I have small children, and I admit it: I occasionally board a plane with them.
But as news reports and the panicked looks of other passengers have shown me, not everyone is excited to see small humans back here in 23 D and E.
If you're the kind of passenger whose flight is already ruined by my baby—and they haven't even called our boarding group yet—these ideas might help you survive your ordeal. I’m pretty sure they will definitely work:
1. Don’t make eye contact with the children
If you keep your eyes averted as you board the plane, they will disappear. Accidents happen and you may find you've locked eyes with a toddler, in which case you can scowl at the mother. She knows she's being unreasonable for leaving the house in the first place.
2. Deplane and request a different flight
Calmly gather your belongings and back away from the not-yet-grown adults until you reach the exit. Explain to the ticket agent that you will wait for the next flight. And then the next. You may be waiting awhile and, ultimately, end up in a middle seat between two people who talk you into a pyramid scheme for magical hair pomades, but at least they will be adults.
You never know what the baby might do: sleep the whole time, eat the whole time or ask to nurse on your post-Vegas buffet man boobs.
3. If you are on a plane that lets you choose your own seat, avoid sitting by a woman with a baby at all costs
You never know what the baby might do: sleep the whole time, eat the whole time or ask to nurse on your post-Vegas buffet man boobs. And you know how moms are: not at all shy about asking for help. You're one bad seating choice away from diaper duty, stranger person. So avoid that lady with the baby.
4. Start making deals
Some parents have been known to give out goodie bags while taking their young children on flights. One airline made crying babies a prize winning event. If you arrive at your seat and don’t see a bag of luxury bath products or a winning lottery ticket waiting for you, it’s time to start making deals. Let nearby parents know what they can do for you if their kid cries. Buy you a tiny bottle of whiskey? A jumbo can of Pringles? Just make sure you get something. You definitely deserve it.
5. Be thankful
This is only a few hours of your life. Just imagine: some people on the plane are living this every day.
6. Lean back
When seated in front of a young child, be sure to lean back as far as you can. A full recline is better for your back and is a more efficient way of fullfilling the kicked-seatback prophesy. Just think of the miles you'll acumulate in your karma account! Cutting down on the already limited space behind you is also a great way to remind passengers flying with a babies that they've got some nerve.
If you arrive at your seat and don’t see a bag of luxury bath products or a winning lottery ticket waiting for you, it’s time to start making deals.
7. If the baby starts screaming, ask the flight attendant what can be done about it
Odds are, nothing. Though hostility toward the mother ensures tension that's palpable to the baby and can trigger episodes of crying, which only bolsters your case. So try that first. Also consider making use of the emergency exit or be upgraded to first class. Just beware: if the baby is in first class, you might be demoted to plebian class, so strategy is everything. Think it through.
8. Interact with the child
Smile, coo, pick up the toy that fell. This is a last resort, once you've exhausted 1 through 6, but you never know what might happen. You could even start feeling some non-horrible feels—new for you on a plane you've been forced to share with a baby, which you once never were. The captain has said you may now turn on your electronic devices, so pop on your headphones and relax. You're going to be fine.