Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scream Free Flights?

The New York Times published an interesting article recently about flying, namely flying with kids.  Well, let me rephrase that, it's actually about NOT flying with kids.

What's irritating is the line drawn between families and the childless.  Hello, I want to be on your side!  But if I fly on the child free flight, who's flying with the kids?  Do the family flights come with chaperones?

In all seriousness, suck it up people! Yes, it's annoying to have a screaming kid on a flight. News flash, it's also annoying to their parents, not to mention embarrassing. 

Well, that is unless they're that breed of parent who are afraid of their children. You can tell who they are because their kid throws a tantrum and they go "oh oh oh honey. Let's not... oh oh oh it's ok"  To say I'm not a fan of that parenting style is like saying I'm not a fan of being run over by a car. It's a slight understatement.

And as much as I would like to call Ian Burford of Boston a self-important douche, it's not all the childless traveler's fault.  We parents need to get on the ball.  I travel internationally with my boys and I'm always prepared. 

All principals must go out the window.  If you are a no junk food parent, that can wait until they are off the flight. If you are a no medication parent and the flight is over 6 hours, do us all a favor and drug the little person if they start showing signs of raising hell.  Hell, drug them before they can! We know our kids. Be honest with yourself. If little Johny is a pain in the ass, he's going to be a royal one when trapped on a plane. Prepare accordingly.

And Bribery is your friend on a plane. I bring one new bigger toy and numerous new little toys.  Dance for the banana little monkeys! That's right, DANCE!  Actually, it's sit still and be quiet for the banana but you get my point. 

As for you childless bastards who have to be put out by everything because someone didn't tell you the world doesn't revolve around you, suck it up a little bit.  It's like 6 hours out of your life. Deal.  No one likes a whiner and you are starting to sound more annoying than the kids you are complaining about.  I mean, bitch bitch bitch. Just get together and buy your own plane.

Oh, and don't assume all kids on planes are bad news. Every time I get on a plane with my boys, all the people around me have a panic attack.  I have to talk them down off the ledge. My boys are awesome little fliers and I bust my ass to make sure of that.  A little credit for the non-screamers would be nice, thank you very much!


  1. It's a little extreme. Let's face it childern have an emotional value like no other being on the planet (currently anyway and in most countries--some countries are exceptions). I think sometimes people are so crazy about a non-child life they forget. Hmmm! People, culture and places are our lives and future. So we need kids, and it not an option to stick all of them on some kind of the nursery plane. It's really snobbish, I think some people are so closed minded and difficult. I often think those are ones afraid of being alone and totally are going to end up alone. Unless their super rich and pay people to stay near them.

  2. I think these people have a lack of exposure to kids problem..... I know because I used to be one of them. When all my friends started having kids I could finally empathize. I used to think that it's was all the parents fault and that maybe they just weren't good parents (shallow I know) but some of the best mothers I know have trouble from time to time with their children.

    My eyes have been opened and I feel slightly embarrassed for my previous view- I know that my husband feels the same. To be honest I have more problems from obnoxious ADULT passengers than kids :) They whine so much!!

    I like your "suck it up" approach and more people need to implement that into their daily lives. I do have to say that the woman who sued over hearing loss from a flight to New York to Australia was probably already pissed for having to take that long ass flight. The kid just threw her over the edge :)


  3. My 2 cents are that childless people on planes should be allowed to ask not to be sat next to or in front of little kids, but then the bulkhead seats should be reserved for people with babies - because that's what really busts me, the childless person who gets the bulkhead and then sneers at the poor woman with a toddler and a baby sat behind him/her all squished and no extra hands, when she could have been at the bulkhead with the baby in the cot and 2 hands to keep the toddler calm.

  4. Good idea Andrea! They should be notified. I do think though, that airlines may find that no one wants to sit next to a child lol.

    Yes, bulkhead for kids! The childless can have the emergency rows!

  5. Nowadays some airlines charge extra for the emergency rows (more leg room and never kids) so they are on to this...

    After seeing the way kids are treated here in Brazil - now I just smile at the parents and try to communicate support when their kid blows a gasket on the plane. (Or she's just uncomfortable because of the pressure in her ears - poor thing.)

  6. This summer I endured a 12 hour DAY-FLIGHT with a toddler and a pre-schooler on my own. They were so angelic I thought they were sick. Honestly, I'm the first to admit when my kids are pains, but they didn't try to get down and walk the aisle once. They ate their food. They played with toys, watched TV, stuck stickers on the chairs (which I removed!), slept a bit. My 3 year old talked loudly because he is 3...but it was a DAY FLIGHT...

    However, the people in the row in front had decided as soon as they saw us that we were going to make their life a misery. I did everything in my power to appease them - offered to swop seats, took everything out of the pockets so we wouldn't be bumping their seats etc. And yet they still kept standing up and accusing us of digging sharp objects into their backs, or swiping around the back of their seats at the air...looking for "feet" At these times the kids were sleeping curled up in their seats, and I was sitting with my feet under me, so for sure they had gone delusional...maybe it was the air pressure.

    After some verbal confrontations in which they were quite insulting and plain mean, I told them that if they had anything further to say then they should talk to the air hostess.

