A traveler stuck on a “hellish flight” with a toddler who threw a 7-hour tantrum is stirring new debate about when it’s appropriate to discipline another person’s child.
The woman, who recently flew from Sydney, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur, wrote that the 2-year-old girl’s parents let her run wild in the aisle, where she punched anyone who walked past and sometimes flung herself on the floor.
The parents reportedly did little to calm the girl down and none of the other passengers said anything, not even the woman who sat in front of the family and whose seat the girl furiously kicked. Tulloch said the flight attendants did not intervene and simply moved the girl aside during meal service.
The TODAY anchors were surprised no one reacted.
“You have to speak up. You have to talk to the flight attendant, let them handle it,” said Natalie Morales, who has two sons.
Willie Geist, the father of two, noted he wouldn’t discipline another person’s child, but he’d approach the parents.
“I’d say something like, ‘Excuse me, ma’am, your kid is running all over the place,’” he said. “You do it politely and out of respect for this plane-full of people.”
But Tamron Hall confessed she’d feel intimidated to speak up.
“I don’t know if I had the courage to turn to someone and say, ‘Your kid is running around, you need to do something,’” she said.
Tamron recalled a flight where a child was kicking the back of her seat and she said nothing, even though was it was annoying. In such instances, she tells herself, “I don’t have to go home with this child so I’m just going to take it.”
Willie thought that was the wrong way to go.
“If the kid is kicking your chair, it’s totally cool to say something,” he said. “Sometimes, the mom or dad doesn’t even know it’s happening.”
Give the parents a knowing look, Natalie recommended.
But families complain that other fliers sometimes have too little tolerance for kids. Natalie recalled a flight where she was coming back from Orlando and her son was talking in his “normal high-pitched 3-year-old little voice.”
“The lady in front of us was reading a book and she kept looking back like his voice was annoying her. And she finally looks back and she’s like, ‘Can you please get your child to be quiet?’” Natalie said.
“I went off on this woman. I’m like, first of all, you’re on a flight coming from Disney World with a flight full of families and kids. Buy yourself some nice sound-control headphones and don’t get on a flight full of families and kids.”
Ultimately, people have different tolerance levels, Tamron said.