Friday, November 9, 2012


Things I Learned About Children on a Recent Flight Out of Orlando

1. They can suddenly smell like diapers whenever they want.

2. If they can't pop their ears, they whine loudly, grab their heads, and flail their legs in circles, into the people they're sitting beside. Older children, like six or seven. They also moan and pant, but keep on watching Hoarders, and complain if a parent suggests that they stop watching. When the parent tells them it also might help to swallow, they shriek that "it's making it worse." (Okay, and then right when you're worried that there might actually be something wrong with the kid's ears, and you're thinking back sympathetically on a time you thought your own head would explode, a flight attendant comes down the aisle to collect final trash, and you wonder if the kid's going to ratchet up the moan-panting when the attendant passes by, for dramatic effect, and they do.)

3. A snack is a four-sleeve container of Chips Ahoy.

4. They all have iPads. 

5. They think that when you can see snow on the ground, because the sun is shining and visibility is good, that "it is snowing."

6. They love stowing and then unstowing their tray tables. I mean, I hear them on this one.

7. They are so small (well...) and yet their elbows are so good at extending beyond their designated spaces.

8. They talk at such different volumes.

9. They have gorgeous skin. For now.

10. They are everywhere.

11. They can maintain long and seemingly unprompted screams even while looking unwaveringly into a stranger's eyes.

12. "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is still popular.

13. They are gracious when you can't seem to turn off your in-chair monitor despite pressing the armrest thing repeatedly, because it turns out you were turning theirs on and off the whole time.

14. When it's finally time to leave, they're so much smaller than they'd originally seemed, especially when they give you what appears to be a frightened parting look with huge, very beautiful eyes.

186 Comments / Post A Comment


I think my womb just put extra locks on all the doors.

Nicole Cliffe

My baby unexpectedly projectile vomited like nine times all over me and her and the seat and the aisle after our flight was delayed 3.5 hours and I had to trash everything I was wearing including this pair of super expensive gorgeous jeans I found at a thrift store, perfectly soft and broken in, for eight bucks. She wasn't even sick! She was just a baby, puking.

...and no one on that flight will ever have a baby ever.


@Gussie Yep. Thank you, contraception.


@Nicole Cliffe OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOO magic thrift store jeans :(

Was no one on that flight willing or able to help you? WHERE THE MORMON MOM BRIGADES AT?

Nicole Cliffe

They wouldn't let me or my mom, ten rows back, stand up until we reached the gate.

And you think that when you're a parent, you'll have solutions, but I just sobbed hysterically for the next hour. It had been a long trip.

Dirty Hands

@Nicole Cliffe Oh nooo! That sounds like such a bad plane experience... so glad it is over!


@Nicole Cliffe D: D: D:

*secures breach wall, hides deployment codes*


@Nicole Cliffe

your baby is still the most adorable baby I've ever seen though


@Gussie do yuo guys REALLY want some contraceptive information about babies? if you think vomiting is bad hahahahah *sob*


@Gussie She really is.


@iceberg Oh god! I am making all the Hairpin Mothers despair. I am so sorry! Your babies are all wonderful beings such that the earth has never seen (obvs, they are Hairpin babies).


@iceberg Go on ...

(My mum likes to reminisce cheerfully about the day she was sterilised. I completely understand.)

@Nicole Cliffe OH NO. That sounds so awful! Poor you and poor baby.


@Gussie Not at all, it's a rich tapestry. For example, a baby is being a total asshole and throws some really hard Duplo at you, but then two minutes later runs full tilt at you with arms outstretched and gives you a big squeezy hug.


@iceberg Oh, I definitely projectile pooped all over my Dad when I was a baby. I heard this story a lot so clearly it was the highlight of my infancy.

Nicole Cliffe

@iceberg YUP YUP YUP. Baby was all "man, I feel way better now, let's read Skymall!"


@Megano! RIGHT??? I did not know projectile shitting was a thing until... well, lets just say I threw away those pants.


@Megano! Same here. I had colic! The projectile poo and the constant screaming is deserving of sympathy, not blame. My parents disagree.

Daisy Razor

@iceberg 1) re: pooping. The wall in our old condo will never be the same 2) Bug squeezy hugs make up for *almost* anything. As do unprompted "I love you"s.


@Daisy Razor Mine haven't learned "I love you" yet but they do give fantastic unprompted hugs and kisses.

Daisy Razor

@iceberg Well the first time one of them says "I love you" when you haven't said it first, it will all feel completely and totally worth it. At least until that one or another one sticks their hand in their diaper and then wonders out loud why their hand is covered in poop.


@Gussie I know that my mother is always secretly hoping that someone with a baby/ies gets frazzled or has a moment of panic on an airplane so she can swoop in and be like, "I got you!" and hold one of those babies for awhile.


