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Viral Tweet Sparks Debate: Who Should Clean Up After Kids on Planes?

Should flight attendants or parents be responsible for cleaning up stray snacks on planes? The internet is divided.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated April 18, 2023
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Image: Mariaprovector | Shutterstock

Traveling with kids can be an adventure, to say the least, especially on airplanes where confined spaces and limited options for entertainment can make for a challenging experience. With so much going on while traveling with little ones it’s not surprising that there’s been plenty of debate on topics from children crying on planes to seating families together. Adding to the divisive discourse, a recent tweet from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass sparked a debate over who should clean up after children on a plane.

On April 16 Bass shared a photo of his children sitting in airplane seats popcorn strewn across the floor beneath them. “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 captioned the photo.

The tweet quickly went viral, garnering more than 64.4 million views and more than 16,000 quote tweets, with users weighing in on the situation.

While some supported Bass, others argued that it was the responsibility of the parents to clean up after their children. “As someone who has definitely traveled with two small kiddos cross country by myself before…the rule is clean up after your own gremlins,” one user wrote. Another added, “Commercial airlines are not your children’s playground. Pick it up and take responsibility for your kids.”

Other users encouraged Bass to use the situation as a teachable moment. “As a father of three grown adult children may I suggest that the 5 and 2 yr old help clean up the mess made as a teaching moment of personal responsibility,” wrote one parent. A former flight attendant chimed in to say “A flight attendant is there for safety, not to pick up after you or your children.”

This isn’t the first time flight attendants have made headlines. Over the past few years flight attendants have made news for heroic acts from keeping bagged breast milk on ice to offering to hold baby while parents took a break.

While the internet remains divided on to clean or not to clean, throughout the comments, users pointed out that, most likely, both mom and the flight attendant were doing their best, and a little grace for both can go a long way.

Ready to head out on your own adventures but worried about bringing baby along? Prepare for your next trip with these six tips for traveling with baby.

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