Babies On A Plane!

I’ve just wrapped up an incredibly relaxing one week vacation in the Maldives. I’m usually not much the relaxing type, but for the first time I can remember I was able to truly unwind, and I’d return in a heartbeat.

Maldives

The only downside to the trip was that I caught a cold the second day I got there. It must have been my crazy outbound routing, combined with getting virtually no sleep the first night I was in the Maldives.

So I wasn’t feeling 100% yesterday due to being in the final stages of a cold, combined with being sunburned and having some bug bites.

After flying from Kooddoo to Male on Maldivian in the last row I was quite looking forward to getting on my Cathay Pacific redeye to Hong Kong, where I’d get a fully flat seat.

Maldivian

The Cathay Pacific flight was operated by an Airbus A330 featuring Cathay Pacific’s reverse herringbone seats, so is perfect for a 5.5 hour redeye.

Cathay-A330-Business-Class-1

I basically viewed the flight as a slightly shorter version of New York to London, which is a route I’m pretty well accustomed to.

Cathay-A330-Business-Class-2

But goodness gracious, I’ve never shared a cabin with a needier crowd. I’ve always kind of assumed the Maldives is more of a couples destination than family destination, though this cabin had nearly as many toddlers as adults. On top of that, it seemed that no one actually understood the concept of assigning seats in advance, since in almost all cases couples with kids were seated apart from each other.

Let me say at this point that I’m not at all opposed to having babies/toddlers in premium cabins, and I’m not trying to bash parents traveling with kids. I’m just sharing my experience, and that this is the highest percentage of toddlers I’ve ever had in a cabin.

I don’t think I could have orchestrated a more cacophonous ambient noise for the 5.5 hour flight if I tried.

I had a toddler in the seat in front of me. I had a toddler in the seat across from me. I had a toddler in the seat behind me.

And I had the most poorly behaved 4-5 year old I’ve ever seen seated across from me diagonally. As luck would have it, his parents were seated somewhere completely different, and he was quite possibly the neediest human I’ve ever witnessed.

It was like surround sound.

So I barely slept, and then I woke up decided to stop rolling around 30 minutes before landing when the captain made his pre-arrival announcement. Usually I’m not a groggy person and can quickly wake up, but this morning was an exception, as I don’t think I’ve ever felt more “out of it.”

Cathay-Business-4

The flight attendant offered me orange juice. I spilled it all over my console.

Cathay-Business-3

A few minutes later she brought me another glass. I spilled it again… on the seat this time.

So I ran to the lavatory to get some towels, and it showed as being unoccupied. Except when I opened the door there was a lady in there. Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight, because I still proceeded to grab paper towels and muttered “sorry, I spilled something,” while she gave me a death glare.

In retrospect I’m horrified, but in my sleep-induced state that all made perfect sense at the time.

I then went to stow my belongings in the overhead, and as I did so my Bose headphones fell out of my bag and onto the floor. 4-5 year old diva boy decided to take a break from abusing the flight attendants to cry, at which point his dad came over and started yelling at me in Chinese.

So yeah, not my proudest day of travel…

How was everyone else’s weekend?

Comments

  1. @lucky-

    Sorry to hear of that baby diva flight!

    As a professional photographer I spent the weekend indoors with a beautiful bounty of partially-clad women doing boudoir-style photo shoots for an advertising campaign…

    It sucks to work so hard sometimes…

    Aloha!

