In fact, barring an actual, life-threatening emergency, a crying baby on board could be the worst thing to possibly happen on a flight.
There have been many attempts over the years to deal with this universal problem.
In May, JetBlue held a Mother’s Day promotion in which they offered passengers with free flights when babies cried on the flight.
Malaysia Airlines took a different approach when it straight-out banned infants from certain classes and cabins of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 737 fleets.
Some airlines have taken a more hard line approach by reportedly booting passengers and their howling offspring off the aircraft altogether.
On one flight to Hong Kong, a bawling infant sparked a four-person brawl.
Parents and guardians of babies on planes have tried any number of things to desperately quell a crying spell. Advice to flying parents has ranged from feeding babies during takeoff to doping them with cough medicine.
Because even while all passengers hate the sound of crying babies, it’s so much worse for the adults that brought them on board the plane.
Emma Lovell knows this too well. While caring for her sick mother, the Sydney mum-of-two
endured many a long-haul flight from Australia to the UK with her infant firstborn in tow, and became accustomed to feeling the weight of a cabin-load of deathly stares.
“I think the worst thing is the fear of what other people are going to think — that takes over from the concern of why your baby’s crying in the first place,” Ms Lovell told news.com.au.
“You’re trying to comfort the baby but you’re mostly worried about the huffing and puffing from people who A, have no children, B, have left their kids at home, or C, have grown-up children and have completely forgotten how hard it is to travel with a baby.
“So many people are very judgmental and there’s very few of those looks that are sympathetic. It’s mostly glares from people that seem to say, ‘Feed it, or kill it’.”
Ms Lovell said the trouble was that baby bassinets provided by airlines were relegated to high-traffic areas, such as near the bathrooms or service areas, where there was a relentless stream of distraction to bubs trying to sleep.
“My daughter was a really good traveller but she just could not sleep with the distractions, with the cabin lights going on and off, the person in the next seat turning on their reading light, the food service interruptions, the entertainment screens and every now and then someone smiling and waving at her,” she said.
“I used to do all these things, rigging up sheets and blankets with tape to cover her, and they’d start to work and then fail miserably.”
So with necessity being the mother of invention, this fed-up mother invented one hell of a fix.
The high school teacher came up with the Fly Babee — a travel-friendly canopy that fits on airline-issued bassinettes and eliminates distractions to help baby sleep on a flight.
It’s super lightweight — weighing about 500 grams — and has been approved for use on some Qantas and Virgin Australia cabins and aircraft.
“It’s like a little bag that unzips and pops up, like one of those pop-up laundry bags,” Ms Lovell said of the Fly Babee.
“It provides a really lovely, cozy dome that blocks out 97 per cent of light and it’s 100 per cent breathable and air permeant — it essentially allows air to flow as if it wasn’t there. It’s got a rainbow opening so you can get baby in without taking it off, plenty of kick space and a little peephole to check up on them.
“There’s also a little pocket inside for your iPad or phone so you can play lullabies or whatever you use at home. It’s just a really simple fix to a really common problem.”
Virgin Australia has allowed the use of the Fly Babee canopies on-board its A330 and B777 aircraft, while a Qantas spokesman told news.com.au it was allowed in economy and premium economy classes on its B747 and A380 aircraft, as well as economy on the A330.
The Fly Babee has earned Ms Lovell a slew of awards, including the recent Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year gong at the AusMumpreneur Awards.
And she thinks her invention is a gamechanger for people travelling with young children — it’s designed for babies through to toddlers — and because it has a universal fit and UVP 50+ rating, it can also be used in cars, on prams, and pretty much anywhere else.
Since its official launch in May last year, Fly Babee has attracted 50 Australian retailers and there are plans to launch it internationally, including in Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, the US and the UK.
With her daughter — whose anguished cries inspired the invention — now aged six, Ms Lovell said it’s been a long time and hard work getting the product off the ground but she couldn’t ignore the chance to help solve a common air travel nightmare.
“Really, without my husband it would have been one of those ideas that would have probably eventually made it to market and I would have thought, ‘Hey, that was my idea,” the entrepreneur said.
“I think it helps so many families enjoy what could otherwise be a very stressful experience.”
TOP TIPS FOR FLYING WITH BABIES
— Toilets can be really cramped for when you need to change the baby, so keep essentials for each change in easy-to reach ziplock bags so you can grab and go without lugging everything along.
— Get your baby’s ears checked before their first flight for anything that may cause problems on the aircraft.
— Don’t fall into the trap of packing too much for the baby — you’ll already have your hands full. Babies are in every country — you can buy forgotten essentials at your destination.
— Don’t forget to pack an extra change of clothes for you, as well as the baby, in the carry-on bag, in case of any vomit spells or spills during the flight.
— Make sure you’ve got your liquids already sorted in the approved clear bags before you go through the security area, and double-check you haven’t packed any restricted items in your carry-on — it saves a lot of hassle in the queue.
— If you’re using the Fly Babee, buy it well in advance of your flight so the baby can get used to sleeping in it before you introduce it on the plane.