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5 Types of Parents on a Plane

Hop on board a plane — any plane — and you will find many types of travelers. Somewhere on board will always be a loud talker, a farter, a snorer and a guy who stuffed Chinese food under his seat and is stinking up the whole plane.

These passengers are inevitable.

There are different, yet predictable, kinds of parents on the airplane as well. Like the parents who walk up and down the aisle with their kids or the ones who check out and let their progeny run wild.

Here are my five favorite. Question: are you one of them?

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1. The Slacker

Ever been on a flight where you wonder where the kids’ parents are sitting? Oh wait, it’s that woman right next to them who has plugged in her headphones and is quietly reading a book? All while her child goes insane in the next seat? Or worse, a dad that insisted his two kids sit together next to some poor stranger, so he can sit a few rows back with his book and pretend he isn't a parent at all. He instantly passes as a business traveler with no one to worry about but himself — despite having offspring aboard with them.

Don’t be this parent. This is why passengers complain about family travelers.

2. The Techie

I will admit, I am this mom. The second we board I hand my boys tablets and let them go to town. I have my mom guilt about this one, but it is the only time my boys get unlimited tech. (I swear, we do take breaks.) They look forward to this time on a plane, and I savor every quiet second. The key is making sure everyone gets up for bathroom breaks, stretches a bit and plays with a few toys every hour or so. Even unlimited screen time has to have a limit.

You don’t have the task of calming a wailing baby with 100+ eyeballs looking your way...At least she is being proactive about her screaming child, unlike the slacker mom in 21B.

3. The Napper

You’ve seen these parents. Usually in the back row, totally passed out. Baby, mom, toddler, dad— everyone is asleep as if they took a magic pills and are going to dream the flight away despite being stuck next to the bathroom. How is this sleep even possible? When they wake up after beverage service, they wonder what is going on. But they don’t worry. They know they'll still get their pretzels and can of Coke.

4. The Walker

What’s that? A little hand on my leg? Yup. You have just encountered a new walker. Dad is patiently walking the aisles up and down with his little dude, who just can’t be confined to his seat now that he knows he can walk and run on those chubby legs. It’s the perfect time to smile at another parent who has dared to take a child on a plane. Say "hello" and introduce your own children to this little person, who thinks life is pretty amazing just two feet off the ground.

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5. The Screamer

No, don’t look back! Just pretend it is not happening. That baby has not been crying for the past 10 minutes, while her mom tries everything humanly possible to calm her. She doesn't need the added pressure of having to deal with you right now as well. You can be sure that her life is about 10 times worse than yours on this flight. You're just going to have to suck it up and to listen to the screams. At least you don’t have the task of calming a wailing baby with 100+ eyeballs looking your way. Here's something you can do: offer her a cup of coffee or a glass of wine once the child is quiet. She deserves the $7 splurge on an overly tannic cabernet, not you. Well, maybe you do, too.

At least she is being proactive about her screaming child, unlike the slacker mom in 21B.

Whose your worst travel parent nightmare?

Image by Keryn Means

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