Airplane Etiquette – Who’s in charge??


I just returned from a very long trip from the east coast to the west coast…and back.  Needless to say, it was a tedious journey, made even more tedious by the child behind me screaming and kicking my seat for most of the flight.

What drives me crazy is that I am expected to be patient while your child goes berserk and you do nothing about it.  I have had children, and I’ve had them on airplanes with me.  In my lap, next to me in a seat, etc…and while I understand that sometimes a temper tantrum will happen, kicking the seat and doing absolutely nothing about said tantrum, is something I did NOT do.

Parents are expected to curtail the behavior of their children.  That, to me, is the bottom line.  Now, don’t misunderstand.  I know that sometimes little ears will hurt during takeoff and landing.  I can appreciate that a small child in pain is awful for them, and for the parents, and I don’t expect miracles.  Obviously this will happen.  My gripe is with the tantrums, the kicking, and the running around that parents allow to happen.

During this awful experience, I listened in horror as the mother explained to the flight attendant that the rest of us need to be patient with her child of perhaps 3.  I also listened to the way the parents spoke to their child.  They calmly explained that she shouldn’t kick the seat because it isn’t nice.  Don’t scream because there are other people on the plane who don’t like the noise, etc, etc.  Not ONCE did the parents ever offer up any consequences for the child’s actions.  They discussed things with a 3-year-old (one-sided conversation, BTW) as if she was a mini adult who would just do as she was told because it made sense.  Wake up folks.  They learn at a pretty young age that if they can have a tantrum when they feel like it because nobody stops them, that’s exactly what they do.

What should those consequences be?  How do you enforce rules on a plane?  How about a time out?  Take a trip to the potty until your child calms down.  Well that didn’t work…how about turning the child on your lap around to face you so that YOU have to deal with their feet, and not me?  How about letting your child run up and down the terminal until they are so worn out they’ll be calm and sleepy on the flight?  How about forego nap time and make sure they’re well fed before the flight?  How about you book a seat on a bulk-head so at the very least they won’t be kicking anyone?

Am I the only one who knows about these little tricks?

CNN recently reported in February 2013 the following:

“Passengers booked on AirAsia X, the long-haul arm of AirAsia, can opt for the seats for an additional RM 35 (US$11) or RM 110 (US$35.50) — the standard fee charged for picking specific seats in economy class and in the airline‘s “hot seats” section, which provide more leg room.

The child-free area, called the Quiet Zone, has softer lighting and is sectioned off from the rest of the plane by toilets and bulkheads, the idea being that passengers won’t be able to hear the roar and tumble of kids at the rear of the plane.”

This is a great first step, one that I wish other airlines would follow.  The only thing that really rubs me the wrong way here is the fact that there is an extra charge for the quiet zone.  I have to pay extra if I want some peace and quiet.  In other words, if you’re on a budget, too bad, you have to play kiddie-car roulette.

Maybe some day there will be a solution.  Yay for my iPod, now let’s get those feet under control, shall we?

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