#TT Travel Tuesday’s Quick Travel Tip

By The Flying Pinto

Hi Everyone! Happy #TravelTuesday. This weeks tip was inspired by one of the questions that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post’s Talk about Travel Discussion: Should there be child free zones on airplanes?

I posed this question on my new Face Book page too and I agree with Wil I don’t think there should be child free zones. I recently had a passenger go ballistic because during boarding and well into taxi and take-off we had a screaming….blood curdling screaming toddler on the plane. I was more sympathetic towards the parents than the irate passenger. Here’s why: Flying is public transportation.

With that in mind, my travel tip this week for him and everyone traveling is to bring some form of noise cancellation.  It doesn’t have to be $300 Bose Headphones, simple earplugs will do and they’re cheap. Buy a big box and share with the not so savvy travelers around you. I always recommend that if you’re a nervous parent, bring the whole bag of ear plugs and offer your neighbors a pair. It breaks the ice when you know they are thinking, “Oh, great! They’re sitting next to me!” We all know “the look.”

First Class is a different discussion. I lean towards a minimum age requirement for FC. The reason I say a minimum age is because babies cry. You can’t reasonably expect a baby or toddler who maybe be overstimulated and up way past bedtimes to act appropriately. You maybe thinking, Oh, sure so if you have the money you should be able to choose child free cabins. Not at all. Frequent fliers are the bread and butter for the airlines and are often upgraded from miles. They use the time in flight to work. But, again it’s still public transportation so I’m on the fence. Bobbylaurie also wrote about this topic in an article for Flightster.com. you can check it out here.

So, what can Flight Attendants do to help? I know a lot of Flight Attendants decide to comp drinks to the passengers sitting around the screaming or crying child. I actually offer the drink, usually a glass of wine to the parents. It works, because the child is feeding off the stress of their parents and trust me there is a whole lot of stress going on with Mom and Dad! If you can get the parents to relax usually the child will follow suit.

That’s it for this week. Thank you, to all my new Face Book “likes” If you haven’t visited my new page head over there now and let me know what you think about child free cabins, by clicking “here”



  1. Anya Clowers, RN @ 2010-08-31 22:18

    Thank you for addressing the "child picks up on parent's stress" bit – so true! And also for your point about public transportation… AND your point about FC and trying to get some work done. Great post!

    As I have always said, "Mutual respect for all goes a long way when flying".

    Oh – AND loved your point about noise cancellation headphones/earplugs. Seriously- we can't control those around us but we can control how much it affects us by using "tools" – or "Products Worth Packing"

    Anya Clowers, RN
    Nurse Consultant, Travel Expert
    Mom to "International Frequent Flier in Training"

  2. lisleman @ 2010-09-01 02:16

    I did the "like" thing on FB.

    Hey you might want to join the "Stop Music On-hold" fan page.

    good tip about the bag of earplugs

  3. Great advice, particularly the ear plugs thing. The kid can do what they like, as long as the parents are doing their best, being in a pressurised cabin is stressful on the bodies of adults who understand and are used to what is going on, let alone a small child. What annoys me is when the kid is going crazy and the parents do nothing.

    I disagree though that flying is 'public transportation'. It's this sort of attitude that has seen the decline of the status of flying. Flying is a business you have no right to fly like you have a right to catch a bus. Flying is more akin to a cruise ship (just quicker with less swimming pools!). Having said that, I don't think economy should have child free sections. Premium cabins though should probably have a minimum age limit as people are paying the money for quiet.

  4. FREEFLYINGMOM @ 2010-09-01 05:35

    Dear Rob,
    Saying "flying is public transportation" is an attitude that has caused the decline of flying is just bizarre. I doubt if that can be blamed for the "decline" of the status of flying…since flying has been 'public transportation" since they sold the first ticket. To me it is no different than my commuter bus to the airport…the seats may be a little bigger but we are all still packed in like sardines. Flying is not like it used to be because the price of tickets is not much more than they were in the 70's, airlines are trying to stay in business, just like everyone else. Flying is transportation and that is all it is. It's not a restaurant, a bedroom, spa, or the Love Boat…and the crew is there for safety reasons, not to kiss anyone's backside…just sayin'. Everyone, yes everyone, has a right to fly, take a bus, cab,train or whatever they want, what country are you living in? You pay for your ticket…you get a seat, sounds like public transportation to me. And the only way flying on an airplane would ever feel like a cruise ship would be in business first. Even that is a stretch. And just a little curious as to just what you think those parents that are doing nothing should be doing about the crying baby?

  5. Flying IS public transportation. Imagine the lawsuits that would pop up if airlines declined to sell tickets to fat people, families with babies, ugly people, gay couples…

    "Doing something" with a crying kid usually constitutes trying to make them quiet, be it via cooing noises, rocking, feeding, or duct tape.

  6. FREEFLYINGMOM @ 2010-09-01 16:40

    I wonder how much they would charge for duct tape? 🙂

  7. Joanna Jenkins @ 2010-09-01 22:54

    Parents traveling with earplugs is a cute idea. The simple gesture will help fellow passengers calm down– at least I hope so.

    Hope all's well with you Sarah.. xo jj

  8. Hi Sarah I think you coupe with the this situation in a very good manner as a plan is probably an alien environment for a child and that is why they are stressed

  9. We travel with lots of single dollar bills and offer to buy drinks for the people around us when we can't get our child to settle. Fortunately, he is older now and we rarely have a problem.
    I like the earplugs idea though!

  10. Critical Alpha @ 2010-09-14 21:08

    About 15 years ago I boarded a Continental flight in Auckland with my 2 and a half year old daughter. We all settled in and then, with the doors closed they announced a delay. My daughter was OK for a while but then as the grumping and complaining in the cabin increased, she decided to scream – and she was good at that. Despite my best efforts she yelled for 40 minutes, nothing would help. I hadn't been stressed before but I certainly became stressed, as did the lfight attendants and other passengers.
    Then, quite suddenly and without warning, engine start began. My daughter looked around, shut up and settled in for the flight.
    I think that she'd fed of the general stress and anxiety and complaining in the cabin. Engine start changed the attitude in an instant and changed her attitude as well.
    That same daughter is now 18 and an accomplished pilot herself. She considers it impolite of me to remember this incident – she doesn't!

  11. I’m amazed that no one is talking about things that parents can do to prevent crying besides reducing stress.

    What I wanted to share is that babies and toddlers most often cry during takeoffs and landings because their ears hurt, and they can’t always clear them. Crying should do it, but just like yawning, it doesn’t always work. We are divers and are very attuned to equalizing ear pressure so we made it a habit to always carry something for our daughter to suck on or chew during take offs and landings to help clear her ears. It can be a bottle or pacifier for babies, gummy bears, raisins or chewing gum for older kids. This strategy reduces a primary source of crying immensely. Also, flying when your child has a cold can produce lots of ear pain. Our pediatrician always recommended a children’s antihistamine one hour before flying. When I hear a baby cry on take off or landing, I always feel sorry for the child and wonder why the parents don’t know about these simple precautions.

  12. The Flying Pinto @ 2011-01-22 20:42

    @Fairy Godmother

    Yes, that is a very good point. I guess I don’t mention it a lot (I know I have somewhere: ) is because I assume it’s common sense, but you’re right maybe it’s not. You’re right about colds too, can be very painful!

    Thanks for your comment.