What is your opinion of loud and unruly kids on flight?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Bhsu21, Feb 25, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Bhsu21

    Bhsu21 Silver Member

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    Just flew the A380 business class for the first time. What a great experience.

    However we sat in the middle two seats right behind a mom, dad, and 3.5 year old daughter. Mom and daughter were in the middle seats while dad was in the single seat by the window.

    Before we even took off the girl was loud already. Screaming. Not crying but just being loud as if she were on a playground. It continued throughout the flight. I saw her head from time to time above the seats meaning she was standing on the seat.

    Mom and dad made no attempt to tell her to be quiet or get down.

    She didn't sleep once one the 8 hour flight from SYD-SIN. Just really annoying to me because of how loud she was and the parents not doing anything.

    Luckily I had noise canceling headphones for most of the flight but at times I'd take them off and I could hear her.

    The ONLY time she was quiet was when we landed and pulled to the gate. Go figure.

    What are your thoughts on loud kids who think the airplane is a playground? Kids are tough to control at that age or inappropriate?
     
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  2. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    There are good parents and not-so-good-parents. You might have encountered the second category. At 3.5 a kid is old enough to know right from wrong and be reasoned with. They can understand and follow rules. It is a bit unreasonable to expect most kids of that age to sit still for 8 hours and not make a sound, but clearly screaming and standing on the seats isn't acceptable either.

    Based purely on what you describe, the parents didn't hold up their end of the bargain for bringing their child on-board an aircraft. Kids are going to talk some, get excited some, walk around some, but it shouldn't be to the level that is disruptive to others.

    Sorry you had that experience and glad you had headphones!
     
  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yep... I don't have any problems with kids. My problem is with the parents...

    I've never had anything but compliments from the crew and the occasional passenger about our boy, who's now 2 1/2 and has a good dozen flights under his belt at this point.
     
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  4. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    I think you're exactly right that kids should not be expected to be perfectly still and silent during an 8 hour flight, but that the parents do have an obligation to teach their children certain reasonable boundaries. My wife has been on flights next to children in the 7-10 range who repeatedly kicked her knee brace--within 3 months of ACL reconstruction, so you can imagine how unpleasant that was! The parents did nothing and completely ignored their child, burying their heads further into the book or magazine each time the child screamed or asked for the parents' attention. At some point, hitting strangers should have been taught as an unacceptable behavior.

    But shouldn't this all apply to ANY social environment, not just airplanes?! I've been in a movie theater behind 2-4 year olds who were constantly standing up in their parents' laps and screaming. The most memorable of which was the Nicholas Cage movie "8mm". The girl, who couldn't have been older than 4, kept asking her daddy what certain words meant. That movie was rated R for a reason!

    ADDED: A question for the MilePoint parents: While I'm sure none of you would allow your own children to behave the ways described here, how, as a parent, would you want a stranger to approach the situation? Clearly using racial slurs and slapping the child is NOT acceptable. But what is, in your minds, the most effective way someone could ask you to better control your child if the child is acting outside the reasonable behavior? (e.g. repeatedly kicking the person next to them, who is wearing a brace and recovering from surgery, running up and down the aisle screaming at full volume, etc.)
     
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  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    On the one hand, it's impossible for me to imagine that the parents of the child who were kicking your wife's knee brace were aware that it was happening -- so easy for them to switch seats and eliminate the problem. As a parent, and a human being, I just can't fathom that. So, if it's something that you think the parents aren't aware of then you could say something like "I'm sorry to bother you, but I wonder if there's anyway we could arrange things so that your child didn't keep accidentally bumping my knee?" (Although, now that I think of it, couldn't you have swapped places with your wife?)

    My kids are older now, and have generally been good on planes but, if there were something I wasn't aware of (or wasn't aware was a problem) I would rather know about it than not. Of course, that applies to reasonable requests. My wife and I used to bring books to read to our children when they were younger, which we read quietly with them on our lap or in the next seat. If someone were to decide that their comfort required I not read to my child, I wouldn't consider that reasonable (it never happened, just trying to come up with an example).

    On the other hand you do hear stories about parents who simply don't care. I have to believe that most of those parents are just somehow out of their element, are nervous themselves, and don't have a lot of experience traveling. In those cases sometimes I'll attempt to engage the child myself (smiling, making faces, depending on the age of the child). It's shocking to me -- this is true outside of airline travel as well -- how many parents don't prepare their kids for what's going to happen, keep them informed about what's happening, or engage their attention.
     
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  6. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    Still thinking about this, because my wife and I are already paranoid about this when we fly. We get incredibly upset at the parents more than the kids. They have to learn it somewhere. :mad: We flew in premium and the FAs on our flight and many of passengers commented how good and quiet they were...if they only knew. ;)

    As for your question, I think if our kid is doing something that is annoying you, mention it to me. Like anything else, the delivery is key. Everyone is already stressed about traveling, so if it is delivered with an FYI, "I am not sure if you know but your kid did ..... " vs. "hey, bozo, your kid just kicked me. stop him or else i will" is probably not going to go over well. :p
     
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  7. Traveling Momma

    Traveling Momma Silver Member

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    Not all parents are created equal and it sounds as though these parents were ignorant to the disturbing nature of their child's behavior. Might I suggest the next time this happens to politely as the FA to have a word with the parents. You never want to approach a parent directly on a flight. Sometimes people are nutty about their kids and will be thoroughly offended. The FA will have more leverage as she/he hold power to remove the family if they cause a scene.

    I am the mother of a 5 year old who is expected and does behave politely at all times, not just on a plane. It begins at birth and is a constant lesson as they grow up.

    Blue.
     
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  8. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    I kind of disagree with that though... I'm from the school that says if you have a problem, bring it up to my attention and let me know. You don't need to involve a third party to have them tell me that "some of the passengers" have a problem.

    Either I missed it altogether (unlikely) or I'm an imbecile and I don't care, but if my child is disturbing someone I think I'd like to hear it first hand.

    That's not to say that it's not a delicate situation though. At times you have to figure out whether something is any of your business or not... if the guy in 2A is getting kicked by the kid on 3A and he doesn't care, and you don't know any of the parties involved, and it's not disturbing you directly, then by all means you should probably keep quiet about the whole thing.

    At least that's my opinion.
     
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  9. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    She was traveling alone for work. She used to prefer the left-hand window seat, so that was where she was sitting on the first few flights after her surgery. They were on 757s (Airtran and DL), so 3-3. In all cases, the child was in the middle seat and parent in the aisle seat. Unfortunately, her right knee is the one that was injured, and it took her a few flights to break her seat selection habit and start picking right-side window seats so her knee is protected.

    I have seen plenty of examples of parents actively ignoring their children's bad behavior. And it's pretty obvious that is what they're doing. I suspect in many cases, they are of the belief that paying attention to the child would be rewarding the child's bad behavior. Unfortunately, public settings are not the correct place for such a lesson to be taught.

    I am definitely someone who shies away from conflict of any type. The thought of telling a parent that their child is misbehaving is terrifying to me. That's why I asked my question. The more tools I have to address the situation, the more confident I will be that a satisfactory resolution can be achieved for everyone.
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Some parents will get nasty when even something is said gently and tactfully. They defend the right of their kids to act however the kids please.

    I would have discretely asked the FA to tell the parents to control the kids. If this doesn't work, ask for the purser. Escalate after the flight if no one is willing to correct the situation.

    I wonder what carrier was used for the OP's flight. SQ cabin crew can be terrified of their own top elites.
     
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  11. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah but that depends on the situation though, and how aggressive the whole "unruliness" is...

    I mean, if you're dealing with a kid acting up on a short hop for an hour or two, then maybe your procedure would actually work... or you can just grin and bear it, chalking it up to "that one bad experience" that we have every now and then.

    Maybe I'm the confrontational one, but if your kid is kicking my seat the whole flight on a 10+ hour redeye, they might as well call the air marshall now and schedule the emergency landing, because we're going to have a problem. :)
     
  12. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    Honestly in most cases it is unlikely the parents aren't aware of what their young kid is doing if they are seated right next to them. So, if you feel it is to the level that something needs to be done, just be aware the message may or may not be well received. The parents may think the behavior is just fine or feel they can't do anything about it. In the cases where good parents just missed something, then as long as you are nice and polite with your delivery when you inform the parents that the child is doing something that is disruptive, it may go okay....but it may not. Again, everyone is so different.

