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The sounds of travel… death by baby wail!

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Oh those innocent little tykes. Those big dark moist eyes. Those little fingers that fetchingly reach out. Cuteness incarnate until… Mouth opens wide and unleashes…. THE HOWL!!!!

Yes I've shamelessly borrowed this from an IDBI Fortis campaign - hope my friends there will forgive!

Yes I’ve shamelessly borrowed this from an IDBI Fortis campaign – hope my friends there will forgive!

There is something about flying in and out of India. For that matter most countries with a youthful demographic. There are always kids – LOTS of kids! And in some cases, they have the most amazing lung capacity. One sets another off and soon there is a symphony of screeching.

On my recent trip from Mumbai to Jakarta, I had their sweet serenade from the queue outside the airport, the wait to check-in, then the wait for immigration, followed by the wait for security so that even before stepping foot on the plane…  their lungs were clearly well-primed already for the coming concert. My head was throbbing in accompaniment long before we even took off!

These munchkins are champion caterwallers and – alas – can keep it up ALL night. Nothing can hold back the anguished wails. Noise cancellation headsets at ear bleeding levels cannot compete.

I get that its tough on little ones to deal with air pressure going up and when landing… and I feel for all the parents trying desperately to hush their beloved babes. But there is something about India in particular that just seems to bring a higher degree of vocalization. Or at least it seems to me as I’m on my umpteenth flight yearning for respite.

As I sat, cringing as yet another chorus reached its crescendo, I couldn’t help compare how diametrically opposite this flight was from:

  • Canada – I don’t recall one single peep of one single child on recent flights. There just weren’t that many kids and those that there were, seemed to manage the flights perfectly fine – thank you very much.
  • China – Thanks to the child policy, babies aren’t so plentiful, and those on flights seem ridiculously well-behaved.
  • Indonesia so far has a similar demographic to India on flights however it is somehow a kinder gentler sniffle and mini wail, not that defeaning migraine inducing unleashing of dismay.

Now I appreciate my grouse is terribly unfair. Especially coming from someone who is an ‘aunty’ not a parent. And I beg in advance forgiveness from all parents and to not be misconstrued as truly complaining. It’s just that flying anywhere with non-stop howling for many hours is, well, exceedingly tiresome for all concerned – including the babe(s) in question!

So come on folks, who has experienced nightmarish decibel defying miserable flights? Or any other travel pet peeves?

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12 Comments

  1. ottominuti says:

    Ahahahah! Luckily I rarely travel intercontinentally or for longer than 2-3 hours but I sympathize: a screaming child is a torture for a parent and a total nightmare for an innocent bystander 🙂
    My travel pet peeve? Sweaty, smelly neighbours…

  2. Ah, thanks for complaining on my behalf. I hate babies, in all shapes and forms, especially when they are not fast asleep 😉

  3. Expat Eye says:

    You’ll get nothing but sympathy from me! I had it for 4.5 hours on a bus from Vilnius to Riga. The one down the back took a breath, the one up the front took over. I think babies should be banned from planes, buses, trains, restaurants… 😉

    • Hehe! I’m not sure I’d do a “ban” but Oh good gawd! 4.5 hours on a bus with a howler? Yikes! Most of my flights are 5+ hours but somehow a bus seems more painful! Clearly that peculiar ‘spark’ that sets others office is not peculiar to planes alone. Sigh…

  4. pollyheath says:

    That’s the WORST kind of flight. Babies are terrible. Russian babies are pretty solemn, but the screaming sets in at 2/3 when they realize they can get away with anything.

    I second banning all children from public 😉 (Half) joking…

  5. gkm2011 says:

    My biggest complaint is sitting next to someone who is sick. I shouldn’t have to offer Kleenex or Tylenol to anyone on a flight!

  6. sarahinguangzhou says:

    The thing is the way the parents smile at you, as if to say ‘isn’t my kid wonderful?’ as it howls its way through the entire flight. of course they think their kid is wonderful but I do wonder why they expect that everyone else will think so too.

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