Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

Annoying kids on planes: What to do?

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A colleague of mine recently passed along an interesting tidbit from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

It's about an online survey that revealed the frustration airline passengers sometimes feel when seated next to an "active" child or crying baby. More than 80 percent of respondents said airlines should reserve a section of the plane for parents with babies and smaller children.

The survey -- at airfarewatchdog.com -- also asked whether "clinically obese" passengers should have to buy an extra seat. 82 percent said yep.

Do we all need to be a little more forgiving when flying today's not so friendly skies, or are these reasonable requests from a flying public that's fed up?

What do you think?

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9 Comments

I once sat next to a man whose seat was being kicked repeatedly by the two year old behind him. After a good 20 minutes, he turned to the mother and asked her to tell her child to stop kicking his seat. The mother looked at him like he was an oger and said "he is only two years old!" At which point the gentelman next to me offered for her to sit in his seat!

OK, and let's have annoying adults on cell phones have their own section too.

The fact of having a reserved section for parents with small children sounds like a good idea since some small children can be fussing and really bad. Some parents can not even control their own kids. Parents should just be prepare on handling their children and have something for them to do on a airplane ride. Now I see that charging an obese person for two seats is a little embarrassing for the person. Some people can not afford to pay for one seat what makes others think they can afford two.

I TOO AGREE WITH THE SUGGESTIONS FOR SEPERATE SEATING FOR PEOPLE TRAVELING WITH SMALL CHILDREN, I WILL BE TRAVELING WITH MY DAUGHER AND 3 GRANDCHILDREN AGES, 2, 3, 6, EARLY NEXT YEAR AND ALREADY I HAVE STARTED GATHERING THINGS FOR THEM TO DO, SMALL DVD PLAYERS AND YES THEY WILL EACH HAVE THEIR OWN, TO CUT DOWN ON ARGUMENTS ABOUT WHAT TO WATCH, THEY WILL EACH ALSO HAVE THEIR OWN BOOK BAGS WITH THEIR OWN ACTIVIES,AND THEIR FAVORITE SNACKS BUT I JUST MIGHT SUGGEST SEATING AT THE REAR OF THE PLANE JUST TO AVOID DISTURBING OTHER PASSENGERS.

AS FAR AS OBESE PASSENGERS,FORCING THEM TO BUY 2 SEATS, MAY NOT ALWAYS BE AN OPTION, MAYBE ITS A EMERGENCY SITUATION TO FLY AND THEY CAN'T AFFORD TWO SEATS, POSSIBLY THE AIRLINES WHEN BOARDING COULD ALLOW AN EMPTY SEAT NEXT TO THIS PERSON IF THE AIRCRAFT IF NOT FULL AND THIS WOULD NOT BE SO EMABARRING TO THE PASSENGER.

Is being sat next to a baby crying - with a mouth open that is wider then the english channel - any different then being sat next to an adult who plays their walkman/mp3 player at full blast, even though they are wearing head phones?

I agree with your comments on parents who could do more to control annoying behavior. Most of the annoying behavior I have encountered has been on the part of adults.

The noise-canceling headphones do work and I sometimes keep them turned on with no music being piped in. I have a pair of Sennheiser over-the-ear phones that cost about $150. I know that's a bit pricey but it's amazing how much more pleasant a flight becomes when you can reduce all of the background noise.

As a courtesy to their larger passengers, airlines should make the arm on the window side of a set of rows fold back. The two middle ones do; the aisle one sometimes does, but in any case I can see wanting to prevent passengers from drifting out into the aisle where they can be bumped by carts.

But the window arm rest blocks off a good 3" of space that would be appreciated both by those with hefty bottoms and those with broad shoulders.

Even though I've flown lots of miles I have rarely been bothered by babies and smaller children. I guess that I expect them to be a bit noisy at times. Most parents really try to keep them quiet. I also have noise-canceling headphones! Actually many airlines already try to keep bulkhead seats open for parents with babies/young children.

If a passenger is so large that he/she intrudes into the space of other passengers, yes, he/she should purchase another seat. It is not fair to the person(s) sitting next to a very large person if this makes them uncomfortable.

Alternatively, airlines could make other provisions for them, but in the current climate this is not likely.

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on August 22, 2008 11:47 AM.

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