Wednesday, August 19, 2015

To those people who have been talking about #ChildFreeFlights...

I totally get it, I do. No one, including this mom of three, wants to sit on a long flight next to a crying baby or routy, ill-behaved kid. If anyone notices poor mannered, loud children, it's me. I can't stand them. I judge. But guess what, I deal with it.


After Kelly Rose Bradford {you're probably like, who?} went on British morning television a couple of weeks ago and suggested that parents not take their small children on long flights, a Twitter war was waged by people on both sides of the line. Since I had just flown home from Europe to California with all three kids the day before I saw this, my interest was piqued. I watched her interview and I was a little angry, which for me is unusual because I'm pretty thick skinned and don't let other's opinions get to me. But I was upset. More so with what people were saying in regards to what Bradford had said. 

Bradford had said in regards to flying with babies, "I think there's an element of selfishness from parents who insist on not changing their lifestyle once they have children because there are some things that just aren't practical." Again, I get where she is coming from, but really? I hardly think of myself as selfish for wanting to bring my children on a work related trip, family vacation, or to see the world. For this woman to assume that people flying with babies and small children are doing it always for pleasure is ignorant. She has no idea my situation or those who travel with small children.  

Yes, I've flown with all three of my children when they were infants and yes, those times were for vacation purposes {and no I don't feel entitled about it!}. My husband is from Austria and his whole family lives there. I'm not about to limit the time my children get to see their grandparents because of what other's think or because my flying with small children is seen as selfish. My lifestyle did change the second I had babies whose family lives overseas because now I'm a parent flying with small children. And for those on Twitter who attack parents flying with small children, lumping us all together and saying we expect the flight staff to help us out is ludicrous. I've never once asked for help when dealing with my children on flights and never plan to. 

On Twitter, I was surprised, annoyed and a bit disgusted by all the people who were in support of #childfreeflights. I mean, isn't that a little politically incorrect? Are we allowed to have hashtags that support #malefreeflights or #oldpeoplefreeflights? Are we allowed to suggest flights free of people of specific religious views, cultural backgrounds or ethnicities? Because I'm sure their are people who would love to start those movements but know better not to. So why is it okay to suggest child free flights? Aren't children people, too? If pets can fly, babies should be allowed, too.

https://twitter.com/hollyamaya/status/631927130469724160
https://twitter.com/laurenejackson/status/631870704292524034
https://twitter.com/davidkentclark/status/632171165084160000

There were suggestions by Bradford to have family seating sections on flights, like first class, and I can see pros and cons to this idea. Do we really want all the crying babies in one area where they can keep each other awake? I like the family seating sections on trains and I'm surprised an airline hasn't yet come up with this concept {my guess is that a whole section might not get filled on all flights, resulting in empty seats and money loss for major airlines} BUT isn't segregation wrong? Haven't people learned their lessons yet? 

I guess if you are a parent and you choose to fly with small children, you're going to be judged for it. You're going to be judged for how your children act and how much they cry -or scream- and you're going to have people giving you dirty looks and expecting some sort of dumb "I'm sorry for the baby" gift bag, which is totally unnecessary by the way. And for those of you who think #childfreeflights are they way to go because kids cry, are loud and annoying, then I hope this goes into effect and costs you a buttload. Only then there'll be some sort of issue on cost privileges to those flying with kids and yada yada yada... 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue either way! 







33 comments:

  1. Hi Ashleigh,

    This was a great post. I think people take a superior attitude when it comes to children who "inconvenience" them in any way. This debate is as ridiculous as the one of banning mothers from breastfeeding in public.

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    1. I agree, Davina, it is ridiculous and so is anyone banning mothers from breastfeeding in public. Thank you for your opinion!!

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  2. preach. i am not even a mom and i was slightly shocked my this hashtag. i have two nieces and a nephew and have flown with both and yeah it can be a pain, but limiting how and when they can fly? the whole thing just seems so off and wrong to me. heres hoping that doesn't become an actual thing!!

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    1. Thank you for your opinion, Kristen! I will be the first to say that it can totally suck flying with small kids but it can also be really nice! I guess my point was that you shouldn't tell anyone they can't fly, it's just not right or equal.

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  3. As a military family whose daughter was born overseas, I'd absolutely love for someone to tell me to my face that they don't think I should have flown back to the US with her at 7 months old for her uncle's wedding, or that she shouldn't get to travel back to the US again to see family until the military issues us orders to move back there. The #childfreeflight battle, as you pointed out, is exclusionary and I can't imagine plugging any other ages, class, or type of person into that same hashtag without being blasted for it. Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Melissa, I totally, totally agree! My son was also born overseas and we moved back to the US when he was 5 months old (along with my other 2 children). Limiting flights for families would be so hurtful for the airline industry and I think that's why they haven't said anything in response to the hashtag! Thanks for your input!!!

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this topic. I was outraged to say the least when all this controversy happened. I mean, seriously! So happy to hear your thoughts!

