Crying Baby Keeps Others Awake on a Red-Eye

July 20, 2011

in Baby & Kid Stories

Flight 8, Monday July 11,2011… HNL to DFW. Red-eye, 8 hour flight, supposed to leave at 4:55 p.m. and arrive in Dallas at 5:20 a.m. Left and arrived two hours late.

At least 10 children on the plane that are less than 5 years old. One baby in my section cried the entire time. Literally, the entire time.

This family boarded the plane late with an exorbitant amount of large carry-on luggage. As the flight attendants were trying to find overhead bin space for several of the pieces, the father insisted that the luggage had to be nearby as he would be in and out of it a lot during the flight. Other people’s luggage was moved to accommodate this family.

Sure enough, the baby cried incessantly. The father was up and down and up and down, pulling luggage out, putting it back. I felt so sorry for the people in front of them and under their luggage bins.

Anyway, no one in the immediate vicinity was able to sleep for this overnight flight. Luckily I did not have to work the following day, but the guy behind me did.

So, what is the solution to this recurring issue?

The baby was obviously having issues. The parents obviously knew it beforehand due to the father’s comment about needing to be in and out of the luggage. Yet, they still insisted on flying and subjecting the other paying passengers to their child’s crying and possible illness? Further, the parents did not even care this was an overnight flight, and that more than likely most people would like to sleep.

Is there some way we can all get along and accommodate each other’s needs politely?

Sure people with babies have a right to fly. But, other paying passengers also have a right to a somewhat calm and quiet flight.

If your child is ill, or you know will have problems flying, could you please refrain from bringing them on the plane? At least, could you please refrain from bringing them on an overnight flight where passengers will try to be sleeping?

I will say, the other 9 or so children made little noise… but, this one crying baby still made the flight intolerable for everyone around… and gave all people flying with children a bad name.

Anyway, again, is there some compromise that can be made? At least not bring sick or unruly children on a plane, and at least not bring them on overnight flights?

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

J_C July 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

Let me start by saying I've had my fair share of flights with mis-behaved children and fully agree that parents need to figure out how to keep their children under control.

I've been nearly in the exact situation – HNL->ATL with my children, one of which was about 2 at the time and got sick ON VACATION. He had always been a great traveler, but this particular time was a challenge. We kept him quiet the best we could, but a sick child is going to cause some issues. What am I supposed to do, not go home from vacation? The cost of changing flights or staying longer is prohibitive. We (and the person you are complaining about) were in Hawaii after all.

It sounds to me like the father did as much as he could to keep the baby quiet. Yes, he should have kept the carry-on luggage at his feet, but it sounds like he did his best.

Obviously the poster is not a parent.


Dee July 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

So, you put your sick child on a plane…didn't care if they infected others…and, didn't care if the flight would exacerbate your chld's illness? You are a piece of work.

Maybe next time, don't take a 2 year old all the way to Hawaii. They won't remember the trip anyway. I'm sure a 2 year old would much prefer Disneyland. But, I guess it isn't about the child, or about the other people on the plane. It is all about you!


Keira September 2, 2011 at 3:57 am

Who cares if they're a parent? They're entitled to peace! Why should the rest of us suffer for YOUR lifestyle choices, you inconsiderate buffoon?


Michelle February 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I love the asinine comment "obviously the poster is not a parent" as if that's supposed to be an insult or something. For the record, I am a non-parent…and I love it!!!

Even us horrible, selfish non-parents are entitled to consideration, respect, and a bit of PEACE while flying. I will never fault a parent for trying to quiet a crying baby or control a energetic toddler, but I honestly would be very annoyed if I had to listen to a bawling baby for hours on end.


James August 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

Ever heard the word "insurance?"


Doug July 22, 2011 at 9:18 am


So rather than taking responsibility and paying extra bucks to stay longer, etc… You subjected the people on the plane to your sick child? Wow.

So, everyone else is supposed to accomodate you, and all other parents. Because you chose to have children. Because you chose to travel with them. It is our responsibility just to endure it.

What a bunch of self-centered, self-righteous people. Being a parent means making certain sacrifices…not making the world sacrifice for you.


Josh July 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm

What a bunch of babies. Yes, as a parent you make sacrifices, but travel is not one of those things that is easily sacrificed. If you have to go to a wedding, or move, or a funeral, or whatever, sometimes you have to fly. You can't very well leave your kids at home and baby sitters that are trustworth are not easy to come by.

If it comes down to being without my kids at an important family event or sparing a bunch of butt-hurt airline passengers from a crying child, I think I'd choose my child. Sorry, but you're just not that important to me.

Plus, you might annoy people as well. Perhaps you snore or talk in your sleep, maybe you have a runny nose and sniffle too much, maybe you're the guy with his laptop or overhead light on when your seatmate is trying to sleep. Secluding your senses from your surroundings if your responsibility. Bring earplugs and STFU.


I had it July 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm

To Josh: I'm sick of guys like you thinking your god damned brats are the most importend thing since sliced bread. Stop having all those babies. I for one want my peace and quietnes when flying because I paid for this trip with my hard earned money and well deserved it. Your coments about running nose etc. are plain out stupid. You are right, you are also nothing to me. Acomplished anything else besides creating some ugly kids?


ron July 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

And I'm sick of idiots like you who refuse to get some head phones. If you really have a problem, you have a variety of options available to you–noise cancelers, itouch, all kinds of electronic devices. Quit your bitching, get off your wallet, and go buy some head phones! Either that or pry open that wallet of yours and pop for the $3 jobbies the airline will sell you. Jeesh–no common sense whatsoever.


RedHead August 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Or pay to sit in first class, where it's usually much quieter . . .


Falo October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Not to hear a 65 decibel crying kid is not achiieved with 3 dollar earplugs. To tone done that noise one needs a pair of oropax earplugs (10 dollars the package) plus a builders' ear protection (another 10 dollars). The oropac compensate 27 decibel, and the builders ear protectonis normally good for 20 decibel. Together they lover the noise by about 70 per cent. This helps – however, to wear them hours is not exactly comfortable. The problem is not always a sick child – although parents should get some information on how children suffer during start and landing – the problem is often that parents are noise, and encourage their kids to be noisy. The parents who try to calm their children are actually rare cases. Most of them do not give a damn what other passengers feel. The fact that many people surrounding them are just inches away does not seem to occur to them. Everybody can stand a loud child some time from a certain distance…but sitting one, two, three meters away is a bad place. Btw, if II pay for earplugs why don't parents refund me?


Athos July 25, 2011 at 1:51 am

If you want peace and quiet during your flight, lease a private aircraft. Otherwise, you're simply going to have to come to grips with the fact that there are other people on the plane, they've paid for their seats just as you've paid for yours, and your comfort and convenience are not their responsibility.

It also bears mentioning that even you were a baby once, and I'm wiling to bet that your whining and puling irritated strangers around you, notwithstanding your parents' best efforts. So before you start complaining about babies and their parents, try and remember that you and your parents were no better than the babies and parents about whom you complain.


Reasoning_Doubt December 29, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Bitch, my parents didn't take me on flights knowing that tantrums might happen. Why do rude pieces of crap, such as yourself, Athos, keep breeding?

I am sick and tired of being kind to do-nothing parents who want everything their way. News flash! The world does not revolve around you and your crotchfruit. Manners, embrace them.


Rst July 26, 2011 at 6:06 am

Doug, so someone returning form a vacation is supposed to risk their job and pay hundreds of dollars to change flights and hotel bills? (Delta hit my wife with a $225 flight change fee a couple of months ago). I can understand the problem on an overnight, but perhaps those parents had no choice either. I, for one, would never try to take my kids on a red-eye by choice. As to the kid being sick, how do you know? Just because it was crying? Babies cry for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps it just got overstimulated from all the activity or scared by all the mean looks it was getting from people like you.

Try being a parent before you complain. Watch a friend or family's baby for a weekend or two and see how you do.


Koh August 15, 2011 at 4:55 am

I don’t have kids. I don’t plan on ever having kids.