  2. I can relate to your sense of disorientation coming off an international flight in a premium cabin filled will toddlers. I had a flight from NRT to DFW on an AA 777-200. They announce preboarding at NRT during which I took my seat on the right aisle side of the middle section (2-3-2). After completing boarding of the premium cabin, they started loading the coach cabin. A family of 4 (mom, dad, 2 children in the 2-3yr age range) filed past me in the left aisle. Then they read their boarding passes and doubled back towards me. Not a good sign. Dad and one of the infants took the 2 seats in my row on the left side, mom and the other infant took the seats right next to me. My instant response was despair … but then I decided to give the kid a chance at good behavior before coming up with an opinion. They closed the doors and fired up the engines and began taxiing. No sooner had the pilot gunned the throttles for take-off then the infant in the seat next to me went into Full Wide Open Throttle herself … and remained in that state for a solid 15minutes. The mother did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to pacify her child. As soon as the seat belt sign went off, I stormed off to the bathroom and counted to 200 or 300 (don’t remember) and calmed down. I returned to my seat. The mother then spoke to me in what seemed to be a Russian accent “Don’t worry, she be good baby !” … to which I repled “Yeah, she’s got a great track record so far” … Not long after the child went right back to Wide Open Throttle and persisted in that mode for 7 of the 14 hours of that flight. Even with Bose noise cancelling headseats, the piercing shrieking roar from the child was equal in it’s ear-piercing capabilities as each of the two GE-90’s hanging off each wing. Though the second half of the flight was actually relatively peaceful, I never recovered for the first seven hours. Upon arrival at DFW, I screwed up my immigration forms, couldn’t find the carousel to collect my bags and was just generally out of it. Fortunately, somehow karma compensated me when my connecting flight to AZ, which I was scheduled to fly coach on, got me bumped into first class.

  3. Gotta disagree Lucky. Premium cabins are no place for toddlers. I am so sick of the parents today who think that their child can do no wrong. Some of these children really just need a slap and they will shut up.

  4. @Lucky I appreciate your trip reports to expensive place like Maldives. However,no wonder if you can cover somewhere more affordable like Mexico, Carrieban Islands, Hawaii, Southeast Asia?

  5. @Lucky I wonder if you can make a list of travel destinations based on feasibility (cost, award availability …)

  6. I’ll admit I found this post entertaining, but I can only imagine what you must feel like if you ever fly economy class TATL with screaming/crying babies, etc.

  7. If a guy yells at you in Chinese just yell back at him in English. Trust me, they’ll back down.

  8. Talk about a bad combination! Toddlers in a premium cabin just seems like a horrible waste of money/points. Not to mention in a herringbone configuration the adults are by design quite segregated from their kids no matter where they sit. I can only hope the noise cancelling headphones did a decent job of muffling the noise. I also wouldn’t have expected many toddlers going to the Maldives, since I always perceived it as a couples ‘get-away’ destination or for honeymoons and such.

  9. Chinese..
    You meant Mandarin or Cantonese?

    I really can’t imagine to be surrounded by toddlers.. I’d rather kill myself..

  10. I’m really sorry about your experience!! We’ve taken our kids (ages 8 and 10) on flights in international Business, but we’ve kept a close eye on them to ensure they don’t talk loudly or disturb anyone else.

    Ultimately, the onus is on the parents, and if parents want to bring children particularly in premium cabins, they need to ensure they don’t disturb others. That’s basic common sense!

  11. LOL. Can’t say I can point out a comparable experience being out of it on a plane but I feel like I’ve been there myself. Glad you got the airport hotel for your long layover. Sleep!

  12. Not to be racist but Mainland Chinese have some of the worst manners I’ve ever seen from a four appendages living being. Remember just last year a Chinese couple let their child take a dump at his seat. Many are just so stupidly rich that they think they are entitled to everything.

  13. I flew CDG-DXB on AF and the majority of the J cabin was under 18. Same trip, returning AUH-LHR on BA F, the majority of the cabin was under 18. Both of these were around the time of Christmas break.

    You may recall that this is the Easter season, where many schools take a week or so off. The Maldives is a great family beach destination from HKG.

  14. @CLP: I’m not sure how that’s not racist. People from all cultures need to teach their children how to behave, and respect others.

  15. We are just back from an economy flight on Emirates DXB to LAX. We booked it in the time frame when AS did not have business award availability on EK. We flew over in EK business class. We had kids crying around us or kicking the set behind us for much of the 16 hour flight. We said never again for coach on that long of a flight. Thanks to your post, I now know that even business is not safe from crying kids.

  16. The problem with age limits is that there are kids that CAN handle themselves at a young age… I would know because I was one of them, and found those rules to be frustrating (but oh well, I’m lucky to have been able to travel~ especially for free). So age limits, yes, but only until a kid can handle themselves. I’ve seen people suggest ages like 18!! (so am taking FLIGHT LESSONS but still can’t sit in a premium cabin??)

    But looking at the full picture, lets all be happy we have the opportunities to travel! (:

    flyhi,
    hawaii.aviation

  17. We take our son with us in premium cabins, sometimes paid, and one old person said “wow, your son is so well behaved. I was a little nervous.” I felt like saying “wow, you seem surprisingly cognizant. I was worried you might fall down and require medical attention, diverting the plane.”

  18. Welcome to the real Cathay Pacific!

    What no one has commented on is why the kids and parents were not seated together. Heartless parents avoiding their own children? Nope. Careless parents failing to prebook seats? Nope.

    Operational Upgrade.

    Cathay will fill every seat on the plane. Cathay will upgrade everyone on a PNR based on the status of one person. Cathay will simply put the last people to check in in any open seat.

  19. So, I’ll say it outright-I’m a kid myself. I have had such a great opportunity to fly in a premium cabin to Rome, Hawaii, and London, and I loved every minute of it. Given the fact that I read this blog, I hope anybody can see the appreciation I have for what I have been able to do. But, now I’m going to get to my point. I am a teenager, and I really hope that when I was younger and had my first chance to fly up front around the age of 10, I wasn’t as much as a brat of these kids. Some of your articles have given me a perspective of reclining and other things that I can’t do for now, such as tipping. Reclining, for example, used to just be pushing a shiny button on the side of the armrest and pushing back, but I now understand the debate and some of the literal pain it causes people, especially those taller than 5’4”. I also have flown with plenty of flying babies, and I always try to keep my cool on the grounds that I was like that once, too. I flew on a plane when I was six weeks old, so I know that I probably pissed off more than my fair share of people on that flight. Thanks for your perspective, as being a minor skews the reality of this issue quite a bit.

  20. First world problems – this post is a waste of ones and zeros – get a real perspective and stop complaining about your ridiculously pampered existence.

  21. @Lucky, if it was two years ago, then you don’t have to suffer from this. CX used to only operate routes between Hong Kong and business destinations, so normally no kids on those routes. However, to satisfy the strong need of leisure travellers , especially people from PRC and ROC(Taiwan), CX starts to operate routes on leisure destination like Male. I think it is unlikely you see babies on other business routes in premium cabins.
    I wonder if that family were from op-ups. In that case, seats may distributed randomly. Usually, CX staffs will ask the family members if they prefer sit together, almost EVERY TIME.
    Anyway, it is not Emirates’s toilet, so it may be hard to close the door from inside. (CX’s business class toilet is way to small).
    I can understand that angry father, it just father & husband nature. American yell too in that circumstance.
    However, I do think it is flight crew’s responsibility to calm down the babies, especially in a red eye flight. Even United flight crew did that! United flight attendants actually give those babies toys, and bring snacks and drinks. (You just need to try hard to feed babies until babies sleep.)
    Well, luckily, that father yelled you in Chinese instead of English, hopefully that make you feel better since you don’t know those dirty words may be.
    But in general, babies can be calmed down, in fact, there are many techniques to do that. It is flight attendant’s responsibility to do that. What CX flight attendants did was totally unprofessional and unacceptable.

    http://www.babycenter.com/404_what-should-i-do-if-my-child-cries-during-a-flight_7281.bc

  22. @Mangoceviche
    Very true. In general, there are lot of pressures in place with lots of Chinese population (Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Taiwan may be an exception.) People from there are really really really grumpy…. I was told that it is a social issues with their societies, it is a lot more stressful to live there than live in US or Europe

  23. What a refreshing honest review of the Maldives……….I can’t imagine any place so relaxing as to have to put up with the ridiculous getting to and coming from………..go visit your parents man and then hop on over to South Beach……..I know the food is better there and a hella lot easier to get to………..

  24. @Lucky If you want to know what hell looks like, try Emirates’s Dubai – Guangzhou flight in economy. It probably will ruin all your good memory with Emirates.

  25. “I still proceeded to grab paper towels and muttered ‘sorry, I spilled something,’ ”

    LOL! Ben, that’s hilarious, and awesome!

  26. I love me some babies. I love the Maldives. Man do I love the peace and quiet of first class! Hey – How about them Blue Devils!!!

  27. This post makes me appreciate hotel lounges like the Conrad Centennial Singapore.

    Their policy: “The Executive Lounge is reserved for guests aged 12 years and above.”

