February 28, 2019
We've all heard stories about well-meaning parents giving goody bags to fellow passengers as a preemptive apology for their baby crying during the flight. It's thoughtful, but unnecessary because parents and their little ones are every bit as entitled to their seats as any other ticket holder on the plane.
There's a viral Facebook post making the rounds this week about a mom who handed out more than 200 goody bags to passengers on a 10-hour flight from Seoul, South Korea to San Francisco. Each bag contained candy, earplugs, and a note from the mother's four-month-old son, Junwoo, explaining, "I'm a little bit nervous and [scared] because it's my first flight in my life, which means that I may cry or make too much noise."
The note went on to say little Junwoo would "try to go quietly, though [he] can't make any promises." And the mom (writing as her son) asked passengers in advance to "please excuse" the tot if he made too much noise.
Dave Corona, the fellow passenger who posted about the goody bags, called it "a very touching gesture by the mother." And according to his account, Junwoo didn't have any mid-flight meltdowns. In fact, as Corono put it, there was "not a peep out of the kid" the entire time.
But, even if he had cried and screamed his way across the Pacific, Junwoo's mom didn't owe her fellow passengers an apology for bringing him in the first place. An airplane is not a fancy spa or an upscale theater—it's a vehicle used for transporting people from one place to another. Babies are people, and they're a lot better behaved than some adults we've seen flying the not-always-friendly skies.
Some people talk too loudly or don't cover their mouths when they cough. Some people bring pets onboard and let them crawl all over their seatmates without asking first. People do all kinds of things when they fly, and bringing a baby is the least offensive on the list.
Obviously, no parent wants their baby to be screaming at 30,000 feet, and bringing toys, books, and other distractions can be a big help. Pre-select your seats, board early (if you can), and always have extra supplies in your diaper bag. But if your little one gets fussy anyway, don't sweat it. And if someone really has an issue flying with a baby on board, well, they can take their private jet next time.