Tortured By Children On Planes

February 27, 2010

in Baby & Kid Stories

During Christmas 2006, I fly home from California to Massachusetts to spend holidays with the family. My fiance and I board the plane to MA to take the 6 hour flight and he agrees to change seats with me as I was sitting directly next to a toddler and did not want to. Odd behavior, right? Not for me. I am an emetophobic (for those that don’t know it is a debilitating fear of myself/anyone vomiting). It sounds irrational, but it’s what I was dealt, and it’s not fun at all. Anyhow, being aware that sometimes kids experience motion sickness, my guy agreed to take the seat next to the toddler, just in case. The flight turned out to be a breeze, and the toddler was very well behaved due to parents entertaining/staying on top of the child’s needs.

Now on the way back to Cali shortly after Christmas, we board the plane and I notice immediately that there are 2 babies, and five toddlers (yes five) seated immediately around us. I felt like we were seated in the middle of a McDonald’s playground. This should have been my first clue for the hell that I was about to endure. I did not ask to switch seats with my BF, figuring I was being silly and overly-cautious during the first flight. Then HE and his parents board the plane. “He” is the child who will haunt my nightmares for years to come. We’ll call him Jared, and Jared was a child of about five years old who looked like was just a miserable, angry little kid who I got the pleasure of sitting directly next to, with an aisle between us. Within three minutes everyone seated within five rows knew his name because (sorry to call a kid this but…) he was a total brat #1, and #2 his parents were a fan of the “Let’s Loudly Talk It Out And Then Bargain With The Five Year Old” technique. Example:

Jared: Upon boarding the plane, stomps his feet furiously and yells at a mom and two toddlers “YOU’RE IN MY SEAT!!!!”
Jared’s Mom: “OK Jared, I know you’re feeling angry right now but the flight attendant switched out seats for a reason. Jared… Jared? Now if you want to come sit in this seat next to Daddy and me, we’ll give you a CINNAMON RAISIN BAGEL, JARED.”

Parents like this are just about as clueless as they come. In their minds, I am sure they think they come off as edgy, hip, new-age parents who are PATIENT and UNDERSTANDING, but really, they just breed brats and annoy everyone around them.

Anyhow, Jared’s lack of discipline continued to prove itself evident as he lashed out verbally and physically against his mother and baby sister. This kid was the most angry child I have ever seen. I don’t think I heard so many “I HATE YOUS” in my life from a child, or anything human for that matter. The bargaining also continued and once Jared stuffed his bagel down his gut he stopped bratting for five minutes and stared grumpily at a laptop playing a Backyardigans DVD. It was then that Mom and Dad took advantage over the cabin’s first silent moment and felt it was the appropriate time to loudly discuss Jared’s angry behavior with one another. Then slowly but surely the babies began to cry, first one then the other. This kicked off the toddlers becoming unruly. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by yells, screams and shrieks, and two toddlers who began running up and down the aisle. This continued for the last two and a half hours of the flight. My BF and I were officially in hell. The other passengers looked like they were beyond miserable; annoyed glances were given amidst the chaos and there were people shaking their heads.

Finally, we begin to descend. At this point the babies are still crying, but there is one toddler two rows back who is incessantly shrieking the loudest angriest continual PIERCING shriek I have ever EVER heard. No lie, this shit sounded animalistic… primal. Suddenly in the midst of this, I notice that Jared has become eerily quiet and something in me begins to freak out as my “emetophobe radar” begins to blare from within. Jared’s eyes looks glazed and he’s staring straight ahead, pale as a sheet.

I knew.


I quickly ducked into my guy’s arms, covered my ears and slammed my eyes shut, desperately trying to block it all out. Sure enough, within 5 seconds, Jared’s vomit vapors wafted up my nose. As if on cue, the pilot’s voice spoke within the cabin and made my very worst nightmare 100% complete: “Folks we apologize for the inconvenience but there are a few planes in front of us so we’re just going to taxi the run-way for a few more minutes.” I’m trying to get myself together when suddenly I hear:


How much I hated that women at the moment I still can’t even express. NO ONE on the plane was amused and utterances of “unbelievable” and “get me the hell out of here” could be heard. Then Dumb Ol’ Dad begins to boom:

You moron!!! I am not even a parent and I knew that your kid was going to chuck his cookies all over the plane. It wasn’t something he ate, he was motion-sick and agitated by the drones of Angry Shriek Child! Gawd!!! How can parents be so clueless?!