    It provides their guests a much more relaxing time. Why can’t airlines do this too in premium cabins?

  28. issue of babies and toddlers on a plane.

    The only way my eighty plus year old mother will ever meet her grandchildren aged one and three is if I take them about 24 hours on cathay pacific flights, and another twenty four hours plus by ground and boat transportation.

    I have been saving up points for this for over five years. My wife, who does not speak English, will be on a flight perhaps for the first time. If I can get enough seats and or a visa I will take my stepson aged eleven since he is the most competent one in the family.

    Opinions please, since I do not know how they will behave — I will be purchasing and booking tickets eleven months in advance. Is it wrong to take the kids in business class? Is it wrong in economy? If wrong in business but ok in economy, what is the logic to that? I appreciate any advice or opinions, and if anyone has a private jet to lend me, I will be happy to introduce you to my children.

  29. If you really spilled two drinks in a row and then burst in on a woman using the toilet then I have to say the kid in the seat next to you must have been the second neediest person you’ve ever met.

  30. Lucky, sorry had to deal with this. However, you most likely witnessed the global phenomenon of bad mannered Mainland Chinese traveling abroad. The mainlanders have the worst behaved children on the planet, and it only amplifies when they go overseas for vacations. I lived for nearly a decade in mainland China and have even crazier stories of badly behaved kids with parents who just don’t care or expect someone else to parent for them.

    Many affluent mainlanders have the mentality that if they have money they can do whatever they want, wherever they want. While I know every country has people who act like this nowhere is it more pervasive than mainland China.

  31. Am I the only person who thinks the 5* hotels would have figured out a better, more comfortable, more luxurious way to get their guests from the airport to the hotel by now? Whether it is a private sea plane fleet or whatnot. It is one of the reasons I have never quite had the desire to try out the Maldives. Just seems like such a hassle to get to as compared to many other very nice places I also want to explore.

  32. Age limits are a stupid idea. If someone is paying the big bucks to put their toddler in First / Business Class, then so be it.

  33. Premium cabins are no place for children. For the premium price you pay you expect a premium experience. MH got it right by not allowing children in FC, same should be applied to BC until children are about 6 yo.

  34. Yikes. That flight sounded very uncomfortable to say the least. I find that the Maldives as a destination is not exclusively honeymoon or luxury (compared to Tahiti). The resorts in the Maldives- when it’s luxe, it’s extremely high end. In Tahiti though the five star resorts are not as modern (due to lack of competition), it is still a more exclusive destination. There’s an overabundance of resorts and hotels in the Maldives catering to all budgets. Not to mention the rising number of airlines from Asia (including budget carriers) that now fly to Male. Your experience of luxury and seclusion greatly depends on the resort you pick. Because all the resorts are in their own islands and it can feel secluded and serene (like your experience with the Park Hyatt), you do get a rude awakening whenever you head back to Male Airport and on flights in and out of Male.

  35. “Why can’t airlines do this too in premium cabins?”

    Because sometimes people with lots of money want to fly somewhere with their kids.

  36. Any post about children in premium cabins immediately separates the d-bags from the rest of civilized society. If you have a problem with a child or anyone else bothering you on your flight than feel free to charter a plane or buy up all the seats, other than that, deal with it. We paid for our flight just as much as you. If I have to deal with your DYKWIA attitude, then you have to deal with my kid crying for a few minutes because he or she is scared.

    And I dare you to make a snarky comment to me, my wife, or my child. If you thought a crying child made for an uncomfortable flight, go ahead and see how multiplying that by a pissed off father works for you.

  37. @Ron

    Crying for a few minutes especially on take off and landing is one thing, pressure change can be painful.

    Crying for the whole flight, kicking seat backs, running around the cabin screaming, etc etc without you doing anything to try to calm the child down makes you the d-bag that can’t raise his child properly.

    Most people do not have a problem with well behaved children on plane, it’s misbehaving children and parents that don’t try to stop them from misbehaving that is the problem.

    A plane is public place, NOT your home or backyard and it’s your responsibility as a parent to hopefully raise any children as well behaved citizens.

