Dear Parents: Stop Apologizing for Your Traveling Children

Feb 26, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

recent story about a mom traveling on a 10-hour flight between Seoul (ICN) and San Francisco (SFO) with her 4-month-old baby has taken the internet by storm. The first-time mom reportedly went above and beyond by preparing an excess of 200 goodie bags filled with candy and ear plugs to pass along to every single passenger on board.

On a Ten hour flight from Seoul Korea to San Francisco, a mother handed out more than 200 goodie bags filled with candy…

Posted by Dave Corona on Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Passenger Dave Corona, who also traveled on flight with the mom and baby, shared a post on Facebook stating that it was a “touching gesture”:

The note inside of the goodie bag read:

“Hello, I’m Junwoo and I’m 4 months old. Today, I am going to the US with my mom and grandmom to see my aunt. I’m a little bit nervous and scary because it’s my first flight in my life, which means that I may cry or make too much noise. I will try to go quietly, though I can’t make any promises. Please excuse me. So my mom prepared little goodie bag for you! It was some candies and earplugs. Please use it when it’s too noisy because of me. Enjoy your trip. Thank you.”

Apologetic Airline Goodie Bags Aren’t New

The practice of parents passing out inflight goodie bags when traveling with babies is not a new one. There have been several similar stories over the past few years (though usually just involving neighboring passengers, and not for the whole flight … which seems incredibly ambitious). Though the gesture stems from good intentions, I tend to have rather mixed feelings about this phenomenon.

While the idea of handing out an inflight “goodie bag” to your fellow passengers containing ear plugs and candy is certainly a nice gesture that shows you’re thinking of those seated around you, it’s unnecessary to preemptively apologize for having a child with you on a flight — or anywhere, really.

flying business class with kids
My daughter and I flying business class together. (Photo by Angelina Aucello)

Should Parents Feel Apologetic in the First Place?

This silly idea that we must apologize for traveling with children is slowly becoming the norm in some parts of the world. The strange trend of parents insisting on passing out “inflight goodie bags” always seems to garner attention, but it’s a ridiculous practice that needs to stop. Or at the very least, it shouldn’t be something parents feel they need to do.

As a mom of two, I always encourage people to travel with their children, and I don’t feel sorry for bringing them out in public — you know, into the real world — and that includes flying. Babies and children are pivotal to society, and whether we like it or not, young children will always share public space with others.

Image courtesy of Angelina Aucello.
It took a plane to get us to paradise. (Image courtesy of Angelina Aucello)

The big question is, should parents have to apologize for flying with their children?

Of course there will always be varying opinions. It’s a sensitive issue because every family may need or want to travel together, but it’s also the airline’s responsibility to ensure that every passenger has a comfortable inflight experience.

But this is where parenting, not apologies or candies, comes into play. In my experience, most decent parents will do whatever they can to make sure their young children are behaving and comfortable on the plane. Of course, in the example of the 4-month-old baby on the Seoul to San Francisco flight, it’s impossible to predict how a baby will respond to a new experience, like flying (thankfully for all, babies tend to sleep well on planes).

delta-a320-infant-gift
Image by Darren Murph / The Points Guy

As a parent, it’s important to be 110% prepared whenever flying with little ones. That means packing enough food, milk, snacks, entertainment, extra cozy clothes, etc. to ensure the child is as comfortable as possible on the flight. Parenting doesn’t stop or change significantly just because you are in the air — other than the lack of an easy exit strategy.

I don’t remember the last time I was given a chocolate bar (or even a nice drink) for sitting next to a poorly behaved passenger — and there have been plenty of adults who fall into that category. So, it doesn’t seem necessary to receive a treat for being seated near a young passenger who may or may not make some noise while we are flying through the clouds together. And of course, that’s why noise canceling headphones were created.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, we’re all up in the sky together, so let’s continue to show respect and just be courteous  — tolerance and a positive attitude will get you a long way. Parents, what your fellow passengers want from you the most is just for you to be ready to meet your kids needs at 36,000 feet. As sweet as goodie bags are, I promise they aren’t necessary.

What are your thoughts about parents that go the extra mile by handing out inflight goodie bags on a flight?

Here are some non-goodie bag resources to help you prepare for your next flight with little ones:

Angelina Aucello covers family travel for TPG and blogs at Angelina Travels. Follow along with all her travel adventures on Twitter and Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Elisabeth Schmitt via Getty Images. Additional images by the author.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.