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Who should clean up after kids on airplanes?

A Twitter post ignited a controversy about this.
Kids eating in a plane.
Posted at 3:40 PM, Apr 21, 2023

If there’s one thing the internet never tires of, it’s a Twitter brawl about kids on airplanes.

The latest fracas erupted after a tweet by a Toronto Blue Jays player started a heated debate about who’s responsible for picking up after the little monsters/angels on an airplane.

On April 16, Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass posted about his five-months-pregnant wife being “made” to pick up bits of popcorn their daughter dropped while in-flight.

"The flight attendant @united just made my 22 week pregnant wife traveling with a 5 year old and 2 year old get on her hands and knees to pick up the popcorn mess by my youngest daughter. Are you kidding me?!?!" Bass tweeted. 

This angry little missive resulted in tens of thousands of comments — people accusing Bass of being an entitled jerk, others claiming it’s part of the flight attendants’ job to clean, and still others pointing out that making a pregnant woman crawl on the floor clean up popcorn is, to put it mildly, a bad look.

OK. First: That is a cute baby.

Second: That is not a lot of popcorn. Whoever cleaned it up surely made short work of it.

Third: I really hope that the flight attendant did not, as claimed, force the kid’s mom to grovel on the floor for kernels. But if they did, I imagine it’s because they finally snapped — flight attendants have lately had to put up with increasingly unhinged behavior from adult airline customers.

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And the passengers weren’t that great to begin with. I, personally, with my own eyes, once saw a person hand a flight attendant a gallon-sized freezer bag of warm urine (I guess their kid really had to go?) without apology or embarrassment, as if it were an empty coffee cup.

I have also traveledwith my kids, from newborn to new tween. I try to keep our family’s garbage tornado contained. Overwhelmingly, flight attendants and fellow passengers have been patient, and even kind. But like the mom of Bass’ kids, I’m sure I’ve left our row in rough shape before.

One flight attendant, speakinganonymously to HuffPost, acknowledged that one of the job duties is to clean, but safety is paramount. And it’s always appreciated when parents pitch in.

“It’s understandable that a parent might leave a single animal cracker or a stray crayon after a flight; we just ask that parents do what they can to keep the plane a safe, clean, and comfortable environment for all passengers,” they said.

What’s that? Somebody with a reasonable opinion? On the internet?

As usual, the solution requires a little understanding and assistance from everyone involved: Parents, try to pick up after your kids. Flight attendants, don’t force a passenger to clean up a minor mess their small children created.

And everyone, for the love of God, take it easy on us parents. Most of us really are trying our best in a stressful situation. Those judgy looks and comments are not helping.

We want to get to our destination in one — tidy! — piece, with no tears or tantrums along the way. Just like you.

This story originally appeared on Simplemost.

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