    I don't think you are going to find a right answer for that one. Personally unless it is truly egregious and going on for a long time, I just suck it up and chalk it up to "bad luck" on my seating assignment, but if it was to the level that something had to be done, then your options are politely saying something to the parents, or mentioning it to the FA. I would just use my best judgement based on the situation. Both have pros and cons and neither really guarantees that the behavior will stop anyway.

    Your other option is try to offer a fix....if the kid is perhaps bored and you have something that might entertain them (such as one of your kid's toys or books) then offer it to the parents and see if they would allow the kid to play with it.
     
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  13. Flying Bat

    Flying Bat Silver Member

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    Let 'em party - you are only young once.
     
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  14. Bhsu21

    Bhsu21 Silver Member

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    The parents seemed to be encouraging it by not doing anything about it. They were laughing with her at times. Didn't hear them say "be quiet" at all when she literally screamed from the top of her lungs. It wasn't cause she was angry but just screaming cause she wanted to.

    The parents were from Singapore so they were speaking English so I knew what they were saying.

    The FA attendants were talking to the little girl and gave her a teddy bear. I wonder if they were being genuine or knew how loud she was being but had to be nice.

    I certainly think it's bad parenting to not teach your child there's a time to be loud and play and a time to be quiet. I assume she's an only child (just a guess) and she is spoiled and gets it her way. I work in a restaurant so I've seen a lot of families. Some kids are well behaved. Others run around the restaurant like it's a playground while the parents are at the table talking and could care less that they are. Just as long as they have some quiet time during dinner.

    I would not expect any child to be quiet the whole time, though some are, but she was loud for 8 hours.

    Yeah I should have discreetly said something to the FA during the flight. Mentioning it to the parents was not something I believed would have helped at all since they seems oblivious that their child was being way too loud.
     
  15. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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  16. Laptop Nomad

    Laptop Nomad Silver Member

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    I was on on a flight from NRT to DET. There was a child sitting behind me that was sitting in the fathers lap. The child seemed to be around two years of age. It was kicking the seat from the start of the flight. I asked the father to keep the child from kicking my seat he said he did not understand English. I had the FA tell him I would switch with him so I could get some rest. He told the FA no that this was my problem. As the flight was full The FA could not move me to another seat. It was one miserable flight.
     
  17. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    .....and now you've lost me.
     
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  18. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    Oh come on, we all know that every single only child that has ever lived has been spoiled and a terror. :p
     
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  19. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

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    The only time I have ever dealt directly with someone else's child while a passenger on board a flight was on an Emirates flight once from Dubai to Paris. I was quietly sleeping on my Business Class seat (on the A380, the biz class flat bed gets pretty low to the ground when fully reclined) when I suddenly realise that some bratty kid around 4 years old was standing in the aisle and smearing cake icing onto my face.

    I grabbed the kids arm, picked him up (he was now wailing loudly and drawing a few curious stares from other passengers) and carried him to the galley where he was summarily presented to the nearest crewmember with instructions to return him to his parent double quick. I must have looked pretty funny with cake all over my face and collar because they were struggling to keep a straight face despite the wailing kid. Happily that took much of the tension out of the moment and the kid was reunited with his nanny (the parents were in First Class but the kid and his nanny were in Economy) with many apologies.

    The crew did have a sense of humour because they made sure to give me a double serving of cake with my meal! :)

    At the end of the day though, there is a line between being annoying in their own personal space (eg. noisy, crying, etc..) and being outright invasive (eg. kicking seats, grabbing other passengers' property, etc..). The former can be excused in a child for a short period. The latter needs to be nipped in the bud. That means talking to the parents or the crew to intervene.
     
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  20. Rodri

    Rodri New Member

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    This is unacceptable. Parents should be fined by airlines and even police officers for their lack of commitment as parents and their disrespect of other people's rights.
     
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  21. htu2010

    htu2010 New Member

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    I am sorry you had to experience it. There are different kind of parents, so it's kind of unavoidable while we are in the crowded place where children are allowed. I would also talk to the FA to let the parents aware of their child's behavior do annoy other travellers and let them take action if they are civil. Wish you and I don't meet those kind of parents and kids in our future flight, esp for the long hour flight. Sigh...
     

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