Yes! I very rarely encounter children between the ages of 4 and 16 in my daily life, so when I do, I notice many of these same things. Also, I tend to just run into the very small ones (say 4-6) while walking because I'm never looking down to see whether or not there will be children in my way, because I don't ever expect to have children in my way.

loren smith

@HeyThatsMyBike Haha, I totally do that too

baked bean

@HeyThatsMyBike Once I worked at an after-school program and I bumped into a kid half my height that I didn't see and I said "Oh sorry! Excuse me!" and my coworker thought it was weird to be say excuse me to a kid? BUT I RAN INTO HIM! Lead by example, yo.

mc coolfriend

@baked bean It is almost like, the opposite of weird to say Excuse Me to someone you bump into. Your coworker, thats whats weird

Daisy Razor

My mother's suggestion for helping little ones pop their ears was to cover their mouth and nose. I am still torn between finding that horrifying or hilarious.

I haven't taken Baby Razor on a plane yet and frankly hope to avoid it until she's a teenager.


@Daisy Razor We took Baby Bittersweet on a plane at 2 months to visit relatives. She got gum on flights as soon as she got teeth.


@Daisy Razor My mom used to give us Benadryl before a flight, and told us it was to help keep our ears from popping. Only years later did I find out it was mostly to make us drowsy and knock us out for the duration.


@bookfreak I like your mother's style. Does that make me terrible?

Daisy Razor

@smidge Not at all! She also told me, "Well, if all the childcare books tell you different things, just decide what you want to do then find the advice that agrees with you."


@Daisy Razor Oh man, I just got back from flying to Florida from London and I seriously wish that people could sedate their children before long trips. It is so, so hard to keep a kid busy and happy for ten hours of flight. Whew.

Beatrix Kiddo

@bookfreak My mom should have done that. Instead she gave us gum and candy to help pop our ears, but it never really helped (why would it?) and I'm sure my brother and I were the same whiny brats Edith experienced when our ears hurt.


@bookfreak My mum loves to tell the story of taking me on a loooooong flight when I was a tiny baby; all the flight crew saw me and had terror in their eyes, but I didn't make a peep and then they were cooing over what a good baby i was... Unbeknownst to them she had drugged me to the tiny eyeballs.


@Bittersweet Yes, this.

Hamburger Hot Dog

@bookfreak My mom totally dosed my brother and I before flights, but I didn't find out until years later. She'd give us jam tarts before we got on planes, but they were always weirdly gross and bitter. I remember asking her about it, and she said she crushed up Gravol (Dramamine, for you American folks) and put them in the tarts, except it turns out it was actually Valium. I remember being equal parts horrified and impressed when I found out. Also, I would kill for a Valium tart now.


@Hamburger Hot Dog BRB, starting an all-girl band called The Valium Tarts.

loren smith

@bookfreak We flew a tonne when we were super little, and my dad would give my brother and I the complimentary mimosas you used to get on planes. Oh the past.....


@Daisy Razor My parents did that. That grape Dimetapp was DELICIOUS.


When I was a wee tyke, I was flying to Houston and I was going through the ears-hurting thing, and I tried chewing gum and I tried swallowing a lot, and nothing was working. As we got closer and closer to the ground, it became excruciating and I was screaming bloody murder and I'm sure all the passengers hated my guts.

And then my eardrum ruptured. Surgery, tubes in my ear, partially deaf in that ear for the next year or so while it healed. So, that sucked.

I'll say this, though: the pain of an eardrum rupturing was sweet, sweet relief compared to the agony of feeling like my head was slowing exploding.

raised amongst catalogs

@Emby IT HURTS. I was probably four when I took my first airplane trip and I definitely cried because of the pain in my ears. A very, very nice flight attendant came by with a magic trick that worked: two plastic cups stuffed with hot, wet paper towels inside for me to hold over my ears. No more pain! Thank you, angelic flight attendant from the early 80s.


@this brave bird The best method for me is holding my nose and trying to breathe out: it pops open the Eustachian tube in the ear and it works perfectly for me.

Unfortunately for child-on-a-plane-me, I did not discover this surefire method until I was old enough to try scuba diving.


@Emby I still have issues with my ears popping on planes - though it is now mostly limited to international flights or other really long ones where you end up at a really high altitude for most of the flight. When my ears are being stubborn, no method seems to help, and it sometimes takes days for them to pop.
It kind of sucks that I can't scream bloody murder and have it be deemed as socially acceptable (though endlessly annoying) anymore, because that was my jam when I was 5.


@Emby @HeyThatsMyBike

Yep - I definitely still go through excruciating pain in my ears every time I fly. I must have super sensitive ears, because cold weather and steep hills cause the same kind of pain (although in much briefer periods of time than flights).

Emby - I had pain like you just described when I was flying to San Francisco two years ago, and I wanted to just scream till my vocal chords quit on me, but instead I stifled my screams and just let tears stream down my face. Everyone sitting around me thought I was scared of flying or something because they just rolled their eyes at me. I thought my eardrums were going to burst. It was basically the equivalent of someone shoving a fire poker repeatedly into my ear canals.


