Flying with children. Oh, the pain.

Jul 24th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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Flying with children. Oh, the pain.

That adorable conservative columnist, David Brooks, apparently endured a recent family vacation from hell, at least the flying portion. He writes about it in today's NY Times and what a hoot!

He reminded me of a recent trip where my flight was delayed due to thunderstorms and our plane was forced to sit on the tarmac for three solid hours before take-off. His descriptions of the parents and children fit my experience to a tee. For the first time, I truly felt the pain of the flight staff and pilots, who had no clue how to calm these turbulent waters. This is one of the few times in my life I thanked God for making me childless.

My heart goes out to all you parents who have no choice but to vacation with kids in the summer. I don't think I could it and/or fake wanting to.
NYCTravelSnob is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:17 AM
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The rest of us can thank God for the same thing.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Some of us, however less eloquent, frequently take great comfort in the essay we hear in our own heads: "Oh, the misery and loneliness of childlessness".

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:22 AM
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Children don't come with an "on-off" switch ...

There are far greater things to get worked up about than fractious children.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:56 AM
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(i.e., that God made NYCTravelSnob childless. The Snob, the children, and the rest of us all benefit.)
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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I've traveled many times with my son, at all ages with much luck...mainly because I was prepared with books, snacks, toys etc. I have seen so many parents struggle with their children but have nothing with which to distract them. My heart goes out to parents and passenger's alike when an irritated child makes his/her unhappiness known (loudly).
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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Well, not all children are a pain when traveling.

I think it depends on the age of the child, how his parents have raised him or her, and how well the parents have prepared for the trip.

I have ridden with them and gotten tired of getting beaten at little board games.
The oldest boy enjoys beating me. He is clever, and quick. It wakes up my brain cells even it does intrude on my self esteem.

We met at a lodge in Canada last summer, and the entertainment took care of itself. First the scenery, second there was blond young lady of the same age and, third, a chocolate cake.

I think the chocolate cake won. Wait a year. It won't.
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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My reference to the David Brooks article was not an endorsement to bash children, ill-behaved or not. I know Mr. Brooks is a loving father of two which made his article that much funnier to me.

Frankly, I adore children and have many in my life. They love me because I love them unconditionally.

Regarding the incendiary and vituperative comments; please, dear editors, allow them to remain. In order to see and appreciate true beauty, one must see and experience true evil and ugly.
NYCTravelSnob is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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While the humor of Mr. Brooks column will not appeal to all, it is clearly a farce.

Yet you connected it to a real-life experience.

You made reference to your gratitude to God as being a rare experience (for your childlessness); in a similar way, I intentionally inserted the adverb "frequently" - - [Some of us... frequently take comfort...] - - to mean not always.

Thus... not always do my thoughts turn to how awful it would be to face a childless future.

Just frequently.

I didn't start this thread.

Vituperative? Evil and ugly? harrumph... just telling it the way it is.
rex is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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There are way too many couples out there (some friends of mine) who would love the opportunity to Thank God or whomever for gifting them with a child or two.
We were all children at one time and my heart goes out to those who want children and have none, rather than those with children who might be annoying at times, a childish trait, I hear.
Scarlett is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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rex, dear, you and/or your post were the furthest from my mind when I last responded. So sorry you didn't think I understood your perspective because I did.
NYCTravelSnob is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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Dear Scarlett, I too have friends that so desperately want a child and my heart breaks for them. They are in my prayers daily. And yes, I too have heard that rumor, that sometimes children act childish, LOL. How about that? What a shock!
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 03:07 PM
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Rex: NYCTravelSnob already answered you - but gosh - how on Earth did you connect NYCTS response to your post????
janis is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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<<how on Earth did you connect NYCTS response to your post?>>

I didn't think I was "vituperative, evil nor ugly"... but I didn't think anyone else's was either...
rex is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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I'm pretty sure it was aimed at Robepierre - who btw has been pretty bitchy/snarky all day long. Must have got up on the wrong side of the bed . . . . .
janis is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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I remember a recent flight on AA. We were delayed over six hours in the airport, boarded two airplanes (both were "broken" AA said), changed gates several times.

There was a woman traveling alone with four young children (8 to 2 years of age) and they were amazing. She was prepared well enough and other travelers helped her to keep them distracted while we waited out the airplane problems.

