Airplane Passenger Crying Baby: Challenges & Empathy

Flying with a crying baby can be a daunting experience for both parents and fellow passengers. The piercing cries and restlessness of a little one can create a stressful environment onboard. As a parent who has been in a similar situation while flying, I aim to provide helpful suggestions and reasons to ease the situation and promote understanding among all passengers. By following some practical tips and implementing soothing techniques, we can make air travel with a crying baby a more peaceful and harmonious experience for everyone involved.

Preparing for the Flight

Before stepping foot on the plane, there are several steps you can take to ensure a smoother journey. Booking a baby-friendly airline that offers amenities such as changing tables and extra legroom can make a significant difference. Selecting the right seat, such as an aisle seat or one close to the bulkhead, provides more convenience and space. Additionally, timing your flight strategically, considering your baby's sleep and feeding schedule, can help minimize the chances of an upset baby during the journey. Packing essential items such as diapers, wipes, extra clothing, and comfort items familiar to your baby will come in handy. Ensure to have Baby Travel Essentials and dress your baby in comfortable and breathable clothing. This is crucial for their well-being throughout the flight.

Communicating with Fellow Passengers

As considerate parents, it's essential to communicate with your fellow passengers and show understanding if your baby becomes fussy during the flight. Informing those seated nearby about your baby's presence can help manage their expectations and create a more understanding environment. If your baby does become fussy, apologize to nearby passengers and let them know you're doing your best to soothe them. Showing empathy and reassuring others that you're actively addressing the situation can go a long way in diffusing any potential tension.

Handling Challenging Situations

During the flight, you may encounter certain challenging situations that require extra attention. To help your baby cope with the pressure changes during takeoff and landing, encourage swallowing by offering a bottle, breast, or pacifier. This can help equalize the pressure in their ears and minimize any discomfort. Additionally, be prepared with a well-stocked diaper bag to handle diaper changes on the plane efficiently. Changing diapers in the restroom or using changing pads can help maintain cleanliness and ensure your baby stays comfortable throughout the journey. Remember, flight attendants are there to assist you, so don't hesitate to reach out if you need any help or have specific concerns.

Soothing Techniques during the Flight

During the flight, employing various soothing techniques can help calm your baby and alleviate their discomfort. Feeding your baby during takeoff and landing helps regulate ear pressure, reducing the chances of ear discomfort. Offering pacifiers or teething toys can provide comfort and distraction. Engaging your baby with age-appropriate toys or colorful objects can capture their attention and keep them occupied. Utilizing white noise or soothing music through headphones can create a calming environment. If possible, walking or rocking your baby in the aisle can provide a change of scenery and help them relax.

When it comes to soothing your baby during a flight, various techniques can work wonders. Let's explore some of the most effective ones:

Feeding and Swallowing

Feeding your baby during takeoff and landing can help alleviate ear discomfort caused by changes in air pressure. Nursing or offering a bottle can provide the necessary swallowing action that helps equalize the pressure in the ears. If your baby doesn't breastfeed or bottle-feed, offering a pacifier or breastfeeding on demand can also be beneficial.

Distraction and Entertainment

Bringing along your baby's favorite toys or comfort items can provide a much-needed distraction during the flight. Choose items that are lightweight, easy to handle, and have different textures or sounds to keep your baby engaged. Interactive play, such as peek-a-boo or singing nursery rhymes, can also be effective in diverting their attention.

Comfort and Relaxation

Creating a cozy and familiar environment for your baby can contribute to their overall comfort. Use blankets or swaddles to provide a sense of security and warmth. Additionally, playing white noise and calming music can help create a soothing atmosphere. Consider using a portable white noise machine or playing gentle lullabies on your mobile device to help your baby relax.

Gentle Movements and Positions

Babies often find comfort in gentle movements and being held in different positions. Rocking or gently bouncing your baby in your arms can mimic the sensation of being in the womb and help them feel more secure. You can also try different holding positions, such as cradling them in your arms or carrying them in a baby carrier, to find what works best for soothing your little one.

Calming Touch and Massage

The power of touch should not be underestimated when it comes to soothing babies. Gentle strokes and patting on your baby's back or legs can provide a sense of reassurance and relaxation. You can also incorporate soothing massage techniques, such as gently massaging their feet or performing a light tummy massage, to help ease any tension or discomfort.


Traveling with a crying baby on an airplane can present challenges, but with the right preparation and a considerate approach, it is possible to navigate the experience smoothly. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can alleviate your baby's discomfort and create a more pleasant atmosphere for fellow passengers. Remember, empathy and understanding are key in fostering a positive environment during air travel with a crying baby.


