Thursday, May 31, 2007

Travel Plans Change

My wife, son, and I were recently visiting my parents on the East Coast. For the first time since he was born, my son was on an airplane. It is amazing to me, now that I am a parent, to see how people will react to a baby. I admit that in my younger days I, too, was not thrilled about flying near small children, but I also realized that the parents would do whatever they could to make the flight as smooth as possible.
The flight out found the Leab family dealing with annoying, college-aged kids. "I swear to God," the guy across the aisle from me says to his friend behind me," If that baby cries, I'll kill his mom...even if she is good-looking." The friend responded, "I HATE flying behind kids. There should just be a separate section for them."My son, however, decided to sleep for the two and a half hours. Nary a squak.
On the way back, it was a different story. Little Leab didn't want to sleep. He did, but only after some reading and some playing. The issue on this flight, however, was the child of the same age across the aisle. Yes, another set of parents was on the plane, and their child was not as good-natured as mine. Throughout most of the flight, this child, who was the same age as Little Leab, screamed and hollered. At one point, the people behind my wife and I whispered to my wife, "Thank God your child is so good." That brought about a nice feeling of pride...I admit it.
Still, now that I am a parent, travel is completely different. Three years ago, I stepped on a plane to fly to New York with next to nothing. I believe the bag I was carrying had six pieces in it, a combination of clothes and books. For this past trip, I had to check a bag. I had another bag that was dedicated to only my son. Books, clothes, his favorite stugged monkey, and more. Again...weird.
My father is the perfect example of what I am getting at. He boards a plane, heads to the back, and stretches out and is left alone. He travels with nothing. This was not always true, however. When he and I used to fly together, he would always have this little, gray suitcase, This was what he used to take me to the next destination.
This also goes for car trips. six years ago, I surprised my wife by showing up for Thanksgiving at her house instead of working on a show. I packed up that morning (two changes of clothes...that 's it) and drove the seven hours. With my son now, It takes time for me to just take him to daycare. Is his stuff in the car? Is he buckled in right? Etc, etc, etc.
Maybe the one college kid is right. Maybe we do need a whole separate section of the plane for just kids and parents. Movie theaters now run "Mommy and Me" shows which are just for parents, so why not allow a place where a woman can breastfeed without people freaking out? Wouldn't that make the people on the plane happier to not have to deal with the crying children? Should we stop there? What about restaurants? Separate kids' sections. It might work, but it reeks of segregation.
I don't know, dear reader, you tell me.


Ironic said...

Quick note: Posts will increase starting Friday of next week. The school year is almost at an end, and that means crazy life as I grade and such.

Laura said...

I guess I understand both sides of the argument. On the one hand, kids can be annoying on planes. However, more annoying than any infant has ever been on a flight was my most recent experience over winter break. I flew to Hawaii to see my girlfriend and was seated next to another Minnesotan who was flying to Maui for his first vacation in almost 10 years. Yes he deserved to relax but not at my expense. Over the course of the EIGHT hour flight, he made it his business to drink as many of the little bottles of Bacardi that he could get through. He went through the Coke he brought on the plane, the Pepsi they had on the flight, and finally had to start drinking Diet Pepsi. All I'm saying is that by the end of my flight I was ready to strangle this guy, because I couldn't read, eat, sleep or watch anything on my laptop for longer than five minutes without him needing to get up and pee and consequently, get more liquor. I'd take your son near me any day over another neighboring passenger like that guy. But who knows, I'm just a lucky college student who gets to vacation in Hawaii over winter break because my girlfriend lives there...

cat said...

For flights, I think it would be better for BOTH parents and non-parents to have a seperate section for people with kids. (I love kids. I do not find them annoying on planes or anywhere) and have it sectioned off so if you need to walk with your kid you can without bothering everyone, etc.

I agree with Laura, I have had MUCH worse "adults" around me on planes than ever a child.

Darlene said...

Hah, what a perfect example of differing perspectives of humans described here. Babies and young children have a physical reason for crying or fussing on a plane--the pressure on their ears, and it hurts! (It's the same as when visitors to Duluth drive down the hill to get into the city, if anyone's familiar with that trek.) Most adults can tolerate the pressure better.

Some passengers on planes with crying babies understand the problem and go up to the parents, who obviously are just as distraught as the "offending" youngster, offering to help. Give a baby some milk. Let a child chew on some gum. Swallowing relieves the pressure.

It's the intolerant people who get angry and fuss, making the situation even worse. Instead of segregating children and families, more people should learn tolerance...something I've found is in short supply.

Anonymous said...

I also agree with laura.I understand both sides of the argument. It is really can be annoying on planes.