If you’re a frequent flier, then no doubt you’ve come across a screaming baby or 1,000 on your travels. Heck, even if you’ve flown only once in your life, you’ve probably come across a screaming baby or two on your sole flight. You know why? Because it’s a part of life. Literally. RELATED: Should Airlines Offer Kid-Free Flights?

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No one enjoys the sound of a screaming baby but especially on a flight. When I was a bachelor and was crisscrossing the globe every few days, I just came to expect it. But it’s essential to do your part and travel prepared. That’s why I always travel with:

1. Earplugs (these Loop Earplugs are pretty cool and offer high-fidelity hearing protection and noise reduction)
2. Noise cancelling headphones (Bose and Beats make excellent options but they’re pricey; check out these Anker noise cancelling headphones that look just as good at a fraction of the cost)
3. A playlist with a variety of songs from classical (to help me sleep) to pop (to pump me up)
4. A balloon

I’ll get to the reason for the balloon in a minute. But what inspired this post was a TikTok created by former flight attendant Kat Kamalani. Kat’s 26-second video has over 2,000 comments and is titled: “THIS ? i promise you, you wont win… just be a kind human and dont dont this @Dylan”

Yeah, I had no idea either what the video was about until I watched it since the description is cryptic. But once you watch it, you’ll quickly understand.

Kat starts off by showing a video (embedded below) of a passenger shushing a couple’s baby across the aisle. Then she adds this commentary: “I promise you, there’s nothing that irritates us more. As a flight attendant, when people complain about babies crying. So if you’re traveling: bring noise canceling headphones or maybe ask the parent if they need help. Don’t even ask us to be moved to a different seat. Because I promise you, no one else wants that baby to stop crying more than that parent.”

@katkamalani THIS ? i promise you, you wont win… just be a kind human and dont dont this @Dylan ♬ original sound – Kat Kamalani

Kat’s exactly right that no one wants that baby to stop crying more than the parents. As a relatively new parent myself, (yeah, I started late) I completely relate, understand and agree. RELATED: Kid Screams For 29-Hour Flight: What Would You Do?

I remember when our first child was born six years ago, my wife and I were so nervous to take him on his first flight because we had no idea how he would react. Would he hate it and scream the whole time? We had the same worries with our daughter Olivia, who arrived three years later.

Fortunately for all involved, our kids rarely cry and they love to travel, a huge relief for us. My son has been on over 70 flights but our daughter has only been on a handful since she was born just before the pandemic.

Oftentimes, when we’re disembarking a plane, fellow passengers come up to us and commend our children on how well behaved they are. Actually, they and most other children are better behaved than many adults (you don’t see kids getting escorted off a flight by the police, now do you?)

One reason why our kids are so well-behaved is because we come prepared. These are 14 things we always travel with to keep our kids quiet. And we almost always follow these tips:

1. Make sure our kids get a good night’s sleep.
2. We avoid red-eyes just in case they can’t sleep. We don’t want a whole plane of evil eyeballs glaring at us on a night flight.
3. We pack snacks, drinks and all kinds of distractions like books and, most importantly, iPads with kid-friendly headphones. What’s also important to note is that our kids rarely get to use their iPads except when we’re traveling or have an important lunch meeting where we need them to stay quiet. It’s a treat for them so it really works to keep them quiet, happy and engaged on a plane.
4. I book seats together and usually the bulkhead so they can’t kick anyone’s seat in front of them.
5. I carry a balloon. I learned the balloon trick from the late, great, Luke Perry, which you can read about here.

We also always bring chocolates for the flight attendants and pilots so they’re extra nice.

And truthfully, I also have the attitude that I don’t care what other people think. I’ve flown millions of miles with screaming babies and I never said a peep or gave the parents the evil eye. Babies are a part of life and everyone’s (usually) just trying their best. I think that’s the key for parents. As long as you’re trying with your kids, most people will be understanding. The problem is exacerbated when parents appear to be doing nothing.

I’m not alone in this as the top commenter on Kat’s video wrote:  “i had a flight attendant tell me…”let her cry, you won’t see these people again anyways”. helped me so much.”


14 Comments On "Flight Attendant's Tips for Dealing with Crying Babies on Airplanes"
  1. Patti|

    I ALWAYS keep a bottle of Stress-Away essential oil blend in my carry-on to pull out whenever a baby (or an adult) starts fussing. A few drops on my cocktail napkin diffuses very quickly – doesn’t “smell up” the plane at all (it actually smells fresh and tropical) – and the molecules reach, and soothe, the fusser within minutes. It’s worked every time. Every single time.

  2. David R. Miller|

    I don’t book a flight to hear a child scream – don’t tell me it is a “part of life”. Neither the child and/or their parent(s) get a pass. Either keep your kids quiet or find another means of transportation.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Then you should book a private jet

  3. Jessica Pate|

    No parent wants was their child to disturb fellow travelers. Try as we might, our efforts are not always successful. Thanks to those who understand our best intents, our efforts.

  4. Kat|

    Sorry, I agree with David.
    Your kid is NOT everyone else’s problem. If your child cannot behave, either stay home until they can or drive where only you have to put up the screaming.
    You signed up for this, don’t make it other people’s problem.