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  5. If people want to pay more for the option of child free flights, shrug, it should be available. It won't hurt the families at all, just their own pocketbooks

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    1. So true! Probably best we don't have to fly with them anyways! Thanks for your thoughts!!!

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  6. Pack headphones and watch a movie or listen to music. Planes are loud anyway and I have just as much right to fly with my child as you do to take off your shoes and expose your stinky feet or snore like a freakin ogre next to me.

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    1. Oh my gosh, yes!!! I was talking with my mom about this... how come there are no hashtags about stinky people free flights or people who bring really bad smelling food free flights?! Or you know, there is always that person who won't stop talking the whole flight... what about banning them? Planes are loud and half the time the baby crying can only be heard by the people in the couple rows around them. Thank you for your input and opinion, loved it!

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  7. Hmmm, I should start out by saying I'm a child-free person who chooses to be child free. I don't know if I ever want kids-I like kids, but they're a lot of work and I like my life as it is.

    That being said, it's utterly hell to have to listen to a screaming child on a flight or in a restaurant-but not all kids are like that. I flew to Oregon (short flight, but still) and a woman with a baby sat a seat in front of me the whole time and the kid was super sweet and cooey and never once cried. I love my godkids. I think if you have kids they should totally be exposed to travel and the world-that's great!

    I can see both sides of this argument. Maybe family seating would be preferable, I don't know-I've never taken a flight where I've had to deal with a screaming child. I have been in restaurants where the parents should probably not have brought a baby (same with movie theatres) or should have at least taken them outside when they started screaming.

    That being said, I'm not so sure the argument comparing having a child to being a different race/minority or cultural things... I mean having children is a choice. You don't choose the color of your skin, or aging, etc. but you do choose to procreate.

    Not bashing, just a thought I had in relation to your argument.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Angie! Like I said in my post, I also don't want to hear a crying baby on a long flight just as much as the last person but I deal because I've been there and understand that after I get off the flight, I never have to see those people again. I also get that people who choose not to have children don't want to deal with other people's noisy kids. When I started having babies, I made the choice not to eat in restaurants with them because that was selfish... I don't have to eat out when I can eat at home. And I would never take a baby or toddler to a movie because again, there are other options. But when it comes to travel, sometimes flying is the only option to getting to the desired destination. True, one could argue that I didn't have to vacation in Europe or take the kids along on an obligated flight {a wedding, funeral, etc.} but life is short and if I can travel with my kids, I will.
      As to comparing race to this hashtag, you make a great point. But what about those who choose to bring curry or garlic or fish on a plane and stink the whole place up? Or those who talk, or snore or pass gas?
      Thank you for thoughts, I appreciate them!!

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  8. I have heard some pretty bad kids on planes, but it was never to the point where I thought to myself they shouldn't be able to fly. I just pity the mom who is probably super embarrassed. I have flown a Lot with little ones. Mine do well since they have been flying since a Very young age and on a fairly regular basis. I look at it as this.... If you don't want the chance to hear them pay for first class. It is one day of your life. Even if there is a screaming kid next to you the whole flight is it Really going to effect you long term? NO! So shrug it off, tell 100 people how crazy your flight was, and get over it!!

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    1. Like you, my kids fly well just because they have been flying since they were infants. With that said, over the course of 12 hours, a baby is going to cry, as was the case with my son last week. People can't expect a baby not to be a baby for that long. I agree with you in that if it is really an issue then pay more to sit up front where there are no kids. Thank you for your thoughts!!!

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  9. Yuck. Children are people too. I don't understand why people don't think they have rights. If there are adults that don't want to deal with other people's kids, they should be the ones that have to stay home. Stupid.

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  10. Kids have been flying on airplanes for decades! Why is it now that people feel the need to try to put their own quiet ahead of families that choose to take a flight to a destination? What if the family is flying for a funeral of a family member (like I did this year), or because they are moving from overseas (like many of my military friends deal with every 2 years), or taking children to visit far away relatives (like you visiting your in-laws and husband for the summer), or to just experience the wonderful world out there?

    My dad told me that when we moved from Israel to the States in the 70's I cried the whole trip as a 6-month old. Nobody threw my family off the plane at our first stop in Italy, or turned the plane around and made us get off (those things have happened in the past year to different people). So someone gets annoyed for a 3 hour flight, once they are off the plane they never have to deal with it again!!

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    1. You're absolutely right and make great points! There is always a reason why a family is flying and people need to be a little more respectful to these reasons. I can't believe people with children are getting kicked off planes over loud babies. I would be more upset over the plane having to land mid flight or getting turned around then I would be of a noisy child. Thank you for sharing!!

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  11. I think traveling is amazing for children. Getting to see new places and explore new things. I will always support kids on flights, even if it's more difficult for me. (And I'm a Mom of three boys!)

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    1. Oh yeah, girl, you'll have your moments with three boys ha but making memories flying with kids is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing your opinion!