Meanwhile, the babies were still wailing away but The Shrieker had ceased his ear-splitting screams. The rest of the toddlers were still restless and all I could think was, Get. Me. The. Hell. Off. This. Plane.

So yeah, since then, call me crazy, but I will go through all extremes to make sure I do not sit next to a child on planes. I vow that unless it is an emergency, I will *never* travel by plane with small children. They obviously don’t like it, it must hurt their ears, they are bored out of their fricken skulls… so why torture everyone else??? I now pray before a flight that an ill-behaved child will not end up next to me. I have been lucky. I have flown twice since then and my flight has been bratty-child free! Whoopee!! However, I suspect that my flight home will not hold as much luck. We will be tortured by Children On Planes again, no doubt. Until then, I can only hope for the best.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

david February 27, 2010 at 6:52 pm

wow that was long, felt like a novel


Siri December 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

I agree! This was VERY well done! I felt like I was with you.


david February 27, 2010 at 6:59 pm

btw adults throw up on planes too, so i guess the best line of defense is either one of those nuclear jump suits, a car, a train, or just dont look in their direction and block your nose with cotton balls and breathe through your mouth


LMT February 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I have the same problem, and I completely lack the ability to get on a plane because of it. I envy your bravery.


Aaron February 28, 2010 at 3:05 am

Another vote for infant/toddler seating sections on planes. See my previous story about flying in a play pen. It makes a lot of sense, folks. Just seat all the parties with 5 and under passengers together.


Brian February 28, 2010 at 3:35 am

What was the name of your previous story?


Aaron March 1, 2010 at 5:21 am

Flying in a Play Pen


RJ March 1, 2010 at 9:27 am

I read your story and agreed with you – that whole situation was just unacceptable.


King Herod February 28, 2010 at 7:44 am

Put them in the overhead bins, that's where they belong.


rerere February 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

No, stick them in the cargo area.


A Mom February 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Luckily most of the children I have flown with have been very well behaved. Thank God! Too bad they don't behave as well at the grocery store.


the logger March 1, 2010 at 2:46 am

Air travel is reflective of the general state of our society. Nobody gives a rats behind about anybody, anywhere.

Parents raise their kids to be porky animals, and they grow up to be the “travelling public”. Just watch how people react when the GA opens the jetway door. Passengers pushing and shoving to be first on, even with assigned seats.

So next time you are stuck in a middle seat beside some 300 lb. stinky in a tank top, hair and sweat rolling out from underneath, eating a bag of Fatso burgers, reflect on how far we have come in the evolutionary process.

I have to go cut some wood, so happy contrails.


RJ March 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

Ordinarily I'm sympathetic to kids and parents, but I've got to hand it to you – this really was the flight from hell. It's one thing for people to come on here and make snotty and obnoxious comments about how the rest of the world should accommodate their needs and never bring children on planes (and there are a lot of those) but it's quite another when travelers like yourself are subjected to the results of bad parenting. I'm always disgusted when I hear exchanges like the one you mention above – "bargaining" with a child who is openly misbehaving? I don't think so. I believe in patience and kindness, but I also believe in setting boundaries, especially when the comfort of other people is involved.

I'm so sorry you had such a horrible time!


Amber May 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

I agree about the bargaining with children being bad parenting. However, in this day and age anything else has become all but illegal. Spank the kid? Get cops at your door, take toys away, get sued by your kids. The way society is trying to force this style of parenting onto everyone is absurd. There's a reason the younger generation is full of entitled brats that want everything with no effort, can't keep jobs because they refuse to put in the work and expect $15 an hour because they can't be bothered to further their experience, skills and educations to get better paying jobs.

