Seven Things I Learned About Air Travel and Babies

So I have committed one of the cardinal sins of blogging – not blogging for a long time. I had hoped to at least post something once every few days, but suddenly it’s a month since my last post. I really have no excuse except for “I was too tired”,  “I just got super busy”, and “I really really need to catch up on Parks and Rec”. Anyway, I hope to keep somewhat of a regular post schedule from now on. Back to the blog!


Whenever I know there is something coming up that I have never done before, I get anxious about it. I’ve learned that the worrying is always worse than the actual doing, and that’s true, but that’s never stopped me. We have all been there – sitting in a plane, zoning into space, powerless to stop the cries of someone’s baby. I have long dreaded the day when we would become “that couple with the crying baby on the plane”. For the weeks before we took Dylan on his first plane ride, I was reading stories on the Interwebs about how parents coped with their little ones. We got advice from others. We prepared as much as we could. There was one tip from my wife’s coworker that we actually did plan on trying out:

“…she said as soon as they get in the plane her husband talks to the flight attendant there and asks how many crew members are working the flight today. Then he hands that person X amount of gift cards, explains thank you in advance for any help, etc…this is our first time flying with our baby, etc…and everytime they are sooooo happy for the giftcards, they get great service and help. She said it goes a long way and is a great investment because the flight attendants make or break the flight with a baby.

However, when it’s game time, everything you read goes out the window and you just do whatever you can to survive. However, I will tell you what I learned on the four times we’ve taken Dylan on a plane.

  1.  Babies’ cries are designed to ensure that people hear them. Even with earplugs, you still know that a baby is crying and that is enough to at least unsettle you. No amount of ear plugging or candy eating will change that.
  2. The shape a fuselage (essentially a long metal tube) is perfect for baby cries to travel up and down the cabin effortlessly. They’re like those domes at science museums where you whisper into one end and you can hear the whispering 50 feet away on the other end.
  3. Planes are for people who are good at sitting still, walking in straight lines, and having enough shame to avoid encroaching on other people’s  personal space. Babies suck at all three of these things.
  4. If you manage to get your baby to fall sleep on you, DON’T FREAKING MOVE. If you have to pee, hold it. If you can’t hold it, well, you just might have to weigh the pros and cons of wet underwear. It’s a tougher decision than you think.
  5. If anyone else makes a sound that causes your baby to wake up and cry, here’s your opportunity to get the entire plane to turn on that person and get the focus off your baby.
  6. Babies have the attention span of a fruit fly. My wife’s boss suggested buying  a bunch of cheap toys, wrapping them like presents, and giving them to Dylan one by one throughout the flight. We were thinking, “Wow, that’s genius!” Each one ended up buying us about two minutes. Two minutes in quiet baby time is a millisecond. Two minutes in crying baby time is two hours.
  7. Let your baby make friends with the people sitting around you. Joke with them about being the “lucky ones” who got to sit next to you. People generally can’t resist a cute baby in their cute state.

It turns out we struggled getting settled on the plane and didn’t have time to give out the Starbucks gift cards we bought. We ended up rewarding ourselves with many a iced carmel macchiatos (stirred, not layered) once we got to our destination.

1 thought on “Seven Things I Learned About Air Travel and Babies”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *