lifestyle

Warning: Babies and bribes on board.

by KAHLA PRESTON

There are many things I dread about air travel: stomach-churning turbulence, nothing to watch except endless Simpsons reruns, or the mere thought of being propelled through the air in a contraption that should not physically be able to fly.

Then there are the assortment of fellow passengers the airplane gods have in store; a collective of perfect strangers who have the potential to make 12 hours in a plane seem like 12 years.

It’s just like Russian roulette only with far more dire consequences if you lose – you might be seated with The Drooler, The Incessant Talker or, if you’re really lucky, The Motion Sickness Sufferer (unfortunately, that’s me – sorry).

One category of passenger elicits a wince from even the most seasoned of jetsetters: The Baby. We’ve all suffered through a flight – or a bus or train trip – to the soundtrack of a little one’s cries. And screams. And cries.

Of course, I know they can’t help it and I always feel sorry for their parents while simultaneously wishing they had caught a different flight. But when all you want to do is settle in, eat your vacuum-sealed meal and watch Ryan Gosling’s latest movie in peace, the only thing worse than sitting near a screaming baby would be sitting near two screaming babies.

So you can only imagine the silent horror shared by passengers on an American flight last week when they saw a couple walk on board with newborn TWINS. However, what happened next took everyone by surprise.  UK media reports:

The parents, accompanied by their 14-week-old twins, distributed sweets to passengers as a pre-emptive strike in anticipation of the infants wreaking havoc in the skies. The innovative approach was broadcast on Reddit by someone on the flight, who received one of the goodie bags from the parents.

‘Brilliant and thoughtful parents handed these out to everyone on my flight,’ the appreciative traveller wrote on Reddit, posting a picture of a Ziploc plastic bag filled with goodies and a note of explanation.

The note and lolly bag distributed to fellow passengers

The person who originally posted the sweet pic explained that the mini travelers and their parents ended up being absolutely delightful.

In a time when consideration and good ol’ fashioned manners are so often M.I.A. – especially in public transport situations – this story is something of an oddity.

It’s one thing to send a note and a plate of cupcakes around to neighbours warning them of the raucous costume party you’ve planned for this weekend but should parents feel the need to apologise for a fact of life that can’t be helped?

Comments from Reddit users revealed mixed opinions, as reported:

Most of the reaction was positive with one user calling it the ‘most considerate thing I’ve ever seen … it has fully restored my faith in said consideration.’
‘Really? You don’t find this to be overkill?’ one user chimed in.
‘I don’t require an apology for a crying baby on a plane. This is to be expected. I’m OK with it. People have babies, and they need to travel too. There are plenty of assholes I’d much rather have an apology from,’ they added.

In my experience, this last sentiment rings true.

Frustrating as it may be, having your flight disrupted by a creature that probably doesn’t know where its own nose is, let alone have a conscious awareness of social decency, is forgivable.

But if I had a bag of lollies for every time my transit experience was ruined by a full-grown adult who should know better… well, let’s just say, I’d have A LOT of lollies.

Kahla is an almost-graduate of Journalism & International Studies, combining her love of words with her desire to become a French-speaking savant (and thus seduce Guillaume Canet). You can find her on Twitter here.

Do you have a kids-on-planes horror story? Either from travelling with your own kids or with someone else’s? Any tips for occupying kids and babies on planes?

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