  38. To echo CLP’s comments, Chinese folks travel to the Maldives in droves and are some of the rudest, uncultured folks I have ever seen. I experienced the same thing while traveling to mainland China. Now, not all Chinese folks are like this, but obviously it’s a big enough issue where their government is cracking down on poorly behaved citizens when traveling abroad.

  39. Yep,
    Had exactly the same thing on a Cathay HKG-PER 7.5 hour flight.
    The only time in my flying career I wished I could have handed my upgrade back
    SOLUTION : A good book, Noise-cancelling Ears tuned into Shostakovich !! or
    another Classical musician !!

  40. I think the yelling dad probably came from Hong Kong. In mainland China people are generally friendly to foreigners and those who pay to fly Business(and I can assure you even rich people are used to fly economy, and not a lot are good at the points game) are generally well educated people.

  41. Sorry, but am i missing something? You dropped your headphones on the ground and the kid started crying because of that. Why was the father abusing you? Did the headphones hit his child or was there another reason?

  42. Just had the same experience in CW on BA from LHR to LAX, mother between two kids in the middle, chugging champagne before take off while on her phone right up to take off, telling whoever she was speaking to that she was glad someone else was there to look after her kids for the next 11 hours, then proceeds to pass out.

    Said kids then spend 9 hours opening and closing the bloody divider all the way through out the flight shouting across the plane to each other.

    20+ pax by the end fed up, and the crew did nothing (which was consistent for everything and everyone on the entire flight).

    They were both dressed identically, despite not being twins too – talk about the full house! Grrr

  43. I was extremely annoyed when I boarded my short flight from LAX to YVR on UA connections. 3 toodlers???

    OK to be honest Mainland Chinese people(I am referring to male older than 35) wouldn’t fly business class(not even thinking about F/C). Even if they are rich. My dad never flown on international premium cabin before we got a complimentary upgrade to F. Now he is addicted in it..

  44. All of these Hong Kongers are assuming that the bad-mannered person was a Mainlander. Most likely he was a Hong Konger, as wealthy Chinese would first fly on the countless flights from their own cities.

  45. @Koap: qoute: “I do think it is flight crew’s responsibility to calm down the babies” huh? Maybe this was meant to be sarcastic, but part of the problem is that too many parents (and I do have two kids myself) obviously think that might be the case. But how should the FAs do that? They are not trained to be Nannys (of course there may be exceptions, but I doubt it to be the norm). What if there are just too many babies? Should they skip meal service or which other duty should they abandon for that?
    I dont’t get how can parents be so naive not to take ANY entertainment for their kids on a 9hr daytime flight (experienced exactly that on a transatlantic last year)? Toys provided by the airline may be nice, but their effect usually lasts a few minutes and they can’t have a complete toy store onboard.
    And the link you provided says that at least you should TRY to calm down your kids by yourself. But not to do even that or to think the FAs would provide some kind of kid’s daycare for the whole flight is just disrespectful to the FAs AND to the other passengers.

  46. What you expect Mr Lucky? First you perve at my wife then you disrespect me by throwing expensive headphones on ground near my boy.

  47. There were two kids going back to the space in front of my middle row bulkhead economy seat to travel back and forth between the aisles in business class. It required me to move my legs sideways and stow my TV. The first time was cute. The second was ok. The fifth time they were not getting through.

  48. I’m a proud parent and regularly travel in BA F with my children. More often than not, my wife and I have been complimented by fellow passengers at the end of flights (including overnight) about how well behaved our children were. In a few instances we’ve been told they “didn’t even realise” the children were on board! (both are under 5 years old)

    In my mind it’s about the preparation parents take ahead of taking their children on flights (e.g. adequate toys/entertainment, ensuring the children aren’t hungry, 1:1 ratio of parent:child, putting the kids first) which affects the ensuing behaviour, alongside the manners and discipline instilled in the children full stop (which is generally lacking in the world…)

    Ultimately though, many PARENTS don’t adopt this approach and it does affect other passengers experiences. And for this reason I would personally prefer to be away from children on flights when travelling without my 2 daughters.

    Perhaps it’s my respect for others which means my children are well behaved. YMMV….

  49. Eh, I’ve flown ultra-long-haul in economy plenty of times with plenty of screaming kids (and while feeling ill)… and I’ve somehow managed not to grab paper towels from an occupied lavatory.

