I was on a flight from Toronto to Budapest a few years ago, with a stop in Frankfurt. This was on Lufthansa during a strike, so a lot of people were pretty crabby as there was no meal service (they did, however, give out large bags of chips to everyone, and still had beverage service, so it wasn’t too bad.)
I was sitting about three rows behind a woman and a very young child, less than a year old. The child was fussing a little before takeoff – not being loud or crying, mind you, just making noises the way babies do. I noticed an older woman, who was walking down the aisle to be seated, give the mother a disapproving look. She passed me and went to sit – I’m not sure where, but several rows behind myself, because when I later went up to use the bathroom I saw her sitting towards the back of the plane, wearing large headphones. This was an overnight flight, by the way.
About three hours into the flight, the baby in front of me starts to cry. Really, with the noise from the plane and my own crappy airplane earbuds, I didn’t notice it crying until I took them out and got up to use the bathroom.
The lady at the back, however, definitely noticed.
This WHOOSH of air rushes past my arm (I was in the aisle seat), and I look up to see that the older woman was now standing in the aisle and talking very animatedly to the woman with the baby. I will now reproduce their conversation as best I can:
MOM: *sounding very distressed* I’m so sorry, I’m doing my best, I don’t know what else to do to calm him down.
OLDER WOMAN (OW): What is wrong with you? What is wrong with HIM?
MOM: It’s his first time on a plane, okay?!
OW: DO YOU REALIZE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SLEEP?
MOM: *getting audibly angry now* Oh, do you think I’m NOT? Do you think I’M enjoying this?
OW: When I was his age, I would have been SLAPPED for such behaviour!
MOM: HE’S SIX MONTHS OLD! You would slap a baby?
OW: I sure would!
MOM: Get away from me right now.
OW: *retreats two steps, comes back* He should be SLAPPED.
MOM: YOU should be slapped!
OW: *starts to walk away*
OW: *turns back* UNFIT MOTHER!
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: *do nothing at all*
I feel really bad for the mother, but damn, that was sort of amusing. Incidentally, the old lady’s yelling woke up a lot more people than the baby, who ironically calmed down after this. But really – who would slap a little baby?