A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about children on red-eye flights — and got quite a few hate-mail-like comments about it. At the risk of more of the same, I’ll point my readers at an opinion piece from last week by Amy Alkon, “Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!” Ms Alkon, a non-parent, as I am, doesn’t like having children’s behaviour inflicted on her in inappropriate places... and she thinks of airplanes as about as inappropriate as they get:
Root was appalled when a flight attendant told her something to the effect of “We just can’t tolerate that [screaming] for two hours,” reported the San Jose Mercury News. Root insisted Adam would be “fine once we take off” — which, in my book, means either “He’ll be fine” or “It would be a serious pain in the butt to be stuck in Amarillo another day.”
Southwest sent the right message in yanking Root and her screaming boy off the plane. Unfortunately, it lacked the corporate courage to stand its ground, probably fearing a public relations nightmare from the Mommy Mafia. Yet, almost every day, I encounter parents who need to get the same message Root initially did. Trust me — should I long to hear screaming children, I’ll zip right past my favorite coffeehouse and go read my morning paper at Chuck E. Cheese.
I know, I know — because I am not a parent I cannot possibly understand how hard it is to keep a child from acting out. Actually, that probably has more to do with the way I was raised — by parents I describe as loving fascists. As a child, I was convinced that I could flap my arms and fly, but the idea that I could ever be loud in a public place that wasn’t a playground simply did not exist for me.
I hear claims that some children are prone to tantrums no matter how exquisitely they are parented. If this describes your child, there’s a solution, and it isn’t plopping him in a crowded metal tube with hundreds of people who can’t escape his screams except by throwing themselves to their deaths at 30,000 feet.
Ms Alkon, soi-disant “Advice Goddess”, is known for her humorous and blunt, over-the-top manner, and the L.A. Times piece has well over 200 comments, as I write this, both for and against.
I’ll only say that I’m glad to have had two peaceful, quiet flights to and from Japan, on my recent trip.