United Airlines, after several incidents with passengers in the past two years, is in hot water once again.
This time, a couple taking a transcontinental flight with their 8-month old child, was shamed for having a crying baby.
The mother states that she and her husband purchased business class tickets, along with a bassinet, for the 13-hour flight. Her son started crying, and the lead flight attendant, identified by the mother as “Linda”, yelled at the couple and then asked that the mother come to the back of the plane so they could discuss the situation.
“ After about 5 minutes of the baby crying in the bassinet, Linda (the flight attendant manager who is also our server and the purser) came over and *yelled* at my husband it was “absolutely unacceptable” for the baby to cry.
We picked him up, per her request, and tried to get him to calm down.
When Linda returned, I kindly tried to explain to her that her request really stressed me out as he’s AN EIGHT MONTH OLD and we have 13 hours ahead of us on this flight – he’s going to cry again and I don’t have any control over that. She told me we could discuss it in economy and not at my assigned seat. “
While back there, the mother states that Linda proceeded to tell her that it was “unacceptable” that the baby should cry for longer than five minutes, that it was stressing the flight attendants and passengers, and that it is the parents job to “control their child.”
The mother explained that she understands that a crying baby on an airplane isn’t a great situation- that in fact, it really stinks for the parents who know that others are probably annoyed.
“So, I walked back to economy with her and she dropped some knowledge on me, including these bits:
– I should have given the baby his bottle back (he’d finished it but that doesn’t seem to be an important detail in Linda’s book).
– I shouldn’t have tried to put him to sleep because the lights weren’t down and he’s “obviously” too excited. (Ok Linda, whatever you say.)
– Some airlines don’t even allow babies in business class. (When I asked if United was one of those airlines, she said clearly it wasn’t but that the baby needed to be quiet. So, I guess silent babies are allowed to fly in business class.)
– Babies are not allowed to cry for more than five minutes and (this part was yelled) it REALLY STRESSED THE CREW OUT. (Funny; it also really stresses me out when the baby cries – I don’t actually enjoy it, go figure. Oh, and we asked a few other crew members if we disturbed them and they had zero idea what we were talking about.)”
She notes that if Linda had approached the situation a little bit differently, perhaps with a kinder attitude, that she would have been able to find some solace in the situation. Instead, the parents were left feeling shamed, embarrassed, and angry for the duration of their flight.
Shortly after the mother was allowed to return to her seat, the Captain of United flight 870 came over with the flight attendant to apologize. However, she did not directly apologize leaving the parents feeling as though the situation was not handled properly. In the end, the parents stated that they “will never fly with United again.”
You can read the first hand account of the event below:
Flying with kids isn’t any parents idea of a great time. Kids are unpredictable and no matter their age, flying can turn into a disaster. Every parent, at some point, has probably been on an aircraft or other small space with a crying child and it’s not a great thing to have to listen to for hours on end. But as parents, we all know what it’s like to be the ones stared at and silently (or in this case, not so silently) judged for not being able to settle their child and upsetting others. And babies cry. There is no special switch that we can turn off because others are around. We can’t reason with them. As parents, we do our best. We understand it’s annoying but gosh, Linda, have some sympathy.
You might be interested in “Why We Need to Let Kids Make Noise” here on Daily Mom