Let’s structure this article like a television infomercial about weight loss without any effort…

Hello there! Do you suffer from family travel irritation when young children, babies and annoying adults are loud on an airplane? Does it make you angry, and want to share your frustration with your social media followings? Today, you’re in luck. There’s a magical cure which can end your frustrations forever, for the great monthly price of $19 a month, for about 10 months. Put down that $5 coffee from Starbucks and pick up the phone now…

family travelCalled Out

That’s right – you’re officially called out, because in 2018 and soon to be 2019, it’s absolutely ridiculous to complain about noise… well, anywhere. You may not know Nathaniel Baldwin, but he’s the protagonist of this story. In 1910, yes, before many of you were alive, the gentleman used his bare hands to create something called “headphones”, which he then sold to the Navy. For 100 years or so, headphones were alright, but in the last 10 years they’ve become incredible.

Family travel is hard enough. It’s time to stop complaining about babies or kids in your cabin, and that’s especially true in first and business class, where airlines actually hand out noise cancelling headphones for free. It’s you, not them. One of the few things we all share in common is that we were all once babies and all once kids. At some point, we made noise and probably didn’t even know we were doing it. As babies, aside from a few child stars, we also lacked the ability to earn cold hard cash unlike yourself, reading this from a $1000 phone.

The Remedy

But you don’t. You can earn all the cold hard cash you want and instead of spending $5 a day on sugary, mass produced coffee, you can save up anywhere from $60-$300 and buy yourself noise cancelling headphones. I was recently asked by Good Morning America about the travel item I just can’t leave home without and the answer is always noise cancelling headphones. I use the Bose QC35’s and they’re fantastic. Many people also love the Bang & Olufsen H9i’s. There’s even an article dedicated to the best options in each price category.

It’s not them, it’s you. When I tap the lovely button on my headphones that turns the noise cancelling on and crank up my favorite tune or TV show, I can have a blaring baby next to me and I still can’t hear a thing. I recently shared the news that “we’re expecting” in 2019 and while many chose to leave sweet well wishing comments, many also took the opportunity to (mostly jokingly) tell me not to bring the young one into their precious first or business class cabins. To those people I say this: if you can afford to sit there one way or another, you can afford to buy some headphones and shut up. The only thing more annoying than a crying baby is a whining adult.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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34 Comments

  1. No it’s not time to stop complaining. It’s time for parents to have some consideration for others around them and not let their screaming little seat kicker run wild on planes!!!

  2. Agreed with Scott. Better parenting needs to be addressed. My parents would have absolutely killed me if I screamed or ran on a plane. My pops was like Clint Eastwood.

    1. I suffered from chronic ear infections as a baby. Pressure made unbearable pain. What was I supposed to do? Anyone can buy headphones so just buy some and this conversation ends. Kicking seats is unacceptable but noise…

      1. It’s simple. Parents with children/babies who are prone to screaming either travel by car or not at all. Plane traveling with kids is a luxury item and some people as adults have anxiety, panic attack and stress issues. Some people can’t sleep with music or TV going on in their headphones. Parents have no right forcing their abnoxious kids and babies on before other people. The adults are sitting there quietly, not bothering anyone. It’s the parents fault for not finding a way for their kids to do the same or taking responsibility and not traveling.

  3. Are we expected to try to sleep with the headphones on to avoid the nearby screaming of a baby or the out of control tantrum of a toddler as well?

    1. I sleep with over ear on all flights. Don’t like them, get in ear. Many people use SoundLink or actually in ear monitors which make no pillow imprint. And it minimizes engine noise.

      1. I’m a light sleeper; I can’t fall asleep with anything in my ears, let alone with headphones imprinting on the pillow. Thankfully, the white noise of jet engines doesn’t bother me. The banshee-like wail of a baby, though….

        Luckily, I’ve only encountered this situation once in my last dozen premium flights, a toddler who let out a piercing shriek every few minutes for hours on end. He wasn’t in distress, he just liked to make noise .

        His parents kept laughing about it. They thought it was “cute”.

        I do have more sympathy for parents of noisy babies. It’s not as if they can control a six month old. I’m still annoyed by it, though.

  4. “The only thing more annoying than a crying baby is a whining adult.” So you’re saying that a crying baby is the second most annoying thing?! Cool, top 3 annoying, on this we can agree.

