Should Parents Apologise For Flying With Kids?

Should You Apologise For Flying With Kids?
8 July 2016

What do you think of those stories that do the rounds from time to time of parents handing out goody bags to other passengers when travelling long-distance with a baby?

There was a fabulous one in the news recently about a couple who were flying from Newark to Orlando with 18-month-old twins - their first time in a plane.

The mum and dad handed the passengers seated near to them a pack explaining that this was the babies' first time flying and inside was some earplugs and sweets.

At the time I thought it was a lovely gesture but also firmly agreed with those who said it seems sad that parents should feel like they have to apologise for the existence of their babies when travelling.

However, as I queued to board a plane last night and the ear-splitting sound of a toddler throwing a tantrum echoed around the stairwell and pummelled the ears of those around me, I found myself wishing for my own goody bag and ear plugs.

Now I know it's mean-spirited to be judgemental about the parenting skills of others, especially those wrangling toddlers on long trips, but having left my three at home to fly to London for a work trip, I'll admit that I felt a teeny bit resentful at having to listen to the piercing screams of someone else's child.

So while I agree that parents should never feel like they have to apologise to other people for their presence of their children, I also wish all parents approached travelling with babies and young children with the same degree of consideration as the parents of those twins.

But what's your view? Have you ever handed out goody bags to other passengers whilst travelling with your baby and if so, how were they received?

Or have you ever been given one by another parent? And do you think it's a kind, considerate idea, or a sad reflection of our times and our increasing intolerance towards kids and babies?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment below or join the debate over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Eleanor D.

    no i dont see why you should apologise for having children. its part of life, people should grow up and get over it

  • Emma S.

    We took our daughter to Florida last year when she was nine months old. We heard a woman make a comment in the queue that she hoped she was nowhere near us. As luck would have it, she was right behind us. We heard more noise from her and her husband than from my little girl. People who moan about babies crying forget that they were young once, I doubt they were silent babies!

  • Kerry D.

    No! I would rather be seated near children than people getting drunk or a stag or hen party! I'm not being a barhumbug as I was a Hen on a flight with 15 girls once and there was a stag party on with us too and whilst it was fun for us, I bet it wasn't for everyone else on the flight!!

  • Andy W.

    50 50 normal playing etc ok but tantrums over nothing out of order my kids wernt angels but somewere between

  • Nicola H.

    This is why I have never taken my kids on a plane, always worry if they annoy someone.

    • Ria D.

      Why are you worried what other people think? I'm sorry but I wouldn't deprive myself or family of a holiday just because your afraid of annoying people. Most children are not going to find flying a pleasant experience at first until they are used to it,why not just go on a short flight like Menorca?

    • Nicola H.

      Ria David that's your opinion and ur entitled. A holiday is a luxury not a necessity therefore why risk winding people up who don't want kids making a noise.

    • Ria D.

      Nicola Hampson personally I don't live to please other people. Your never going to be the only person on the plane with upset children and for all you know your children may enjoy it.

    • Nicola H.

      Good for you wish I had your courage. I do live to please others as I'm not brave enough to do what I want I just do as I am told

    • Kerry D.

      It's not as bad it sounds Nicola. there is always one person who'll moan but there are three more who won't. It is very hard to grow a thick skin, I have a child with autism so it isn't just at airports or flying where we encounter lots of difficulties and tutting and judgement stares! Airports are becoming more aware of how difficult it is these days, Gatwick has a great print out to help prepare the child and you receive a lanyard for your child to wear that alerts all staff that the child has a 'hidden disability'. If someone says something about my child under their breathe and not directly to me, I then say to my child (knowing they can hear me too) "we must try to use our quiet voices because there are lots of grown ups on the plane who aren't as excited or nervous as you because they are adults and you are just a small child". Usually shuts them up!

    • Nicola H.

      Kerry Demello I also have 2 children with autism

  • Joanne W.

    My son took a tantrum on flight home from holiday as he was tired, wanted home and just plain grumpy and then to make matters worse he got sore ears. Everyone was very sympathetic thankfully, offering him sweets etc. I have booked again for next year. They are only wee once and I'm sure we were all like that once

  • Jo D.

    Ive taken my kids in a few plane trips and my view is ive paid as much to travel as others and let's be honest would a infant under 2 normally sit on your knee for hours at a time without their favourite things around them and have to pay for the privalige of getting extra cramped. My boy kicked off on the last flight due to not wanting to be on our knees at landing we just appologised to the people around us.

