With yet another story in the news about a toddler getting kicked off a plane and the subsequent horrendous comments that follow, I’ve decided to counter that with some nice stories about flying with baby for a change. I hate the thought of all that negativity discouraging new parents from traveling with their babies and toddlers! I’ve called upon my friends in the family travel community to share their tales, but I get to go first!
Last year, on our big trip to Disney, I flew down solo with both kids. It was a full flight, and we had the middle seat and the window. Bub was on my lap. It started as a productive burp. And as I began the process of tidying us up, the floodgates opened, and the contents of the bottle that helped him doze off was now in my lap. Then, my daughter began to heave, and up came all the juice and treats that go along with travel days. The kind woman in the aisle seat (thankfully spared of any splatter) calmly put away her e-reader and offered tissues and sympathetic smiles. I was still cleaning up as everyone deplaned, and we were given words of encouragement from our passing fellow passengers.
Nancy of Family On Bikes:
“I’ve had lots of people offer to carry my carryon on/off planes, people have offered to hold my babies, and fight attendants have been (for the most part) very accomodating. I can’t think of ONE experience that really stands out, but flying for us was generally a pleasant experience – except for the fact that I hate being on planes.”
Keryn from Walking On Travels:
“I was on a flight from San Fran to Hong Kong with my then 20 month old. It was a last minute trip so I was stuck in the window seat with him on my lap instead of the aisle seat that I really needed. I pretty much begged the guy on the aisle to trade with me. He very nicely declined (he was a very tall guy) but assured me he wouldn’t mind getting up multiple times. He had 2 kids too. Meanwhile the woman in the middle seat and I got chatting. She scooped out the other seats and told me once they closed the doors she was going to hop into one of the other middle seats that was open so that I could have a seat for my son and we could spread out a little. I am still blessed with this woman’s kindness. She sat in the seat in front of us and I was able to share my Junior Mints with her as a thank you. Our 15 hour flight was SO much better and everyone was happier overall. They guy on the end was good as his word. Didn’t bat an eye when I had to wake him up so Dek and I could take a walk, change diapers and he even hung out with him at one point so I could run to the restroom. Two angels in the sky that made what could have been a very stressful trip so much better.”
Claudia from Travelling Mom:
“Flying alone to visit grandparents with 2 yr old in seat, and 4 month old on my lap. Dilemma when the meal arrives. I cut up 2 year old’s food but can’t really eat myself with baby on lap, though I have a tray. An angel in the seat in front of me had finished her meal and offered to hold baby while I ate, quickly and with gratitude. It was lovely, and one day I hope to pay it forward.”
Nicole from Arrows Sent Forth:
“Didn’t happen to me, but across the aisle from us last weekend was a woman flying with a 9 month old alone. The woman sitting next to her put her book down within the first 10 minutes of the flight and proceeded to entertain, comfort and hold the baby for the remainder of the flight. The woman’s husband then carried all of the mom’s bags for her until they got to baggage claim and she met up with her family. I stopped them and told them that if I ever fly alone, I sure hope the airline gods bless me with people so kind.”
Sharlene from Trekaroo:
“I flew to CO with the two kids about a month ago and couldn’t get three seats together (which wasn’t so nice) so my daughter had to sit in a middle seat across the aisle and the lady next to her looked after her the whole flight. Made sure her seat belt was fastened,helped her open crayons, put her tray down for her drink, etc.”
Amy from Livin’ On The Road:
“Last year, we had to walk to this tiny little country school in the middle of nowhere in the Aussie desert where we were staying for three months.
I was carrying the baby, and it was drizzling with rain. Out there, when it rains, the soil turns to sticky, goey, oeey red slushy mud. You sink knee deep with every step, and with every step you grow another half inch. By the time we got the kilometer to the school, we were all muddy, sticky, wet and not so happy.
Another mother actually apologized to me for not thinking of us and coming to pick up the kids, and brought them all home again that afternoon. A total stranger actually picked up the baby and I on the way home and offered a lift back to the RV.
I couldn’t believe the kindness of other people, and I’m sure those two ladies don’t even remember it. For me it stands out as a day when I was really struggling emotionally, and two people I barely knew offered assistance. It really made my day.”
Jennifer of Two Kids And A Map:
“I was on a red eye by myself with my son when he was 15mo. He had a night terror as soon as he fell asleep. I spent the entire flight from LAX to ATL switching from the bathroom to the kitchen galley while he screamed and I wasn’t able to wake him up. The flight attendants were wonderful and once he finally woke up they held him so I could use the restroom and eat something. Several passengers complimented me on not losing it (which of course, I was doing secretly!) as we got off the plane at 2am. Even 7 years later, when I think about that horrible, awful flight I am so thankful for the people on that flight.”
