Noisy Young Child on Overnight BA flight ?Back to Forum
A question perhaps for our BA flight crew contributors.
My wife and I recently flew business class overnight on a BA long-haul flight to Gatwick. Throughout the flight a young child ( about 5 years old ) was consistently noisy throughout the flight. The child’s mother spent the majority of the flight with headphones on, engrossed with the In-flight entertainment. I got next to no sleep
When I mentioned this to the member of the cabin crew who serve breakfast she simply said they had once asked the mother to keep the noise down, and if I had a problem to fill in a complaint form ( which she gave to me ). About 20 minutes before landing another, more elderly crew member ( who I presumed was the CSM ) came to me and said “So, you didn’t get much sleep ?” When I said yes she simply said make sure to fill in the complaint form and also send it online. With that she left.
I am curious as to what training is given to BA cabin crew on how to deal with circumstances like this. I hope it isn’t try once then give-up !
On a separate note, my wife and I are both Gold Status with BA. I thought CSMs were supposed to introduce themselves to Gold Members during a flight, and might have taken a bit more interest in any concerns raised ?23 Jun 2019
Had exactly the same issue on a Virgin flight recently from HKG-LHR. the child was clearly bored, could not sleep and intent of moaning. Parents just kept headphones on and ignored. The otherwise excellent cabin crew were not the slightest bit interested.23 Jun 2019
It’s one hell of a problem. Assuming that the child was travelling on a commercial ticket then it is quite entitled to be in C class and this creates a very difficult situation for the crew. Anyone who has had a 5 year old will know that! I suppose the complaint form is the BA approach to avoid confrontation and to address compensation, although what compensation there can be for the loss of a night’s sleep I don’t know. It might ultimately lead to a procedure being put in place but they can neither gag the child, nor move it to economy class, much as many might like to see either or both approaches applied.
It’s ultimately down to the bad behaviour of the parent(s) when this happens.
It’s an entirely different situation when they’re airline staff travelling on ID tickets and I’ve been confronted with that. Once, on Aerolineas Argentinas (BUE FRA) who handled it incredibly badly and treated me as if I were the problem, the parents of the brat being employees of the airline and therefore ‘buddies’.
It also happened on LH (CPT FRA) and the crew were brilliant, and I got the last laugh as I’d asked the child’s uncouth boorish parents to ask it to turn down the sound on its bleeping handheld toy. Eventually the sound faded as the batteries ran out and the child pressed the call button and demanded new batteries for its toy. The FA said very curtly : “Ve don’t keep batteries for children’s toys and anyway it is a nuisance.”
The brat was directly behind me so when breakfast came, I wasn’t eating, and kept my seat fully reclined (this was the old business class) so it was in his face. The oafish father banged on my seat and asked me rudely to “put my ****ing seat forward”, then the mother shrilly added : “like now.”
They asked the FA to ask me to put my seat forward, which of course she was obliged to do. In a voice dripping with sarcasm, she said : “Ze young man behind vould like to eat his breakfast and vould like you put your seat forward.”
I replied that in view of the events of the previous night, I’d missed out on sleep, and was not going to comply.
She turned to them and said ” I asked him and he won’t do it. You may understand why.”
They were LHR/LH staff, I was able to find out who they were and ensure that a note was placed on their staff travel file.23 Jun 2019
Will be interested to read a flight crew response on this.
Identical situation coming back from east coast on an overnight BA 747 upper deck. Two parents asleep on flat beds whilst infant in a seat (not sure if ticketed but there were a few empty seats so maybe not) was left to cry all night. Truly upsetting because the kid just needed some reassurance in a dark cabin with odd noises and strangers around.
When I asked the crew they said there wasn’t much they could do but they did check on the child occasionally. A truly awful experience for all the passengers on the upper deck and we all gave them filfthy looks as they got off but of course didn’t say anything more!23 Jun 2019
Based on what you guys wrote, you really come across as uptight a-holes. Especially when you mention the status of your membership and called a child a ‘brat’. I was in a similar situation before, the baby was crying throughout the WHOLE FLIGHT. But I ignored it and said nothing because I know it’s so hard to entertain a child in an plane! How would you guys have handled the situation if you had a crying child to take care of and people looking down at you like as if you don’t belong there!
P.S. I don’t have a child….23 Jun 2019
Congy, instead of insulting other people (calling them ‘uptight a-holes’) you might contribute something helpful.
