Rules for air travel with children: Part II

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You never know when something that gets under your skin is driving a lot of other people crazy too. It turned out that my post last week (Rules for Air Travel with Children) churned up strong feelings and some very good points. To all of you who wrote, thank you. It is, of course, what blogging is all about. I've read every single comment and would like to respond to some of what's been said.

First, there were parents who wrote about traveling with a child who has cancer, with an autistic child or the child who is en route home from something traumatic. Your points are important. None of us know what is going on in another person's life. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that we simply can't see. It's almost always worth erring in the direction of human decency and compassion - everywhere, including on airplanes. When your child is having a hard time, it may help to give the people sitting next to you a bit of information if the circumstances warrant it. I've seen people who I thought were cold or nasty turn into really nice human beings once they understood a situation.

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Second, of course parents are not in complete control of what their children do. A baby in pain will cry. That doesn't change what for me is a fact, and was really the point of the post: if you're traveling with your children, it's your job to try to keep them occupied and reasonably quiet. The truth is that airplanes are really close quarters. People you wouldn't consider living with for 5 minutes are all but living with you for the duration of the flight. And yes, children should mostly remain in their seats, and not disturb people around them. It's also reasonable to ask the stewardess for half juice-half water (which their parents can no longer bring from home) but inconsiderate to hand her a dirty diaper unless you can throw it directly into the trash bag.

Third, several parents pointed out that children who know their parents will spank them are better behaved. Fear may be one way to make children behave, but there are much better ways.

I liked the suggestion that families with children be seated together but I'm not sure that would "fly" legally
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