  5. Anonymous|

    agree after a six hour flight with screaming human larva all the way. Even with sony active headphones. At least make them turn them around into “just above smothering” those things that attracted their husband in the first place.

  6. Thomas|

    I think an important distinction is being missed here. And that are the variables that affect a baby’s/child’s behaviors on a plane. Some are excusable others not. For example, as a parent, you shouldn’t travel with an ill child. Period. Ever try flying as an ill adult? Think 100 times worse for a sick child. Thus, here, I agree it is the parents responsibility not to introduce that ill-child to a planeload of passengers. Parents should also know the predisposition of their children to flying as well and plan accordingly. Here again, as Johnny suggests, there are parental-responsible things that can done to make flying less tedious on the child. On the other side of the coin are circumstances/situations beyond the scope of parental responsibility ‘to some extent’. That might be the child that becomes ill during the sojourn or who is too young to fully understand the sights/sounds/nuances of flying. From that perspective, the responsible parent will obviously be as proactive as possible to alleviate the discomfort of the child. But in unforeseen situations, crying does and can be most difficult to handle and here is where the flying public can either be understanding or even helpful at times. Again, as Johnny also noted, it is the parent that does nothing in that type of event that raises the ire of all travelers to all crying babies. No two crying babies/disruptive children alike are the same and it is true to some extent that such is life. But, yes, there is a difference between proactive/reactive or parents not doing anything at all that are the large unknowns here as well as, again, the inherent reasons behind the crying disruption. And, finally, true, there are similarly-inclined helpful or not-helpful flight attendants as part of this dynamic as well. I reference a note I wrote here a while back about a most unfortunate Hawaiian Airlines experience en-route to Las Vegas from Honolulu where my lip was split open and bloodied by a sleeping teenager that encroached and finally lashed out upon myself while sleeping for which behind-sitting parents did absolutely nothing even though witnessing the child slumping over on me and the resulting incident. (Yes, I made eye contact with the parents who saw what was happening.) And despite similar coach-seating being available, Hawaiian Airline flight crew offered no support to change my seating or even offer me first-aid despite the bleeding lip. I controlled the blood with the combination of a napkin or two and finally a t-shirt I had carried on board. Sorry Kat or David, I cannot afford a private jet and I live on an island. Have to fly commercial. No simple one-size-fits-all solutions here!!

  7. bob|

    Obviously the complainers are not parents, just egos that need a way to be in control. I have learned one thing in life “We are NOT in Control”, no matter how much our egos want to reject that concept. Grow up whiners – you were once a screamer, too. Now it’s payback time.

  8. Debra|

    We have a 6 lb pup that is a frequent flier. She fits under the seat and no one ever knows she’s there. We sneak her on and I don’t feel guilty. I would be fine with a reasonable charge, like a baggage fee, but sometimes the fee is more than the price of our ticket. Meanwhile there is a screaming baby that everyone know is there flying free!

  9. Gerald|

    Hey, lots and lots of kid haters here. LOL
    Last time I was on a flight with a child crying my wife gave the couple a small light that clicked on and off. The child was fascinated with it and the crying ceased.
    When the plane landed the couple thanked my wife for her thoughtfulness as did the flight crew.
    Hey, babies cry. All the folks here who complain about it are forgetting that they too were once
    babies and cried.
    Gee, the next thing I will be hearing is how long it takes elderly folks to walk across the street.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      We need more people like you and your wife in the world

  10. Kat|

    Yes, I was a child once. And my parents DROVE us on all our vacations UNTIL we were beyond the age of disturbing others. THAT is good parenting. Not making your life choice other people’s problem.
    And by the way, I have 3 children, and yes, my husband and I also drove on all our vacations UNTIL our children were old enough to know what was exceptable and what was not in public spaces. It’s unbelievably selfish to think you need a trip and to bad about everyone else

  11. Evan|

    Why do the adults here think they have a right to be on a plane more than a baby does? They are human beings with the same rights and privileges as you do. If they cry, that is what babies do. That does not take away their right to be on a plane or impose an obligation on parents to find alternate transport or avoid travelling. If you do not want to hear babies crying, then stay home or charter a private jet. For those saying that they didn’t pay for a ticket to hear a baby cry, the parents didn’t buy a ticket to listen to you whine louder than the baby. Everyone has an equal right to be there, so deal with it.

  12. Blake|

    Absolutely shocking to see how heartless and unthoughtful people can truly be. We have a 10-month old who flew for the first time ever. We researched and brought everything we could think of. It was a one-hour flight where we didn’t feel it necessary to fly private. Our daughter was in so much pain, wouldn’t take to her bottle, and is not breastfeeding (aka & FYI smothering our baby would never be a thought you heartless human). My wife did everything to stay calm until she caught the side eye from the passenger to her right. She balled the rest of the flight and late into the night not knowing what to do for the flight home and sheer anxiety we went through. An amazing women behind us saw this all unfold and offered to hold our baby girl- this was a very small unanticipated gesture that was a tremendous help. Next time you talk or comment, try using a bit of empathy.

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