  • Autumn R.

    I think as long as the parents are doing their best there is no need to complain. I had a flight where my son cried during landing, I apologized to the people around me, but they were very understanding. I paid just as much if not more for my seat so we have as much right to be on the flight as anyone else :) x

    • Donya D.

      I cry during landing more than my children. I'm embarrassed at myself and always get comments on how well behaved my kids are!!!!

  • Bev B.

    No I wouldn't complain & no they shouldn't apologise but what they did is really thoughtful & considerate. That should be celebrated. X

  • Zoey H.

    For goodness sake even the most well behaved of children have tantrums every now and again, hell I feel like having 1 some times on aeroplanes, they're boring for adults let alone for children. Yes it's annoying to listen to a child screaming non stop but get over it there are worse things in life

  • Lisa K.

    Sod that I'm not apologising to anyone for my kids being anywhere. As long as they are well behaved if people don't like it, then it's their problem not ours and they need to deal with it. Crying is not classed as miss behaving.

  • Ellen E.

    Pre kids I'd hate kids near me. Now I've 2 of them, 2 and 4 and we've taken them on a lot of flights, especially the older one. I completely understand that kids can be a bother, but as long as we look after them and interact with them, as parents, were doing the best we can. It's the parents that ignore the kids that annoy me now.

    • Karla M.

      Pre kids!!! Yep I just posted exactly like you. Xx

  • Tricia W.


  • Halema P.

    I have flown with all my 4 children since they were little,why should we feel ashamed to fly with our kids it's was lovely of these parents to do this but no necessary

  • Melanie N.

    We took our daughter on her first flight when she was 14 months she was great but nearly at the end of flight I needed to change her wet nappy as it had started to leak through she point blank refused to go in to toilet so I lay her on seat and she screamed blood murder till I'd finish only a few minutes but felt like an hour I felt horrible for the other passengers as she was really really loud. My partner and my son then 9 were cringing and so embarrassed. Thankfully on return flight she slept all the way back X

  • Hayley D.

    We booked our holiday whilst I was pregnant, we now have a 6 month old who suffers from silent reflux. To stop stares and comments we've had baby grows made that say "sorry if I'm crying but I suffer from silent reflux (heartburn)" let's hope they work

  • Beverley H.

    No apologising unless you ignore your children or try the cry to sleep! We've taken our girls to the USA to visit family from the age of 3 months and people around us have commented how good they have been. Yes it's harder work as a parent to keep them occupied but it's fun to go on holiday and the kids learn and enjoy so much. I wouldn't deprive my kids of seeing their grandparents just cos I was worried of other passengers on the plane!

  • Jinx

    as a flight attendant I often get asked by ignorant passengers "is there anything you (me the flight attendant) can do to help that mother with her baby" or "can you get her/him to do something about that noise" my reply is always, they are doing the best they can but their baby is distressed, having that attitude towards them does not help. It's not the parents that should be apologising (unless they're not actually trying to sort out the situation) it's the other ignorant people that can't see the effort being put in to calm a fussy baby. But if a parent wants to preempt the inevitable tantrum and get people on side before it happens then I say go for it, it makes for a more pleasant flight all round and the possibility that someone might come to help who is experienced/willing to help mum/dad have a break. 

  • Julie Z.

    Not unless people are going to start apologising for drinking on the plane, standing in the aisles for far too long asking their companions if they want both magazines out of the overhead locker or just one whilst everyone else waits to get on (ugh that's annoying), clapping when the plane lands (why?!), putting their seat back (there is simply no space on a plane) or any other of the many annoying things that people do when flying!!

  • Emma E.

    They didn't have to apologise but they did as they are obviously thoughtful and considerate of those around them, much like you don't have to hold a door open for someone but it's the polite thing to do, a lot of people are not like that these days

  • Debbie E.

    no parent should have to apologise about taking their child on a plane and neither should they worry about how it upsets other people. You and your child have a right to be there as much as any other person xx

  • Stephanie H.

    My son hated the plane cried 3 hours straight nothing soothed him! I just got stares off people feeling sorry for us it was a night time flight at he was over tiered as soon as we got off he fell asleep! He was 17 months

  • What

    Rubbish parenting.  Why does a baby need to be on a plane?  The trip is wasted on them, the flight is scary and uncomfortable for them.  And it is powerfully annoying for everyone else.  Just take a few years off from flying.

  • Karla M.

    I was one of those awful people that would dislike seating behind or in front of crying kids. Until I had my own 18 month old twins who squealed for a whole 3 hour flight. And it was the worst flight of my life because I couldn't pacify my baby's and I knew how the old me felt when I was young and without kids so I could understand the frustration of other passengers. So now on a flight without my bambinos I would do anything to help a parent settle there baby. And now a baby crying dosent annoy me.

  • Neil W.

    Nope. These people seem to forget they were kids once. Probably screaming brats too. A few years ago we were sitting on the runway waiting to take off and the bloke in front asked if we could make sure there was no noise etc from our child during the flight. Needless to say we didn't adhere to his request on purpose

  • Becky A.

    I worked as a flight attendant for 4 years and i can tell you that the adults behaved worse than the children alot of the time! I was asked on several occassions if i could 'shut that baby up!' . I can gurantee that the patents are much more distressed when their child is screaming than some moaning miserable fellow passenger. Now a mum of 2 i recently took my 4 and 2 year old on a 9 hour flight to Florida and was well prepped to respond to anybody moaning, but luckily all went smoothly..

  • Heather J.

    When my husband and I took our grandchildren they were 3 and 18 months to turkey 2 year ago 3ladys sitting behind us looked and tuted when we sat down with them yet when we got off they said can we please just say we have loved the story's the singing and would just like to say how good the children were so not every one minds children

  • Lisa W.

    Nice gesture of these parents but totally not needed! Do they get a goody bag from the people behind that are always pushing your chair or pushing their legs in to your chair for them to try get more room no. I personally think that ppl should have a little more understanding as an adult our ears hurt on take off and landing what do you think kids are going through the same where we just get the hump and be rude to ppl they cry and let the pain out. Kids don't want to be sat on our laps and parents that are going away with out their kids should be a little more understanding to how we're feeling when our little ones are upset. If your worried there will be a small child near you on a plane journey be prepared your self make it part of your packing to bring your own ear plugs. When I took my son on his first flight he kept looking Over the chairs and I apologised to this couple that was sat there they said its fine he is happy we're playing peek a boo with him some people don't mind helping make it easier for you. I'd apologise if my kids were noisy or even crying even if it was for a reason but no way would I go to the extent these parents have our children are entitled to be on the flight just as much as the next person

  • Chelle H.

    No absolutely not! Children shouldn't stop people from flying as they can be very well behaved. It's normally those that haven't had children/for a long time that don't understand or remember what hard work it takes in raising them. You do get those who judge but they just need to be ignored and proven wrong!

  • Laura B.

    It's the older children who parents let kick and push your chairs for the entire flight without reprimanding them that are the worst, not the little ones who don't know any different than tears as a way of expression, as believe me it's always the parents who feel worst in that situation, or at least I know I do!! x

  • Maria R.

    Ive flown 14 times with my now 1 year old boy. Never been judged. People dont half make mountains out of mole hills and going to this extent is completely unnessacery. Just make sure you are prepared for the journey the same as any other and you will be fine.

  • Jude E.

    I was coming home from Majorca on Thursday morning and my son got a bit upset as he's only one and it was all new to him (he slept all the way going) and a woman tutted at us and was pulling faces to others ... She made herself look stupid as everyone I could hear was commenting on her and not my son! He soon fell asleep and was quiet all the way. I think so.e people need to remember that we were all babies lol

  • Beccy W.

    Wouldn't dream of apologising for my kid's being anywhere.

  • Lauren H.

    Nope, we all pay, we all fly. If u don't want to be around children go first class or don't fly, Infact Just hide urself from the world...Of course parents should keep kids in check but who cares we are all going somewhwre and have to get there. I dont like loud mouth adults who drink on planes or smelly people the list could go on. But I still fly and just accept that this is the way the world is....we all have to get along and we were all children once. Noway would i be apologising for having kids...noway

    • Lauren H.

      P.s kids or no kids I still wouldn't have a problem... I love kids x

  • Ciara I.

    I think whatever parents need to do to make their lives easier and less stressful (particularly on a flight with twins!) they should do it!

  • Stacey W.

    Flying next May to Spain with my then 1 year old 2 year old(nearly3) and 4 year old for the first time. Should be fun! Ha! Any tips?

    • Marie P.

      We took a tablet with lots of kids tv shows and a back pack full of snacks and their favourite toys-cars, sticker books, colouring books. Something to keep them entertained for short bursts of time. Any luck and they will sleep for some of it, our little one did. His first flight was when he was 3 to spain

  • Nicola F.

