December 17, 2014

6 Things More Annoying Than Babies on a Plane

Another incident of “baby apology goodie bags” has gone viral. This most recent example involves parents handing out candy and earplugs to their fellow airplane travelers, to curry good favor in the event their infant is heard as well as seen.

If I went around the grocery store handing out $5 to everyone once we arrived “just in case” my child has a hard time, it would be considered superfluous (I hope). But read a lot of the headlines and article comments associated with this story and you’ll find a general attitude of, “This should be normal for all parents traveling with babies, I absolutely deserve candy for being stuck on a plane with them.”

Babies are people too, and I don’t understand why parents feel this burden to placate total strangers for normal infant behavior. Babies cry and fuss. (Well, I didn’t, but that’s because I had a hole in my heart – oxygen issues. Healthy babies cry and fuss. Remember that.)

babies on a plane

Baby G is 6 months old and recently discovered that she has the ability to strongly give voice to her disapproval of a situation. After looking at each other with shocked eyes the other night, SoldierMan said, “Well, she can’t use words….”

Exactly.

And in case it comes across that I’m biased because I have a baby, for the last 30 years I’ve traveled without one. And I’ve encountered plenty of things just as or even more annoying on a plane than a fussy baby.

Safety Choreography – No offense to flight attendants, since I know they don’t make the rules. But really. Every. Single. Flight. When you’ve already been on one or two connecting ones that day. We have to sit through the same tedious and condescending demonstration on how to use a seat belt. A seat belt. A couple of years ago I flew home for Christmas, and the flight attendant had rewritten the safety briefing along the lines of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” I wish I had thought to record it. It was very clever and cute, and I know would have been a youtube sensation. You actually wanted to listen to it.

Talkers – I know, I know, I complain about this all the time. But I’m not on a plane to make new friends. (My mother, on the other hand….) When I’m flying alone, I like to either read or nap, or both if there’s time. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to learn their life story. I don’t care why they’re going where they’re going or what they’ll do when they get there. I know, I’m a basically self-centered person. But I’m not looking to be best friends with anyone. A polite hello letting me know you aren’t a serial killer is perfectly sufficient. Interrupt my book to try and sell me insurance (yes, that happened) and you’re permanently on my bad list.

Kickers  Lest there be any confusion regarding the subject of this post, I’m not defending genuinely misbehaving kids. There’s a difference between human beings displaying normal human behavior (such as infant fussing when they are hungry, tired, or uncomfortable) and actual bad behavior. Like the kids who kick the back of your seat the entire flight. All two and a half hours. Oh my gosh.

Pricks – There’s always that guy who gets to the back of the plane and then throws a fit because all the CLOSED overhead compartments are full, and his carry-on has to go to the front of the plane, 15 rows ahead of his seat. Think a baby fussing is annoying? Sit next to the guy who’s having trouble connecting to the WiFi.

Cats – Have you ever flown with a cat in the cabin that very much did not want to fly that day? I have. That’s way more irritating than a baby.

TSA – Okay, okay, I guess this isn’t really on the plane. But I can never let an opportunity go by to remind people that purchasing an airline ticket shouldn’t qualify as “probable cause” for search and seizure of your person and property. There’s an expectation that police officers – who actually get assaulted and shot at by actual bad guys during the course of their job – should be omniscient, inexhaustibly patient, and slightly-less-equipped for self-defense than the general population, but we shrug off the woman in a “uniform” marching up and down a line of grandparents, honeymooners, and professionals shouting, “HAVE YOUR ID CARDS OUT!” less than a foot away from them. (That was the El Paso airport, in case you were wondering.)

And, maybe if everyone wasn’t manhandled and scanned and required to unpack and repack all their belongings and take off their belts and shoes and jackets and put them back on before even getting to “deh plane,” maybe everyone would still feel charitable towards their neighbor when we finally got sardined together for the journey.

photo credit: FabulousTerrah via photopin cc

13 comments:

  1. Love this! I have flown many times and there are definitely way more annoying things on a plane than a crying baby. I do not have any children, so I am definitely not biased.

    On another note, doesn't everyone already bring earplugs on a plane (or is that just me)?! I have found that earplugs are a great deterrent for many of the things on your list. I especially dislike the talkers. I do NOT do small talk, if I can help it. ;)

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    1. I bring my earbuds, but they used to make you even take those out for the safety brief, to "make sure" you were listening and your electronics were off. That's when the talkers "get" you.

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  2. Let me just add contagious [sick] people. Don't fly. Just, don't. Some of us have horrible immune systems and catch EVERYTHING. It's not my fault you're not smart enough to buy refundable tickets.

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    1. Yes! Sick people! I almost put that on the list, too. But I've also been the person who gets sick before the *return* trip, and there's nothing you can do about that. Still annoying.

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    2. This is true. Sometimes there's nothing you can do, but put on a mask or something.
      Also, groups of teens. Our marching band flew to march in the Hollywood Christmas parade one year, and six of the girls had never flown before (much less left the county) and when we started to take off, SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM. Landing? SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM. I was severely embarrassed.

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  3. I completely agree. I never flew when my kids were babies, but if I did I would have just tended to them the best I could the same as I do anywhere else. If they cry, and I'm doing my best to fix the problem, I don't think I need to give you a cookie because you have to hear it.

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    1. I honestly can't imagine someone flying with a wailing baby in their lap and being able to ignore it. I would think, if the kid's still crying, it would be implicit that it was in spite of the efforts of the parents. *shrug*

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  4. I think teenagers in groups are 10 times worse then babies. I have been seated at the back of a plane with Jack with some teenagers on a trip. I thought I was on a roller coaster with all the screaming they were doing.

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    1. Yeah, teenagers. And then you hope it's not a sports team/all of them remembered to bathe.

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  5. LOL I'm thinking of the angry cat. I have to say, I've never seen any cats around when I've flown. But that WOULD get annoying.

    I hate the people who lean back their seat so I can't move. Happens to me ALL the time.

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    1. That cat was nuts. I thought it was a sick baby. Or an old lady crying. Or something. I couldn't figure it out. Then I saw the woman deboarding with the soft carrier and the cat was yeowling and hissing at everything. Ugh.

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  6. I'm also very anti social on the plane. I pretend to sleep so that I don't have to deal with the talkers. I can't imagine a cat!! I don't think I've ever been on a plane with one.

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  7. Seriously. Adults are worse than babies.

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