A new study commissioned by the Flight Attendants Union of America reveals that the average age of crying babies on airplanes is 43.
“That’s the age when crying babies begin to forget what it was like to fly with young children of their own,” said Flight Attendants Union of America spokesperson Bob Payne. “But they are not yet old enough to accept that nobody’s going to give them special treatment simply because they find certain of their fellow passengers irritating.”
“The babies you know will cry the most,” said Payne, “are those who come aboard talking loudly into a cell phone, or cradling a specially boxed gourmet sandwich, or already deeply engrossed in their Kindle.”
The average age of crying babies on airplanes has increased steadily, according to the study, ever since airlines introduced ancillary fees for baggage, food service, and armrest use, and began renting ballpoint pens for working on inflight magazine crossword and Sudoku puzzles.
The study notes that one positive effect of the increase in the average age of crying babies on airplanes is that it has become more and more acceptable for flight attendants to sedate crying babies, from the beverage cart, and charge them up to $8 for a 1.7 oz. mini bottle for each administering.
“It has certainly added to airline profitability,” Payne said.
Payne also notes, however, that with the increased average age of crying babies on planes has come the increased risk to other passengers and to cabin crew. It is only natural for babies to cry out when they experience the discomfort, pain, fear, rage, and homicidal impulses that have become a part of flying, Payne said. “But the uncontrolled outbursts that can result in an unscheduled landing are much more likely to come from a crying baby who is middle-aged than one who is an infant.”
An additional finding of the study was that the only place the average age of crying babies on airplanes hasn’t increased noticeably is in the cockpit, where for some time it has held steady at 44.8 years.
When not serving as a spokesperson for the Flight Attendants Union of America, Bob Payne is the editor in chief of the travel humor website BobCarriesOn.com, which has been offering accurate travel news and advice since before Columbus landed at Plymouth Rock.