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September 03, 2012

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I wish I could post a photo here! A picture is worth a thousand words. Coming back from a family trip at Christmas last year, my 4-year old was being SO good. Didn't make a peep the entire time. She chewed her gum and watched her videos on her DVD player (with headphones). There happened to be a grumpy and sleepy (obviously child less) off-duty flight attendant. She had her uniform on as she was connecting to another city to get her flight. When drink time came, I had to put my daughter's tray up that she had her DVD player sitting on. Sometimes the seat trays don't go in nicely and you have to give it a slight push. I saw the crazy flight attendant was sleeping so I was gentle. But it still moved her chair a little (which she didn't pay to be on the flight anyways!). She sat up and bounced back and forth in her chair like a crazy woman as if saying, stop moving my chair! Then she told the lady in the middle seat how annoying the kid behind her was. Well, my husband was sitting in the same row and overheard....so he got a picture of the disheveled flight attendant....she looked hung over and her hair like a bird's nest of knotty mess.

Getting off the plane, she had the nerve to look directly at my 4-year old who SMILED at her because she smiles at everyone and was upset because the biatch glared at my 4-year old daughter. I wanted to pummel her!!!! I still need to get that letter off to United to complain.

Thanks for sharing the article. I think I too have experienced a lot of times about my babies during flights. Its not so easy to keep them happy if once they started getting bored. Hope they just get calm down after seeing picture books which we just keep with us always and also with some chocolates.

Well said! Great blog! I found you through Huffington Post- congrats on being featured!

Check out my adventures with my incredible toddler here:
http://chatonsworld.blogspot.com/

omg. How about the woman seated behind us on the overnight flight (left at almost 1am) who persisted in cheerfully loud talking to her seatmate (a stranger) for TWO HOURS into the flight - enough that my five month old son who was perfectly primed and timed for sleep could not fall asleep, so squirmed and fussed on my lap for all four hours. Yeah, everyone else on the plane was quietly trying to sleep while she shared her personal business. Sooooo rude. Why???

Crying babies don't bother me in the least. The farting guy does. The woman who reads your book as you do. The unshowered for a month dude. Oh and my all time favorite, the drunk asshat at 9am.

Seriously, I completely agree. Crying kids have nothing on the assholes out there. I admit to trying to make my baby cry once on an airplane just so the guy next to me would move...

Sometimes its another passenger who will make your kids look like the "brats". I took my 5 and 3 year old on a short flight and the woman behind us (high pitchy voice that CARRIED) obviously liked kids and talked to mine for the entire flight. My kids were standing on thier seats, and really ended up yelling back and forth with this lady cause they're kids and HER VOICE OMG. Great, love it when others find my kids cute... but I felt bad for the 2 seated in her row with her. They did not seem amused after about 20 minutes of this, and every attempt I made to ask them to sit down, turn around, here look at the snacks I packed last night at 2 in the morning, here look at the coloring books I hid until this very day, look look you can WATCH CARTOONS! didn't work. They'd do as they were asked (and here I am trying to ask them in a sing songy "no I NEVER yell at my kids" voice to avoid dirty looks) for a few minutes and then from behind us: So tell me do you go to school, do you like the color pink etc etc... Didn't even get to read my 6$ People magazine.

Yay Gina! Nice to meet you.

I haven't flown SINCE I've had kids (I know) but in my international-travel-with-the-kids fantasies I would never think of packing goodie bags for others. Cra cra.
I love your writing. I came out of lurk-dom because of your tweet this morning. Thank you for sharing (and oversharing!) so much.

Best bad seatmate ever: This week on an 8+ hour flight from Europe, he leaned over and said, "Just so you know, if I'm snoring you have my permission to poke me really hard. I mean it. Just do it."

It was so awesome. And you know? He didn't really snore.

We all just need more compassion in the world. Especially in small, confined spaces where your anxiety or anger will not make the situation one drop better.

I don't understand why some people genuinely think they're entitled to not see or hear a child on a plane, or truly believe that children simply shouldn't fly because THEY don't like it. I don't enjoy the fat guy overflowing into my seat, or the old lady with bad breath, or the woman dressed like a hooker and doused in perfume... but guess what, the public doesn't cater to you. If you want your flight to be a 100% pleasant, quiet, comfortable experience, get a private jet.

Last time I flew, there was a family with a baby and a toddler on the plane, and the baby cried a little, and the toddler felt the need occasionally to walk down the aisle. The parents looked really anxious about it and were doing all they could to keep the kids happy.

There was also a drunk woman sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME who would not stop talking to me in an obnoxious drunk way about the three days of partying she'd just been doing in Vegas, even when I started to read some stuff for work.

Who was more annoying? What do you all think? THE DRUNK LADY. I would have been way, way happier to have been sitting next to the baby.

A friend of mind flew with her nearly two year old a few months ago, and he was FINE - no meltdowns, she was prepared with things to do, etc. He even took a nap. The woman sitting next to her was quite obviously pissed that there was a kid next to her, and my friend caught her Googling, "obnoxious kids on airplanes."

