Airplane Outburst Over Crying Baby Goes Viral—But Who's the Real Baby Here?

The TikTok video shows the profanity-laced rant on a Southwest Airlines flight to Florida. Guess kindness, like free snacks, is considered an amenity these days.

A mother and an upset baby watching video in the airplane

Karl Tapales/Getty Images

A grown man has a meltdown about a baby on a plane, and the viral video begs the question: Who is the real baby in the situation?

The video, shot by passenger and potential court witness (more on that in a sec) Mark Grabowski (@mjgrabowski on TikTok), shows three Southwest Airlines flight attendants huddled around an angry passenger. You can hear a baby screaming in the background, but not louder than this adult's profanity-laced tirade. Listeners first hear the man saying he wanted a comfortable flight (that's the PG version).

"That child has been crying for 40 minutes…calm the child down, please," he yells.

Apparently, the passenger tried headphones and sleeping. One of the attendants must have asked him to pipe down, to which he states he's not screaming (he is) and asks the poor crew members if they want him to scream.

It gets so, so much worse. "If that child was a Black baby, what the [bleep] would be happening right now?"

Hopefully, everyone would be showing a heck of a lot more empathy than this guy is showing, regardless of the race of a helpless baby, but, unfortunately, Black children experience discrimination from the womb.

The crew valiantly tried to temper the tantrum. But, just like trying to rationalize with a toddler having a meltdown, this guy just wasn't having it.

"Can you lower your voice?" one flight attendant requests.

"Can you lower that voice?" the passenger shoots back, referring to the inconsolable little one with a hefty set of lungs. (Ohhh, good one!)

"You're yelling," the attendant points out.

"SO IS THE BABY! Did that mother[bleep] pay extra to yell?" the guy asks.

Well, maybe a technicality that would only heighten emotions, but the baby probably didn't require a ticket (or may have gotten one at a reduced cost) if sitting in a caregiver's lap.

"We are in a tin can with a baby in a [bleep] echo chamber, and you want to talk to me about being [bleep] OK?" the passenger continues to rant.

The flight from Baltimore was headed for Fort Lauderdale, Florida before it got diverted to Orlando because of the weather. Hey, it happens. Everyone had to be deplaned. Orlando is the home of Disney, but Mickey Mouse wasn't there to welcome the guy to his unplanned detour there. Instead, police officers did.

Southwest Airlines (rightfully) showed support for its employees after the incident by issuing a statement. "We commend our crew for exhibiting outstanding professionalism while handling a challenging situation, and we appreciate the patience of our other customers onboard who had to experience the behavior."

I'm not sure if the flight attendants have kids, but they sure showed the patience of someone trying so hard to practice gentle parenting.

The response to the video was pretty brutal.

"Have we tried swaddling this man? He needs some soothing techniques," writes one commenter. True—maybe the guy is going through a leap? It's not teething, that's for sure, but certainly a regression.

Others were simply confused as to what the man was trying to achieve. As any parent knows, sometimes, babies just cannot be soothed, even with the best attempts. Even when they cave and offer frowned-upon screen time. (We can't win, can we, fellow parents?)

"What does he expect to be done?" another commenter asks. "Does he expect the crew to throw the baby out the window?"

"How do you think the baby's parents feel?" says another. "People need to get a grip. Babies are a part of life. We were all babies once."

Unfortunately, the uglier side of the Internet also needed to chime in.

"I am howling. This man deserves a medal for speaking up. That's exactly how I feel when a baby won't stop crying on a plane," says one defender.

"Ya know, as someone who doesn't have kids, I get it," says another.

As someone who used to travel cross-country for work before she had kids and listened to her share of screaming babies, undeterred by an offer for Paw Patrol, I do not get it.

Kids and planes have been a hot topic of late. In late December, The New York Times ran—in this writer's opinion—a whiny piece about babies flying first-class. (High-paying customers, like this guy, don't want to listen to babies cry as if there's no such thing as noise-canceling headphones and empathy for not-fully-developed humans.)

Of course, there's only so much runway the Internet is willing to give parents, as Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Anthony Bass learned the hard way when he put United Airlines on blast for—oh my goodness—asking his pregnant wife to help clean up after their kids made a mess with popcorn.

Listen, there may not be a ton of legroom on flights. But there is room for kindness, which seems lost with some of these incendiary incidents and articles lately. Babies are babies, and there's no need to be mean to a small child or a parent who probably feels helpless and horrible.

Even go-with-the-flow babies have their moments, and it can always feel like they happen at the most inconvenient times (in public at Target, on airplanes, or in front of a rude in-law who thinks babies are props there for their entertainment and ego). As adults, we have far greater abilities to regulate our emotions. Or we should, at least. I don't know, man—maybe try some yoga and meditation or something. Dude's meltdown was not it and neither are any comments supporting his blatant, unempathetic immaturity.

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