Saturday 10 December 2016

'I just want the noise to stop': Journalist sparks outrage with travel tip for travelling parents

Tomás Heneghan

Published 08/08/2016 | 15:32

Journalist Damon Darlin suggested giving away goody bags
Journalist Damon Darlin suggested giving away goody bags

Everyone who has ever flown will know the fear of seeing a parent walking towards your seat while carrying a baby.

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The screaming, crying and smell of a pre-toilet trained child might make the journey a little bit tougher than it would be otherwise. 

However one journalist might have taken it a step too far recently when he suggested parents travelling with babies offer fellow passengers a goody bag as compensation.

Writing in The New York Times last week, journalist Damon Darlin caused uproar across social media as he called for parents to consider the comfort of fellow passengers while flying with a baby.

He wrote: “When a child yells in my ear in a cramped airplane, I just want the noise to stop. And I’m clearly not the only one to find such behavior upsetting.

“But there is a solution to the adult discord: Parents traveling with small children can bring small gifts for their fellow passengers, as a pre-emptive move to fend off criticism from people like me.”

Darlin wrote that despite the backlash against the suggestion, the idea was a good one as parents can let others passengers “know you care about their happiness, whether you really do or not”.

He added: “The goody bag is a step in the direction of conflict resolution before there is any conflict.

“On a plane, you have no way of making the person in the adjoining seats be nice or even feel guilt or shame for violating commonly held rules.

“A bag of treats appears, and suddenly a connection is made. Weak, but it is there. And it is no more judgmental than a wedding gift or a Christmas card.”

Darlin’s argument for goody bags came from previous reports a year and a half ago when a plane passenger uploaded a photo of a goody bag to reddit.com.

On that occasion parents of a 12-month-old baby handed out good bags containing earplugs, mints, chocolate and a note before a flight.

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