We finally get on a plane and the flight attendants are rushing us, yelling at us, saying they must leave in 15 minutes or there will be further delays because the flight crew must be changed. They were no help at all to this poor woman.

Apparently, in all the gate changes she and her children were given different seats (as were most of us) but THEIRS were spread across the whole airplane - not two seats together! The flight crew was so rude - "get in your seats NOW or else we'll be delayed." She threw herself on the mercy of the passengers to get five seats close together. I must say we did an admirable job in very short order!

And those kids STILL managed to survive the flight - very well behaved. Obviously, this mom taught them well. Poo on the flight attendants for their disinterest.

I think it comes down to good parents teaching basics of good behavior to their children and a certain amount of luck.
Jul 24th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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I was livid when I read Mr. Brooks piece. I am the parent of a 14 month old who flies regularly, usually to visit family members who can no longer travel. I'm sorry, but her great-grandmother's funeral was not being moved across the country so that other air travelers would be spared her presence on the plane, and my mother-in-law would not have forgiven me for not bringing my daughter to her mother's funeral. Do not assume that parents fly with children for "fun" - it's not fun for any of us, but it is, however, sometimes necessary.

We pay for the same seats you do (yes, most of us do buy our children seats) and make every effort to make the flight as easy as possible for everyone around us - meaning we have clean, decently dressed children, who are not drunk or intentionally rude to the flight crew and yes, we bring toys with which to entertain our kids and food to feed them. You would really rather I do that over allowing her to kick the back of your seat for the entire flight, oh, and by the way, she doesn't recline her seat into your lap and she doesn't complain when you recline your head into her lap.

If you don't want a child on your plane - charter a private jet and you can choose you own company. Until then, I'll take my daughter (or anyone else's) over the obnoxious, drunk 40-something year old "adults" across the aisle that made my last business trip five hours of torture.
bgans is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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Be nice to these kids.
Eventually, they'll be in charge of things. And you'll be hoping they even give a damn about you.
platzman is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 09:28 PM
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In the situation I referenced above, one mother of two young, agitated girls went ballistic on the gate agents when, after a two hour delay at the gate, they moved us onto the plane to sit another three hours on the tarmac. Another plane needed our gate. Now, in fairness to all and given the weather, nobody could say for sure how long the tarmac wait would be and the airline did offer to send the mother and her two daughters on the first flight out the following morning. She refused the offer and before she agreed to board the plane, she screamed at the top of her lungs using every popular expletive imaginable. Clearly, the mother had reached her limit and lost control.

Air travel was barely much fun before 9/11. Now it truly does test everyone's endurance, especially when hyper-active children enter the mix. Who among us, after a five-hour exhausting delay on a record setting day for high heat, would volunteer to sit with a screaming, kicking, irritable child with no guarantees the mayhem would ever end? (Feel free to crown yourself a saint if you do.)

Personally, I refuse to participate in any blame game. It's hard enough for adults to behave with civility when things go wrong with air travel these days, I can't imagine any parent being blamed for a situation where children are tested far beyond any reasonable measure of human patience, especially when they're locked in a sardine can with overwrought adults for hours and hours with no end in sight.

Patience is a virtue which many people do not possess and for every person that wants a child there seems to be a person who does not. As the French might say, c'est la vie!
NYCTravelSnob is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:38 PM
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My daughter has travelled on planes since 3 months of age. Now she's nearly 16, and tomorrow we depart for India together.

It's sad to be a parent getting onto a plane with a child: you can see everyone looking at you and wincing (at the least). Kids aren't dumb. Put them in a situation where everyone expects them to be a pain, and they will do their best to satisfy expectations!

But most kids, when not pressed beyond the limits of endurance, can keep themselves amused and civil. If not, it's up to the parents to do it. Many's the time that, at the end of the flight as I sat with my daughter and waited for everyone else to get off so she wouldn't get hit in the head with someone's bag, people would stop to compliment me on how well-behaved she had been. It was always in my mind to say, exhaustedly: "You have no idea how hard I worked so that you wouldn't be disturbed."

Once when she was only 3 or so we were given two middle seats, one in back of the other. A man actually gave up his aisle seat so we could be together. "I travel with kids, I know how it is," he said.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan (personal) (work)
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