Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The plane! The plane!

There are two kinds of airline passengers in this world. People who are flying with kids and everyone else who hates them.

Of course, I am not saying I don't understand the haters. Trust me. I've flown plenty and I've had more than one flight where I gritted my teeth, turned up my headset and counted the minutes until we landed. But still. I never thought kids shouldn't be allowed on planes.

I heard this sentiment today on facebook and everyone was up in arms one way or the other. And interestingly, I've heard this before from other friends...who don't have kids. As someone who has one, it's hard not to get all prickly about it.

Here's why.....I literally do everything in my power to ensure that A. has a good flight. I book our flights around her naptime. She's got ample milk, snacks, water, crayons, books, stuffed animals...we even try to fly Jet Blue so she's got television.
And I can say that about 90 percent of the time, she does just great. Lots of people to flirt with on planes so she's happy. 90 percent of the time, people tell me how good she was. I'm usually sweating and covered with sour milk and Cheddar Bunny crumbs at that point but I always say "thanks."

But then of course, there is that 10 percent. Oh, the ugly 10 percent.

Trust me, we're working hard to make sure she isn't screaming, kicking the chair in front of her, climbing all over the ground or smacking the tush of a flight attendant (which she did on a really small plane once....eek....).

However, I don't think it's worth keeping her off planes altogether because every once in a while, she utters a peep. She deserves to see her relatives who live in other parts of the country. And quite frankly, I've sat near much worse fliers who were a whole lot older. Like the itchy man who scratched (psoriasis?) all the way to Vancouver. Or the exceptionally smelly teenager who made things worse by opening up a bag of Corn Nuts (are you kidding me?) and then Doritos. Or the super loud talkers who should at least have had the decency to be interesting.

You see? I don't think those people shouldn't be allowed to fly. Even though they made my flights less than pleasant.

Until someone comes up with an airline designed just for kids, we're all just going to have to find a way to get along. In the meantime, if kids really bother you so much...maybe YOU SHOULDN'T FLY TO FLORIDA IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON. Or spring break. Or possibly, ever. Because grandparents live in Florida and so technically, all flights to and from Florida are the Grandparents Express. Which means you are actually on the kids' turf, not the other way around. Although they are usually kind enough not to complain about your presence.

That said, I apologize in advance to anyone flying with me to Florida this Saturday. A's naptime changed since I booked the flight. Best to take those headsets they'll be offering you.


Elizabeth Cobb Durel said...

I've been flying an awful lot this year and really started noticing kids on flights. (i've pretty much benevolently ignored them before with the use of headphones and fervent wishes that they don't kick the seats behind me...)

When I do get annoyed, it's not at kids, really, it's the parents...the ones who don't notice the kicking or the standing up and crawling over. Or who seemingly don't come prepared with stuff for them to do...

Mainly when parents are having a hard time and doing everything they can, I just feel sorry for them and offer to help if it seems they need it...

And I've been a little worried about it lately because as long as we're here, we're going to be those people who take their kids on lots of planes. I just hope the Pickle cooperates...

I did read somewhere that to curry favor with seatmates, bring a bag of ear plugs and pass them out with pre-apologies....

Also, when she was a baby, did you buy her a seat and stick her in a carseat? How did she handle that?

Nanette said...

I think she's been on a total of about 14 flights thus far...and when A. was a baby, we did not buy her a seat. For money reasons but also because she really just wanted to be on top of us anyway. She doesn't feel that way anymore, obviously. Mostly, she's been pretty good on planes...not screaming but just super busy and way active. Lots of stimulation, you know?

And the most important thing to remember is....give them a bottle during take-off and landing and they won't scream. Other most impt thing is bring something new (toy, book, whatever) and blowing bubble gum bubbles is a great way to keep them entertained for about 20 minutes.

You'll see though. Even if you're prepared, something always happens (which is why I travel with no less than two changes of clothes). And you'll also learn that some people are really so kind and patient. While others are just plain mean. Just like life.

Elizabeth Cobb Durel said...

Well I see plenty of mean people in airports, I guess they just eventually start being mean to us, too. (and really, they're pretty rotten even though i'm all knocked up and stuff...) Oh well, they'll just have to suck it up and hope that they don't have to endure 16 hours of Itsy Bitsy Spider...ha!

Have a happy happy trip!