I must say I am proud of my kids. They cooperated fairly well at getting the volume down, and for the most part of the trip they did not really talk more loudly than normal speaking voices. On the long Beijing to Stockholm, Sweden leg (10 hours plus), they were actually more quiet than the passengers in the row in front, who where having a very interesting conversation about something, laughing much more loudly than my kids were speaking. I did not even have to give them all the treats I had prepared. Mental treats, because my kids love to draw letters and numbers. The onboard entertainment system helped too. And they slept really well for more than three hours.
The first leg of the trip was the worst. The plane was older and smaller, creating a totally different feel onboard from the long flight. Taking off at 0830, this was early morning, and my kids were not at their best for the beginning of the trip. Nobody else said anything. The gentleman in the end seat of our row was a real gentleman when my daughter snugged up to him and started sucking her thumb; he must have had children of his own. Or grandchildren, as the case may be. There have been reams of blog files written in blogs on the Internet about how to handle complaining fellow travelers. The tips vary from giving out little presents to people in the surrounding seats to ignoring them, or being rude back.
Why We Never Give Presents
There is a school of thought that says you should give presents to the people sitting around you, so they start thinking positively about your kids from the start of the flight. I do not subscribe to that school of thought. As a matter of fact, I am opposed to it. Kids should be accepted on their own terms. Not because they (or their parents) give you a cheap gift.
I do not think this guy would have been swayed even by expensive chocolates, and that was never in my budget. I prefer to ignore him, because I consider complains like his unreasonable. And the reason is precisely that the kids were reasonably quiet, and that it was a daytime flight.
we always chose daytime flights with the kds for precisely that reason. People are predisposed to be awake, and care less about noisy kids. On a nighttime flight, people have a reasonable expectation to be able to sleep. On a daytime flight, much less so.
Quiet Onboard? Get Headphones
shushed them down best I could and then they were quiet, speaking in lower than ordinary voices. They were really quiet. So quiet I wish they could be that quiet at home. But the person in front continued to complain. Even though this was a daytime flight. Eventually he became quiet. I noticed he had fallen asleep. When we had landed, he complained that we had been loud for five hours, but apart from the fact that the flight was only four and a half, he was asleep for at least two. And he continued to complain after we had landed. But then my patience wore thin. So I told him that we had landed, he had no reason to complain any more, and if he wanted his next flight to be quiet, he should get a pair of headphones.
I am Wisterian Watertree, recently moved from Bangkok to Tokyo, with a brief visit to Honolulu on the way. I write about travel, especially with our three beautiful kids (two girls and one boy, soon turning six - yes. they are triplets). Travel is education and fun rolled into one, and if you are like me, that is something you want to give to your kids. If you want more tips and want to find out when I will publish something, get it from my email list. If you want to be personal, drop me a note on firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you want general tips, follow me on Twitter @wisterianw.