@olivebee And the best (by best I mean worst) part is when your ear actually pops like 2 days later, and it is always in the middle of the night and you wake up as a result of the excruciatingly painful pop, and feel like all the blood in your body is going to come rushing out your ears (but none comes!). But on the plus side, about a minute later, you feel amazing and can hear, so, there's that.


@olivebee this happened to me once on a flight from the US to Germany. The pain started somewhere around England (~2-3 hours out), and my ears didn't equalize till I was home, which was a 5 hour train ride away. It was MISERABLE. I am usually pretty good with flying and pain, but I was a hysterical mess until my ears popped. So, kudos to you for taking it quietly.


When I was 6 my ears sort of only half popped and it was weird, like my head was under the sea and I so freaked myself out thinking it would be *forever* that I didnt scream, I just sat really still making no sound with wide eyes, 'Children of the Corn' style. I think I was a creepy kid. Or maybe the children of the corn just had unpopped ears?


@this brave bird Wait, can't you guys just sort of...move the back of your throat and pop your ears? I thought that's why gum was good for kids, it helped them to move their throats. I'm de-popping my ears right now! (well, just making that popping sound over and over)


@simalie Not trying to be rude, bodies are different, etc., I just never realized I might have a very secret superpower.


@simalie You definitely have a secret superpower. And I am jealous of it. I know what you are saying, too, and that works for me on shorter flights most of the time, but when they really get clogged up, that does next to nothing. #sadfacts


*I* don't even have an iPod! Or a sleeve of cookies!

I bet they don't pay taxes either, the freeloaders.


@stuffisthings CHILDREN ARE THE 47%








@PatatasBravas (Don't worry the election's over, we won!)


@PatatasBravas THANKS OBAMA


@stuffisthings (haha I am capable of non-snark and non-caps, I promise!)


I recently encountered children like this - on my first ever red-eye from Seattle to Boston. One of the children obviously had a cold and kept alternating between snorting in all his boogers, letting them all hang out, or turning around and wiping them on the back of his chair which happened to be the front of mine. There were not enough TBS comedies playing on that flight to help me ignore them.


@orangeyouglad I got seated next to a kid on a red eye once and I was flying home after I had an accident where I broke my ribs/was in a lot of pain. I had to explain this to the mother after her child repeatedly kicked me in the ribs over and over again and she wouldn't switch seats with the kid because she didn't like to sit in the middle. Sorry to mildly inconvenience you with my shitty injury, lady.


@parallel-lines Some people are just.the.worst.

Dirty Hands

@parallel-lines OUCH! D:


I live in this sort of blissful, child-free bubble for the most part (although my friends have just started to have kids and, it's a thing...shrug) and when I get on a plane and see a child between the ages of 2-5 years old, it's like, "OH FUUUUUUUUCK, here were go." My nieces were pretty much terrorists until they got to the first grade--I'm sure they just destroyed every single thing my poor mother owned (and did so with glee, the wake of destruction still marks her walls), and they BOOM, they were fine. But that age range + planes = god help me. I'm sure your kid is lovely and nice but I really hate being stuck in a tin can with them while they scream and kick and scream some more. I don't know how someone found a way to take a state of the art experience and turn it into sheer torture, but they sure did.

Jillsy Sloper

@parallel-lines I like infants and school-age kids, but I have a hard time tolerating children between the ages of, say, 18 months and 5 years. They're loud and irrational like little drunk people.


@parallel-lines I'm still waiting for an airline to develop a kids' section/extra-kid-friendly flights. It seems like it'd be a winner for everyone: kids don't need as much legroom, so you could put more seats in the space; you could sell things like coloring books at major mark-up; parents wouldn't have to worry about getting their kid "to behave"; and everyone else could fly that airline while resting assured they won't have a seat-kicking 3-year-old behind them.

It'd take some finagling to figure out how to get the parents into the space with them in different family-count-configurations (sliding seats, with tetris performed by computers?), but it really seems like it ought to be a premium service with a market.

If nothing else, taking one of your regular fleet, calling it the "kids' flight" and flying it between NY and Orlando once a day ought to get you *somewhere*.


@ThatWench I usually don't get that mad about kids in coach, but there was one international flight where I got to fly first for the only time in my life and there were several toddlers just screaming bloody murder the whole time and I was fucking pissed. That ticket was insanely expensive and I left the flight with a huge headache.

I'm all for family sections in airplanes! Do any other countries offer that?


When I was four, I stole a scratchy blue blanket from a plane (an airline that, I think, doesn't exist anymore). It wasn't even nice but I loved it. And then I fell down and ripped my tights while running in that thing that connects the plane to the airport. I do not know how (or if) I behaved on the plane itself, but as a child who had constant ear troubles, I probably really sucked.


The combination of sugar and confined space in #3 is pretty horrifying.


I'm just sad Edith was in Orlando, and we didn't have a parade...


@minijen Or, one of those things where you go to a place and order beers and wines and foods and talk and eat and drink.

Jolie Kerr

As someone who still, at an advanced age, has the ear thing I implore you to find it in your heart to be sympathetic to those little bastards. It really does hurt an awful lot.