How about "Obnoxious asshole adults on airplanes?"

"With stinky bare feet?"

I've sat next to some doozies in my time, and quite honestly - the kids have been the best seat companions.

So so happy to read this. The thought of parents being expected to apologize for their little people's reaction to what is admittedly a ridiculously uncomfortable travel arrangement, while breathing stale air and absorbing the collective angst of their fellow passengers just incenses me. In my former life as a frequent flier never once was I disturbed by a family. This goody bag story is just sad.

Gate agents are interesting people, @Mel (Coming from the wife of a pilot here - no special treatment, trust me).

I do not mind other babies/toddlers on flights and I've never seen a parent not try to console their child if they are fussy. And yes, it's usually the parents that can annoy. While on a short one hour flight, the child seemed fine but mom sang the same song: "slice bananas... Eat bananas... " until we landed without a pause and I nearly punched out a sweet mom. If there are noises from child, I'm moreover glad it's not my child that I have to expend the energy to console in such confined quarters. But, wow, I have never heard of parents giving out gifts to the people around them. That's too intense for me and I'd be like: no thanks. If it was offered to me. And say: why are you doing this intense deed.

The last time we flew, the lady sitting in front of my son (3.5yrs old at the time) was so rude that the flight attendant offered him a free meal. I've been flying with my kid (usually alone, but sometimes with hubby) 2-3 times a year since he was born, and I've definitely had my share of rude passengers. I think the only fit my kid ever had on a plane was at 14 months when he'd just learned to walk (worst age EVER). Nothing I could do to make him happy was ok with the flight attendant, so he screamed and screamed until he fell asleep. For what it's worth, the other passengers seemed more pissed at the flight attendant than at me.

The trouble I've been having lately, though, is with the flight attendants. The last time I flew (US Airways) they gave me a hard time for requesting pre-boarding with my almost 4yr old. I was carrying a Radian car seat (heavy bastard!) and our backpack. I've always been allowed to board after first class, along with other "parents with small children needing extra time". They gave me a hard time because, apparently, this is only for kids under 4. I explained that my son wasn't yet 4, but they still gave me a hard time. I don't personally get why 4 is the magic number.

So tell me. Regardless of how much more money you spent on your ticket than I did, what would you rather: let me and my kid get on first, or risk me whacking you in the head with the 40lb car seat on my way down the narrow isles? Their only offer of help was to suggest gate checking the car seat. I explained that it's safest for my son to ride in a car seat, and being strapped in *means he can't get out to torment the other passengers*!

Besides, the last time I gate checked a Radian car seat, it came back to me in multiple pieces.

I can handle absolutely ANYTHING from a child on a plane...as long as the parents are making an attempt to get good behavior from their kid. It's the parents that decide the airplane is the place to let their kid cry it out that annoy the crap out of me...and even then I'm not annoyed at the kid, I'm annoyed at the adults.

What Suebob said. It's a few hours out of your life, people. I'd much rather sit next to a baby or a toddler than a farter whose elbow can't stay out of my ribs.

Great ideas, all of them.

Some weird rich lady once gave my son a 10 dollar bill when we landed because "he wasn't a crying brat."

Can I get an fucking Amen? We flew with our son when he was 18 months old, which I'm convinced is the EXACT worst age ever to fly with a child. This asshole seated in front of us on our 8 a.m. flight was clearly trying to sleep off a frat party the night before. And every time my *happy* child made so much as a giggle (the kid wasn't even unleashing the fury at that hour), he made a passive aggressive sigh and pushed his seat further back into my lap. Finally, I poked my head around the seats, looked at him and said, "Hey dude! We get it. WE TOTALLY GET IT. You're annoyed. You can stop huffing and puffing now. I'd hate for you to pass out." And then I was happy we were sitting behind him and not downwind from his toxic breath. I bet the guy next to him would have loved to be sitting next to my kid instead of him.

I would suggest that everyone who is flying take a chill pill. It seems like as soon as people walk into an airport, they lose their damned minds. I feel so sorry for airline employees because of the abuse they take.

Take a deep breath, be patient, cooperate, wait, smile, help others out. It's basic politeness. There no reason to lose it just because you're spending some time in a cramped space. I get claustrophobic after about 4 hours, so on longer flights I have learned that I have to do some breathing exercises - 4 counts in, hold 4, breathe out 4, wait 4...until I calm down again. And I always travel with earplugs.

I fly a lot as a gestational surrogate, because my RE is in California, while I'm in Illinois, and things haven't gone so well this time. And I always make a special effort when I fly to smile at parents with small kids (and to smile at the kids) - especially when the kids are cranky. I know how stressed it makes me, thinking about how other people are thinking about me and my kids, so I figure a smile of understanding goes a long way. Maybe we should be encouraging that sort of "we're all in this together" attitude, rather than the entitled bullshittery of people who think kids should be locked up at home and never go anywhere ever until they reach adulthood?

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