Any parent who has taken a baby on an airplane understands all too well the sheer anxiety that comes along with attempting to control a very young child in a confined space, at 30,000 feet. And sometimes, no matter how many bottles, pacifiers, toys, and assorted other distractions and/or comforts of home a parent packs into the carry-on, a baby just cries, making their life—and the travel experience of all fellow passengers—fairly miserable.
But here's a fact that might be comforting if you're planning airline travel with your tot: In a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll, and commissioned by airline JetBlue, 65 percent of traveling adults said they understand parents have absolutely no control over babies crying during flights. Here comes the bad part, though: 40 percent of adults admit to be annoyed by a crying baby on a plane anyway.
Feeling the pain of parents who have to travel with babies, and in honor of Mother's Day this upcoming Sunday, JetBlue launched the first-ever "FlyBabies" flight to prove having little ones on the flight can be a rewarding experience for all. No, seriously.
Check out this video of parents whose crying babies actually made the passengers on board their flight from New York to Long Beach, California, cheer instead of roll their eyes. That's because, as a flight attendant explained, every time a baby cried, everyone on board received 25 percent off a future trip. If the babies cried out four times, each person essentially got a free round-trip ticket!
Luckily, the babies came through, and racked up enough whining to earn the free miles. But this video is about more than complimentary airfare. JetBlue wants to remind others to be more considerate of parents flying with babies. "Next time, smile at a baby for crying out loud," is the final message we see on the screen, as the video ends.
Here's hoping this message reaches even one person who will be on board the next flight I take with my three kids. Because maybe if other passengers would smile, instead of grimacing or sighing deeply when a baby starts crying, the parent's anxiety level wouldn't ramp up as quickly, making it even harder to calm the child (don't you know babies can smell fear?!) And beyond that, let's just all have more empathy for others, whether their baby is wailing or not.
Now JetBlue, how about offering "FlyBabies" flights, like, every day?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.