@Jolie Kerr Indeed. I recently got on a plane with an undiagnosed double ear infection, and I'm pretty sure I whimpered more than any child could. And I'm 32.


@mannequinhands I just had to fly while *mostly* over a cold, and girl, I hear you. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth.


Yeah, flying with stuffed sinuses is kind of amazingly painful. Like your face is going to explode.


@Jolie Kerr Flying while constipated is also possibly the worst feeling ever. TMI?

Edith Zimmerman

@Jolie Kerr Haha, no, I know how it feels. I mean as far as anyone can know what anyone else feels.


This is the most realistic evocation of children I have ever read. Especially #7 and #14.


I'm sure I behaved horrifically on any number of flights, but the real kicker was our journey from St. Louis to Disneyland when I was six or so. pretty much as soon as we took off, I managed to dump an entire glass of orange juice all over myself & my seat, & I was NOT happy about being cold, damp, & sticky for the next four hours.

Snowy Owl Love Killer

@nonvolleyball That's the worst. An hour into a flight to Alaska, I had an orange juice dumped into my lap by a flight attendent (due to turbulence). Awful.


Can we talk about the mall? Why am I the only one there without a three person stroller? Is everyone really having three kids or is it just two and one of them is really fast?


@JessicaLovejoy Malls are really good birth control. I took a camera phone pic from the Mall of America and sent it to my husband and just captioned it "yeah, let's not".


@JessicaLovejoy I have two two year olds and I still have to put them in their double stroller because they are fast and they don't listen. I'm told that around 2.5 or so I may be able to start taking walks with them on their own two feet.

Not It

I was terrified to travel by plane with my kid. But when he was 18 months old, we hauled him from Texas to Maine. He was fine, like spookily pleasant and everyone kept telling me what an angel he was and congratulating me on my parenting, which was really discomfiting. I was a wreck waiting for him to hulk out and the glares and advice to start.

I really don't have much to do with my kid choosing to not be an asshole. I mean, I can make sure he's well-fed and exercised and there are lots of snacks and small objects available to be examined and eventually destroyed, but he was still fully capable of flipping his shit at any time. He just didn't.


@Not It THIS oh my god this. (is how i feel every day about all of them. like walking on a knife edge)

fruiting body

@Not It
I mean, I can make sure he's well-fed and exercised and there are lots of snacks and small objects available to be examined and eventually destroyed, but he was still fully capable of flipping his shit at any time.

I KNEW it. I KNEW having kids was just like having dogs!


@fruiting body This is what I'm hoping.


@fruiting body

I sometimes compare notes and discuss parenting techniques with my friend who has a toddler. However, I am childless by choice -- we're taking about her son and my terrier.


@City_Dater I was also pleased to discover recently that a toddler will keep my dog entertained pretty much indefinitely, and vice-versa.


@Ophelia My dog is afraid of toddlers. She will let them do whatever to her, but the whole time she will look at me with the most plaintive expression ever. And then eventually she will give up and hide behind my legs (and she's a 50lb Australian Shepherd so she can't really hide, which makes it more entertaining)


The funny thing for me is that I would 100% rather make faces and silly chatter with a kid on a plane than ever, ever be forced to speak to an adult seatmate.

Kidness I can excuse. Everyone else: leave me the fuck alone to my reading.


@PatatasBravas Totally agree (but I also love children a lot). I am that person at restaurants, malls, airports, etc. that waves and makes goofy faces/noises at babies, and I get a kick out of talking to kids age 4-7 because they have no filter. Talking to kids I don't know? Fun. Talking to adult strangers (in confined spaces like airplanes)? Kind of awkward.

@olivebee Because it becomes impossible to end the conversation. And you're like "uhhhh I just want to STOP TALKING TO YOU WHYYYYY CAN'T THIS END?"

Daisy Razor

@olivebee Yeah, I am the mom who would rather talk to the kids than the other moms. It's way less awkward and nervewracking.


@PatatasBravas I completely agree. I am delighted when a child talks to me! Although for me, the parents always seem less than delighted, and menacing.


@S. Elizabeth
Stop talking at the next lull. Tired smile. Knowing nod. Then say 'oooh this film/book/nap*' looks so good!' Turn away.
You're golden.

I've travelled internationally dontcha know.

*but not all at once.


@olivebee I'm that person too...so now I work with kids and get so much joy out of my job. :)


@Daisy Razor I'm the person who'd rather pet peoples' dogs and talk doggie-talk to them than have to speak to the owners. In fact, this is what keeps me from saying "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" to every dog I see: the awkwardness of looking up and going, "Oh, uh, nice dog you have." Same thing?


Oh god, I'm awkward talking to adult people but like ten times more awkward talking to children because I can't ask them what they do for a living or if they've seen the latest ep of Game of Thrones.

Lush Life

@shart_attack I talk to dogs and pretty much ignore their owners, unless the dog strains at the leash to meet me and then I just smile because *bam* "your dog loves me." Ha.


This is relevant to my interests!


