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We had a United Airlines flight to Europe last night at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and had just made our way into the Polaris® lounge. We were about to enjoy some cocktails when a shrieking noise filled the lounge. This was followed by even more screaming and a child literally flipping over the backs of several chairs in the lounge. His mother just watched as he did his gymnastics and his younger sister ran up and down the aisles banging on other passengers’ carry-on bags while making lots of noise. There is a place for young children (and while you might not agree with me), it’s not in an international Business Class lounge (especially when they cannot behave).
Several other guests were getting irritated after the hollering and constant motion went on for around ten minutes. I calmly asked an attendant for the lounge manager. A woman named Betty approached and asked me what the issue was this evening. I politely explained that the children (around ages five and eight) were running around and screaming. They were disturbing other guests in the lounge and asked her if she would please implore their parents to quiet down their children. I also confirmed with her that no one should be screaming and jumping over the furniture.
Bettty, not wanting to get involved in any conflict, told me that “they are children” and “you can use a phone booth if you want.” I told her that this was a bit condescending and that the lounge was there for everyone’s quiet enjoyment. She shrugged and walked away. Another couple seated nearby thanked me for saying something, but nothing further was done. I was about to ask the parents to occupy their children and meter their volume when they packed up to leave.
I understand that Polaris® is restricted to passengers with tickets and that these children must have been seated in Business Class. But, does that give them the right to turn the lounge into a playground and make so much noise that other guests are not able to enjoy the space? Should other guests have to move into soundproof phone booths so that little kids can run amok?
Anthony’s Take: I don’t think that bad parenting should mean that the experience is ruined for everyone around these children. Thankfully, they left. Had they not departed, I would have politely gone over and requested that they quiet down. What do you think? Should there be some control over children’s behavior in an airport lounge?
(The featured image does not include one of the actual children and is a stock image added to a photo I took of the Polaris® lounge.)
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