Inconsiderate parents need a clue

Old Feb 14, 16, 12:40 pm
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Inconsiderate parents need a clue

Took flight #15 (EWR-HNL) on 12 February in F. 10 minutes before doors close, a family of 5 (parents, nanny, and 3-year old twin girls board. Mother announced at the top of her lungs "they separated us and you need to fix this", to the FA. We then spent the next 20 minutes rearranging several people to accommodate this family.

Moments before takeoff, while on the runway the girls decide to get up and run up and down the aisles. We stop the plan, belt them back in and take off. We then spend the next 10 1/2 hours listening to the kids alternately scream, cry, run up and down the aisles, run into passengers seats, wake up sleeping passengers "to play with me", and otherwise ruin a peaceful flight to Hawaii. Most people were tolerant up to a point, Heck we were going to Hawaii but after a while Mother Theresa would have smacked the kids! What did the parents do the entire time? Mom NEVER ONCE got up to even talk to the kids. Dad got up to throw more toys on the floor and then put his head set back on and resumed his movie. The nanny? Slept, or pretended to.

I have grown kids and we never put them on a plane until they could behave and be quiet. People paid for a first class experience and got frickin Romper Room for 10 hours. Is it time to reinstate a minimum age for F class? Not that Y deserved this garbage either, but come on parents. You are entitled to a vacation, but not to ruin the flight for others around you. Children should be seen and NOT heard like this. And no, I'm not the "get off my lawn" old man. I love kids but this was out of control and there is very little FA's can do if the parents refuse to parent.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 12:52 pm
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there should not be an age limit

My now almost 5 year-old daughter has been in first class since she was three months old and has never been allowed to disturb anyone else's flight. One time she was cranky so I took her to the very back coach lav until she calmed down.

Totally not letting the parents off the hook, but why didn't the FA say something to them? It's the FA's job to maintain peace and order in the cabin.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 1:06 pm
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They did, repeatedly. The parents ignored them. There was no option for FA's short of involving the pilot, and I don't think they wanted to escalate the situation.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 1:32 pm
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I'm not excusing the parents here… But but just as the father put his headset on, so can anyone else.

A couple of years ago I was on a flight from Washington to LA. I was surrounded by for very young children and their parents flying to Disney for the first time. The kids were making lots of noise the whole flight. The parents were engaging with the kids. They were all very excited.

I spent the flight binge watching The Big Bang Theory.

At one point Mr. businessman from a couple of rows back comes up to my room stared down the kids, and then looks at me and says, "you really must be enjoying this flight, aren't you?"

He was trying to commiserate with me. But the truth is, I was having a fine time watching my tv. It was the businessman who disturbed me, not the kids.

Yes, kids should be taught how to behave properly. And parents should be taught how to parent properly. But in the event that The stars are aligned against you, put on your headset, sit back, and enjoy the flight.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 2:05 pm
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Inconsiderate parents need a clue

Unfortunately, there are parents who don't know how to handle their children. Just like their are bad/rude FAs, GAs, other front-like service people, etc, there are parents like this as well. I suspect the family on the flight - those kids have the run of the house at home, and even if they did try to control them in flight, it's not going to happen.

Fortunately, at least IME, a situation like this is the very rare exception, not the norm. I have an almost one-year old, who has been flying with us since she was three months, about 8 RTs so far, including 1 to Asia. About half of her UA segments have been in domestic F. And she never bothers anyone - typically, people want to say hi/smile/play, or they ignore her like they do most other people. But we take care of her and know what she's like and how to handle her (and know not to ignore her). She also loves flying - seeing new people, curious about the console, what's out the window etc. I doubt people who aren't paying attention even know she's there. I can't, unfortunately say that about all of the adults who have been on our flights in this time - we've see a couple of folks who are like badly-behaved children like the ones you had on your flight.

Unfortunately, this happens on occasion, and except for saying something to the parents and having them at least attempt to remedy the situation, there really isn't much you can do except put this in the category of life happens.

Banning people under X age in F doesn't really do much except for letting the rotten apple ruin the bunch. And while I get you paid more for F, like you said, Y doesn't deserve this treatment either. We certainly would never bring our daughter into public places where we know she would be a disturbance to those around her. This did happen (unexpectedly) one night when we were out for dinner, and in that case, I let my wife continue eating while I took my daughter around the block a few times until she calmed down (and eventually fell asleep). Unfortunately, not all others have that kind of attitude. Again, life happens.

Also unfortunately, I have a feeling we will see a response in this thread soon about how this one-off situation is a result of the children's pre-boarding policy that goes into effect tomorrow. Which would be rubbish on all levels.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by zrs70 View Post
Yes, kids should be taught how to behave properly. And parents should be taught how to parent properly. But in the event that The stars are aligned against you, put on your headset, sit back, and enjoy the flight.
Agreed.