Ok, maybe this is because my grandmother, great aunts, and cousin was/are flight attendants - and so maybe my family just went in better prepared- but why don't more people give their kids some dang Benadryl and gum before they get on the plane? As a kid I remember being like WHOA at the difference. Parents - Benadryl and gum!!! ALSO IT WILL PUT THEM TO SLEEP.



So true. The combination of forced confinement ("No, you cannot run up and down the aisles, even if your do-nothing parents seem to think that's a-ok.") and the potential ear pain really should make people stop and think about how much easier it is to travel with a drowsy small child. Hell, I take Benadryl on long flights and I'm over 40. NAPS ARE GOOD.


@City_Dater Or dramamine, if anyone's predisposed to motion sickness. That shit'll knock you OUT.

The Lady of Shalott

@annev6 Because some kids have the opposite reaction to Benadryl, it winds them up and makes them hyperactive. Like my little cousins. Dear God in heaven, it would be EVEN WORSE.


@annev6 They still serve whiskey on planes, right?

@stuffisthings Absofuckinlutely.


Oh man I can't even CONTEMPLATE taking my mob on a plane. Christ.


@iceberg My parents did not take the three of us on a plane until we were nearly eleven. I think that was very wise.


@Verity On the other hand, my folks travelled overseas with my brother and I all the damn time, from the time we were very, very young. Both Grandmas, and all my ma's immediate family, were overseas so my folks just sucked it up and dealt with the crazy. Ma, bless her, even travelled alone with baby me and my 6-year old brother a few times. Of course, she learned quickly to drug me up on Dramanine, and all that travel with small kids may explain why she's totally bugnuts now but still - we all survived more or less intact.


@Jinxie I have toddler triplets, and Verity is a triplet. No disresepct to your mom because DAMN i bet it was hard, but... 3 the same age is a whole other deal.


@iceberg Fair point! I had no idea y'all were/have triplets and that does indeed totally change the game.


@iceberg I recently found a book called "Twins and Supertwins" (multiple births of more than two) which included the comment "Twins are a miserable trick of nature on a woman" from a mother of twins.


@iceberg My mom has a story about taking the kids back to the Old Country for a Christmas visit. At the time she'd just had my older brother (number four of six) and the flight had been delayed. So my sisters were all kind of cranky, hanging out at the airport and my brother was asleep with my mom. She distinctly remembers this wealthy looking, childless woman walk by her and say to her husband, "Oh dear God there's another one under the coat." Years later and she still wishes that she'd run into that bitch again just to tell her what's what.


@iceberg ...and during that squeezy hug, you realize that said baby is in dire need of a diaper change.


@Ophelia My bro and his wife had a baby girl a few months ago, and when I went to visit, my niecelet pooped explosively (I'm talking serious blowouts, here.) pretty much every time I picked her up. I tried not to take it personally, but I may be somewhat more hesitant to cuddle her when I see them at Xmas.


we flew back-and-forth to florida from halifax a bunch as kids, and i thought i got motion sick until the first time i flew without my mother. NOPE, she just knew that half a gravol (dramamine to you americans) as we boarded was the key to a kid that would nap straight through the four hour flight. upside is now i have a pavlovian reaction to fall asleep as soon as the engines start. thanks, mom!


Hm, a little heavy on the kid-disdaining today Pinners?

Ye without kids, can you explain to me why people almost always both hate on bored, non-entertained kids on flights, and resent/judge kids with electronics who avoid annoying you by watching videos, or whatever, for the entire flight? Can you pick one or the other?

When you're 2/3/4 y.o. you're too old to veg out and stare at mom's face for hours, and also too young to read to yourself. It's your JOB to run around and explore the world and suddenly you're not allowed to do it. So, unless you want to listen to mom read Charlotte's Web out loud the whole trip, what do you want these kids to do?


@Margalo "resent/judge kids with electronics who avoid annoying you by watching videos, or whatever, for the entire flight?"
Where are you getting this?


1. A lot of us like kids. Some of us have kids. There is even a Venn diagram slice where some Pinners have kids... and like them.
2. Planes often suck, so maybe take some of the complaints for venting, not a personal attack on the wee ones?

elysian fields

@Margalo To be fair, I don't think Edith's tone was overly negative, more like, "hmm, young kids can be a bit of a nuisance, yet also cool and charming in a way that only young kids can be." But some people took that as an opportunity to talk about how kids on planes are omgsoannoying.

She was a retail whore

@Margalo I'm sure your progeny is amazing, but let's be honest here: nobody's at their best on an airplane. Adults are every bit as space-hogging and disruptive on flights as children, but there's not a separate layer of guardians you have to get through to try to make them stop.


@elysian fields Yes. I think it reflects that those of us without kids who actually don't interact with them very often are a little perplexed and fascinated when we do. It's a bit like, "Oh yeah! Little kids! What are they up to these days?"


@She was a retail whore I didn't say anything about my own children so you don't need to make that assumption.