    Sure some kids and babies cry because they’re uncomfortable. Some act like terrors because they are brats who are the product of subpar parenting. Noise canceling headphones do not drown out screaching, that’s a different frequency. But maybe your music is cranked up so high that you can hear nothing else? Or maybe you’ve got hearong loss from the high volume you’re used to. I have qc25 and the in ear headphones and I can assuredly hear the crying and screaching at mid volume.

  5. Sorry bud, I’m with the majority of others here, particularly @Alonzo. At 2, we kids were asking permission to leave the table. In French. Acting up was never even a consideration.

    1. I’m right with you Sir. The lack of discipline of the younger generations is astounding – I watched in horror yesterday as a child (probably 5 or 6 years old) shouted and screamed at his father because he was denied chocolate …. the father caved and gave the kid chocolate!

      “Merci pour mon déjeuner, puis-je quitter la table s’il vous plaît?” – I remember it well!

      1. Child discipline and crying are not mutually exclusive. I don’t think children should kick seats and parents absolutely should take responsibility and reprimand them when this happens. But noise and discipline or lack thereof are not necessarily linked.

  6. What an ignorant article. Most people who are irritated by the noise know not to blame the babies, who obviously are uncomfortable being on an airplane. It’s the parents who are inconsiderate, putting the baby thru that misery just for their own enjoyment. Unless of course the travel is for an extremely important reason, otherwise there’s no excuse for those selfish parents who put the baby and other thru that misery. This article reflects your ignorance.

  7. Headphones are marvellous but do nothing to help with the unmanaged 5year old who spends the entire flight kicking the back of the seat. Polite requests to Mum to manage the little darling simply ignored. Thank god it was only a few hours.

  8. I’m with you on this. Some people think they have more rights than others. It’s not just kids that are noisy as there are typically a good few loud adults who have typically had a few too many. That said it pisses me off when parents don’t parent their kids by switching off and watching movies. Long haul is boring for adults let alone kids so it’s little wonder they kick seats etc without check. A decent pair of cans makes any flight more bearable.

  9. Sorry Gilbert on this one I’m with every other poster here. NOT everyone can afford nice noise cancelling headphones. And even the best, you either can’t sleep in cos they’re over-ear and they don’t stay on, or you can still hear some pitches of baby screaming through. Most baby screaming that is sustained is – sorry – bad parenting. I can remember about 2x in my life when the parents just got unlucky and it really was not their fault their baby just would not stop screaming. Everyone there was sympathethic on those occasions.

    Noisy children do appear to be more or less noisy, related to nationality too…. jus’s sayin. Just compare French and a certain other nationality of children, on Eurostar trains…!

    Really sorry Gilbert I am very happy for your happy event upcoming but the strength of feeling and experience of your readers against your headline, even though many of us have our own children, just goes to show you put the most amazing clickbait headline…. you got us reacting and good for you.

  10. I have a sever allergy to all things children. Having said that, I don’t mind if children and their parents fly, as long as it’s limited to anytime after the 32nd of the month.

  11. Can we address the issue of the SELFISH parents who are dragging their babies/toddlers/children on a plane? Traveling is physically and emotionally difficult for some children. It might just be that you stay home for vacation….the baby isn’t going to remember the vacation anyways. If you traveling to visit relatives, the relatives should come see the baby. Even if a parent doesn’t care that your misbehaving/tantrum throwing/crying children are making everyone else miserable….they should at least consider what they are putting their children through!

  12. Right on, brother. The number of times I have been disturbed, disrupted, or disgusted by adults outnumbers that by children exponentially

  13. I cannot believe hiw selfish people can be. I also had my share of crying babies on planes, even older children bumping my seat on purpose. But to say that families with babies should stay at home it’s just pure stupid.
    First of all flying is not just for parents, for their own fun. They need to visit relatives or friends or get to events as a family. Secondly, by flying, babies do get used to traveling, changing habbits and preparing them for new experiences, which play an important role in their development.
    Just suck it up, accept your fate when you have a crying baby close to you. I also have a toddler and looking forward to our first long haul flight in business (thus making a flight miserable for you selfish folks).

  14. Wow, so many judgemental/entitled folks commenting here. A plane is a public space, just like a bus or a train. A plane is not your personal fiefdom, regardless class of service. If you can afford the ticket in cash/miles for your family, you have the right to be there just like anyone else. Have an issue with that? Fly private. Can’t afford that? Well then you’re going to have to accept dealing with the general public. Most parents are mortified when their child is screaming on a plane. They will try whatever they can to get the child undercontrol, but sometimes it’s just not possible. Are there bad parents out there that don’t watch their children on a flight? Of course, but in my experience those instances are less common. Maybe next time instead of shooting your dirty looks at those parents, show a little empathy.

