Thanks to crowded security lines, delayed flights, and angsty passengers, flying is always going to be stressful. But when you add young kids into the mix, the experience becomes truly nerve wracking — just ask Arielle Noa Charnas. Allegedly, the fashion blogger and mom was asked to leave first class when her baby started crying at the beginning of a Delta Air Lines flight. Ultimately, she refused to give up her seat and her baby settled down, but Charnas’s account of the experience on Instagram has gone viral, garnering more than 22,700 likes and nearly 2,000 heated comments.
On December 29, Charnas boarded a flight to LA with her husband and 9-month-old daughter, Ruby. On Instagram, Charnas, founder of the fashion blog Something Navy, explained that she and her husband purchased first class tickets for the flight so that they would have extra room with the baby, with whom they were flying for the first time. Unfortunately, Ruby was not happy. “I had a screaming crying sleepy baby who was so overwhelmed that she couldn't fall asleep,” Charnas wrote.
According to Charnas, her fellow travelers were less than supportive. “[O]nce we were boarded I was getting tons of eye rolls and head shakes from fellow passengers on @delta because my baby was crying (as if I could just look at Ruby and say okay now it's time to stop),” she recalled. After 10 minutes, Charnas alleges,
Charnas then started crying because she “was so stressed and anxious.”
In a statement to Bustle, a spokesperson from Delta Air Lines said of the episode, “Delta flight attendants are trained to provide safe transport and excellent customers service, even under the most trying operational conditions. We fully support all of our passengers travelling in the class of service for which they’ve paid.” According to US Weekly, the CEO of Delta apologized to Charnas and her husband, refunded their tickets, and provided $300 to each.
Charnas’s Instagram post now has almost 2,000 comments. Most are supportive, but quite a few people have chimed in to argue that Charnas shouldn’t have had a baby on the flight in the first place, or that passengers shouldn’t have to listen to her baby’s crying. “I would be pissed of if I paid for a first class ticket and had to put up with a crying baby,” one commenter wrote.
On the one hand, I get it. Flying is exhausting and stressful, and it’s even less fun than usual to be seated next to a crying infant. On the other hand, we are all humans in the world, and sometimes there are babies, and sometimes they cry. Babies gonna baby, after all. Buying yourself a first class ticket doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from the normal things that happen when you pack a bunch of people into a metal can hurtling through the air, and parents shouldn’t be expected to completely forgo traveling until their kids are grown. Flying would be more tolerable for everyone — babies included — if we could all just practice a little more empathy.