COMMENT:

Passengers on a Jetstar flight from Dunedin to Auckland were apparently "disgusted" because a young child had his pants changed on an empty aisle seat.

The passengers, who didn't want to be named (I'm guessing because, deep down, they know what a ridiculous first-world problem their complaint is), could not believe their eyes when, to their absolute shock, a child had soiled himself on the flight last Friday.

They didn't put it quite like that. In fact, they said the child "shat himself" which I guess is how classy people speak of children.

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They were so shocked they demanded a refund from the airline and, having been denied this, they say they will take the matter further (whatever that means).

As someone who has had to change her child's nappies in some truly unconventional locations (including, yes, the odd plane seat), I find their offence offensive.

Could the parents have taken the child to the plane toilet? Sure, if the seatbelt sign was off and they were allowed to move in the cabin, no worries.

Should they have? Yeah, I'll give you that.

But, and hear me out because I know that this is a bit out there ... here's an idea: could the other passengers on the flight just, you know, get over themselves a bit?

It's just a bit of poop, for god's sake.

It probably didn't smell of lavender in there but to demand a refund on the flight because of it seems a bit precious.

The passenger in question estimated the child to be about 4 or 5 years old.

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I don't know if you've ever tried to use the change table in an airplane toilet but let me tell you one thing straight up: my daughter is half that age and has been too big for those change tables for many months.

If you think it "smelt like a toilet" to you, imagine what it smelt like for the parents, whose noses were even closer to it?

Jetstar refused to give the passengers a refund. Photo / File
Jetstar refused to give the passengers a refund. Photo / File

This kind of sense of entitlement is in line with people complaining about noisy children in restaurants and other places and it's another example of how a country sees their children - as nuisances that are not to be heard, seen or, I guess, smelled.

Anyone who's ever flown long-haul with babies knows every social etiquette rule goes out the window. On one of my daughter's first flights, she managed to do a huge poop at the same time the baby next to us vomited his absolute guts out. It was like a scene from a horror movie (and I'll let you guess how it smelt). Instead of passing judgement, the adults around us passed the tissues.

We don't know the circumstances of this particular family. We don't know the full story. We don't know why the parents apparently ignored the cabin crew suggestion to take the child to the toilet. Maybe the child is claustrophobic and would have freaked out in the toilet? We don't know and, when in doubt, best to be kind.

What we do know is that things happen and it's up to adults to not shame a child by making them feel like the centre of an uncomfortable situation.

The parents should have tried to take the child away to get cleaned up. Not for the sake of the entitled adults near him but for the sake of the child's privacy, who, thanks to someone else's fragility, now has their bowel movement turned into news headlines.

Either way, if you feel so "disgusted" about witnessing a nappy change that you feel compelled to complain about it in public, it might just be time to toughen up a little.

The passenger implies he deserved a refund and, since the whole cabin "smelt like a toilet", everyone deserved a refund so the whole flight should have been free for all passengers because a child pooped? Talk about making a "sh***y" situation even worse by going on about it afterwards.

Everyone poops. What you should do is give less of a sh*t about it.