Krupa Patel Bala couldn't believe what she was hearing from the flight attendant. The mom was flying business class on a United Airlines flight, UA 870, from Sydney to San Francisco with her husband and 8-month-old son. Early in the flight, her baby started to cry in the bassinet.
Bala said that after about five minutes, a flight attendant named Linda went over to the family and "yelled" at her husband that it was "absolutely unacceptable" for the baby to cry. The parents picked up the baby as the attendant requested and tried to get him to calm down.
"Now, I don’t really know what’s wrong with my baby, but he tends to cry from time to time. I hear that’s common with newborns but this is my only child, so I could be mistaken," the mom recounted in a Facebook post to United.
Flying internationally with a baby is already stressful enough, without a crew member yelling at you. So, when Linda returned, Bala told the flight attendant how her request really stressed her out, seeing that the baby is a—you know—baby and will likely cry again with 13 hours still to go on the flight. Linda offered to discuss it in economy class, where she then dropped some unsolicited advice. (Yeah, we're cringing too.)
Among the advice given was that the parents should have given the baby his bottle back (Bala said her son had finished the bottle) and that they shouldn't have tried to put him to sleep when the lights weren't turned down, as he was "obviously" too excited.
Then, a shocking rule that came out of nowhere. "Babies are not allowed to cry for more than five minutes," Bala recounted Linda saying, citing that it was part of the United Airline flight rule book.
"When I asked to see the rule book, I was laughed at and told I could see it when we landed because there’s no internet," the mom wrote.
The flight attendant also "yelled" that the crying baby really stressed the crew out. (News flash: Parents also don't enjoy hearing their babies cry.) The mom said when she asked a few other crew members if her baby disturbed them, "they had zero idea" what she was talking about.
Bala tried to explain that she gets how a baby crying can be frustrating, but there are more constructive ways Linda could have handled the situation.
"She could have asked us to walk the baby around, tactfully shared that it was starting to disturb passengers, or really ANYTHING with a smile that acknowledged that we weren’t out to make everyone (including us) suffer," she wrote.
The beyond-infuriated mom purchased Wi-Fi, posted an account of what had just happened and vowed to never fly United again. She also provided updates that the captain and rest of the cabin crew were all "lovely, kind, wonderful humans"—yet Linda remained "unapologetic."
"We’ve been in touch with our customer via social media and United representatives met the family upon arrival to apologize, offer a refund and make clear that the experience she relayed doesn’t reflect our commitment to serving our customers, including our youngest customers," United Airlines said in a statement to Newsweek. "Young families are welcome on our flights, including in business class. We are continuing to review the incident internally and the flight attendant is being held out of service pending the investigation."