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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Babies on Board

Uploaded: May 10, 2016
By now you may have seen or heard about Jet Blue's "FlyBabies" Mother's Day ad. On one cross-country flight, passengers received 25% of their next Jet Blue flight every time a baby on board cried. Not surprisingly, the babies cooperated and everyone on that flight received a free ticket.

I recently flew alone with our kids, so I thought the promotion was both timely and cute.

Jet Blue's Mother's Day commercial was a nice reminder that many parents with little ones are doing everything they can to make the flight go as smoothly as possible. And that fellow passengers can help by sending a friendly smile their way.

I've been very lucky to be seated next to many passengers who not only send a smile our way but who also lent a helping hand.

Some acts of kindness I've appreciated:

1. Fellow passengers who've offered to put a carry-on in the overhead bin or to take one down.

2. Seat-mates who've lent a helping hand when the flight attendant brought food/drinks.

3. On one flight I ended up with a lap child in a middle seat. One of the people sitting next to me quickly offered me the armrest. Having that armrest make holding a sleeping baby much more comfortable.

4. On a recent flight my daughter slept while everyone boarded the plane. I greatly appreciated it when the person sitting next to me (who was a mother herself) waited for small talk until after my little one woke up.

5. People who have offered to help me in the airport at check-in, security, or baggage. And those who respected my decision if I said "no thank you."

6. And, seat-mates who've offered to help calm an unhappy little one. But let us be if I believed baby was hungry, overstimulated, sick, overtired, etc.

Yes, smiles are great. But what I most appreciate are those small acts of kindness from strangers that can make a big difference when traveling with little ones. How have fellow passengers helped you when you've traveled with kids?
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by parent, a resident of Atherton: other,
on May 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

We appreciate it when airplane passengers that are annoyed by crying babies just plug in their headphones and tune out instead of complaining about the crying.

Posted by flabby , a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on May 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm

My wife, 1 year old son and I, had gotten stranded in Boston due to a blizzard and we had to take 3 flights to get home. On the last leg of the trip after a stop in Cincinnati, we found ourselves running through the houston airport trying to make our connection to SFO. First act of kindness, the airline had cart waiting to get us to the next gate and make the flight. To make matters worse we had been placed in 3 middle seats in different rows, mind you my son was 1 at the time. 2nd act, the flight attendant started asking people to change seat with so the baby would not be unattended. When no one volunteered, the flight attendants had the tickets agent move people around so we could sit with our son. Mind you no one really wanted to sit next to 1 year old any way. Those flight attendants were awesome, I've found flight attendants over all to be great. They really appreciate it when you have a purchased seat for a kid under 2, so much safer for the kid and comfortable for the parent.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

parent - Thanks for commenting. Yes, complaining probably won't help baby settle any faster.

flabby - Thanks for sharing your flying experience. Yes, we've also been impressed with the kindness of many flight attendants. From giving our kids straws in their drinks to giving our son a small plane to put together. Flight attendants can be a big help when traveling with kids.

Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on May 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

I have never had to fly alone with my kids, but since there are six of us, we often have to split up and I may be sitting away from husband. Things that I value is when a seat neighbor offers to hold the baby while I use the restroom or eat my meal. I have had some great neighbors who read to a child, play a game with a child or just chat. When a toddler gets ancy, sometimes a neighbor can say something that really helps such as "I can see you are tired and fed up with this long flight, but don't you think mommy is tired and fed up? I can see you are a big boy who wants to be helpful and can find something to do". Another adult (whether a flight attendant or a neighbor) can make a big difference when times get difficult just by a simple high five to the child. Some kids are a bit too shy for interacting with strangers, but others do well. You just have to wing it and see what works best.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Thanks for sharing your experience with flying as a family of 6. Great to hear about all of the ways people have stepped up to help. I agree, a simple high five or brief conversation with a stranger can be a big help on a long flight.

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