Plane passenger furious after mother changes her son's nappy in seat

Plane passenger furious after mother changes her ‘screaming’ son’s nappy at her seat – but experts say she could have offered to help

  • A plane passenger hit out at a mother who changed her son’s nappy on board
  • Experts suggest the passenger could have offered to help the struggling mother 
  • READ MORE: Would YOU pay extra to travel on a child-free flight?

A plane passenger was left seething after a mum changed her son’s nappy in a seat, and ‘didn’t bother’ taking him to the toilet. 

The furious traveler took to Reddit to recount her ‘awful’ experience, leaving many users calling out the mother’s faux pas and others advocating for child-free flights.

However, experts suggest the passenger could have offered to help the struggling mother, rather than sitting in quiet judgement. 

Captioning her online rant ‘Childfree flights should be an option’, the passenger said she had been on a four-hour overnight flight ‘back home’ and was sitting in front of a woman with a ‘very young child’ who she estimated to be between one and two years old.

An infuriated plane passenger hit out at a mother who changed her son’s nappy on board. After being posted to Reddit, many users are advocating for child-free flights – but experts say the passenger could have offered to help the ‘poor mother’

The passenger, whose nerves had already been tested by the child ‘yelling incoherent toddler babble’, kicking the back of her seat, and sticking his feet up on her armrest, reached her wit’s end as the mother chose to change his nappy in her seat three times.

Posting to the subreddit ‘Child Free’, she wrote: ‘[She] didn’t bother taking him to the bathroom even though she was one row up from the very back of the plane, right near it. It stunk like hell.’

If that wasn’t enough for the passenger, she complained: ‘There was also a baby in another seat piping up, screaming on occasion.’

The woman, it seemed, had more tolerance for a puppy also on board the plane, which she claimed ‘made zero fuss’, though she wondered if it was sedated. 

READ MORE: ‘It’s weird and sad’: Travellers hit out at ‘child-free’ zones on airlines – but not everyone agrees 

The woman concluded her post with this drastic solution: ‘These parents should either sedate their damn kids or just not be allowed to bring them on certain flights. Good lord.’

While the plane passenger was left outraged by the ordeal, parenting expert and regular speaker at The Baby Show, Rachel Fitz-D, told MailOnline it would have been best for the passenger to approach the situation with ‘compassion’ rather than hostility.

She explained: ‘The parent with the screaming baby isn’t being neglectful and is probably as fraught as the passenger next to them, and almost certainly embarrassed.

‘If either started a compassionate conversation rather than sitting in steely silence only to vent later on social media, there is every chance that, between them, they’d find strategies which helped them all.’ 

A parenting expert has said the annoyed passenger could have struck up a conversation with the mother to ease the tension (stock image)

Rachel suggested the displeased plane passenger could have engaged in a lighthearted conversation with the mother or perhaps even offered to catch the eye of a flight attendant to help. Similarly, she said the mother could have tried to ease the tension by sparking a conversation with a nearby passenger. 

Weighing in on the matter, Etiquette expert Dianne Gottsman said fellow passengers could have been ‘more understanding’ rather than judgmental. 

She said: ‘No doubt it’s an uncomfortable situation for the mother of a baby on a flight who has to determine where is the best and safest place to change her baby’s diaper.’

She added: ‘Most airplanes have at least one restroom with a changing table and asking a flight attendant where the changing table is located would be the best option, although the lavatories are extremely tiny. Another option would be to change the baby’s diaper on the floor. 

‘Changing the baby diaper on the seat clearly irritated fellow passengers, but in the defense of the mother, she was probably doing what was best in that particular situation.’

In future, Diane said the key is to be prepared with ‘necessary supplies’ such as a changing blanket and sealed bags to place the soiled nappy.  

She said: ‘It’s always nice when a fellow passenger is compassionate, rather than judgmental, but it’s also uncomfortable to sit next to anyone who has strong smells such as egg salad, tuna fish, or in this case a soiled diaper.’

Nonetheless, the Reddit post sparked a furious debate in the comment section, leaving many users horrified and wishing child-free flights would become commonplace.

One person wrote: ‘I’d pay almost double for a childfree flight. I don’t blame the kids, I blame the parents.’ A second person agreed: ‘I really think that airlines should lean into the idea of child-free flights.’

Another added: ‘I honestly don’t know why it’s not a thing? Make it once a week or once a month even and myself and others would happily end eagerly fill up those seats!’

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