    Sure, sometimes I make an absentminded mistake in the airport afterwards after getting little sleep. But it just sounds like Lucky is getting a taste of what life is like for the vast majority of air passengers, and for that I have no sympathy.

  50. While I don’t consider myself an elitist, when I pay huge for a PC cabin, I expect a some what better atmosphere (flame me now) than in cattle class.

    On my last long haul (DFW / LHR) a young mother sat across from me with an infant she was holding in one of those forward facing papoose style carriers. After the cabin door was close, she noticed empty pods and actually had the stones to ask the passenger next to her, if he would consider switching seats so she wouldn’t have to have the child in her lap the entire flight, which he refused (and rightly so) to do.

    After the first meal service, she stood up and was going to to change her child’s diaper right on the seat. Thank God, the purser stopped her, at which point she became extremely indignant, suggesting it was her right.

    I fail to understand how families that travel with kids in tow, can openly flaunt the maximum carry on limits and in many instances, gate personnel look the other way. On a recent flight, due to my own issues, I was late boarding and although only 3 seats in FC were occupied, ALL of the overhead bins were jammed full of bags from economy. I complained to the Purser, who said it was unfair to ask someone else to move their things and offered to stow my carry on in the crew closet. When we reached the gate, it looked like an enemy invasion with all of the people from coach stampeding up to collect their bags, and then cutting in line so they could be first off the flight which is probably why they did that in the first place.

    I think the perfect solution would be what Westjet proposed in their 2014 April fools video Westjet Kargo KIds, check it out, and for @Ron, why don’t YOU rent an entire cabin as your personal day care.

  51. Ok my 2 cents. Father of a 3 year old and an avid points traveller. Nico my son just had to get a new passport due to no room for his Brazilian visa. Lost count a long time ago of his number of flights at 200+ ranging from regional Y to Emirates F, last month where he had a shower with me at 40,000 ft.

    The kid has no idea who lucky he is. Spoilt brat? Maybe… I dunno, his mother and I try to teach manners on a minute by minute basis and for the most part he says thank you to strangers and respects people. Does he have the odd tantrum? Yes. Are we mortified like most parents? Yes. If in a premium cabin and he doesn’t stop within seconds, normally I scramble to take him to the back and keep moving, or even into the toilet to pacify him asap.

    Should we fly in premium cabins with him, see the world, teach him about the world while we have the chance (before school and while I am on a career break)? I hope that some or most would agree that it’s ok to do so. He has seen Great White sharks up close, played with kids from all over the world, played soccer on Copacabana, been in Cathedrals, Mosques, and seen so many wonders of the world. While he may not remember, I hope it shapes who he is in the future to be humble and understand the world is made of different people, customs, traditions, religions and cultures not just his own.

    Of course… We don’t have to fly First to experience all of this, but like many of you, we want to and can! I think everyone was a toddler once! But also… Parents that do nothing during tantrums or bad behavior are violently inconsiderate. We have an army of gadgets, toys and stuff to placate, amuse, and entertain (“toddler crack”) and utilize them all. But sometimes… It just don’t work, and that’s when I remove him if I can. Also we always apologize to everyone around if appropriate. The parents among them usually say “don’t be ridiculous, I’ve been there” but I still feel bad, mainly because if I’d spent $10k to have a screaming brat next to me, I’d be pissed.

    Im sure there are many opinions ranging from us being selfish to “go for it”. Sometimes I don’t know myself, but I hope we are doing the right thing, as quite a few more bucket list places to go.

  52. Haha I can imagine the face expression of the lady when you opened the door and still proceeded to grab paper towels…! It must have been priceless!

    Weekend was good here in Montreal! Spring has arrived!

  53. CX makes it nearly impossible to book seats in advance. I booked a PHL-DPS first class itinerary but couldn’t get availability for the HKG-DPS leg so I booked it in coach. Went to select seats and it would let me select a seat for myself but not my wife. Even for the legs where we are in first or business, they make it hard. Some seats are available for me and not for her. It’s ridiculous. Don’t blame the parents for failing to select seats. Blame CX for their inane seating policy.

