Sep. 5, 2012 at 12:39 PM ET
It's one of those sureties in life: Before you have your own baby, you actually physically recoil at the site of a parent boarding a plane with an infant. Once you have kids, you offer them a sympathetic smile (even though you still might cross your fingers that they sit way, way behind you).
Whichever side of the aisle you're on, it's hard not to empathize with a mom and dad trying to calm a jittery child on an airplane, but, as the Huffington Post's Lisa Belkin points out, one couple got proactive recently, doling out little bags of candy to everyone on the flight, along with a note that read: "We're twin baby boys on our first flight and we're only 14 weeks old! We'll try to be on our best behavior, but we'd like to apologize in advance just in case we lose our cool, get scared or our ears hurt. Our mom and dad (AKA our portable milk machine and our diaper changer) have ear plugs available if you need them. We are all sitting in 20E and 20F if you want to come by to get a pair."
A fellow passenger on the flight posted a photo of the note on Reddit, and, with more than 3,100 comments and 2 million page views, commenters have been quick to give props to the parents for their thoughtfulness: "That's the most considerate thing I've ever seen, and it has fully restored my faith in said consideration," one person wrote. "Why can't all humans be this way?" asked another.
But there also are plenty ready to slam the idea of pre-apologizing for a baby's behavior: "Really? You don't find this to be overkill?" one commenter wrote. "I don't require an apology for a crying baby on a plane. This is to be expected. I'm ok with it. People have babies, and they need to travel too." "This is considerate, but aren't we all adults who can understand that babies are prone to bouts of crying?" another wrote.
We certainly get the stress that comes with traveling with a baby—or a 5-year-old. Heck, even our husband at times. And we also know the horrors of a cross-country flight with a toddler screaming in your ear and kicking your chair for hours on end. But, really, parents shouldn't have to face the stinkeye just because they dare to take their child on a plane ride.
As for this particular couple, the Reddit poster notes that the kids did "better than would be expected. mom was super nervous and obviously very tired, but still extremely nice to everyone around her. Not a mean or frustrated word from dad either. Saw them meeting his parents at baggage, who were seeing babies for first time, and got a bit teary."
So, are bribes in order when you're traveling with the kiddos? Or should everyone just chillax and be grateful they're not the ones struggling to calm a little one while crammed up in row 20?
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.