Jody from Family Rambling:
“Brenna’s first flight, at 1 year old, was to Ireland. Our flight out of DSM was delayed and the entire plane couldn’t have been nicer. The flight attendant took Brenna on a “walk about” through the plane where she got to charm everyone. When she finally did have to be strapped in for take off her fussiness was met with offers of snacks and treats from eats around us. I really credit the flight attendant for her help.”
Jen from The Vacation Gals:
“My younger daughter was a preemie, and had some associated health problems including gastrointestinal issues (her original pediatrician had her down as a “barfy kid”). We still flew several times a year, though. Once when I was doing the standard Walk Up and Down the Airplane Aisle with Screaming Vomity Baby, the two flight attendants in our coach section came back from the front of the plane — business or first — with two clean onesies and a pair of those pants you put over diapers. A family up in the fancy section heard my baby and felt bad, and DONATED the Onesies. I was so grateful I cried. SOmething about that random act turned around the body language and opinions of the other passengers who saw it, and they were much more sympathetic and nice the rest of the flight.”
Marina of Travel Experta:
“I was traveling with my then 2 year old. He was always a great traveler. I was sitting next to a girl, who was not happy about us there.
However, the steward was the total d-head to me. He wouldn’t let us walk around, throwing snide remarks left and right. He was obviously a kid hater – although he told me he has kids and loves them – BS.
But the nice part, the girl who at first thought my son was going to be a pain, became my big time advocate and was sooo furious with the steward she stood up for me and then went to complain about his behavior, this made me feel so good!!!”
Colleen of Travel Mamas:
“One time when I was flying alone with an 18-month-old, a pilot (who was riding as a passenger) helped me buckle in my toddler seat (after I was struggling and struggling and almost crying because the flight attendants kept announcing everyone had to sit down…meaning me). Then he waited until everyone deplaned so he could help me take the car seat out and carry it off the plane for me.
I’ve also had many, many sweet female flight attendants come by to help soothe crying babies or entertain my toddlers.”
That is SO nice to read for a change! And really great to hear from so many other mom travelers about their experiences. I feel really encouraged to attempt my (first) upcoming flight with my daughter (16 months)…thank you!
Aside from that one incident I had, I too have had many people help me with bags and my things – ironically – mainly in Central America. In the US I noticed they simply can’t be bothered, they rather smoke a cigarette or sit around then help a woman.
But there are so many good people, that it’s important to remember that!
Its so good to read stories about kindness from others towards parents who are flying with children. Sure makes life a lot easier when people are nicer to each other! And sure helps other parents see that there is a good side to travelling with little ones!
Thanks everyone! The more nice stories we hear, maybe more people will feel encouraged to be nice!
I haven’t flown with both my kids yet, but I’ve flown with the older one several times – the first time she was 8 months old, and Daddy was with us. We sat in first class that trip, and I remember the one time she got fussy somebody (still don’t know who) started flashing a reflection off their watch or some other shiny piece of jewelry around just over her head, and she calmed down instantly and started laughing.
Traveling with her alone, I’ve had nothing but sympathy and a lot of assistance with everything from getting the car seat stowed, to putting up with a very chatty two year old 🙂 But I have lucked out that she was never a fussy baby, and has never had a temper tantrum in her life. Her younger sister on the other hand….well, let’s just say there is a reason I’ve refused to fly anywhere with the both of them!
I was totally scared to fly with Bub as he got older, but he’s usually just so excited to get on the plane, that he’s really cooperative!
It’s great to hear about positive experiences flying with kids. We have been flying with kids for more than 15 years and have never come across rude travelers. We just recently experienced the kindness of strangers flying to Europe. My 8 year old daughter, Emma, had a severe ear infection about four years and her ear drums burst on both sides. Since then she has suffered from ear pain on ascent and descent – sometimes worse than others. As we were descending into Paris last week, she started to cry loudly – like a child in severe pain (which she was). As I tried to soothe her the passengers around us started passing gum and candies to try and help and we had two flight attendants fussing over her. When she calmed down the woman across the aisle asked if she was okay and I apologized for the crying. Her response was “no need to apologize. I’m just so sorry that she had to go through that”. Given all the commentary online recently I felt sure that the passengers were going to turn on us but all they expressed was concern for her and I was very thankful.
So happy to read this! I hear so many of my friends (who are brand new parents) complain about traveling with kids OR warn me and my fiance about what we supposedly have to look forward to when we start having kids of our own.
Whenever I’m sharing a flight with young kids, I always try to do my best to be a good seatmate to the parents and their child or children.
Good karma, right? 🙂
Very happy to stumble across your blog…
Its so good to read stories about positive experiences flying with kids!
Isn’t wonderful when you stories of these random acts of kindness.
We too have only en-counted kindness when travelling with our son, even when he has continually knocked the seat in front with me apologising continually.
I think it’s all in the way you conduct yourselves as a family. Gently remind your child how to behave and say sorry A-LOT!