Flying Near A Crying Baby? DEAL WITH IT! – Revisited

Today I planned to write about a very different topic, but somewhere early this morning I got side tracked by an unrelated conversation with a friend that got me thinking about flying with babies (no, I am not having a baby … I’ve already have three kids, currently aged 5, 7 and 12). As I thought about the challenges parents face flying with babies, and the annoyances passengers face when boarding a flight with a baby on board, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote back in May 2008, written while on board a flight with a screaming baby.


Rather than rewrite a perfectly good blog post, I have dug it out of the archives and four years later the post still resonates as if I wrote it this morning.


So … without further ado … Flying With Babies, For Those Of You Sitting Near A Crying Baby……Deal With It!


As I sit on my early morning Southwest Airlines flight from Providence (PVD) to Baltimore (BWI) I am inspired to write this while listening to a screaming baby slowly calming down and (hopefully) falling asleep. I can see this little boy’s face red and puffing, he’s been upset since the aircraft door closed; his discomfort grew as we accelerated down the runway and went into full-blown uncontrollable screaming a few seconds after our Boeing 737-700 went wheels up. What catches my attention really is not that the front of his Lightning McQueen shirt looks damp from his tears, but that there are dozens of adult passengers looking at the parents of this child with an intense sense of distain, a look of fueled anger … but why?


We all know that babies do what they do when they want to do it. The baby is not seeking to anger the roughly 130 people on this flight, however babies don’t know how to deal with the air pressure and the pain it causes. We’ve all had our ears pop and it hurts, now try and remember what it was like to be a little baby and unable to express your discomfort, your natural reaction was to cry. Ever flown with a mild sinus infection? Do you know the pain that causes an adult? Now be a baby and deal with this massive head pressure pain.


I am sure every single adult on this plane cried so loud at some point in their life that they nearly cleared out a plane/train/bus/movie theater/restaurant/grocery store. Outside of this pressurized metal tube, flying at 500+ mph (800+ kph) at 30,000 feet, you can pick up your screaming child and rock them to comfort them. In most situations you can pick your child up and walk outside, but let’s be real here, we’re sitting in a plane with the fasten seat-belt sign on, somewhere around 30,000 feet flying out over the Atlantic Ocean, crossing Long Island Sound, then back over the Atlantic Ocean. Where do these angry adults expect the parents to take this upset child?


If you’re on a plane and a baby is screaming I understand being frustrated. Before you start giving the ‘death stare’ towards the upset baby and the parents think about this … don’t you think the parents are more frustrated? Don’t you think the parents are trying to calm the baby down? Don’t you think if the parents could comfort the baby they would? Can you envision being in their place knowing that you have a planeload of passengers all staring at you in anger?


If the sounds of a baby on a plane bother you, and understandably they are irritating to listen to, go out and buy yourself a pair of decent noise canceling headsets. If the baby gets louder just adjust the volume on your iPod. Having distain for the baby and the parents gets you nowhere.


So my advice for all of you flyers out there when you hear a crying baby is this … DEAL WITH IT!


Happy Flying … and I’m watching the little guy sitting in seat 8F on his Dad’s shoulder doze off, so hopefully he’ll sleep through our arrival at BWI in 20 minutes.


  1. Very good blog…totally irritating responses to it! It’s so sad to see people’s thoughts on babies. It’s also extremely sad to see the extent of so many people’s selfishness and lack of care/concern for a helpless suffering person. Yep babies are people too. Nope they don’t have the reasoning skills that some of these posters think they should have.

  2. what kind of parent brings an infant on an airplane other than for the reasons in post #5? Things like long distance moves, medical reasons, i get. But for pure leisure travel, I just don’t get it.

  3. Carl,

    To go see Grandma … it is why I was on a Delta L-1011 at 6 months old flying from JFK to FLL. It is why my daughter was on a TWA 757 & 767 at a month old headed across the country.

    Happy Flying!


  4. To all the children haters!
    Grow the f**k up
    Babies cry! Don’t like it why don’t you travel by car etc and not by plane?
    You don’t own the plane so stfu moaning!

  5. Seriously, some of you adults need to chill. Both the parent & the non-parent. With all due respect, everyone needs to just ‘deal with it’. There will always be parents who don’t take enough precautions when traveling with babies. This post is about babies, not older, fidgeting children or smelly teenagers. Don’t lump all parents into the same group as those who don’t bring enough diapers or pretend that there is no crying. As for the parents who are prepared, there will always be childless adults who assume you’re a jerk for flying with a baby, no matter how smoothly the flight goes, just deal with it. On occasion there will be a very prepared parent with a crying baby, nothing to do but deal with it, just deal with it. Life happens folks, until there are airlines that have children flights & children-free flights like some restuarants, you’re going to have to deal with it. As for that assnine comment about laws being passed to ensure that children are always seated with parents, wtf wouldn’t want that? Buying tickets early and showing up early does not, I repeat, does not always ensure that a parent can sit next to their child. There are parents who have to fly, some of them have to fly with their kids. Just like you adults without kids, is driving always an option for you? No? I didn’t think so. Just deal with it folks.