That said, enough about how parents must think their precious sneauxfleyke is the only thing that matters. Like Rst said, changing flights can cost hundreds and endanger a job, while headphones cost a lot less. And if a baby is sick far from home, what else are they supposed to do? If they don’t have a car or a family member to drive them, nor enough money to cancel the flight and take the train, they don’t have much choice, and they’re gonna care a LOT more about a baby with a fragile immune system than adults they don’t even know.

tl;dr, stop whining about the kiddies, not personally biased as a parent, financial restructions, have a nice day.


Sacha August 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I agree it is extremely unpleasant to switch flights, especially as one can assume they were coming home from vacation. The parents choosing to take the flight rather than pay hundreds of dollars to switch is understandable. The baby's behaviour is excusable–it doesn't know any better and perhaps it was teething. The father should have sat in his seat and made do with the luggage you're allowed to keep there. A diaper bag would fit under the seat and it seems like he was disrupting people just as much as the child…after all you can start to tune out a monotonous noise like a child's scream after a while, but the father's constant movements would have been a continuous disruption. His behaviour, especially his bullying, selfish requests, was as childish as the baby's, but he should have known better.
In order to accommodate a compromise as the OP suggested, the airlines would have to do their part, meaning to do away with the prohibitive flight-switching fees in emergency/illness circumstances. However I am willing to forgive "kids being kids" as long as their parents do their best to keep them quiet and still.
Yes, I was a baby once, and my parents took me on flights as a very young child. When I was only a few months old, my mother took me and my two-year-old sister on a cross-country flight by herself (without my dad). She got us our own seats so we would have space to move around without disturbing others, put us in car seats so she could restrain us if necessary, and amused us by bringing new toys and surprises to give us at intervals when we got fussy. Back in those days you could bring liquids so she had milk, juice, etc, and snacks for my sister. We behaved well and continued to do so throughout our childhood because we knew, even at a very young age, that we were expected to do so on planes. Except for the very youngest of children, parents can greatly influence their children's behaviour if they try. Some just don't bother–and that's where the real problems arise.


RedHead August 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

You know, it's called PUBLIC transportation for a reason . . .


Reasoning_Doubt December 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Airplanes are privately owned enterprises. They are not public transportation.

God, why are people so stupid these days!?


Corrector December 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm

"Public Transportation" are services that transport for hire.


Jim August 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm

RedHead, some people in the public are more considerate than others.

Unless it is an absolute necessity to travel with your children, leave them at home…until they can behave themselves, and enjoy the trip!

I mean really if you travel with an infant, you are doing it for your pleasure, not for theirs…they are not going to like the cramped quarters, the popping ears, having to sit still for so long….and, they won't even remember going to Hawaii, Disneyland, etc…. So, all in all it is about the self-centered parents….subjecting the other passengers on the plane to their crying/sick child….and, subjecting their child to the uncomfortableness of flying so young!


westsidee November 26, 2011 at 12:49 am

planes are PUBLIC ! and stop complaining about babies coz u were once one crying in peoples faces ! parents can have as many babies as they want on planes and ur stupid comments WONT stop them !
have abit of respect to people ! if u get annoyed on a plane well the book a first class seat and get ur ”peace” theree..
im not saying its the best flight to sit next to a crying baby, because i have experienced a trip like that sitting next to a crying baby for 14 hours straight, yes i hated my life at that moment but i was mature enough to actually HELP that poor mother ! unlike use making rude comments.
get over it because life goes on !


annette January 16, 2012 at 4:16 am

Well well well,I'm about to fly with my 13 month old….By myself,so no dad or anyone else to fall back onto.Due to cost that is,we can't afford the extra expense.that's sometimes what happens when your family lives overseas…I have booked flights taht I could afford..I didn't care what time they were.When flying long haul flight you cannot bypass your babies sleeptime,due to time changes,delays,stopovers etc.So no matter what otehers might think of my baby,crying or not,I don't care


angy June 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

why can't people just be adult and mature about things. crying babies for many hours is something that people should get use to it by now. no one is perfect and i don't think the parents of the crying child enjoy it more than you do. but again it's not about the crying child but it's about how individual react to it. so think about it and pray hard for the child to calm down.


