Family Travel: Kids on planes

By the time you read this, we’ll have taken Skyler on her first cross-country flight. In anticipation, I found myself thinking back on this proposal for a kids’ class on airplanes. (Which is a mistake, because the commenters get hostile and it will do no good to think about that.)

It feels like, every few months, news of a new way to make travel more intimidating for parents comes about. Another airline bans parents from business class, another mom has to taste-test her breast milk, and another blogger posts about passing out care packages of whiskey, earplugs, and snickers bars to all of passengers seated within earshot of his or her infant… as if it weren’t enough that you spent the past year researching devices and gizmos that will help you shlep your kids and all of your stuff as you navigate TSA lines and baggage fees.

Back when I posted my top tips for traveling with a baby or toddler, I recall there being some healthy debate in the comments about how much your fellow passengers really care (or are really predisposed to give you the evil eye when you board with a small child). Were you imagining it? Or are you really their worst nightmare as you shimmy down the aisle?

So whenever another news story hits about a “no kids class” on airplanes, I have to assume that—yes—indeed you are.

What do you think about child-free flights or child-free classes?

Part of me says it’s ridiculous: as if being a few rows apart from a troublesome tot will spare you any disturbance. Put on headphones and do your best to ignore the company of others, just as I do when I don’t want to get stuck in conversation with the adult beside me. (Frankly, I like sitting by older children… they never strike up unwanted political conversation, they prefer to immense themselves in their iPad and ignore you, and they rarely take over your armrest or knee space the way grown men tend to do.) Another part of me says, hey—sure—as long as you’re the one paying the extra fee and supporting the airline business! Why not? We pay for everything on flights now.

But it does set an interesting precedent about who we get to choose as our company.

Photos from our last flight with Hudson, to Grand Cayman, trying out the Cares safety restraint

and using these toddler headphones. (Here are our current picks for best toddler travel gear, and a trick to kid-proofing your iPhone or iPad.)

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