could not be bothered that's when I speak up and ask them to please stop it. I fly regularly long hall and that only happened once.

    • Emma-Louise H.

      I go off on my kids if they even do that in the cinema!

    • Emma D.

      I was coming back from Greece other year with my two children and before the plane had taken off a girl about 9 behind me had slammed the tray about 100 times . I tell mine not to mess with it or not to pull on the seat in front or kick it think parents should take responsibility for that sort of behaviour x

    • Denise G.

      Will put up with kids being kids.... But do not kick the back of my seat, I will turn around and tell the little darling to stop...

  • Tracy K.

    Went to Florida in September with my very tall, very bright 23 month old, and my 10 year old. As she was under 2 she had no seat of her own but we had bulkhead seats. She slept on my lap for first 5 hours then I put a blanket on the floor in front of seat and we played with cars, jigsaws, books and her dolls. Lots of drinks and snacks! On the way home slept for 8 hours of a 9 hour flight!! Not great for me as I needed to pee! So we were very lucky but I was ready to react accordingly had anyone pipped up! We work extremely hard for our money and save hard for holidays. If the worst thing some old misery has to deal with is an upset child.. deal with it! Our seat was paid for and kids cry!

  • Stephanie A.

    We recently flew for the first time with our two year old. Outbound flight good as gold, not a single murmur the entire flight which totally lulled us into a false sense of security as the inbound flight was awful!

    He screamed for a good twenty minutes during take off as we were delayed and just sat on the run way which meant he had to sit on my knee for longer. It was awful, I wanted the sky to swallow me up!

    Hasn't put me off flying as we will be going away this year but I am keeping everything crossed for an incident free flight!x

  • Tony C.

    Babies are babies they cry they play up we were all one once !! A lot like learner drivers people forget they were the same once and wanted people to cut some slack

  • Danielle-Natasha C.

    Don't like sharing a cabin with kids, pay to upgrade to business or 1st. If you can't afford luxury flights, then shut up & put up, simple!!

  • Rebecca K.

    I have flown quite a lot with my daughter since she was about 3 months old (now aged 2). Maybe I am just lucky but I've never had a bad experience or negative reaction from other passengers, people generally are really friendly and helpful.

  • Rebecca B.

    I was on a plane and asked to be moved away from the crying baby. But apparently that's not allowed when it's your own baby... :-P

  • Lynette W.

    Much better than being on a plane with a group of drunks going on a stag holiday. I'll take a baby who can't control their actions any day. So worth it when you land and have a brilliant holiday.

  • Donna R.

    I don't mind the noise. Everyone pays for their ticket and everyone has the right to travel. My two tend to sleep :joy: having said that, we booked a Ryanair flight once (never again!!) and the swearing, chanting and yelling from a group of lads obviously on a stag or something REALLY wound me up, there were so many kids on the plane that shouldn't have to hear that! They are responsible for what noise they make, babies aren't!

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