  54. i was the lady in the bathroom! neither the interruption nor the paper towel grab offended me as much as when you yelled, ‘oh my god, a vagina- how disgusting!’ and ran away.

  55. @GS – Why are you here?

    @Andy – Obviously you’re doing it right, and nobody would ask for anything different. Keep up the good parenting – your fellow travelers will appreciate it, and so will Nico when he’s older. I’ve never had a parent apologize to me about a screaming child, however if I saw the parent making a real effort to quiet down the kid, and then they apologized to me, I would be 100% forgiving, and I would definitely be all “Don’t be silly!” and I’m not a parent. Simply trying to calm down the kid and acknowledging the irritation to others is the best you can do, and I’m thinking when you do that, many people will be on your side.

    Tl;dr – Thank you for being a good parent.

  56. Was the lady you barged in on sitting on the toilet or standing at the sink? Either way, not cool, but one is quite a bit worse than the other.

  57. @ Ben – What does the ethnicity of the father have to do with the situation and him yelling? It just brings out the worst racist stereotypes by non-Chinese readers about Chinese c.q. people from China. You just encourage China/Chinese-bashing which is en vogue nowadays, totally unlike when a rude person in your post is non-Chinese;
    @ all those China/Chinese-bashers: believe me, I had the worst situations with rude non-Chinese travelers (read Caucasians), including white Americans, so I challenge you to bash them based on their ethnicity and not on their behavior the way you do with Chinese, whenever you get the opportunity!

  58. Is that laptop a Chromebook? It looks just like our Asus Chromebook. We love that thing, it has allowed us to travel with only a carry-on backpack overseas.

  59. @Jeffrey – “What does the ethnicity of the father have to do with the situation and him yelling? It just brings out the worst racist stereotypes by non-Chinese readers about Chinese c.q. people from China.”

    I see where you’re coming from here, however in this case, I read it as nothing more than “We all know by now that Ben doesn’t speak Chinese, so him being yelled at in Chinese is certainly not going to be helpful in terms of learning a lesson or assisting in personal growth,” and nothing more than that. In fact, upon re-reading, Ben made no mention of ethnicity at all, though in all fairness we probably all concluded the man yelling was Chinese, the same way had we read “The woman yelled at me in Italian” would lead us to conclude Italian is the woman’s native language and by extension she is of Italian descent. Of course, she could be of Azerbaijani descent as well, but you see where I’m going here.

    It looks like some of the comments contained various unfortunate stereotypes. While I do believe many here (including Ben, sorry Ben, consider it a growth area!) do sometimes dance dangerously close to the racist/stereotyping line, I don’t see it in this case with the author. Though I do share your sensitivity to such unfortunate and embarrassing comments on some of the things I read on the interwebs.

  60. I was flying F from Miami to Heathrow a few years ago on the redeye. Whilst sat in 2A, some parents got on board with their baby and took up one of the centre seats. As you’ll be aware, there’s quite a large gap between aisle seats, yet I was still able to hear the guy in 2B say under his breathe “for f*** sake” at the sight of seeing a baby, knowing what was in store for him.

    I never once heard anything from the baby the entire flight, so can’t complain.

  61. Let ME just start by saying, I am opposed to having babies/toddlers in premium cabins…And I have approached parents w/ poorly behaving children on Intl F class flights before…

  62. I really don’t want to get into the whole debate about toddler/children in premium cabins
    but as someone else mentioned- the comment where you opened the bathroom door to discover a woman in there but still proceeded seemingly unfazed to get paper towels had me rolling

    It kind of reminded of how one night when I was in my 20’s, after a relatively tame night out of a couple of pitchers of beer, 25 cent chicken wings and a hockey game, I was spending the night on my friend’s sofa bed, while her and her now husband were sleeping in their bedroom. Suddenly, I see the apartment door open up and I see a tall shadowy figure come in. At first I thought that maybe my friends DH had went down to the vending machine in their building’s lobby to get a midnight snack but when the person came and sat down on the bed next to me, in the darkness I could vaguely make out long hair. I assumed then, it had to be my friend; so I said her name but got a intelligible response and the person got up and went around the corner.

