Man Asks Couple to ‘Control Their Children’ on a Midnight Flight — & Reddit Supports Him

·7 min read

Flying with young children is exhausting. While you’re trying to check-in luggage, find the gate, keep everyone fed, and squeeze through the aisles with your bags and kids (and sometimes carseats), your little ones are trying to keep up while in a new environment and likely feeling over-stimulated, anxious, excited, and tired. So, yeah, a little crankiness is to be expected. But one man on Reddit had exactly zero patience when seated in front of a family of four on a recent flight — and he had the audacity to ask the stressed out parents to “control their children” on the airplane.

In the “Am I The A—hole?” subreddit, a man shared his story about his recent flight experience, and Redditors unbelievably supported him. Before we get to that, let’s dive into the details!

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The man writes that he was on a 3-hour midnight flight, sitting in front of a couple with a boy who looked to be about 5 or 6 years old and a girl who was probably 1 or 2 years old.

“Before the flight even began, the boy started kicking my seat repeatedly for absolutely no reason,” he wrote. First of all, can we talk about how this flight was at midnight? What kids do you know that can stay up that late and act like perfect angels, much less on an airplane? This person has clearly never been around children.

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“I turned around and politely told his parents to please tell him to stop,” he continued. “They seemed to do so, but that only made him kick harder in protest. After that, they just gave up.  He continued kicking the chair at least once every minute. I was losing my mind. I tried turning back and glaring at his parents, but that didn’t work.”

Sorry, but what? You actually thought tired parents of two little kids on an airplane — again, at midnight — will be affected by a little side-eye? Bless your heart. You could be screaming at me, and it would probably barely register in that situation.

He continued his complaining tirade, writing, “30 minutes into the flight, when the kicking wouldn’t stop and he didn’t seem to tire out, I moved to the empty seat next to mine, in front of the mother and the little girl in her lap.”

You waited 30 minutes when there was a perfectly good empty chair right next to you? But his valiant effort to move did no good. “The little girl was banging and kicking the chair even harder,” he adds. A little girl. Who was only 1 or 2. Was kicking “even harder.” Sure, sir.

“At that point, I turned to the parents and asked them to please control their children,” he continued. “The father seemed apologetic, but the mother asked me ‘I can’t control them. They won’t sleep. What else do you want me to do?’” I mean, valid point. What is she supposed to do trapped on an airplane? You can’t force people to sleep — if she could, you would have been the first person she would have sent to slumber town, for sure.

Next, this man, who is obviously polite and so well-mannered the whole time (according to him) caused the couple to get into a fight.

“After that, the couple bickered, the husband telling his wife that she had to do something since she was next to the children,” he continued. “It went on for a couple of minutes before they took some sort of action, and the kicking stopped.”

There are so many things wrong with this. Now two men are ganging up on this poor mother, asking her to do the impossible? This woman needs a day at the spa ASAP.

When they got home, the man’s father, who was apparently right there next to him on the flight and didn’t say anything in the moment, told him he wasn’t being “nice.”

“My father, who was with me on the flight, told me later that it wasn’t that nice to say something about it and that I really embarrassed the parents for something they couldn’t control,” he continued. “He said that children that young are almost impossible to manage.”

He should know — his son is apparently an adult and still impossible to manage!

“I told him that I’d get it if it were only the toddler, but the 5-6 year old seemed to be a bit too old to not be disciplined in some way,” he continued. “And whatever they did after I talked to them a second time seemed to work, so that’s proof that it’s possible to do something. He just shook his head and said I’d understand when I have children of my own.”

Like? You can’t send kids to time-out or take away things while in the air. Being trapped on an airplane for three hours in the middle of the night is the punishment — that’s why they’re acting up in the first place.

“Now that I’m out of the situation in the comfort of my own bed, I can’t help thinking that maybe I was asking for the impossible and making a big deal out of something that was out of their control,” he added. “I’m not a parent, so maybe I was quick to be irritated without trying to understand first. It seems so obvious at first, but the more I think about it, the guiltier I feel. AITA?”

As a parent, I’m absolutely mortified. Just order a cocktail and take a nap like any other adult traveling without kids could do. Like the parents of those little kids wish they could do. Instead, you’re harassing the exhausted couple (and the mom in particular) who are already dealing with cranky kids.

But surprisingly, Reddit backed this man.

“The kid kicking the seat is way out of line,” one person wrote. “Parents need to start telling their kids no. Tell them ‘No, stop kicking her seat.’” They added, “If you can’t keep your kids in line while on a plane, then don’t fly with them. Why should the whole plane be disrupted over misbehaving kids?”

Spoken like a true person who has never had kids. The solution is “don’t fly with them”? Don’t make me laugh. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you suddenly lose your right to fly.

Another wrote, “NTA So you were supposed to put up with being kicked in the back for 3 hours to spare the parents the embarrassment?” Someone responded, “Exactly. I’d even argue it’s more embarrassing to LET your child behave that way.”

Again, I feel so sorry for this mother and apparently all the people in the world who think it’s her fault the way her kids are behaving. (Also, still laughing over the “LET your child behave that way,” as if any parent has that much control over their little ones.)

Another parent gave this helpful advice, “It’s called parenting. It’s our responsibility to control and entertain our kids. It’s so unfair when bored and undisciplined kids are ruining other travelers experiences because the parents are being lazy.” Yikes.

Someone else had some sympathy, but ultimately still blamed it on the parents. “My son has ADHD and there’s nothing either of us can do to keep him calm all the time especially when he was younger,” they wrote. “That being said, who books a midnight flight with children that young? Any young child would misbehave being that tired.” You are so close! Yes, any child would misbehave. But stop blaming parents for something you have no idea about. Maybe they were catching a last-minute flight to a funeral. Maybe the midnight flight was the cheapest and the only way they could afford a vacation at all that year. Give them a break!

One person conceded that there were NAH (“no a—holes here.”) “NAH- everyone was doing their best,” they wrote. “But PSA- ask the parents to remove the kid’s shoes. Kicking the seat is less fun when it hurts.”

Maybe one day we’ll be able to take a flight with our kids without extra harassment from the surrounding passengers. A mom can dream, right?

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