I didn't intend to criticize Edith's piece, but the tone of some of these comments. I don't like it when people complain about an entire class of other people, including children, which some people are doing on this thread. If anybody finds that to be oversensitive, that's fine.


@Margalo Are you reading the same comments as I am? Because all the ones I've read so far have been along the lines of "Oh, man, I was a holy terror/pukey mess as a kid, my poor parents" or "All the worst flying experiences I've had were because of adults" or "Here's this awesome experience I had with a kid/my kid when I travelled" or "Lemme tell you about this awesome trick I learned to soothe/calm kids on planes". I've yet to see a commentor just hatin' on kids on planes. Complaining about something that's kind of annoying doesn't mean you hate that thing.


@Margalo Well, the way I see it, I'd be a little snarky if I see multiple kids appearing to all have Ipads because I think of Ipads as a huge, unnecessary luxury item that I also happen to not have. It's obviously great they are being distracted but it's like $500 and it seems really fancy for a child, is all I think she meant by that.

Sea Ermine

@Margalo I think sometimes people like to vent about annoying passengers and just because that passenger is sometimes a kid doesn't make the venting a bad thing? From my side at least, I had to take long international flights every other year from ages 5-13, and then even longer flights every year from 13-18. And I never ran around up and down the aisles screaming or kicked seats or threw tantrums for no reason. I get it if a kid is having ear issues (which I've been fortunate to never have, my ears popped fine after chewing gum each time) but otherwise it's necessary and obnoxious. Now that I'm older I sort of get it but when I was a kid I loathed other kids and hated having to sit near them on flights because I didn't understand why they couldn't just shut up, sit quietly and read the whole time. Not that I was a perfect child I just left my tantrums for at home because I understood that an airplane/airport was so not the place for that because it just makes things worse for everyone involved. Again, I know better now that I'm adult but it's still frustrating to see kids behave like that on a plane.


Actually, everybody in Florida voted against allowing small children on airplanes, but they're still counting the votes.


@purefog It's kind of endearing to try and believe that "everybody" in Florida can vote, and that if they all could, they would all vote the same way.

Citizen Cunt

On a flight from Rome to Philadelphia there was a woman with two children, maybe 10 and 3, sitting directly in front of me. When they boarded I was like OH GOD DAMMIT FANTASTIC but what ended up happening was they were the most beautiful, best behaved, quietest children on the planet. Then the 3-year-old turned around and we made faces and laughed at each other between the seats for almost the whole time. Then I felt like a jerk for assuming they would make the next 8 hours a living hell. It was the Unicorn Flight.


@Citizen Cunt Yep. I fly a lot, and I've noticed that kids on long-haul international flights actually tend to be quite well-behaved? I think maybe it's a group that flies more often, and so is less excited to be ON A PLANE or something? I also am always angling to get exit row seats, which means I'm usually in the row with the "infants in arms" bassinets - poor little guys are generally asleep most of the time, and only crying on landing (because of the ears). Though I've heard breastfeeding during landing can help (similar to gum-chewing, for the cadre with no teeth).


@Citizen Cunt I try not to openly dread kids on planes, just acknowlege to myself that they exist and hope for the best, what else can you really do? It's wasted energy to worry about it, is what I tell myself.

Recently, I was flying back on a really delayed flight coming back from a very intense bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas I was seated by a couple and their child. So I'm thinking "great, I've got a kid NEXT to me" but it turned out that he was totally tuckered out and just slept but we was all splayed out and usually nothing would freak me out more than a random child touching me but I had been so cold waiting in the airport and remained so cold on the plane that I just straight absorbed that kid's little kid warmth and felt weird about it. At some point the mother (also very tired) laid her head on my shoulder (her husband was on the other side of her but I guess my should was more comfy) and I didn't even care- again, more warmth.

She was a retail whore

I will play Rock, Paper, Scissors with anyone, at any time. The week my then-5 year old nephew finally got the concept of the game was one of the happiest I've ever experienced. The only way I could get my ex to play with me was to say that the winner wouldn't have to do some unpleasant thing (be the one who got out of the warm bed to adjust the thermostat, etc).

RPS vs that NY Times machine? Yes, please.


@She was a retail whore That is fascinating! I just schooled the machine, though. I'll admit, however, that this is the first time I've spent so much time thinking about RPS strategy (out of 10 rounds, I won 5, we tied 3, and it won 2).

She was a retail whore

@Ophelia I'm too excited to play to formulate a strategy, but I've tied or won more often than the machine has beaten me, so that's something.


@She was a retail whore I wonder if most of the people playing are just clicking randomly?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@She was a retail whore Ever played "Hunter, Ninja, Bear"? It's a full-body version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

She was a retail whore

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose NO! But I am off to google it right now.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose OMG this looks like the BEST GAME EVER. I've got to tell my sister about it, stat.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Ophelia This game is how I became the Most Popular Camp Counselor in the mid-2000s.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose
Or hunter, cowboy, bear if youre feeling a bit wild west. The bear is the best one regardless.

honey cowl

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose We did Salmon, Bear, Mosquito at my camp. Most Popular Camp Counselor Late 2000s.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@LaurenF Interesting iteration! I like it! Which bested which?