Studies supposedly show that spanking has negative effects on children later in life, I've yet to actually meet anyone that was negatively effected by being spanked as a child, those that have are usually hard working, respectful people.


ps March 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Yeah, once in a while you get a kid going nuts. Luck of the draw. I have had more issues with adults over the years than kids.


mblant01 March 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

This story is EXACTLY why I stay on top of my kids when we fly (we're a military family so we do it a lot). Bratty behavior simply will NOT be tolerated and they damn well know it. I also take pains to have myself and one of my children sitting directly in front of the other two, so if anyone does start kicking their seat, I am the first to know about it! Each child has their own backpack full of things to do so no one can get bored. Parents like the ones in this story give the rest of us a bad name and it really ticks me off!!!


Increasedosologist March 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

When you grow up and have a daughter, she will meet jared and marry him.


Jane March 9, 2010 at 11:20 am

mblant01, you are obviously a PARENT. Jared's parents were obviously BREEDERS. Parents would never let their kid get that unruly. Breeders think that their kids are beyond reproach and are universally adored.


Whitewolf March 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

I'm emetophobic to the EXTREME as well and have a similar "emetophobe-radar," so on that account, I feel terrible for you. For those who don't undestand, it's actually a very common and serious phobia; not just people being weak and immature. It's inconvenient, unnerving, and often very debilitating.

That was a genuinely awful family. It's not their fault he ended up vomiting (some kids just can't take it), but it's up to them to make sure he's well brought up and under control. It's "breeders" like that who at the forefront of society's collapse. From one emetophobe to another, you have my sympathies.


Corazon April 18, 2010 at 11:49 am

I can agree that this 5 year old boy was not educated the way it should be by his parents. But that other kids are crying or are a bit restless is completely normal. You cannot expect that families do not go on holidays anymore just because there might be a few people who do not have kids and do not want to understand. I do not want to be rude, but if you are speaking about childeren like that, you should not ever have any.. well I dont think you will anyway. Always remember: You yourself have once been a child, too


Jane April 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Ah, Corazon…somehow I KNEW Breeder Bingo was going to come up!

There's a difference…HER parents probably taught her how to behave in public, as opposed to the breeders that are so pervasive in the US these days. I know mine did, and that there were consequences for my actions, should I behave poorly.


Corazon April 27, 2010 at 4:17 am

I can understand what you mean Jane, as there are parents who educate their kids and parents who dont. Still at the end of the day its not the childrens fault and I do not support people speaking in that way of children!! Kids are kids!!


Jane April 27, 2010 at 4:37 am

Kids will be kids, my ass.

At the age of 3, I knew how to behave in public. Same with my brother and just about every kid I knew in my neighborhood. My brother has made sure that HIS children know how to behave appropriately, nor does he subject a captive crowd (prime example would be in an airplane) to the boys, because they are not prepared for that type of situation, so they either travel by car or my parents and I travel to see them. If we acted up and I know if my nephews act up, there would be consequences. Children CAN and SHOULD be taught at a young age how to behave appropriately, and parents MUST grasp the concept of boundaries and limitations. To do otherwise is irresponsible parenting.


Amber May 18, 2016 at 10:51 am

I call bullshit that at 3 your were the picture perfect and well mannered child in public. No 3 year old is always well mannered and behaved, no matter what style of parenting.


Karl April 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

After reading all above , I will make sure I bring plenty of cotton balls to stick in my ears, nose and a blind folder. Also, a piece of leather to bite on so that I don't start to curse at those little f*ckers. Yeah, and something to restrain me, so that I don't knock those dumb parents dentures out or they had to leave the plane with two shiners.


Corazon April 28, 2010 at 9:52 am

All what is left to say to what I read above is: Those "little f*ckers" just seem to become big f*ckers.


Morgan September 14, 2010 at 3:08 am

My God. These "parents" should have been shot on the spot & that little demon jared should have been shipped off to military school for toddlers!


Tux November 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

I hate weak hippy parents like that, who treat their kids like tiny adults. I can just picture the bumbling fools now.


Amber May 18, 2016 at 10:53 am

It's not simply the parents anymore. Society doesn't allow for anything else. Kids aren't allowed to play in their own fenced in yard without having CFS at their door, parents can't spank kids without cops being called. It's not always a matter of bad parenting, it's bad parenting being forced upon parents in today's society.


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