1. How do flight attendants handle crying babies?

Flight attendants are trained to handle various situations, including crying babies. They remain calm, offer assistance to parents, and may provide helpful items like blankets, water, or toys to soothe the baby.

2. Can you get kicked off a plane for a crying baby?

Generally, airlines understand that babies cry and it's a normal part of their behavior. Getting kicked off solely due to a crying baby is rare, but it's essential for parents to try their best to soothe the baby and be considerate of other passengers.

3. Why do babies cry on a plane?

Babies may cry on planes due to various reasons like ear discomfort during takeoff and landing, changes in air pressure, unfamiliar environment, fatigue, hunger, or the need for a diaper change.

4. What is the best time of day to fly with a baby?

The best time to fly with a baby often depends on their usual sleep patterns and temperament. Some parents find that flying during the baby's naptime or bedtime can lead to a more peaceful journey.

5. When traveling with an infant on a plane, what seat is best?

The best seat when traveling with an infant may vary based on individual preferences and the aircraft's configuration. Some parents prefer bulkhead seats for extra legroom and bassinet availability, while others opt for a window seat for privacy and a view.

6. Can I use a baby carrier during the flight?

Yes, using a baby carrier can be a convenient way to keep your baby close and provide soothing motion during the flight. However, it's important to check with the airline's policies regarding the use of baby carriers on board.

7. How can I help my baby with ear discomfort during the flight?

Feeding your baby during takeoff and landing, whether through nursing, bottle-feeding, or offering a pacifier, can help alleviate ear discomfort by encouraging swallowing and equalizing the pressure in their ears.

8. Are there any specific items I should pack for soothing my baby during the flight?

Essential items to pack include comforting toys, a favorite blanket, pacifiers, and any other items that your baby finds soothing or familiar. Consider lightweight and easily manageable items to ensure convenience during the journey.

9. What if my baby becomes fussy despite my soothing efforts?

Babies can sometimes become fussy despite our best efforts. In such situations, it's important to remain patient and continue trying different soothing techniques. Take breaks, walk around the cabin if possible, and offer comfort and reassurance to your baby. Remember that babies can sense your stress, so staying calm and relaxed will help create a more soothing environment for both of you.

10. How can I handle diaper changes on the plane?

It's advisable to be well-prepared with a well-stocked diaper bag containing diapers, wipes, disposable changing pads, and plastic bags for disposal. Most airplanes have changing tables in the restrooms, but it's always a good idea to check with the flight attendants for assistance or alternative options if needed.

11. Can I bring a stroller or car seat on the plane?

Yes, you can bring a collapsible stroller or a car seat on the plane. Most airlines allow these items as carry-on or checked baggage. However, it's essential to check the airline's specific policies on size, weight, and storage options.

12. How do I handle my baby's sleep schedule while traveling?

Travel can disrupt a baby's sleep routine. To help your baby adjust, try to maintain regular nap times and bedtime as much as possible. Bring familiar items, such as a favorite blanket or toy, to provide comfort and familiarity during travel.

13. What baby essentials should I pack for the trip?

Some essential items to pack for your baby include diapers, wipes, formula or baby food, bottles, pacifiers, extra clothing, and any necessary medications. Bring enough supplies for the duration of the journey and some extras in case of unexpected delays.

14. Is there a minimum age for flying with a baby?

There is typically no minimum age for flying with a baby. However, airlines may have specific guidelines for newborns or very young infants. It's advisable to consult with the airline before booking your tickets.

15. What are the safety guidelines for traveling with a baby?

Ensure your baby's safety by following guidelines provided by the airline. During takeoff, landing, and turbulence, hold your baby securely on your lap or use an FAA-approved child restraint system. Follow the crew's instructions for stowing baby items during the flight.

Remember, each baby is different, and it's essential to be prepared with essentials like diapers, feeding items, and comforting toys when flying with an infant. Always check the airline's specific policies and guidelines for flying with babies to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey for everyone onboard.

By incorporating these soothing techniques and being prepared for the journey, you can help ensure a more peaceful and enjoyable flight with your baby. Remember, every baby is unique, so feel free to adapt these suggestions to suit your baby's individual needs. Happy travels!

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Pat Anderson

Parenthood is a transformative journey filled with love, challenges, and countless precious moments. From pregnancy and newborn care to toddler tantrums and teenage milestones, I cover a wide range of topics, offering practical tips, personal anecdotes, and helpful resources. Together, let's embrace the joys, conquer the challenges, and create a nurturing and loving environment for our little ones to thrive.

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