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose And how do you do Salmon and Mosquito?


I can't wait to hear what happended to you next (in your destination)!


Kindle fire + headphones (that look like tigers!) + those little gummy fruit snacks from Starbucks = my almost 3 year old behaving better than the tweens in front of us on his first plane ride from Philly to Tampa. People all around us thanked him for being such a good boy the whole flight while purposefully glaring at the older kids.


@SoBeana Having a good/fun (and QUIET!) distraction in whatever form most pleases you (dvd player, Kindle, knitting, stack of trashy magazines, whatever) is crucial to the calm enjoyment of a flight. I always overestimate just how much reading/knitting/movie watching I'll do on the plane but I am NEVER BORED, dammit. People who just sit there staring at the seat in front of them for the duration of the flight freak me right the hell out.

Dirty Hands

@Jinxie Never being bored (quiet contemplation doesn't count as boredom) is totally one of my rules in life! Applause!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I find I empathize with children more than adults on planes; flying does suck most of the time, and they aren't even allowed to be drunk for it. Though, it does remind me of that part in Sarah Waters' "Fingersmith" when Sue is on the train with the crying baby and finally just asks the mom if she has gin in her purse to feed the kid to shut it up. Ha, oh booze.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I'm the same way. Even when kids are crying or whining or whatever, my first reaction is, oh honey I know, flying makes me want to cry too. Being a kid on a plane is tough! it is like the opposite of everything that children are built to do.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Lorelei@twitter Yeah. The "oh honey, I know, it's terrible," is exactly how I feel. And, having lugged my nephew up and down the aisles for a cross-country flight to give my sister a break, I don't give the parents any glares. That shit is hard enough on its own.


I registered specifically to tell this story. I spend an entire flight from Dallas to Ontario, CA next to the most perfectly rotten family I've ever seen.

When I boarded, the flight attendand told me that the lady across the aisle needed to switch seats with me so she could sit next to her three kids. She offered me a drink in return for this kindness. I turned it down, and she looked at me like I had made a big mistake.

So it was me, the mom, and across the aisle were kids, all wearing different colored crocs. They did not stop whining and squirming for the entire time. There were snack tantrums, oldest-daughter-taunting-youngest-son tantrums, no-I-asked-for-Mario-Kart-4-not-Mario-Kart-3 tantrums, and of course playing-with-the-tray-table tantrums. Several of each of these. It was an action-packed 4 hours.

The mom had this heartbreaking look on her face that was a combination of resignation, embarassment, and deep-down anger for the whole flight. I couldn't really sympathize with her too much though, because she decided to pacify her kids by letting them play Angry Birds with the sound on. With the sound on.

When we got off the plane, people who were sitting nowhere near us approached her to say "you must be very patient to travel with those kids!" She replied that her husband was sitting up in first class for the entire flight. A couple of people asked me if those were my kids, too. I held up my book and said "no." That pretty much settled it.

When I have kids, I'm raising them Amish.


@Mike_B I'm sorry, her husband was UP IN FIRST CLASS THE WHOLE DAMN TIME? Christ, what an asshole.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Mike_B Her husband sitting in first class has caused flames, FLAMES on the side of my face....


@Mike_B oh my goddddddddddddd. You'll switch seats next time, won't you?

also wtf husband in first class? spend that money on buying your kids some decent shoes next time.


"Gavin, don't you already have this game?

"No, Mom, you idiot! I have Bloodstorm, and Bone Squad, and Bloodstorm II, stupid."

"Oh, I'm sorry, honey. We'll take a Bonestorm."

"Get two. I'm not sharing with Kaitlin!"

loren smith

@Mike_B Oh mannnnnn - I'm not sure of the specifics, but my husband travels a lot for work, and he has some amazing travellin' family stories. Once, at take off of a 6am cross country flight, a father ripped open his duty free bag, and started drinking his bottle of wine. When the flight attendant tried to stop him, he poured the remaining wine into one of his baby's bottles and started shrieking that the flight attendant was trying to steal his baby's food, all the while suckling wine through the bottle. I think the RCMP had to storm the plane and pull them off.

Briony Fields

@iceberg I think he switched seats, it was the free drink he declined.


@Mike_B At least children have the excuse that they don't really have the concept down yet that their actions affect others and they should, you know. Give a damn about that. I will CUT adults who play games/music/ebooks/TV shows WHATEVER on a plane with the sound on. YOU ARE A GROWN-UP. YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS SOCIETY WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT AND THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR YOU. TURN THE GODDAMN SOUND OFF OR PUT ON SOME FREAKING HEADPHONES.

I am totally the person who will say something, too. I am also the one who will just flat out tell people to stop talking in movie theaters. I am the Common Courtesy Vigilante.


@Briony Fields Oooooh now I see. Like, it was a mistake to turn down just the drink. At first I thought, well... you are not helping anyone by refusing to sit between a parent and their annoying kids...

