We’ve all been there — the long, arduous slog of an airplane flight with an irate, screaming baby onboard. There’s perhaps nothing more exasperating when you’re already crammed into a tin can for hours on end.
But amid all that nightmarish frustration, it can be easy to forget that as bad as it is for us bystanders, it can be even worse for the baby’s parents — who in addition to contending with their squawling baby are often also panicking about disturbing other passengers.
A former flight attendant recently took to TikTok to address her experiences, and to offer some advice to air travelers for their next trip.
The former flight attendant called out judgmental airline passengers on TikTok who hate crying kids on planes.
She had some pointed words of advice — less judgment, more empathy. The former flight attendant’s call-out was inspired by a viral TikTok in which a woman said babies should not be allowed on planes.
That TikTok, as you might gather, caused no shortage of controversy when it went viral in January.
She noticed that the mother of the child was getting “more and more distraught” and that it was obvious her worry was far more focused on her fellow passengers than her kid. “She keeps apologizing profusely to the people in front of her, behind her, she’s, like, trying to cover her child’s mouth,” Sharon said.
Sharon too was growing stressed, waiting for a passenger to complain. When one flagged her down as she was going down the aisle, she thought “great, here it comes. She’s going to b–ch about this, and there’s nothing really I can do about it.”
The passengers on the plane tried to help the mom instead of complaining and getting angry.
“I have some gum right here,” the passenger said to Sharon. “I wonder if that child’s ears hurt. Can you please give this to this mother?” Sharon continued down the aisle and another passenger stopped her, and she again braced for complaints and was again surprised.
The passenger told Sharon she could see that the baby’s mom was crying, she was so upset about her screaming child. The passenger said, “can you please tell that mom that it’s okay? She can stop stressing over what everybody is thinking and just take care of her child… Tell her to take some deep breaths and it’s going to be okay.”
Sharon said another passenger then came and sat beside the mom to comfort her, telling her, “I’ve been a mom too, you’re doing great.”
And when Sharon continued on and gave the gum to the child’s mom, it worked like a charm. “I think that’s what was bothering her was, the ears,” Sharon said in reference to the painful impact a pressurized plane can have on small children’s ears.
As shown in the video below, there are many other reasons a child or baby may cry on a plane, and several ways to help comfort and quiet them down while flying.