I empathize fully with the OP and have been in the same situation plenty of times. There are a few HKG to SFO flights that I'll never forget.

While incredibly frustrating, when it's your turn, it's...your turn. When we fly enough, it's bound to happen from time to time. When this happens, I just turn up my headphones, find a soundtrack I like, and place it on continuous play. In the end, it's only at most 10 hours.

Of course, I'd rather not have to endure it; but, I think just trying to ignore it is better than venting frustration on the children (unfair to hold children to the standard of behavior of adults) or confront the parents (who are we to dictate how others should raise children?), which can only result in escalating tensions.

Wish there were a better way, but in my 20 years of flying, this seems to work out the best.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
Agreed.
Of course, I'd rather not have to endure it; but, I think just trying to ignore it is better than venting frustration on the children (unfair to hold children to the standard of behavior of adults) or confront the parents (who are we to dictate how others should raise children?), which can only result in escalating tensions.

Wish there were a better way, but in my 20 years of flying, this seems to work out the best.
I agree that is a good way to handle it, but I would definitely ask the parents to control their children. I don't consider this to be dictating how they raise them, but just asking the parents to enforce decent behavior in a public setting so the kids don't impinge on the rights of others.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Rikki3072 View Post
I don't consider this to be dictating how they raise them, but just asking the parents to enforce decent behavior in a public setting so the kids don't impinge on the rights of others.
Agreed. Definitely a very reasonable request.
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Old Feb 14, 16, 8:13 pm
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[QUOTE=Visconti;26184814]
...(who are we to dictate how others should raise children?).../QUOTE]

As a parent, I certainly have ideas about the best way to raise my kids that may or may not be the same as others, and I would never dictate how another parent should raise their children (short of things no one should ever subject anyone to, like abuse), just as I'd expect that they shouldn't dictate how I should raise mine.

However, when you are in a public place, it's not dictating how they are raised, but how one should act in the public domain. It's any parents right to let kids cry it out at home if that's how they choose to handle certain situations, but that shouldn't even be a thought in a public space, particularly in one like an airplane cabin where people can't choose to leave.

Please note I do understand there are situations where kids are difficult to control, or cranky because they can't sleep for no good reason, aren't feeling well, Etc., and I will definitely cut parents a lot of slack who are making an effort to help the situation. It sounds like in this case they were not, and IME, if parents are unprepared to respond to their kids on this kind of situation, then the parents shouldn't be bringing themselves and their kids into one.

Unfortunately, this isn't going to happen so the best thing to do is probably to make the best of the situation you can - as mentioned, using headphones is probably a good idea.
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Old Feb 15, 16, 7:14 am
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I think I've been on all sides of this scenario. I've been the Flight Attendant, the passengers being disturbed and later, the mom.

Now my kids complain to me if a child is making too much noise. Karma honey!

The only time we ever got a complaint though, was about me, not my kids. I was scolding them too much! Kind of damned either way, huh?

First, to the passenger, please do say something to the crew. Even if it's a "I realize you might not be able to do much..." kind of comment. They should know about it and perhaps, be able to have a word with the parent(s).

Sometimes it's not because the parents are some horrible human beings. The worst behaved children I saw were either full time working parents who didn't actually spend that much time with their children, or from a culture, usually very upper class, wealthy families where the nannies, sometimes grandparents, were in charge of most of the care (perhaps both). So not only are they all of a sudden having to take complete care of their child(ren) but having to do it in a steel tube at 30,000ft crammed with other people.

Also, unlikely on a Hawaii flight but sometimes the family is traveling for pressing reasons. They're moving or flying home to see someone sick or to attend a funeral. Stress! Kids really pick up on their parents' emotions and while we adults can usually put on a brave face, the kids can be melting down about something they may not even be old enough to understand.

Lastly, I had a wired little girl on a flight once. Poor people sitting in her section and she wasn't a toddler. Turns out, the parents had given her "something" to make her sleep. Well, any pediatrician or pharmacist will tell you that sometimes drugs can have the opposite effect on children. They can also tell you that any medication is stronger at altitude!

I usually urge parents IF they want to do this, to please talk to their ped and try it at home first. Someone with some medical background then went on to lecture me on line that children can have a different reaction from taking a medication from one time to the next. They might be correct but I'd venture to say that this would be rare. If anyone wants to ask their own ped, please let me know what you learned.

The headsets are a good way to handle things. I also recommend wax, not sponge, ear plugs if you are intending to sleep. They really stay put and they block out the sound well.
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