Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Time for a rant

I like to think that one of my main areas of expertise is how to travel successfully with small children. Leo has been on a ridiculous number of flights in his short life (it's well into double digits) and some of my first blog entries were about how to feed a travelling child. So my ears pricked up when I noticed this article in the age today about how to survive a flight with an infant.

I don't have any issue with the article itself, although I am hoping that the author is exaggerating what an ordeal it was for comic effect - it was only a one hour flight! But if you look in the comments section, there is so much in there that makes my blood boil. I cannot believe that there are so many people out there thinking that all parents of young children are selfishly and needlessly dragging their children onto flights when other travellers are "entitled to travel in peace".

Obviously it is pretty indisputable that sitting next to a screaming child for a long haul flight can be pretty irritating. However, I don't think there are actually many parents of little ones flippantly booking their child in for an uncomfortable airplane experience without a reasonable justification. For us, it has been visiting grandparents so they can spend time with their first an only grandchild, not to mention the uncles, cousins and other relatives. For others it might be for work or a wedding of close friends and family but I struggle to believe that anyone is doing it just to piss other people off.

So this is why I think articles, and the range of blogs that tackle this issue, should be applauded as their only aim is to help the next parent of a small child who needs to travel and make the experience a little bit smoother and a little less teary. Rant over!


  1. A rant worth having! I have found this to be true but the only people who actively sneer tend to be 20 - 40 yo professionals without kids.

    Other than the odd sneer and 'tssk' people have been generous and kind. At Heathrow a sweet man in his early 70's offered to walk Imogen up and down the aisles if she cried, and in truth most people were falling out of their seat to blow her raspberries, make funny faces and in was a delightful flight because of it.

    The one couple who loudly hummphed and protested were a professional young couple sat at the bulkhead of the plane. Why sit at the bulkhead of the plane and then complain? Families are forced to sit there. You are not.

    All I can say to the naysayers that tut, moan and groan about crying babies/children is that 1) It is invariable worse if it your child, you feel twenty times more helpless and hopeless and the tssking and disapproval only make it worse. 2) Wait till you have a baby before you moan to loudly. The harder you rage against the 'baby on the plane/tram/footpath or in the cafe/shop/pub' the more humble pie you'll be swallowing if you plan to leave the house, ever.

    I do plan to book my baby (who cries) on planes for no justifiable reason. We plan to recklessly visit friends in Switzerland and France in March - with a child - on planes and the Eurostar and I refuse to feel guilty about it - even if she cries because, at the end of the day, I have lots of other things to feel guilty about; after all, I am a parent.

  2. Wow -just revisited my post - and my response is more ranty than your rant - I didn't know I felt so strongly! Ha!