Have you heard about the tantrum-throwing 2-year-old tossed off a JetBlue flight from the Caribbean last month? The media response has been largely in favor of the airline staff, not the parents of the kid, who are crying (pun intended) injustice over the incident. And while this isn't the first story of its kind to plaster major web sites and newspapers, it seems to beg a deeper look into why, precisely, passengers hate inconsolable kids on planes.
Many air travelers will accept other unsavory elements like unpalatable food, lack of leg room, turbulence and snappy stewardesses, but crying children seem to be what pushes many over the edge. The zero-tolerance approach to uncontrollable children has even led Ryanair to introduce childless flights, which came after a survey uncovered half of passengers would rather pay higher fares than fly with kids. Putting a lid on kids at movies, plays and even certain restaurants makes sense to a point -- these are supposed to be enjoyable, recreational activities. Flying is a means of transport and, unless you can afford to constantly fly first class, it's pretty much a standard, uncomfortable affair for most people.
So could the kid hatred be linked to something deeper?
Consider the idea that people already anxious about their flight might transfer some of that unease to the sobbing toddler seated behind them. If you're fretting over your plane tumbling from the sky, a bawling brat will probably push you to your limit. Even if fear of flying isn't at work, someone suffering from an anxiety disorder may have a sensitivity to noise that is aggravated by the incessant cries of a discontent child. So maybe the issue isn't really the child, but your rising sense of dread about the flight itself.
A TODAY Travel story unearths another theory: what people really despise more than crying kids are the parents that don't as least try to do something about it. Numerous people commenting on the article complain about parents not intervening with misbehaving kids or trying to soothe them. One commenter adds that some parents feel as if their kids should be entitled to acting out and treat the plane like a playpen.
Dr. Jennifer Shu says in a CNN article that parents should never think this way. She suggests always trying to pacify kids and not expecting passengers to put up with tantrums.
How do you deal with crying kids on planes?