I’ve been around for long enough, and as a parent, to know when terms such as ‘brat’ and ‘oafish’ are appropriate. Your comment was directed at me although I did not mention my ‘status’, since it is totally irrelevant.
If this comes across as snobbish, then so be it, I am a snob and proud of it.23 Jun 2019
I am very much of the opinion that kids are kids, they can be noisy, they can be boisterous, they can be restless and so on. But they can also be incredibly quiet and considerate.
There is no point taking it out on the crew or blaming the airline. Kids are a fact of life and part of the limits of traveling amongst the traveling public is you must tolerate such exposure to kids, idiots, unhygienic folk etc like it or lump it. Even in premium cabins. Don’t like it? Fly private! Otherwise expect to tolerate the extremes of the public who also can’t afford the privilege of flying private.
We sadly live in an age where one can’t tell a parent how to look after their kids. I can only imagine Crew are stuck between a rock and a hard place when these situations arise.
Personally I’d probably politely say something to the parent, we never know if there perhaps is an underlying issue such as a medical condition which could be the cause. If that fails I’ll just choke it up to poor parenting and make sure I have my trusty earplugs and Bose headset to hand!23 Jun 2019
Much thanks for your comments Congy, very helpful……. Perhaps the parent could have made an effort to actually look after her child rather than concentrating on the IFE
It seems standards of behaviour in public places can go out of the window if you have a child in tow. I am happy to be criticised for being old fashioned and having a high expectation of how people should behave. If that makes me an ar$ehole, so be it.
But my question was curiosity as to how the cabin crew are trained to deal with such situations so hopefully one of our regular contributors will comment.23 Jun 2019
Under 12s should not be allowed in Premium Cabins/Lounges full stop. Paying a higher fare for your child does not entitle you to turn the travel of others into a nightmare.
Brat is not an insult but the a***hole comment really brings the standard of the forum down. There is no need for such rudeness. When paying a premoum,one expects calm and tranquility. Not obnoxiousness and drana.
If we wanted to email airlines directly,there would be no forum,a platform to air travel issues.
Try emailing Qatar Airways n the UK…I have managed to make minimal contact purely due to BT’s intervention.
1 user thanked author for this post.23 Jun 2019
We live in a world of Political Correctness.
Congy is absolutely 100% right, your business / first class experience should have absolutely nothing to do with you executive club status.
Especially on a night flight, a passenger who pays for business or first class seats, EXPECTS and DESERVES a decent night sleeps. I have absolutely no issue with children being in business / first – but I do have a big issue if they do not know how to behave and parents do not know how to comfort (euphemism for ‘control’) them.
I do experience and enjoy, from time to tome, Michelin starred restaurants – I can not recall ever, seeing a child screaming or running around disturbing the enjoyment of other guests.
I would certainly pay extra for a child free business class zone.
This is not about being a snob – its about enjoying what you perceive you are paying for…24 Jun 2019
It is very much ‘luck of the draw”and better perhaps to accept that from time to time this is going to happen and that there is little practically that can be be done to resolve the issue.
As others have said the crew however concerned they are for your welfare are between a rock and a hard place. Where possible I try to move further away don the noise cancelling headphones and order another glass of wine. Normally I then go to sleep watching a movie.
Not the optimum experience but it does avoid the stress of making an issue that is very unlikely to end well for anyone.24 Jun 2019
I agree with Martyn, having travelled with my kids when they were younger and recently with a couple of my grandkids there is no excuse for a lack of what is the parent’s responsibility, to be courtesy to others around them. Short of being upset because of ear pain when descending mine have always been exemplary on flights/trains restaurants because we forward planned with things to keep them occupied and would forego our rest to monitor them, so they didn’t disturb others. Furthermore, they knew they would be punished when we got to our destination if they acted up, loss of that theme park day out, cut down on spending money, bed early etc or rewarded for good behaviour
Selfish self-entitled parents are worse than the DYKWIA of this world. I don’t blame the flight crew in these cases unless they say nothing at all to the parents, and I don’t believe in not having kids in premium. I do think there is a place for a second curtain with a quiet zone that has rules such as no under 18s, window blinds are crew, not passenger controlled and other things that help to mitigate the awful experience of travelling with fellow human beings of any age……….24 Jun 2019
Mindfulness of others comes in varying degrees. A premium cabin, especially on an overnight flight should provide an ambience conducive for sleep, or work.
Passengers who neglect their noisy or disruptive children should be asked by crew to be considerate of the other passengers. Some may refuse, which whilst intolerable and rude, little can be done.24 Jun 2019