I probably don’t have to tell you that the “friendly skies” don’t feel all that friendly these days.
But parents, am I right when I say that when you are flying with small children, it can feel downright torturous?
Of course, that’s also what other passengers seem to feel when your kids show up for their flight.
If you really want to receive the “stink-eye” from your fellow travelers, arrive at the gate with two children under 5.
It took me a long time to tackle this particular parental milestone, in part because having read many an article and blog about traveling with children, the comments from travelers who are not fans of kids on their flights (to put it mildly) have made it perfectly clear: "We don’t want your (insert your kid insult of choice) on our plane."
Airlines have been getting pressure from travelers to outright ban children from flights, and it appears that some airlines are beginning to listen, to a degree.
Malaysia Airlines recently instituted a policy to ban children 12 and under from a section of their planes in order to allow business class travelers to enjoy a kid-free flying experience.
These days it seems people prefer precocious children to be contained in YouTube videos; ones they can conveniently turn off when the flight crew gently reminds you to turn off your electronic devices. Bring them on an actual plane, and those cute kids are now the spawn of your selfish loins who simply will not do in their recirculated airspace.
Lines, lines, waiting, waiting, and more waiting, and insane (and at times invasive) security requirements, can bring most adults to the brink of their patience, and frankly I cut a small child some big-time slack under these conditions.
And what really appalls me is the suggestion that I should drug my child to preserve others' flying experience. Me, that’s another story; that sounds rather appealing.
And, hey, why just stop there? Maybe require that children ride in a cage underneath the plane.
What’s sad is that there is a probably someone reading this right now who is saying to themselves, “Yeah, that sounds pretty good.”
C’mon people, give the littles -- and their parents who are just trying to get everyone from point A to point wherever all in one piece without being run off the plane by an angry mob -- a break!
But I have to say, all things considered, I don’t think I would mind kid sections on planes. Maybe it would alleviate the stress of trying to make your children not act like children.
Let’s have at it. Let’s have a big old happy playgroup back there. But I have a few demands of my own:
- Better snacks are essential, and on the double please. A yummy food equals happy kids.
- If you get grossed out by my changing my baby’s stinky diaper in your general vicinity, how about a lavatory that actually makes it possible to change your kid? I cannot control the poop anymore than some passengers can seem to control their bodily functions in flight.
- We’ve got stuff. Get over it, and give us some space to store it.
- Depending on the length of the flight, please allow kids to get up occasionally. They’ve got wiggles, and it goes far easier if they can get them out just a little.
- And while we’re on the subject, if you are going to make everyone get to the airport so insanely early and wait, and wait, how about making kid- friendly play spaces available where kids can run out some of those wiggles before they get on the airplane?
Yes, I know, there are parents out there who leave something to be desired in attentiveness and consideration for others.
But honestly, most parents I know are planning nothing short of a full scale strategic battle plan—complete with carefully timed activities, plan B distractions, selected gifts (bribes) and more—all in order not to disrupt the other passengers.
We’re also kind of on the same side.
Airline travel these days straight up stinks — for everyone. Get mad at the right people (FAA, Airlines, etc.) and don't take it out on little kids and their stressed-out parents.
How did my little guys do on their first flights? Perfectly. Their mother, however, hopes to not have to fly for a while. It was exhausting, and as expected, uncomfortable.
Would it have killed the man next to me to give a mother scrunched up against a car seat on one side a stinking armrest? Apparently so.
I also noticed he was reading a book about Buddhism.
Need I say it? Karma, buddy, karma.