    No way everyone is a pain in the ass on s flight!

  • Beckie K.

    Well tomorrow I'm taking my 4 children on a plane for the first time in their lives ages 7, 5 year old twins (with autism) & a 4 year old.....and I certainly won't be handing out "goody bags" to other passengers. They have just as much right to be on the plane as other people do! I'm pretty certain they won't be silent as they are all mega excited for their holiday! I will however be giving my kids a goody backpack each though filled with stuff to keep them entertained on the flight :blush:

    • Rachel D.

      Good luck! Hope you have a wonderful time and the flight isn't too stressful X

    • Beckie K.

      Rachel Devonshire-Hughes aww thank you! I'm Lucky to have 3 more adults coming with me so I'm hoping the flight won't be too bad :pray_tone3: x

    • Ti G.

      Hahhaa, have fun and chillax. Don't get stressed. Treasure the memory and if need be, learn from it. Kids are kids, we've all been there xxx

  • Fiona G.

    Yes it's not pleasant hearing tantrums but it's far worse when it's you're own having a meltdown and there's nothing that can stop it- a bit of understanding from fellow passengers is what's necessary and I was lucky enough to have a lovely family sat next to me yesterday as my 23 month old had the tantrum of all tantrums just as we took off as she suddenly wanted to be on daddy's knee; I was offered lollipops and fruits strings to try and appease her and assured it was them a few years ago. Toddlers tantrum- parenting skills often has little to do with it as it's their way of showing frustration as they don't have all the words yet unless you've given birth to a genius. Thanks to those very kind people next to me and to those of you who actually remember what it was like and show understanding - you're stars in my book and are the ones that deserve any kind of good bag not the intolerant ones:grinning:

  • Ti G.

    My child is an equal citizen. I will not make apologies for him. Kids cry and squeal and giggle and fart and burp and wriggle and the rest of it. He will learn in his own time. Flying is stressful enough without people feeling the need to comment on something so natural. I bought a ticket and I will take my seat and fly like everyone else whenever the mood and finances allow. The rest of travellers can put up and shut up. If they wanted a quiet journey that should have booked first class or chartered a boat or jet. Transport such as planes and trains are for all. I won't apologise for using the most cost effective and environmentally efficient method of travel. Some people need to get over themselves...and buy their own sodding earplugs!

  • Clare J.

    I think people shouldn't take young babies on flights. It hurts their under developed eardrums.

  • Kirsten J.

    We had a similar experience last year people moaning they wanted to be nowhere near us with our 3 yr old, sounds daft but those that ended up near us had no idea we even had a child on the return journey he was asleep before we even got in the air and slept for 3.5 hours of the 4 hour flight, I only woke him so we could go for a wee and strap him back in safely to land. I quote the person behind Said "where have you been hiding him all flight, hes been good as gold" we are due to fly to Cyprus next week hope he's as good for that flight lol x

  • Louise I.

    Children have as much right as anyone else does. Everyone was that age once , babies cry as a way of communicating to their parents. I certainly wouldn't appoligise for taking my kids on a flight

  • Lisa L.

    A nice gesture but shouldn't have to apologise. Kids are kids,

  • Jannelle B.

    I've taken my now 4 year old abroad twice, my now 2 year old abroad once & this september I'm taking them and their baby brother of (will be 6 months) to Tenerife. Other angry or annoyed passengers don't phase me at all, babies have just as much right to enjoy a sunny family holiday as any adult does!! And like alot of people have said, if the babies cry it's 99% the parents that get more stressed. Dirty looks will get you nowhere- a little sympathy goes a long way!! I once seen a post on here about a flight attendant whom got an upset child out of their seat to help collect rubbish from all aeroplane isles & tidy up with her- amazing idea and all attendants should be that nice in my opinion :relaxed:

  • Leona J.

    I'm sure Iv seen another one of these years ago from parents of twin boys Not the first time it's been done

  • Jemma C.

    I always like to wait until last to board a flight! Just so I can see the fear of dread on the passengers faces when I sit next to them with my baby! :joy:

  • Sue G.

    Hell no! We're lucky our 2 year olds been an angel all 3 times we've taken him away. Long as his not being naughty I certainly won't apologise if he cries. We've all been babies. Pissed adults are more annoying on a plane than a crying baby!

  • Chelseaeddie1

    I had eight children and when they were young I was never selfish enough to take them on a plane and spoil and annoy other people's start to there holiday so I strongly object to being subjected to other people's crying brats 

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