    A few second later, my friend comes into the living room and franticly switches on the lights and asked me if I just came in the apartment…Well, I sit up and start to scream no, but I know that someone did because I saw them come in. She then starts yelling at her old man to get up and that there was someone in the bathroom. All I could think to do was to pull the covers over my halfway over my head and yell instructions “Get a knife from the kitchen, Call 911″. My friend’s husband gingerly pushed open the bathroom door which was left unlocked and slightly ajar.

    And low and behold, there is some strange drunk girl, sitting on the toilet taking what I assume was a piss. So my friends DH- says..”You got the wrong apartment” -and the drunk girl say…”Ooooooooohhhhhhhhh”, gets up- WASHES HER HANDS…then stumbles out the door and leaves.

    I don’t know what shocked me more- the fact that it happened or that the girl had audacity to worry about hygiene and just not get the F out. ( Please don’t think that was a passive aggressive dig at you , I swear it wasn’t… if anything your tale gave me the insight into what the heck are folks thinking or not thinking when they still proceed :D)

  63. My son has been flying regularly since 1 and he has pretty good in-flight manner since he was 2 and half. He loves flying and always look forward to travel on the airplane. I have had absolutely no problem flying with him on business class. That said, I am going to avoid bringing my younger son into business class until he is 2.5 (the age that they can be reasoned and can spend a lot of time on an iPad).

    My tip is getting them mentally prepared for the flight. I read him a book called “my plane trip” as bed time story before every flight. Bring something for them to chew or suck on (such as Apple sauce) during take off and landing. Bring iPad with a kids size headset.

  64. For all my travelling, I can just remember three baby-related flights in a premium class that really annoyed me:

    The first was in December 1995 on a Swissair flight from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to Zurich. I was supposed to have been on the British Airways flight (to London) the day before but the flight was cancelled due to a bomb scare or something and they put us on the Swissair flight the next day. (I was a Gold member of the British Airways Executive Club at the time — so BA was happy to lose the revenue from my flight in exchange for my future loyalty.) I remember sitting at a window bulkhead seat and having a mother with a newborn child sit down soon thereafter next to me. My first thought was that this was going to be a very long flight and I would be trapped. I immediately got up to change my seat. I know the mother was irritated at my sudden departure but I didn’t see the point of suffering needlessly for such a long flight.

    The second time was more recently on 3 January 2014 on a United Airlines Newark-San Diego nonstop. in first class. The flight left just shy of 3 hours late because of a crew issue. (A blizzard had also dumped a ton of snow the day before on Newark — but that didn’t seem to be related to the delay.) I was in the second row and there was a set of parents with their child in the first row in front of me. The child screamed all the time and the parents made zero effort to quiet the child for virtually the entire flight (5 hours or so).

    The same thing happened (except it was 2 or 3 children) on a Turkish Airlines business class flight from Istanbul to JFK in October of 2014 (which is about a 10 hour flight). These kids screamed for more than half the flight. Actually, when I pre-selected a seat the night before for that flight, I noted that there was a baby bassinet in the first row on the right side of the business class cabin. So, I thought I was being very clever to select a seat in the the row on the left side of the cabin — only to discover additional kids in front of me and to my side once I sat down.

    So, I have the following firmly-held beliefs:

    (1) Children under the age of 5 should not be allowed in premium class cabins. By the time children are in Kindergarten, they have generally learned how to socialize and how to have an “indoor” voice and an “outdoor” voice.

    (2) Flight Attendants MUST take more proactive care to ensure that crying children get the attention they need so as to stop crying. This can be as simple as teaching the parent(s) how to clear the child’s Eustachian Tube (http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/blocked-eustachian-tubes-topic-overview) — and offering, as age appropriate, a piece of hard candy, some gum, or even some iced chamomile tea to put in a baby bottle.

    (3) If a parent is ignoring their children’s constant crying, I will no longer hesitate to intervene with the parents (politely, at least the first time) to make similar suggestions to (2) above. There is no societal norm that forbids me from doing this (although I may first shame the stewardesses into doing this in the first instance as I did on the Turkish Airlines flight).

    (4) I now make it a point to carry several bags of chamomile tea with me so that the flight attendant can make some chilled/iced chamomile tea for the bottle of a crying baby. This was because on the aforementioned United First Class flight I was shocked to learn that the catering cutbacks had included chamomile tea.

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