    1. Amen. For those self-entitled commenting on here, how about next time you walk up to the parent of the crying baby and offer some help?Believe me, if you are being bothered by the crying, there’s every chance they are going through hell trying to calm their baby.
      For those saying families should not be flying with babies, as a mother of a 4 month old who has been flying since she was born, I will tell you I have every right to fly whether you like it or not, so shut the hell up. And also the reason I fly for it’s definitely non of your business.

    2. Yes a plane IS a public space and that’s why you respect the rights of others to enjoy it peacefully.
      No one’s blaming any parent whose child really is out of control, if their parenting really has been the best it can be some parents just get unlucky. We understand that. Many of us have our own children. It’s very easy to distinguish between parents who have made an effort and been unlucky, or baby really is unwell etc., and those parents who think it’s right to inflict their children’s noise and bad behaviour on others in public spaces. We know the difference.

      But as sharers of public spaces, we respect your rights but we expect efforts to be made to allow our fair enjoyment of shared public space too.

  15. I’m sure if there was appetite for it, airlines could find better solutions to help parents and fellow passengers. None of the airlines seem bothered so parents and passenger alike will have to continue grating with each other in this way. For example, there are definitely viable improvements that can be made to the design of the bassinet seats and the locations of parents.

  16. You happy to have your seat kicked from behind? I am certainly not. I find the crew are most unwilling to interfere and ask parents to stop their children, running, kicking etc. Crew are entitled to ask, and if necessary be strict with the kid, if parents don’t help. It is not acceptable behavior at any time.
    Crying babies… we travelled with ours back and forth on 6 hr journeys for years as young kids. Small dose of phenergan worked a treat! We in the medical community know it works every time! Have suggested it to parents with screaming kids, only to be screamed back at. Not pleasant..but was only being helpful.
    Good luck Gil with baby on board with you both.

  17. Well, that’s an interesting opinion…. but opinions are like a$$holes – everybody’s got one.

    I’ve got noise cancelling headphones & as a sufferer of misophonia they are essential, but that’s like saying “don’t like cigarette smoke, buy a gas mask”…. which shouldn’t be necessary should it?… people shouldn’t smoke near non smokers. But people being what they are (inconsiderate) legislation was needed

    Because smoking – like kids are a LIFESTYLE CHOICE & whilst I’m happy that everybody pursues their own choices, inflicting your choice on others & adversely affecting then is just selfish & inconsiderate.

    Unfortunately from letting kids run wild in restaurants to screaming on long-haul flights parents clearly feel everybody else should be just dandy-o with their choice. They shouldn’t & we’re not.

    We know kids dislike flying & some noise is to be expcted, but for the love of god at least prepare for the flight, bring snacks, games & entertainment for your child & do please attempt to maintain some control…. Sitting there with your own headphones on whilst your child is channeling the exorcist & perceiving other passengers to be the problem really is the behaviour of a selfish, self obsessed a$$hole.

    And, you’re being the perfect role model to turn your own child into yet another obnoxious mini-me. So I hope your parenting choices come back to haunt you as your own darling offspring turn into an even more selfish & obnoxious version of yourself…. best of luck with that.

  18. I think anybody who wants to fly and not be bothered by babies and toddlers, should just take a charter flight… Very young babies cannot be disciplined. And young children under the age of 3 can have uncontrollable tantrums. Those of you who were disciplined when you were 2 and 3 and did not make a sound, do you even remember how you were disciplined? Because today many of the discipline methods used 40, 30 and even 20 years ago are frowned upon… J

  19. I wrote to British Airways that on routes where they had several flights a day that they experimented with a couple of flights a week as adults-only. The concept is hardly original as we have adults-only cruises and hotels. This would give those with flexibility of flights the ability to avoid being sat next to the screaming child for 11 hours. BA showed no interest in this at all.

  20. This issue can be resolved by having cabins that are children/baby free. Adult s have sleeping/mental health issues that can be exacerbated by someone else’s child. All it takes is one adult to freak out and slap the kid or have a nervous break down then it’s the adults fault for their reaction and they are labeled the bad person. How about parents learn the needs of their children? Some kids don’t do well in airplanes and that means you don’t travel by airplane and find some other way. It’s called being a decent human being and being considerate of other people. #childfree #prochoice #yourmistakesarenotmyproblem #stopforcingyourkidsonothers

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