Have you ever sat next to babies on flights? I mean, other people’s babies? You just boarded a long-haul flight, ready for anything that can help pass the time: movies, sleeping pills, books and your giant noise canceling headphones resembling electric shock equipment. You planned for everything except for the neighbor: you realized you are sitting next to babies.
Yup here they are, cute yet devastating when unpredictably cranky on the plane. They nestled in the arms of your neighbor, waiting for you. “What, how does that get here? “, you asked yourself while unconsciously, clutched your eye mask and ear plugs nervously. If you are lucky, your neighbor is conscious and do what they can to calm the baby. They might put the baby to sleep or guide the baby to focus on a toy (that does not produce noise). However, if the luck is not in your favor, you might run into one of those oblivious parents. They just can’t stop teasing the baby and wooing at every scream the baby makes. As if they are the only family on the plane. Once I saw a couple who repeatedly woke up the exhausted baby the minute he felt sleep. The poor fella did not get any break after screaming and entertaining these adults for so long! If you can’t rest well, not only will your flight suffer but also your days after landing, struggling with fatigue and jet leg. I do not care if a female blogger should feel obliged or diplomatic to say we love babies or babies are cute. But in these situations, those oblivious and inconsiderate parents are NOT CUTE! Please don’t be one.
So, what is the emergency plan when sitting next to babies?
1. Do not directly confront the parents.
Babies do not come with remote control. Parents cannot control when their baby wants to cry anyway. Also, nobody wants to be told how to be a parent.
2. Instead, act on these two opportunities
1. The first opportunity is when the flight attendants announce ‘boarding complete’. You should immediately stand up, walking around the plane looking for a seat starting from the back. Don’t worry about the luggage, just grab a newspaper or have something in hand, put it on your new seat if you find one. 2. The other opportunity to do so is when the flight is in the air and when the seat belt sign is off. At that second, you stand up and do the same thing.
3. Don’t get the flight attendants involved
Flight attendants don’t want other passengers to also be hopping around.
In 2017, I was flying Korean Air in business from Seattle to Shanghai. My neighbor was a Korean man, he was chatting friendly with the flight attendants. What a gentleman, right? All of a sudden, he took his suitcase off the luggage cabin, grabbed his newspaper and left. I thought he went to bathroom until he had not come back in 20 minutes. I realize he may have changed seat- okay, after all, I got both seats to myself, more space equals more comfort. Then things started getting wired: I start to hear one baby crying, then another baby crying. I wanted to stand up to see where they are.
Since I am pretty petite, you can imagine as I slowly rose above the big business class seats, I realized I was surrounded by an ocean of Korean grannies, blankets, and babies. There were babies in front of me behind me and next to me. Now I realized why my Korean gentleman neighbor politely smiled and nodded at me when he made his smooth exit and glided away. Now, of course, I had to look for a new seat. Using the steps I described, luckily I found one quickly. I moved in such a hurry that I left my eyeglass case behind. When I returned to my original seat I could hardly recognize it: a Korean baby was already sound asleep on my seat in his blanket with a nanny next to him.
I forgive Korean Air and will continue to fly it whenever possible. What can I say, it is one of my favorite airlines. Korean Air has that cool, aloof elegance that speaks to my soul as we’ve met before. It understands my definition of calm, zen and service like my soul mate.
That is why whenever my husband takes Korean air, he always asks check-in agents ts Question: WHERE ARE THE BABIES? With limited English, the Korean gate agents would turn the screen around, point and say: Baby, baby, baby!
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