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  12. Agreed. Thank you for posting your opinion. I have never understood this. Children cry, they are noisy, they are kids! Are they not allowed on a plane because of those things? Ridiculous! The hubs and I, even on our non-kid vacations have been known to help other families out because we know what it is like, and have no issues in doing this. If I have to entertain a child for a while who isn't mine, I will do it! A plane isn't just an adult zone - is it a club in Vegas, I wasn't aware! ;)

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    1. Well, let me just say that you and your hubs are saints for helping families on flights! When I flew home last week and Jakob was being social, there was a couple who were just loving on him and playing with him. It was so sweet and helpful, I was touched. Those of you who can see the bigger picture than just a crying/noisy baby are the best!! Thank you for sharing!

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  13. I see both sides of this argument as someone who loves tiny humans but does not want her own.
    I think people also forget that children act the way their parents teach them to act (this is assuming we are talking more about wild toddlers not babies) instead of kicking children off planes kick their parents who haven't taught them how to act in public off. I've helped raise a nephew and a 3rd cousin, nurture is a huge factor in how they act.

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    1. Ok so I agree about the fact that kids will act the way their parents allow. My old two kids are perfect on planes because I wouldn't allow anything less. When we flew home from Hawaii in May, there were two boys in the seats in front of us who were spitting on my son, jumping on the seats, dumping water on us and so forth. I couldn't even be mad at the kids because I was so upset with the parents! I mean, they just thought the whole thing was funny and cute. So I agree, kick the parents off for being dumb, not because the kids are naughty. In terms of babies or small toddlers, they are a little harder to control. Thank you for your input!!!

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  14. I love how people get their panties in a wad. Of course kids should be able to fly. It's not practical to say otherwise. On the other hand, parents should do their best to keep their kids well behaved. (Granted, sometimes that's just not possible - especially with younger children) It's real life to have kids and that's that. (Maybe I'm a little too opinionated about this...) ;-)

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  15. We are in a similar situation to you, with a side of the family on each side of the Atlantic. Last year I had to fly back unexpectedly for my best friend's husband's funeral, taking my two year old because he couldn't be left for that long. The way the flights work from here is that the flights to Europe are long overnight flights and the flights back are long day flights. So on the way there, he behaved perfectly and slept most of the way. On the flight back, he was wriggly and at times upset, not understanding why he had to sit in his seat for 11 hours. Sure I would have loved to break the trip up into something more fun packed and less stressful, but most people can't afford a leisurely round-the-world vacation at a moment's notice. Life events happen, and people aren't shop window dummies. I say let the judgmental people have their own flights - I'd rather not sit next to them either.

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  16. Hey if they offer some that's great as long as kids are still allowed on regular flights haha. I get mad when people get upset that anyone would bring children on flights... get over it. If you don't like it charter a private flight or find a flight that doesn't allow children. Until then people aren't entitled to child free flights so they need to get over it ;)

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  17. Ashleigh, don't you know that, once you have children, you should adjust your lifestyle to stay in your home at any time your child needs feeding, resist visiting family or traveling for any other purpose, and muzzle your crying children should you ever HAVE to venture into the public. Duh, Ashleigh.

    This conversation is absolutely heartbreaking. I've flown with my son 8 times before he was one and a half (some alone, some with my husband), my son slept the entirety of all 8 flights, and all were flights for work-related events or visiting family. While my son was dead silent (literally haha - he was asleep), a PUBLIC flight is a choice for anyone who is on it. Don't want to hear a crying baby? Don't leave YOUR house.

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  18. WOW this makes me both mad and sad. It's not about "changing your lifestyle" once you have kids. It's not about being selfish. My husband is in the military so we live thousands of miles away from our families. Anyone who would call me selfish for flying back home so my son can see his grandparents more than once a year or criticizes me for *gasp* wanting to see my family for Christmas obviously has no heart! Ok I'm off my vent session. Great post. Keep at it momma! :)

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  19. Good post. We are in the same boat. My husband is German, and his entire family is in Germany. We visit yearly, and yes, we have had some crying. We even had an older couple on a short connecting flight with extra seats, stand up and ask rather loudly, if they could be seated away from our children, who were being exceptionally quiet and well behaved at the moment. Lucky for us, another passenger took over their 2 seats and said loudly that she didn't mind sitting next to children.

    I think the only time I am upset over a crying, misbehaving kid, is when it is obvious that the parent is not doing their best to pacify/curb their child's behavior or that kid is old enough to know better (10 and up), and their parents obviously didn't teach them good manners.

    Unless you pay for first class, suck it up. Before kids I got stuck next to a fat guy who spilled into my seat and snored atrociously and an elbowing page turner for 8 hours. Give me a crying baby over that. I can bring ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones.

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  20. I can't even believe this is an issue. Kids are people, and they can be annoying, but so can everyone else. It's a few hours of your life. As long as the parents are making an effort to contain the situation as best as can be realistically expected, then it's just a tough situation and get over it. If you can't deal with the petty annoyances of being in public, then maybe YOU should stay home and not go anywhere. Rant over. Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

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