AN OPEN LETTER TO PARENTS WHO TRAVEL WITH THEIR KIDS
Recently there has been a lot of buzz about babies on planes due to the latest update from Japan Airlines. The airline has recently updated its booking system to show seats that will have kids under 2 years old. As a parent, I am conflicted about how I feel about this.
On one hand, I am happy that rude, arrogant, self-entitled and all-around jerks will be able to isolate themselves away from us. These are the people who vilify kids with rude comments or try to bully parents. (I have heard some of the awful things people have said before having a baby and it is sad). I witnessed a passenger cursing at a mother who ( obviously stressed) was trying to calm her baby on a flight and she burst into tears. I can understand that not everyone likes kids and has the right to not sit next to them. Everyone is entitled to their level of comfort (as comfortable as you can be shoved into a small space with hundreds of strangers).
On the other hand, I am angry that it seems as though babies are made out to be villains. Why are they being singled out? When did it become okay to shame a baby for doing nothing besides be a baby? Adults are not held responsible for their reprehensible behavior, but a baby is somehow vilified and seen as the plague. Has society gotten to this point? Are parents expected to lock themselves in the house with their children? What is the expectation of parents who travel with kids?
People forget that planes are a public mode of transportation and everyone including babies have the right to use them. If you do not want to be in a public space like on a plane with a baby then maybe you need to find a career that enables you to charter a private jet. This does not mean that you have to love kids, but what is wrong with having empathy. Can you imagine being 1 and stuck in a seat for 10 or 14 hours? As adults we are restless, I can only imagine how a 1-year-old would feel.
As a parent, it is hard enough to travel knowing people will be giving you the stares of death as soon as you step on the plane. We are doing everything we can to have an easy flight. We have played hundreds of scenarios in our minds and packed for almost any scenario. Our anxiety is through the roof and we are just hoping that everything will be okay.
Babies have the right to exist in this world like everyone else. Parents try their best to soothe children when they are upset, but what do you expect. Our 10-month-old son flew from San Diego to Beijing without crying a single time. On a flight from Ohio to San Diego he cried because he was tired and overstimulated. We do the best we can to calm him down, but at the end of the day, he will continue to be and act like a baby.
I am not sure what the expectation is for someone who cannot talk. How do people expect a baby to communicate their needs? I am not ashamed when our son cries because he is telling us that he needs his parents. I would rather deal with our son crying than some of the mean, rude, selfish, and outright nasty adults that I have encountered on planes.
I am not saying that everyone who does not want to sit next to children is not a nice person. I am saying why can't we all share the uncomfortable space and have empathy for one another. There should be no preconceived resentment towards parents traveling with small children. No one person is more entitled than the other and as long as we remember that there shouldn't be a problem.
For all of the parents that travel with your children hold your head up high. Do not be discouraged by the jerks who make rude comments when you get on a plane with your little ones. You have every right to be there with your kids and I applaud you. I applaud a parent who takes on the anxiety and weight of holding everything together while traveling with their kids. Keep traveling and showing your little ones how beautiful this world is. Do not be discouraged by anyone because your children belong just as much as anyone else on that airplane.
Parents who love to travel