There are two types of flyers: those terrified of the takeoff and others terrified to be seated next to young children.
Preparing for a flight is much more than just packing, making your way through the holiday security lines, and securing your favorite airport snack. Charging your headphones in case of a screaming baby is essential to a calm flight.
For passengers seated next to this TikToker, however, headphones alone weren’t enough to escape the baby distractions. In fact, this mom had a tactic that involved everyone sitting beside her.
To keep her quiet and entertained, a TikTok mom gave her baby to nearby passengers to hold.
To the shock (and occasional delight) of many passengers on this TikTok mom’s video, she passed over her young baby to be held by anyone seated near them. Smiling, happy, and far from the dreaded airplane cry, the baby seemed relatively happy to meet all of the strangers seated around them.
While it looked absurd, the TikTok mom’s tactic actually worked for everyone on the airplane, except, of course, anyone worried about appearing rude for passing on their turn to hold the baby.
For viewers of the video, however, discourse about the safety and cleanliness of this mom’s airplane tactic swirled in the comments.
Opinions were divided over this mom’s flying hack and some found it ‘selfish and unsanitary.’
“Cute, but I’m personally too anxious about the thought of my kid getting germs from strangers — especially in the winter months.” one commenter wrote under the video.
Research out of Auburn University revealed the ugly truth that many commenters pointed to about airplane bacteria and germs. Airplane environments held germs that festered much longer than on other non-airborne surfaces.
Deadly bacteria like E. coli and MRSA survived on various airplane surfaces for up to a week. Any extra contact with these areas could lead to a greater risk of infection and sickness, especially for children with vulnerable immune systems.
“As a mom, NO,” one viewer wrote, “but as a passenger — GIVE ME THAT BABY!”
Other comments supported this opinion, saying they didn’t have the confidence to pass their own child around to strangers, but a stranger’s child was fair game!
Sparking memories of traveling with their own parents, one commenter reminisced, “As a kid on my first flight, my mom handed me to the flight attendant.”
Other moms shared more feasible ways to keep their babies well-behaved.
While many online creators shared the horrors of long flights with a crying baby, not enough online discourse empathetically related to the parents.
Family creators like Sonia Ong relayed the anxiety that came with flying with young children and viewers in the comments related, hoping to find tips for relieving their traveling stress.
While some bloggers shared tips like using a bottle during takeoff or staying stocked on snacks during the flight to keep their children happy, other creators suggested utilizing airport hacks to make traveling more reasonable.
Katie and Harry shared their often-missed tips for the airport to keep their four-person family happy while traveling. From checked bags to airport secrets, they gave their viewers a sneak peek at a day of traveling for their family.
Utilizing fast lines for families and pre-boarding with children helped combat any angsty childhood impatience prior to a flight, they also suggested finding the airport playgrounds that were intended to help young children burn energy before flights or during layovers.
Airlines have acknowledged the struggle of family flying and attempted to relieve traveling stress.
JetBlue has launched a new “Family Seating Guarantee” which ensures that all children are seated next to a parent or a guardian and United Airlines has taken on a similar policy.
United Airlines’ approach is relatively similar, their policy expansion has reduced the price of seat assignments for children flying with their parents relieving the financial burden of traveling families.
While some people have criticized the new policies as “unfair” for single travelers, most families felt the expansions reduced their anxiety about traveling with their kids.
So, whether you’re worried about a crying baby as a passenger or a parent, these tips for traveling can help to ensure a peaceful and comfortable flight and hopefully prevent your seatmate from handing off their baby for you to hold.
Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.