"Awwww someone left me
a cute little bag with lollypops, lottery tickets and a Snickers bar. So sweet.
Now I can surely tolerate that screaming infant next to me for the next 8
"A $5 Starbucks gift
card? Now I can caffeine up when we arrive, since I didn’t sleep at all
on that flight. Thanks for reminding me how horrible this plane ride across the
country will be with your kids!"
Seriously, people, this happens. I mean, maybe that is not
the inner monologue exactly. But surely someone had those thoughts when, back in 2012, the parents of young twins offered a goodie bag with a note telling them twin infants would be seated next to
them for several hours in a flying tin can. News of their actions exploded across the Internet and national media
after Reddit reposted a photo that one passenger shared on social media after receiving
The passenger thought it was brilliant. The public was split on their
Before you get up in arms about some notion that I have
an anti-family flying stance, you need to know that I fly with my boys all of
the time. I have been flying with them since they were seven weeks old. This is not
a random thing. I do this for a living as a travel writer. My boys have
been on more flights and more long haul international flights before they were three years old than I had been on before I was 21. We are old pros by now. This
doesn’t mean we don’t have our bad flights, but really, who doesn’t.
What miffs me is that I am seeing a growing trend in air
travel where passengers feel I should bribe them just because I’m getting on a plane
with my kids. It’s almost as if people look at my children, look at me and then
wonder, “Where’s my treat?” as if they were puppy dogs who deserve a reward for
merely putting up with my child’s presence.
Now I ask you, where is my air freshener for the guy who
farted in the seat in front of me from Seattle to Honolulu for six hours straight in October? Where was my Snickers bar, when the lady next to me on the
same flight continually fell asleep and smacked into my shoulder while I, the
business traveler (rare for me these days to fly solo) was trying to get work
done on my laptop? I didn't see any complimentary ear plugs to block the French couple
behind me talking so loud that I had to put headphones on and blast music just
to collect my thoughts. This was a trifecta of bad airplane behavior. Know
what I noticed least? The mom two aisles ahead with her kids. They
cried once, I think. Did she give me treats? Nope. Did I expect them? Not a
The thing with air travel is that everyone feels
entitled, as if this is a sacred space for them to rest and relax. In the 1950s, this was the case — but no longer. Commercial flights are like trains and subway
rides: they are a means to an end. They get you from point A to point B. They
are public transportation that you
pay a hefty price to use. If I can be on the East Coast six hours after I leave
the West Coast, you better believe I’m going to bring my tired toddler on that
plane rather than sitting with him in a car for five days. This is my right,
just as much as it is yours to take up your seat and half of my seat or grab
the back of my chair and fling it back every time you get up from your seat. Let’s
not even start on the people who throw their seats back without a little
warning, so laptops are broken or at least bent.
My boys are well behaved on flights for the most part. Yes, we have our moments, but I’ve seen plenty of adults have unpleasant moments on flights, sometimes more often than my own kids.
Drink Coupon: For one
warm mug of SHUT THE HELL UP if you ever get the urge to b*tch about a
Compact Mirror: So you
can take a good look at yourself and consider what kind of person gets pissed
off at parents traveling with a toddler who's making their lives
much more miserable than he's making yours.
either a sleeping pill or Ecstasy. Either way, your mood will improve.
The World's Smallest Violin: For you
to play as you're being whisked through the air at astonishing speeds to
someplace far away while watching TV and listening to music through headphones
that block out any noise from the toddler a few rows back who has never
intentionally annoyed anyone in his entire life (except his parents).
E.T.: Unfortunately, a DVD was too big to fit in a bag, but
here's a few bucks so you can rent the movie when you land and try to remember
what it was like to be a kid, you heartless a**hole.
Heartfelt Note: In which I
challenge you to a fight by the Hudson News closest to our gate.
Classy in every sense of the word. I wish I had thought of
this first. It expresses the feelings I am much too nice to let lose on a
flight with my kids in tow. My boys are well behaved on flights for the most
part. Yes, we have our moments, but I’ve seen plenty of adults have unpleasant
moments on flights, sometimes more often than my own kids. Should passengers be
bribed to sit next to or near a child? Not if you ask me.