Gatwick Tackles ‘Guilt Trippers’

London’s Gatwick Airport has conducted a survey of 1,000 UK parents to reveal the most common family stresses when going on or returning from holiday.
The poll shows that 30% of families find disturbing other holidaymakers as the most stressful part of a trip and 54% feel guilty when their child cries loudly or misbehaves.  As a consequence 19% of those travelling with children try to avoid busy areas in airports.
The research has found that the anxiety created by ‘guilt trippers’ – travellers who complain about the behaviour of other people’s children – in many cases “outweighs the enjoyment of family holidays.”  The results show that 54% of parents are more concerned about other people’s reactions to a crying child than the child’s distress itself (40%).  Furthermore, 21% of parents admit to wishing they had stayed at home.
The findings also say that families regularly encounter ‘guilt trippers’ – 38% have experienced an “evil stare” from other travellers, 24% have been asked to move away from the area and 11% have been asked to keep their child quiet.
Parents also fear their child misbehaving or crying on an aircraft (62%), during mealtimes (24%) and when passing through airport check-in and security (32%).  It was also claimed that 36% worry about struggling with baggage – this rises to nearly half (46%) for families with children under the age of three.
Chief Executive Stewart Wingate explains how changes at Gatwick aim to reduce these “sky-high” stresses:  “Already at Gatwick we have launched security assistance lanes for parents with children so that they can go through security at their own pace and get a little extra help from our staff.  We have also introduced free ‘kids’ zones’ in both our terminals to enable young children to release some of that pre-holiday excitement before the flight and we offer a porter service to assist with baggage.
“We are now providing pushchairs for parents as they step off the plane.  This is a scheme we are trialling in the busy South Terminal.  We are also working in partnership with Thomas Cook this summer to prioritise the offloading of prams from the planes so that they are the first to arrive on the baggage reclaim belts.”