Reading Corrine McDermott’s “5 Tips to Avoid Flying With Kids” had me shaking my head.

It got me thinking about tips that focus on the parents—ways they can show consideration and respect for their fellow passengers. First, Ms. McDermott’s 5 tips, and then 5 of mine:

Here’s a summary of her tips:

1. Don’t book the bulkhead. There is extra leg room in that row, and parents might want it so they can let their toddler free or have more room for kid accoutrement.

2. Choose airlines with the biggest baggage fees. Why? Because parents will more than likely not book with these airlines. The problem: it’s up to those who don’t want to fly with kids to pay more?

3. Avoid “typical” family vacation destinations.  For example, if you want to go to Florida and want to avoid Disney World passengers, we’re supposed to fly in to smaller airports in that state, or better yet, go to other sunny but more expensive places, like the Virgin Islands.  In other words, be willing to deal with more expensive (and potentially more limited) itineraries.

4. Avoid eye contact. Better yet, get noise cancelling headphones and shut your eyes all together, and it’ll be like “the children are not even there at all.”  Unlikely!

5. Work harder.  “The child-free, or DINKS, or however they prefer to be referred to as, have no such drains on their wallets, so they should have no trouble paying for the privilege of a child-free flight”…so we “need to work hard enough to afford to travel by private jet.”  I don’t think I need to explain why this is a ludicrous tip!

Here are mine. The caveat: they are based on what I have observed and positive experiences I’ve had with kids on planes.

1. Don’t fly with your kids until they are at least five years old.  It is just too big of an ordeal before then. This also substantially lessens the possibility of what drives fellow passengers crazy, including incessant crying, squealing, kicking, and peek a booing.

2. Before you fly with your kids, make sure they have demonstrated the ability to stay quietly occupied for the length of the duration of the flight. I have seen small dvd movie players work like a charm here.

3. Book your seats so you are not sitting next to a stranger; if it means the parents need to split up, do it. Now, seat configurations don’t always make this possible, but it sure works better if the family has their own row, or splits up so say one parent is with one kids, the other with the other in 2-seat rows.

4. Don’t fly if your kid is sick!

5. Hold a pre-parent mindset, before and during the flight. Before you had kids, what would you have considered respectful behavior from parents and their kids on planes?  Do what you wanted others to do when you were the one without kids.

My view: ultimately, it should not be up to those traveling without kids to find ways to have a positive flight experience; it should start with those traveling with the kids, not those without.

What do you think?

What tips for parents can you come up with?

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