Diaper Change On Tray Table

August 18, 2009

in Baby & Kid Stories

On a business trip to Dallas, my co-workers and I had to rush to the airport to catch an early flight home. We decided not to check bags when checking in, but to check them at the gate. This resulted in the loss of a few personal items from my bag.

Since we got the last 4 seats on the flight, we knew it would be packed. I found my seat, which was a window seat near the back. However it was occupied by a small child. Being a nice guy, I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking the child to move and simply asked her mother to move the diaper bag from the aisle seat that so that I could sit. After staring daggers into me for a few seconds, she relented and placed the bag under the seat in front of her.

I sat down, pulled out my book and began to relax. The woman then started speaking in my direction in a language that I had never heard. I realized that her husband and two young sons were on the other side of the aisle. I don’t want to sound mean, but I find it very rude when people speak foreign languages in front of me, as I naturally assume they are speaking ill of yours truly.

Once we took off, I received my complimentary drink and bag of pretzels and enjoyed my book. I even managed to fall asleep. About an hour into the flight, I was awakened by a pungent aroma. I know what you’re thinking, “hey dummy, you were sitting near the lavatory.” But alas, it wasn’t so. The woman decided to change her infant’s diaper right there on the tray table. I was mortified. It really makes you think twice about eating off one of those.

This couldn’t possibly get any worse, right? Wrong! When finished with said diaper change, she proceeded to pass the diaper in front of my face, to her husband across the aisle for disposal. Of course at this point the children decided to play a game of musical chairs throughout the rest of the flight.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

SAW August 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I wonder how bad the germ situation is on a plane… there have been studies – studies about air, pillows, blankets… what about the sum total? What's the risk REALLY when you get on a plane.

Unfortunately, the TSA won't let us carry a can a Lysol on, so maybe it's time the airlines sprayed some disinfectant between each flight.

One question to the passenger though… if the woman's husband was sitting across the isle, why didn't you offer to trade places with him? It's probably why the diaper bag was on the seat… Not that it helped her since she DIDN'T THINK TO TELL YOU about the seating issue – it all could have been much more pleasant if she'd used her BRAIN instead of her bad attitude.


Gregg - admin August 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Actually, SAW, the issue of germs on planes has been studied. Check out this article which mentions how filthy food trays are: Germs Lurk on Planes, Trains and Buses


SAW August 20, 2009 at 4:00 am

An interesting airline association response… "there is no problem"… or wait… not interesting at all, more like "typical"


anon August 21, 2009 at 11:09 am

She was being considerate of you by not waking you up to go change her baby's diaper in the bathroom. You were in the aisle seat, right? She would have had to step over you to get past. Don't be so self-absorbed that you assume people speaking in foreign languages in front of you actually mean they are speaking about YOU. Perhaps they just feel like talking in that language. It's perfectly acceptable to speak in whatever language you want.


Amanda September 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm

You cannot be serious; An infant's business need not be the business of everyone else.


msnovtue September 4, 2009 at 11:27 am

You know, a few years ago, I started carrying antibacterial hand wipes when I travel, & using them to wipe down the trays & armrests. I'm not a germophobe, but I did seem to catch a bug every other time I flew.

Now I *really* know what a good idea that was….. yeesh.


MrClorox September 4, 2009 at 11:47 am


No, they won't let you bring a can of Lysol, but I always have Clorox wipes in ziploc bags stashed when I fly–a couple bags in my carryon, plus in my pants pockets. I also bring WetOnes antibacterial hand wipes. I also fly SouthWest Airlines whenever possible, because the leather seats don't disguise nasty things the way dark fabric seats do on other airlines, and because the smooth surface of the leather can be disinfected easily.


S.M. September 15, 2009 at 7:51 am

I'd rather get woken up so they lady can go change her kid in the restroom than have to watch it. Sorry that's not being polite there. Although, I have admit I've been stuck sitting with half a family group when the travel. with mom, dad and two or three kids. Since they don't all fit together they end up sitting with a parent and kid in two different locations usually. This situation, all though not really anyone’s fault, is almost always unpleasant for the strangers sitting with them.


another mom October 27, 2009 at 5:43 am

So many people complain about parents changing diapers at their seats but I'd like to know what other option they really have. I have flown many times with my children and most of the aircraft I have been on do not have a changing table in the restroom, only the larger aircraft do. I have tried changing diapers in the aisle by the lavatory (not directly next to someone's seat) only to be told by the flight attendant that I was creating a safety hazard and that I had to return to my seat immediately. If my husband is with me one of us can balance the baby on our lap while the other changes her. However, if you are by yourself it is practically impossible to do that. You are really left without another option. I am at least courteous enough to put a changing pad down first, but I realize it is still an unpleasant thing.

Perhaps instead of being upset with the parents we should be upset with the airlines who do not provide any other options for parents.


Amanda September 17, 2017 at 3:41 pm

The answer is to wait until a child is old enough to fly.


memcmomma October 30, 2009 at 8:42 am

Yes, there is a changing table in the larger planes. Go to the lavatory and look for the fold down changing table over the commode. And yes, it is very tight quarters on a turbulent flights.


life can suck, live February 2, 2010 at 11:24 pm



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