Sitting in front of a vocal nine-month-old baby is a chore for even the most tolerant passenger.
However, a Kiwi flying to Auckland on the weekend was pleasantly surprised to receive a “little gift” from the young family seated behind him.
Rueben Skipper was handed a sweet note tied to a plastic bag containing chocolates.
The note, “written” by the tiny traveller and his mother (though probably mostly by mum), read: “Today, I am going to Auckland with my parents. I’m a little bit nervous and scared because it’s my first flight in my life. Which means I may cry or make too much noise.
“I will try to keep quiet, though I can’t make any promises. Please excuse me.”
Mr Skipper was so blown away by the gesture he took to Twitter to share his pleasure.
“What a considerate and thoughtful thing to do,” he wrote on a tweet containing a photo of the considerate courtesy package.
The internet was equally taken by this caring touch by the Ning family.
Twitter users were quick to praise the “next-level parenting.”
Others thought it was a shame the family felt it was necessary to make the apology.
One concerned Twitter user said it was a shame the mother “… was anxious about her baby being a baby on a flight”.
“Babies cry, we all know this,” read a hot take that many agreed with.
“It is a beautiful gesture, but a parent shouldn’t feel obliged to give presents to other passengers to pacify them, just because they are travelling with their young baby.”
“Yes they didn’t need to do it, BUT it is lovely,” wrote another.
The kind note and chocolate bribe may have been an extreme (and extremely cute) expression, but the anxiety felt by parents of young kids on a plane is real.
The piercing shrieks of a baby only add to the tension in a pressurised plane cabin.
A small extension of friendship to fellow passengers is an ideal way to defuse the situation — though it doesn’t necessarily need to come attached to a chocolate olive branch.
However, there are many less extreme measures to get passengers and cabin crew on your side.
They too were babies once.
“Make friends with a flight attendant. Odds are one of the attendants can watch your one-year-old for a quick pee break for the older kid,” wrote one savvy parent who goes by the reddit handle mothernomad.
Distracting other travellers with treats is a neat trick, but distractions work even better on babies.
Recently Clarke Gayford told the travel podcast Trip Notes the chore of travelling with kids could be “like preparing for a sports match”.
“You have to make sure you have enough food and distractions to keep them busy for the duration of the flight. However, babies aren’t fussy. You don’t have to bring a bag full of toys if you can be a little creative.
“There is something about those cups that a small child enjoys,” Gayford said finding inspiration on the Air New Zealand catering trolley.
He says the cups — “particularly the lids” — make an excellent distraction to add to any parent’s arsenal.
“On a couple of occasions I’ve had the Air New Zealand staff put a bunch of the lollies inside two cups, tape those cups together as a rattle.”
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission