Don’t Judge Parents on the Plane

By Kristin Golliher, WildRock CEO and Founder

If you would have asked me a few years ago during my road warrior days at OtterBox what drove me crazy about travel, I’d tell you hands down screaming, crying children on a plane. I mean why couldn’t the parents get control of their kids?

If only I would have known someday that would be me!

A couple weeks ago we took our second airplane ride with our little one to Florida to see my husband’s family. Deep down we were hoping that the first flight was only a fluke, after all she was much older now and we were pros—we had snacks, toys, books and the iPad loaded with kid-friendly apps.

Needless to say it’s been confirmed…she still hates flying. With an hour and a half drive to the airport, two hours of security lines, a four-hour flight and another two-hour drive to the family, the travel days were long for Mommy and Daddy and torture for our toddler.

On the flight there, we got lucky and had all three seats to ourselves so she could bounce around between us. However no matter how many snacks or fun apps on the iPad, the entertainment only lasted so long. Then of course a dirty diaper; are you kidding me?! Oh, and to make it even better, no changing station in the bathroom! Short of dousing our child in disinfectant, we were bewildered on how to even address that situation. Landing was full of screams, her poor little ears, and when the flight attendant announced we had arrived at our gate the lady behind us said, “Thank God.” How rude (while I may have thought it in the past, I certainly never said it out loud).

The flight back was just as eventful. Better yet, as passengers boarded the plane the flight attendant said, “It’s going to be a full flight.” Fabulous! That meant we were going to have a row-mate; someone to share the four hours of airplane madness. A very similar scene, no amount of entertainment sufficed and our toddler was a terror, did I mention her favorite word is “No.” Lovely.

We had another repeat of the dirty diaper. While this time there was a changing station, there is absolutely no room for a squirmy kid. Who designed them anyway? The puke bags are strategically positioned within arms reach, so while I was changing her, she was grabbing bags and tossing them like confetti. As an added bonus…I ran out of wipes. Tissue time. Naturally after all the hassle she didn’t want to put her shorts back on so I walked out of the bathroom with an over cranky, half-dressed baby that was trailing puke bags behind me. What a sight we must have been!

Moral of the story…don’t judge parents on the plane. If you’re a parent, you get it. Or if perhaps you’ve forgotten (or blocked from your memory), but try to go back to a time when you had little ones. If you’re not a parent, you might be someday. If you never plan on being a parent, well you were a kid too, so let up.