A "family section" on airplanes?

I liked the tone and humor of this article much better than some of the other articles sparked by a recent incident where a mother + toddler were kicked off a flight because the toddler annoyed a flight attendant:

"…Here’s a related item: A recent online survey by Maritz Research claims that nearly three-fourths – 73 percent – of respondents believe there should be a family section on airplanes. The survey did not state whether those asking that families be segregated were people without children, who never want to be around kids, or parents with children who’d rather not deal with other adults.

Put me in the latter group. **I would like a section of the airplane segregated so that I don’t have to deal with rude, loud and disgusting grown-ups.
**
I would like to never have to overhear someone’s self-indulgent cell phone conversation from the moment they get on the plane to takeoff, which, given the state of airplane delays these days, could be several hours.

I would like to never hear a grown man curse at a flight attendant, like I did once when the passenger was asked to put his seat back for landing to comply with federal regulations.

I would like to never see a slob spill his coffee or food on the person sitting next to him, as I have more than once.

And I would like to not have to bear witness to arguments between couples who are apparently headed for divorce.

Sure, I have heard kids babbling, singing songs and playing games on airplanes. Yes, I have heard them complaining or crying when their ears hurt or they are bored. But that’s OK. I don’t mind. A world without children and their sounds is not a world I want to live in.

And by the way, airlines could do a lot more to entertain kids – how about making play packs available for various age groups? Or letting kids borrow Game Boys for the flight? Or offering sugarless gum to chew and pop-top water bottles to drink from to reduce pressure on the ears?

I don’t know about you, but my choice of a seatmate is clear. I’ll take the toddler babbling “Bye bye, plane” over the self-involved diva describing last night’s party on her cell phone any day."


If you have a question, comment or a story to share, e-mail bharpaz@ap.org.

Exactly.

I think I’d be inclined to sit in the family section even if I was travelling by myself.

To me, air travel is NEVER much fun anyway regardless of where I sit. Between the delays, the confinement on the plane, the noise from the airplane and being the aisle seat (and having to let some one get by) or not being the aisle (and having to ask to get by), I think the other passengers are usually the least of my worries. I think people just tend to be a little more stressed on planes, which is why things seem to be just a little more irritating. Besides, it makes for great travel stories, talking about the plane ride from HE**.

I’m the opposite - done a fair amount of flying but never get sick of it.

Most kids are fine, although I can see a point if a child is constantly running up and down the aisle - that would be dangerously disruptive.

It’s a shame that families and children are considered a fringe group in our society, and need to be segregated on planes, at parties, wedding receptions, restaurants, etc. When single, childless, or older people greet me and my children, or make positive statements to us, it really is a needed encouragement – ESPECIALLY when I’m having a hard time managing them all at the store or taking ten minutes to get in and out of the car. People who don’t want to be bothered by children may be why children have grown up into a large amount of adults who simply don’t like people at all.

Flying isn’t bad unless there’s a screaming baby aboard. My last flight…only an hour Praise the Lord had a screaming baby the whole time. I don’t know about segregation but Folks should teach their children to behave respectfully to others when in transit. I also think kids should have their own seat and not be allowed to sit on a moms lap during flight…I can only thinks it’s dangerous.

If you know how to make an upset, hurting baby be quiet, please share with the rest of us. The baby’s ears were probably hurting due to the pressure difference in his ears. Sucking on something doesn’t always work.

I agree with having the baby have their own seat. The two times we flew with our kids, we had them in their car seats strapped in.

I think a family section would be a great idea. I just flew with my 2 kids a few weeks ago. We had a layover going out and coming back so we had a total of 4 flights.

I was scared to death that one of the kids were going to act up at the wrong time and we’d be kicked off the plane. My kids did pretty well. My son didn’t cry too much but I know his ears hurt.

On one flight, there was a male flight attendant who was just plain rude and he kept rolling his eyes at me and my kids.

How about Family Flights? That would be so great. Then we wouldn’t have to put up with mean people who make rude comments to our kids.

Kim

My good classic Irish grandmother new a perfect way. Its called Irish whiskey. Works wonders. :smiley:

Perhaps a play pen out on the wing tip for unruly children and their clueless parents?

true story… I was flying and my seat was at the back of the airplane… this gay looking guy comes up and asks if he can sit next to me. The whole trip he talks about how he is going to his destination to go to flight attendant training (is anyone surprised?) so a baby starts crying and this guy acted worse than anyone I had ever seen… all the comments about how the mother should “control” her baby, how he hated kids… all I could think of is… wow is he in the wrong field!!!

I used to fly a lot, I still fly a fair amount and keep up my Million Mile Club card status with American Airlines.

First, I think there are many Family Flights. The vacation clubs put them together with package vacations and the flights are full of kids and nobody on those flights is a business traveler. I’ve been on a few and they are a bit hectic but nobody complains about the kids because most everyone brings them.

However, on commercial flights I am not tolerant of kids, fools, loudmouths, or drunks. I feel the same way about eating out at nice restaurants. We’ve taken our daughter to restaurants from the time she was just a few months old and still take her to nice restaurants. We have literally had dozens of people come up to us as they were leaving commenting on how nice it was to see a polite child with good manners in a restaurant. My daughter has been flying since she was 6 months old and has her own frequent flier card. . . even she can’t stand to sit in ‘coach’ and put up with what goes on back there and she is only 12 years old!

The problem with kids is not so much the problems they cause, but more the irresponsible parents who allow their kids to run the aisles, have fits in public, kick the seat backs of the people in front of them, and generally misbehave. Too many parents believe that they are not responsible for the actions of their kids. I’m sorry, but if the kids are not capable of sitting in a seat for a few hours while drawing, playing quite games, watching a video or reading books then the parent is at fault and the passengers all around that child should NOT be inconvenienced by rude behavior.

Kick a few families off the plane and maybe the parents will get the message that they have to act like responsible parents and teach their children to be polite citizens.

I agree 100%. Too often, it seems to me anyways, parents pass of the behaviors as children will act how children will act. Well, I paid big bucks for my seat. Tell your little angel that spitting juice in my hair, kicking my seat repeatedly, screaming, and running up and down the aisles, and running to the bathroom every 3 minutes is not acceptable behavior.

I understand babies and crying. It’s annoying sure, and if it’s really bad it gets a silent eye roll with my face down. But a three year old can and will act appropriately. I knew at that age in no uncertain terms what was and wasn’t acceptable behavior. My parents would sit me down and tell me explicitly what was expected of me at each experience.

If you don’t believe your child can handle a 6 hour cross country flight to see the grandparents, well, don’t go. Pay for the grandparents to fly to see you. Fly half way and meet them somewhere.

I try not to be obnoxious and rude when I fly, sit on the subway/bus or walk down a street. I expect the same from parents by controlling their children.

Today, I had a child behind me who kicked my seat from take off to landing. In front of me was a child who was (I wish I was making this up) LICKING the window for about 10 minutes. Both children had their parents next to them, and nothing was said to either one. These were not tiny tots, each child appeared to be at least 7 years old. As I am trying to be a better person and desperately want to become a parent, I sat quietly in my seat and said a prayer for both parents and children. That doesn’t mean it didn’t crawl under my skin.

I have certainly been on flights where a mother seemed exasperated and unprepared for her children’s flying experience to the point of making the entire airport and flight unpleasant for all. I have yet to hear any adults making rude comments to a parent for their child’s behavior, but I have read of these sorts of cases.

I think there must be some happy middle ground between family friendly flights and other-passenger friendly flights. If we were all respectful of each other, we wouldn’t have these problems. If a child typically has problems with small places, sitting still, or ear problems, why take them on an airplane before the age of reason? If you are an impatient person who doesn’t like noise, why subject yourself to situations where noise may be an issue? Flying is such a miserable experience from security to baggage claim, sometimes little things just set people off.

All other things being equal, at this time if I could go on an adults only, no carry-on flight that cost the same as other carriers, I would do so. Likewise, if I was the mother of a small child or children and had decided to fly, and a families only carrier were available, I would opt for it.

I’m not sure I would like a family section or a family only airlines for the simple reason of what I see in the Family rooms in the churches that I attend. The kids just run wild and the parents have no control. I don’t take my kids to the family rooms (aka cry rooms) because a 4-year old doesn’t understand why she has to sit still and behave when others are playing and cutting up. I can get her to behave 95% of the time in the main church (and the 5% we go outside for discipline).

There are two problems with kids on airlines. One is parents not taking responsibility for their kids, and the second problem is unrelated adults not recognizing that they are kids. A kid shouldn’t kick the back of a seat, but a kid that is sitting, but babbling shouldn’t get in trouble either. I don’t think that kids should be held to the same behavior as adults, but there is definitely appropriate kid behavior and inappropriate kid behavior.

The bottom line is everyone needs to step up to the responsibility that is handed to them in their life. Whether it is disciplining their kids, or being understanding of what is appropriate kid behavior.

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