Greg July 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

First off, if given a choice most parents would not fly with a child. It is unavoidable. Most can’t afford a week long nanny or may not have family to watch kids. The comment about not understanding until you have children is extremely true. As parents we try the best we can and we are bothered by the noise our children make as much or more than you. Believe me, we hear it a lot more than then the length of the flight. It seems assanine to ask parents not to vacation or go see family just to not disturb you on your flight. But you’ll be old one day. Your family will be dead and so will your friends. We that chose to have children will have them to support us. So, we’re happy to deal with the crying now.


Reasoning_Doubt December 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Well, Greg, when your elderly backside is tossed in to a nursing home by your caring "little angels," don't forget about your above statement. As for me, I've planned for my retirement. This means 401K, stocks, bonds, with other retirement funds, and no money-sucking children.

See you at the luxury adults only resort. Oh, wait, I guess not. You chose to reproduce in hopes of your children being your retirement plan. Good luck…sucker.


Jackalope July 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Greg, I'd like to point out that you can't count on support from your kids in old age unless you promise a generous inheritance. And flying with your children absolutely ISN'T unavoidable. My parents never did until we were old enough to have some manners. I think it's more asinine to expect everyone else in earshot to grin and bear it when one squalling infant keeps a planeload of people from sleeping.. Want a vacation? Take a road trip! We drove from Eugene, Oregon to Phoenix, Arizona when my brother was a baby, and we had a blast. I haven't yet decided if I want kids or not, but the way I see it, the parent is not the only one who has to deal with the crying/bad behavior. Parents fly who with noisy kids need to live with the fact that they will get some dirty looks if they don't manage their children. They are imposing on others and they need to understand that or not fly with their kids.


Kitty August 7, 2012 at 7:21 am

My husband and I had to fly from Arizona to Europe with three kids and a cat and dog, we're a military family and didn't have a choice of what flights or what days. If the kids had a sniffle, you still have to go. We had a lot of luggage because we were moving overseas. My younger kids might have done some crying because they were leaving everything they knew. People, quit being so damn judgemental. You have no idea whether that family is on vacation or coming back from a funeral. A little human kindness can go a long way.


Buck September 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Thats why babies get strangled.

Theres no reason why anyone should be bothered by your whiney little baby just cus you got knocked up.


Sarah March 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Eeew Buck. Hope you are not my neighbor, ever. MAybe the parents took the red-eye because they thought it would be the BEST choice for their children! Maybe they thought the kids would sleep for most of the trip! So MAYBE they WERE trying to be considerate!! But the baby was uncomfortable for some reason and cried. Likely the child was in pain, most parents would agree that is a likely reason a child ould cry for hours on end. Sorry, no clinics aboared planes so they had to listen to their baby cry and had no way to ease the pain. Obviously all the rummaging around meant the dad was looking through everything to try and find a way to ease the childs pain.
Course insensitive idiots like Buck and quite a few others can't even try to understand this or realize it is PUBLIC transportation and the family has the same rights as you have!


iflywithababy July 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

i'll be flying with my 6 month old on a trip with 12 hours of flying time, look forward to reading about it on here 🙂

2 options i guess, fly disrupt other passengers for a few hours and let my parents in law visit with their grandson for a month.

option 2: dont fly, no passengers disrupted for :-O 12 hours, grandparents don't get to see their grandson.

I choose option 1, as would any parent, may i suggest the infertile group here stop crying because of their shriveled useless reproductive system


Thinker July 26, 2013 at 6:11 am

Option 3: Since you were completely incapable of thinking:

Fly your parents-in-law to visit you. Not only do they get to visit their grand-child, but they also get to visit their child, and since it is two adults either way, it costs the same (or if you were traveling alone, your parents-in-law get to see their child, whom they wouldn't see otherwise,)

You would get bonus points for consideration.


guest November 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

First of all not everyone can be flown over to see their grandkids, one may not have the financial freedom to do so or the grandparents may be too old to travel especially if they live overseas. A person would rather take their little child to see his/her older relatives than risk flying them over.


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