    My advice though is to stay calm, stay happy and smiling and sweet even when people are being's like a magic shield (and to boot it REALLY pisses people off when you agree with them and nod sweetly; totally knocks them off guard when they're up for a fight!)

    Like Rachel says, either fly first class or buy your own plane if you want to travel kid free..

  7. Hear, hear! I have nothing to add because you said it so well already. Give the non screamers some credit; parents, come prepared for crying out loud; everyone else, remember that families have to fly sometimes, too, and try to be a smidge patient if you can.

    I will say this -- Brazil/US flights are a dream. Brazilians are so good with kids, and so patient, and that "Johnny can do no wrong" attitude has carried over to every flight we've taken with the boys. Love it. Now if the rest of the world would catch on......

  8. Quick word of advice about bulkheads...sometimes they are not always the greatest option. Yeah, there is no seat in front of you so you don't have to worry about your kids kicking the chairs in front of them and pissing grumpy people off, but they sometimes actually have less space. On one of my posts here:

    I talked about a site called "SiteGuru". Check it before you book a bulkhead seat for your family, sometimes you cant see the TV and you actually have less legroom. Something to keep in mind.: )

  9. Rachel,

    Another great topic for discussion, actually this one, closer to my heart than any other...
    I do have to travel to Los Angeles from BOSTON once every week, I also travel to Miami twice a month and Washington DC and Philly every other week...all from either Boston or Providence...
    I have been loyal to American Airlines for 23 years so, thanks the Sweet Baby Jesus I get upgraded to first every time...
    I have however been a victim of canceled flights due to weather or mechanical issues and have been placed in the economy class at full planes.
    There is nothing wrong with parents like you who prepare, who in other words is a real good parent, I am sure the article was not referring to you at all...
    I have seen parents reading books or watching a movie while their toddlers scream like it's the end of the world.
    I once witnessed a boy kicking his mother in the head, kicking the chair in front of him, throwing soda all around, getting other people wet...
    I had the "TRAUMA" of once flying in front of a child crying ALL night from Los Angeles to BOSTON. I had ear plugs on but had a headache when I got home.
    I had to smell vomit for almost 8 hours from a screaming child behind me on a flight between Sao Paulo and Miami...a nightmare to say the least...
    These traumatic experiences have made me dream with childless planes, or with a special secret gas in the air of the airplane that would make screaming children go to sleep. I have dreamed with laws that would require children to take Tylenol PMs or Benadryl and fly with the pets along with the luggage.
    Hell, dogs behave 10 times better than neurotic children, why are they forced down under the plane? And crazy semi-retarded children allowed to harass the majority of the population.
    I know, these were only dreams trying to distract my mind from screaming, kicking, vomiting children.
    I learned over the years, AVOID FLORIDA at all costs, flights passing thru Florida in route to Brazil or vice versa are FILLED with children in route to Orlando's parks.
    So, I will kill or die to be a flight to New York, Dallas or Chicago on the way to Boston and avoid Miami and all the children that will come along with it...
    But the ROYAL rule of flying in peace is to fly 1st class.
    I have been flying 1st and Business classes for 20 years and have NEVER seen or even heard a crying child on 1st class.
    So, in other words, I will sell blood, get a second mortgage on my house if I have to, but I will fork out the extra 1000 dollars to fly 1st, my sanity is worth that much.
    These traumatic experiences have made me dream with Childless planes, however I know it is a reality we have to live with...well, people suffered for years inside planes where people were allowed to smoke, society found a solution for that...

    Just as a disclaimer, I don't hate children and I do respect a lot GOOD PARENTS.

    We have to remember that not everyone is a GOOD PARENT, many people have children by accident and are forced to deal with the situation, these I believe are the IDIOTS who make our life miserable...
    Let's see what the future hold, I would love to see a rule that children have to take a Tylenol PM or at least a "CHA DE ERVA DOCE" to come down before boarding on a plane.


  10. Ah Ray, if I were a kid in first class, I wouldn't scream either ;)

    I hear you on non-prepared or indifferent parents. They annoy me too! As do unsatisfiable non-parent people. I think a child area or non-child flight would work well, but as the article says, is not economical for airlines. They should have non-official non-child sections in economy. And/or give all of us some more space! I think everyone would be happy with that.

  11. Amen for more space...
    I read an article that the Brazilian government was actually suing some airlines to increase space between seats...
    I lost track of how that is developing...I wish our government would be that consumer friendly, but they probably get money from the Airline lobby and would never do something like that...

  12. Unfortunately, my 2 year old happens to be one of the ones that reacts oppositely to Benadryl/Dramamine, meaning she gets hyper!! Good thing I tested them on her before our Houston to Rio flight. I tried!! (And wouldn't have hesitated to sedate her safely had she responded positively).

    I try to be as prepared as possible whenever I fly. I'm one of those moms that sweats profusely trying to keep the peace if my little one starts to become a nuisance.

    The one indisputable fact that we all need to remember is that we were ALL once children at one point in our lives, and none of us were well-behaved adults when we were children.

    We all grow up, we all stop being children at some point (and behaving like children or so I hope!), and hopefully develop empathy somewhere along the line.

    If the parent is doing as much as s/he can to keep the peace, they deserve some credit even if the child is being annoying as all get out.