Prince George emerges from a plane in Australia, carried in
the loving arms of his mother Princess Kate. Proud papa Prince William looks on
as the crowd cheers. Nannies shuffle on the sidelines, waiting to lend a hand. But for now, the new parents are enjoying their moment in the spotlight as they
disembark their first long-haul flight with their precious little one.
I bet no
reporters asked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge if they were glad they
brought their son, or if it would have been better to just leave him at home so
the rest of the crew didn't have to hear Prince George's cries. Yeah. Yeah, reach a certain status in life and no one ever complains about your kid.
What's up with that?
But, again, this is mass transit in the skies, not a luxury cruise or private jet.
Kids on planes. It is the first thing you will hear most
travelers complaining about. Even parents who have children, but are traveling
solo, will complain about babies on a plane. It's as if the world forgot that
we moved out of the luxury that air travel used to be in the 1950s and
airplanes are now basically mass transportation in the skies. No one wants to
pay more for this luxury, but they don't want to deal with the "lower classes"
(aka: families) either.
Oh, sure, we can't all have private jets like the royals or
celebrities. The only people a royal baby can annoy are his parents, nannies,
security staff and the flight crew. They are paid to think he is cute. The staff
of a commercial airline isn't paid to coo at my boys.
Over the past few years, more and more articles are coming out
that hate on parents who travel with their kids. We are supposed to be
relegated to the back of the plane in a "family" section. Business travelers
are demanding kid-free flights. Very few airlines are actually coming up with
any logical solutions. But, again, this is mass transit in the skies, not a luxury
cruise or private jet. Just as you have the right to drive your car into work
or take the subway, you also have the right to pay for a private jet,
first class or suck it up and hang out in coach with the rest of us poor slobs.
As a mother I've been given dirty looks when I get on a
plane, heard snide comments and even get worried glances in restaurants—as if my children and I do not have a right to be there.
If there is one thing we all need to learn from the new generation of royals, it is that kids deserve to be with their parents, travel the world and experience things together.
Children are part of our
society. In fact, every adult out there used to be a child. Maybe they have
forgotten what it is like when you are tired, Mom won't give you your way and
you just don't understand what people are saying to you all of the time, because
your vocabulary hasn't been built up enough. This doesn't mean you can't be out
enjoying life and experiencing the world. Even playgrounds get boring after a
while for kids and especially for their parents.
If there is one thing we all need to learn from the new
generation of royals, it is that kids deserve to be with their parents, travel
the world and experience things together. While Queen Elizabeth would leave her
children home with nannies while she went on diplomatic visits, Will and Kate
are opting to bring their son with them, from time to time, to expose him to the
world around him, meet other parents and allow him to socialize with everyday
children. This is not a bad thing.
Now, I don't expect them to fly coach anytime
soon (can you imagine the logistical nightmare for their security team?). But
if the royals can do it, why can't we give our children that same, albeit less
luxurious, opportunity to explore, meet their peers in other countries and
shake hands with a few future ambassadors, presidents and Fortune 500 CEOs?
just never know what the kids on your next flight will grow up to be.