A flight attendant has opened up about the mistakes parents are making when flying with their kids – and it’s certainly proved to be eye-opening.
The anonymous crew member shared some advice for parents of young children. And top of their list was asking parents to not allow their kids to crawl on the floor of the plane because it’s “disgusting”.
“Airlines don’t get to clean the floor properly all that often and I know it’s good to expose your kids to some germs, but not that much,” they wrote in a piece for The Sun.
Another risk attached to letting them crawl about is that they aren’t strapped in – which can be a major safety issue.
Case in point: a Lufthansa flight travelling to Frankfurt from Austin, Texas, experienced severe turbulence recently. Passengers reported the plane dropped sharply twice, with one saying he saw a flight attendant hit the ceiling before dropping down. If a child isn’t strapped in, that could happen to them too.
The issue has prompted a flight attendant union in the US to call for updated safety rules in America saying babies under two should have their own seats, rather than simply being allowed to sit unsecured on a parent’s lap.
In the UK, the rules are slightly different as parents use an extra seat belt provided by airlines to secure young children on their lap.
The anonymous flight attendant said it’s best to strap kids in to keep them safe.
They also urged parents of fussy eaters to make sure they take their own food on flights, because the flight crew have limited ingredients to work with, so often can’t just whip up something new for them.
It’s definitely worth taking snacks and even bottles of water on with you so you have the essentials to hand – especially because if there’s turbulence or another issue, the refreshments trolley might be delayed.
Another point the flight attendant was keen to make is that cabin crew members are not babysitters. “We’re not a creche and we’re not there to look after your children for you – that’s still very much your job as a parent,” they said.
“I’ve sadly seen parents on flights knocking back the drinks and then nodding off, while their kids just sit there looking on.”
Likewise, flight attendants can’t make kids do things on behalf of their parents, like making them fasten their seat belts.
In a piece for The Points Guy, flight attendant Leisha Poage wrote: “I have had many parents plea, ‘Can you make her put on her seat belt? She won’t listen to me!’ We can’t make your child do any more than you can.
“If we were to try, we’d probably end up on YouTube or the evening news, and no doubt, lose our wings.”
Lastly, asking people to move because you have a child, and didn’t book seats together, is another big no-no.
An anonymous flight attendant explained to The Guardian how a couple asked to move a woman travelling alone so they could sit together with their kids.
“I am fed up of solo passengers having to accommodate other travellers just because they have kids in tow,” she said.
“The woman travelling alone is seated in the emergency exit row with extra legroom. Moving her to the seat behind would mean a less comfortable flight for her. Why should she have to give up her comfort for someone else’s children?”