  6. It amazes me how some people think the world should be catered to their comfort. Look, whenever you venture out into public, you’ll encounter something you dislike. People with BO, loud cellphone talkers, teen girls dressed like hookers, whatever. You don’t have the right to demand they be removed from your presence. It is not a “right” to be comfortable in public. So why do you think you can do it with a crying infant? You think the parents aren’t frustrated and embarrassed? You think giving them dirty looks is going to change anything? You think your personal convenience should be placed above the rights of everybody to travel as they wish? Talk about entitlement. I don’t like a crying baby on a plane, either, but I also dislike sitting next to obese people or women with strong perfume or chatty Kathys. I have no right to demand they don’t fly because I don’t like them.

  7. Crying babies I can handle. It’s the drunk idiots that I cant deal with. No need to push back to the gate just get up to 30,000 feet drop them off!

  8. To all defensive parents:

    Your screaming children are a menace. Your decision to foist them on us and say “deal with it” makes you the bigger a-hole. Give your little brat a shot of Benadryl before the flight and spare everyone else.

    Being a parent does not give you license to be inconsiderate. Yes, babies cry… but don’t make that MY problem. The onus is on YOU to control your little monsters, and politeness demands that YOU take whatever steps necessary to minimize the annoyances your little noisemakers bring.

    YOU deal with it, jerks.

  9. I endured a plane flight from Phoenix, Az to Madison, WI. The baby would not stop crying. The mother did not try to soothe the baby- she offered no pacificer, no bottle, or walk. She sat there for 2 hours and did not try to stop her child’s cry. Other mothers offered her a bottle of formula. She sat there with a look on her face like she didn’t care. Why? Finally she got off the plane with a big smile on her face after making everyone miserable. How sick!

  10. While there may be instances where families with babies have to fly for reasons beyond their own control, we have friends with a very young infant who felt the need to get away and flew to Las Vegas with their few-months old baby. I couldn’t help but wonder why they wouldn’t want to be in the comfort of their own home, and how the air pressure in a plane would affect the baby. That’s not to say that one has to be house-bound, but it seems to me that new parents have this idea that their old lifestyle can continue with the demands of a baby. I disagree, especially for the child’s sake. If parents are already putting their own needs ahead of that of their young child, perhaps they shouldn’t have become parents at all.

  11. Christiane,

    So let me get this straight, families with babies shouldn’t go on vacation? Should parents be allowed to fly across the country to bring a baby to see its grandparents?

    You can’t help but wonder why someone wouldn’t want the comfort of their own home? Then you are at odds with every travel company in the world.

    Happy Flying!


  12. Just yesterday my wife and I were on a flight with SWISS from Zurich to Los Angeles. The flight was completely full. Within 3 rows in front of us and 3 or 4 rows in the back of use they were 7 infants and a few toddlers. One of the babies was right in front of me and a toddler right behind me. The baby in front of me was crying, screaming and whining 10 out of the 12 hour flight. The toddler (maybe 3 or 4 years old) behind me was kicking my backseat and jumping up and down on her seat without the mother or any flight attendant doing anything.When the baby in front of me was not crying some other baby was crying. Sometimes even multiple babies were crying at the same time. After about 3 or 4 hours I was ready to jump out of the plane and by the end of the trip I was a nervous wreck. It was impossible to sleep or to concentrate on a movie or on a book. If I had the money I would have bought one of these noise cancellation headphones for $399 in the in-flight duty free. Then again I should I pay an additional $400 on top of a $1200 ticket for something that was completely beyond my control. I think airlines should have some of these noise cancelling headsets available for flights like this one just out of courtesy.

  13. You know I really can’t get over the fact of how selfish some of these parents are. Yes I agree babies do what they want when they want BUT it all comes down to the fault of the parents and I think it’s completely selfish that just because they have a baby on board an plane that the whole world revolves around them.
    You’re telling people to deal with a crying baby but it’s not always possible to do. Did you ever think that the PARENTS should deal with it and that not only the passengers are suffering BUT the baby is suffering all because the parents want to go flying somewhere? Are you telling me a baby is able to distinguish what a holiday is at an early age? The poor baby is crying because it’s scared and uncomfortable just because of the parents thinking of themselves when flying is uncomfortable as it is and I do not care nothing will ever beat the sound of a crying baby as the worst thing on a plane.

    How about either leave the child at home with someone trust worthy or wait until the child is properly old enough.

    The only time ever that a baby should be on a plane is if they are immigrating or visiting sick family members and not for luxury novelty holidays that baby’s will not be old enough to appreciate BUT even better Child free flights on certain planes and abolish free baby places

    I rest my case 🙂

  14. I want to know what the hell you’re doing bringing your infant child on a plane in the first place.

    If it’s a vacation, your child isn’t going to remember it.
    If it’s for business, the child shouldn’t be coming along anyway.
    If it’s a funeral, a family visit, anything sentimental at all, the child still won’t remember it.

    You could have easily left the child in the hands of someone else. Your desire to go somewhere or show the child something are no reason to, without any sensible reason, bring the infant somewhere that will inconvenience others.

    The same can be said of parents who bring said infants to public places that others go to enjoy themselves – restaurants being a big thing here. Your child does nothing except lower the enjoyment that other people are paying for.

    Honestly, children are about sacrifices. You have to sacrifice a lot. YOU deal with it.

    The self entitlement of parents is actually quite unbelievable.

  15. I was on a plane yesterday overnight flight which no one got sleep due to a screaming 3 yr old almost the whole way, I felt bad for her mom but I was tired myself and just wanted to sleep .. What I don’t understand is they will remove a passenger for singing Whitney to long but it’s ok to let a child scream as loud as she can for hours …think I’d rather listen to Whitney, I have three kids myself I think I would of given them benedryl or something

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