Tag Archives: traveling with kids

Flying with kids (what not to do)


5 Tips for Flying with kids from flight attendant and bestselling author Heather Poole originally appeared in Parade Magazine November 17, 2013

Despite my years of travel, I am lucky enough to know an even more frequent flyer—flight attendant extraordinaire, author of New York Times bestseller Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, and mom, Heather Poole.  As parent to a seven-year-old, Heather is on Team Mom as far as kids flying. Here are her Dos, Don’ts, and Are You Serious-es to help parents experience a welcome drop in cabin pressure on their next flight.

1. Lower your attitude.

“Kids can be really disruptive on flights. But usually when that happens, it’s not the kid’s fault; it’s the parents’. Not long ago, I had a family come on board and their little girl threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the aisle as passengers tried to board. The parents looked at me and just laughed. Too often I see parents come on a plane with nothing to entertain their child, so then the kid gets bored and starts kicking the seat in front of them. Sometimes parents will even sit in first class, but leave their kids in coach. The kids will then be standing in the aisle during takeoff or trying to get out of their seats. If you can’t sit together, sit behind the kids, instead of in front, so you can keep an eye on them. Consider taking off their shoes to dissuade kicking and bring headphones—not everyone wants to listen to Spongebob.”

2. Don’t stow babies under the seat in front of you.

“I‘ve had passengers get mad at me because we didn’t have a play area on the plane. Another passenger came to the back of the plane and asked me where she could put her baby. She didn’t want to hold it. A long time ago I was on a flight—not working, just flying like a regular passenger—and I felt something between my legs. I looked under my seat and there was a baby. I turned around behind me and the mom was sleeping. I tapped her on shoulder and said, ‘I think this is yours,’ and she took the baby and closed her eyes again. She had no idea that I was a flight attendant; to her I was just a random stranger who’d gotten ahold of her baby.”




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Taking care of other people’s kids in flight

photo credit: Heather Poole

photo credit: Heather Poole

Long ago I was on a flight from Chicago to Boston via New York when a weary woman with an active baby sat next to me. Having much experience babysitting, I was used to babies and thought I might be called upon to smile, wave and cheer up a crying baby, but never did I think that the mother would abdicate her responsibilities to me, a complete stranger. The mom began to feel airsick(or so she said) and told me she was unable to change her baby’s diaper because she was about to throw up and asked me to do it for her. Guess what? I did it. I just felt so badly for the woman and the baby having to sit in the mess and yes, especially for myself because I could not stand the fumes either. After the dirty job was done, she thanked me profusely and then said she was exhausted and asked me to hold her baby while she grabbed a few winks. She woke up when the wheels touched the ground to find her baby finally fast asleep on my shoulder. I prayed that they were not on my connecting flight. Am I crazy or just a Good Samaritan? Cheers, Priscilla 

I’m going with Good Samaritan. I’m also going to say Thank God for passengers like you. While I can’t say that sort of thing happens often, it does happen, and not everyone is as nice about it as you were. Your act of kindness proves you’re a compassionate human being.

That said I came a cross a child acting out in her seat while we were doing the beverage service not too long ago. I couldn’t help but wonder why the mother wasn’t doing anything to keep her child entertained during the flight. Instead the mother kept her eyes closed and ignored the child. Later on in flight the child came to the back of the airplane and asked for a soda, I went over to the mother to see if it was okay. The woman shrugged. Not the response I expected. That’s when I asked a strange question: ​”It this your child?” The woman sighed and said no.



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Bribing passengers to switch seats

ImageBribing among airline passengers reaches new heights, as seat choices get scarce, by Dave Seminar, originally appeared on FoxNews.com July 31, 2013.  NOTE: I’ve been flying for 17 years and I’ve only seen this happen once.  To be honest I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often! 

Currently, if onboard disputes arise, it’s up to the cabin crew to resolve the situation. In any in-flight disagreement, if the captain considers an argument a security issue, he can have the offending passenger removed from the plane.

Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier and the author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, has seen passengers offering each other cash to switch seats without incident, and even has resorted to bribing fellow passengers herself. When she was traveling with her 3-year-old son, bought another passenger lunch and drinks in order to entice him to switch seats, so she could sit next to her child.

“If I saw someone trying to pay someone else off (to switch seats), I wouldn’t interfere. I’d assume they knew each other and someone owed the other person money,” said Poole.



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Woman’s Day: 7 Things Your Flight Attendant Wants You to Know


Check out the May issue of Woman’s Day Magazine!  On page 158  I offer a few travel tips….





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Skymall introduces self-imposed restraint hoodies for kids – on the airplane.


Have fun AND restrain little ones from banging on the tray table with this King Cobra Hoodie from Skymall! ($39.95-$41.95)  It’s a little pricey, I know, but kids will love it.  Mine does!  Just ignore that hissing sound coming from the row behind you.  Sorry I can’t tell you where to find the matching straight? pants, but these faux tool lounge pants ($19.99) are kind of…cool?  Okay fine, they’re not!  But I’m obsessed.

For my bargain shoppers – AMAZON:  King Cobra Hoodie ($24.99-$29.99

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Can passengers read pornography in flight?

2462986853_c271de65a1_nFrom time to time I get questions from readers who want to know what the rules are regarding viewing pornography in flight now that Wi-Fi is available on board most airplanes. Thankfully, it hasn’t been much of an issue (knock on wood). But planes are crowded, personal space barely exits, and when passengers do things they shouldn’t, well, they usually get caught.

Last week on a flight from New York to Fort Lauderdale, a coworker had to ask a 10-year-old boy to turn off the erotica and to fasten his seatbelt. On either side of him sat his younger brother and sister. Across the aisle were his parents who had no idea what was going on until we informed them why he may have been holding the computer screen so close to his face. On a different flight another passenger was caught reading a PlayboyMagazine. Next to him sat his young son. What gave this man away was the opened centerfold he was eyeing up and down. When a flight attendant politely asked him to put it away, he yelled at her for embarrassing him.

How common is it to see someone watching something rather risqué on a laptop, iPad, tablet or even the in-flight entertainment system in the air? I can only think of a few instances I’ve seen something that might raise a few eyebrows. When this happens, I’ll gently inform the passenger that there are children on board and remind them that other passengers seated nearby might find what they’re viewing distasteful. Nine times out of ten they’ll either fast forward through the scene or turn it off – end of story.


[Photo courtesy: Bekathwia]


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Flight attendants: The good, the bad, and the not so ugly world of flying

232323232fp73452>nu=3277>273>5;5>WSNRCG=377646<89732-nu0mrjThe Azumano Travel Show, a weekend travel radio show on KPAM out of Portland, Oregon, had me on the air last week to discuss my book,  Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 feet – and what’s it’s like, really like to be a flight attendant.  You can listen by clicking the links below.

Azumano Travel Show: Heather Poole (Part One): Celebrities, traveling with kids, the mile high club, naked passengers

Azumano Travel Show: Heather Poole (Part two): What kind of person makes a good flight attendant, how flying has changed over the years

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