Passengers demand child-free flights after flier sits next to baby on 24-hr trip

Virginia Glaze

Passengers on TikTok are calling for airlines to institute child-free flights after a woman went viral for looking at her neighbor’s text messages complaining about her baby during a 24-hour trip.

Flying can be a stressful experience for anyone, but infants are especially prone to in-flight woes, as the change in air pressure can wreak havoc on their underdeveloped ears.

In fact, it’s not medically recommended for infants under seven days old to fly. However, parents with young children often have to make cross-country trips for a multitude of reasons… and child-free passengers are calling for change, thanks to one mom’s viral TikTok video.

On May 10, TikTok user Emily sparked backlash after uploading a video claiming that she’d read her neighbor’s text messages on a 24-hour voyage from Canada to Australia.

In her video, Emily claimed that her fellow passenger was complaining about her 9-month-old infant being sat next to them on such a long trip — and it’s clear that she wasn’t happy about it, judging by the upside-down smiling emojis she added on top of the clip.

Viewers were not on Emily’s side. Many commenters called out the TikToker for bringing her young child on a lengthy flight, which could prove to be a major discomfort and distraction for other fliers.

Still, others berated Emily for reading her neighbor’s text messages, calling her out for invading their privacy.

“Extremely valid, babies are so overstimulating and they can and will invade your personal space in every way,” one user wrote.

“When you’re just starting a long flight and the nosy person next to you is reading your texts,” another pointed out.

“Based on your reaction/response, she seems to have assessed the situation correctly,” another said.

Emily offered a response to the backlash in a follow-up video on May 20, saying viewers “did not understand the point” of her original post.

“She was acting very, very visibly annoyed,” Emily said of her in-flight neighbor. “Putting her hood up, audibly sighing, and putting her phone right up next to me and texting multiple friends.”

“As a parent, I am so hyper-aware of any sound Max would ever make on this flight, and that’s why we are reluctant to fly.”

Despite her explanation, netizens still weren’t on her side and continued to admonish Emily for reading her neighbor’s texts.

That’s not all; TikTok viewers even raised the idea of child-free flights, saying they’d even pay an extra fee for an undisturbed travel experience.

“Please airlines, I’ll pay extra for child-free flights!” one user begged.

“Had the most horrific flight back from Egypt two years ago. Truly dreadful. I’m all for child-free flights!” another said.

“I really wish they did child-free flights, I would honestly pay extra,” yet another admitted.

While child-free flights aren’t yet a reality in the United States, some airlines have introduced ‘quiet zones’ for passengers hoping to catch a few zzz’s or merely unwind during their trips. 

Similarly, a few companies have also introduced ‘family zones’ for families with young children to avoid disturbing other passengers, and sometimes even include child-friendly entertainment during the flight.

However, the only major airlines that offer these options are AirAsia, Japan Airlines, IndiGo, Malaysia Airlines, and Scoot Airlines… but Americans are hopeful more companies will start implementing these zones sooner rather than later.