@loren smith I don't understand why 6am wine is a problem.


@Linette I work in a library and it's amaaaazing how many adults have no concept of this and will actually give you attitude if you point out that they need headphones or that maybe they shouldn't have whole loud conversations ON SPEAKER while in the library.

Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook

Yes children are basically terrible. Especially the ones in economy class.

honey cowl

I am totes the minority here but I LOVE children on airplanes. I fly Southwest, so I always choose to sit next to them. KIDS ARE THE BEST Y'ALL


@LaurenF Way before I had children, I once sat next to a young boy named Hunter on a flight and we debated at length how gum is made. He was completely charming and it's still one of my best plane experiences. On the other hand, one of the worst colds I ever got was from a baby that sneezed on me during a transatlantic flight.


@LaurenF If you're sitting next to them they can't kick your seat!

Reginal T. Squirge

I remember back when I used to clean rooms at a resort hotel in NW Michigan. That was right on the beach. In the summer. And most days, you'd enter one of the suites to clean and an instant wave of diaper smell would wash over you.


I took my 4-year-old on his first two plane rides this summer, and I was terrified in advance of the misery he might inflict on me and the other passengers...but it was totally uneventful. Also, iPads are a gift from the airplane gods.


Children can make you want to cry when you realize it is almost the weekend.


My two kids on planes stories -

1. On an overnight flight to Dublin, the airline placed the moms with small babies (I think there were three of them) in the front row of coach. In front of them was a ledge. On the ledge, the flight attendants placed what looked like copy paper boxes with pillows stuffed inside, into which the babies were settled. Above the babies, our in-flight movie played. The babies, who were supposed to be sleeping, were THRILLED with all of the adults staring at them, and spent most of the flight flirting wildly with everyone in coach.

2. On the way back from Dublin on the same trip, there was a three-year-old girl sitting one row back with an actual, diagnosed double ear infection. Her parents drugged her to her eyeballs and kept apologizing to everyone around them as she still screamed during takeoff. We all kept reassuring her parents that it was fine and we understood. She passed out shortly after we stopped climbing and slept all the way to Chicago.

Claire Zulkey@twitter

I have a theory that kids' behavior into and out of Orlando are two very different stories.


@Claire Zulkey@twitter I heard the flight to Orlando is free. They charge you to get back.


If you think about it, most travel experiences for children are essentially like undergoing prisoner transport. This really comes home when you have a toddler in a car seat (what? you didn't bring a car seat on the plane? so you're saying you want your kid to die?). They are just tied into this plastic box, would rather not be, but cannot release themselves. It must be terrible to be a kid.


I think this is appropriate here: http://blog.sfgate.com/sfmoms/2012/09/04/courteous-parents-of-twins-placate-plane-passengers-by-handing-out-candies/

Brilliant! I love kids, but admit to being one of those horrible people who instantly freak out when I see children seated near me. Getting a little note or something like this beforehand would definitely go far in increasing my patience levels exponentially.

So yes, parents, I can be bribed to like your children.


@OuiCherie Yeah, I get that internal shudder when there are kids near me on an airplane. What makes the difference for me is the behaviour of the parents. I can understand kids feeling confined/bored/uncomfortable and acting up because they don't know how to handle it, and I sympathize with parents who are having a hard time even though they try their best. What makes my blood boil are parents who ignore that their kids' behaviour is negatively affecting other passengers.


@Skydancing Yep, exactly, there seems to be this trend among parents now that everything their kids do is "adorable" and "perfect," so correcting their behavior ever would just unacceptably cramp their personal development. Fine, your kid is cranky and it screams, stuff happens, but you can tell it to stop. That's allowed. Don't just sit there with an "oh gee, what can ya do?" smirk on your face when your kid enters its 4th straight hour of screaming, flailing, kicking my seat, poking, throwing stuff, etc. Nope, not cute, and I hate you forever.


My friends and I hangout at a bar/pizza place and it sometimes gets crazy with kids. I call it Kiddageddon or Kidpocalypse. Sometimes there's tons of babies and the staff calls it Baby Explosion. I suggested babehem but quickly realized this probably would mean you are surrounded by babes.


Oddly the only problem I've ever had on a plane was with the middle-aged asshole white guy that was seated next to my sister. Apparently we took too long to put our luggage in the overhead compartment and he started making snarky comments at her. I should have spoken to a flight attendant about it :/ And/or 'accidentally' kicked him very hard in the shins. Ugh, I can still see his horrible gnomey face.


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The Orlando flight is proof that hell exists. My parents moved to Florida, so now I have to take that plane at the holidays. Last time I decided to be a good daughter, I got stuck in a middle seat, in the back of the rapidly overheating plane. The poor flight attendant was trying to move people around because the giant family of toddlers hadn't even booked themselves seats in the same section. Then one of the women in the party made the FA snap and yell at her. It was kind of amazing. Horrible but amazing.

BRB, checking ticket prices to Paris for Christmas

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