Meet our guncle (that’s short form for gay + uncle). He has no kids but plenty to say about modern parenthood. This month’s guncle has something to say to a mom he met on a plane. He understands traveling with kids is hard, but he says if you don’t keep them in check, it makes the flight hard on everyone. Read on, if you dare.
Dear Mom in Flight:
Remember me? I sure as hell can’t forget you.
Think hard. Remember back at the airport check-in counter when your two children played crash carts with the baggage trolleys…and you were on that ever so important phone call. “Next!” the airline agent called out while he beckoned you to take your place in the cue. I politely tapped you on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me…you can go now” and you instinctively turned around, gave me the stink eye, shrugged and walked away.
And I also remember you at the security line. I understand security is no fun and nobody enjoys the undignified freak show it has become. With all that unpacking and undressing in public, it’s best that we all keep a shred of dignity and letting your kids run wild like banshees is not helping. It’s stressing me out and the security peeps are going to put you in the no-fly zone when you let your kids jump the line to run back-and-forth through the metal detectors like they’re on a ride at Disney World. After all, security is serious business. It’s for everyone’s safety and your children should know and respect that too.
Now let’s review your behaviour during the boarding process. Everyone in the waiting lounge knows that you should be the first to board (yes, I heard you ask the gate agent twenty times). Yes, an announcement will be made. And yes, you will be seated together. Can you please stop hovering around the counter? By the way, what’s your rush? We all know you’ll be standing at the airplane door by the time the rest of us board because you’re trying to offload that monster stroller to the baggage handlers (surprise, there’s no room for it on the plane along with all your carry-ons). I’m curious? What do you have in there? And how are you allowed to take that many bags on board? Wait I figured out your secret…at this point the airline staff are just doing everything they can to avoid you. Well played!
Finally, I see you’re on the plane and barrelling down the aisle. Are you on the phone again? Do you really think your multi-tasking is paying off?
Phew, you pass my row. Oh wait, your double-checking your boarding pass…and you’re sitting directly behind me. Again I marvel at your carry-on capacity and watch as you stuff all the items in the overhead above, across and under every one of your seats. Kudos to you for taking up every inch of bin room around you; I’m sure the other passengers really appreciate it. I look forward to watching you unpack all these things right after take-off.
Hold on. Are you cozying up to the window and letting your kids take the aisle seat? This is not gonna play out well for anyone. Do you even remember the flight attendants asking you to make sure your children are seated with seat belts fastened and to turn off your cell phone? I don’t think so because all I heard you ask for is a Diet Coke (which, FYI, is never served until after takeoff).
I also remember when your two children (not babies or toddlers; they were definitely old enough to know better) started kicking the back of my seat after only one hour into our fourteen-hour flight. You really didn’t seem too concerned when I asked you to make them stop. “What can I do?” you said while looking up from your latest issue of People magazine. I can think of a way to make your children behave and it starts with putting down that Gigi Hadid headline, taking the middle seat to separate them, and then telling them to stop kicking my damn seat.
How about when the flight attendant came around and told you that your children were being so disruptive that they were getting complaints from business class passengers who were seated ten rows ahead? Nope still don’t remember? That’s because you were too busy sleeping while they ran loose from one end of the airplane to the other.
There was another mom on the flight seated near us. She walked by me with her baby in her arms, and then she stopped by my seat, looked at your children misbehaving behind me and sympathetically shook her head. She even rolled her eyes while patting me on the shoulder. Thank &$#?@! I’m not as big of an ass as I thought I was.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been on plenty of trips with children around me. I enjoy it when they peek over and around the seats and make me smile. Many are crying and cranky, as all kids can be in cramped quarters for a long period of time. But they were with parents who were aware and considerate of the people around them. They packed quiet airplane games, brought just enough snacks (not the entire fridge), and didn’t sleep a wink so they could be sure their children were safe, happy and hardly in anyone’s way. They also packed less and brought a small umbrella stroller so loading and unloading their brood didn’t have to be so stressful.
So dear mom-in-flight, even though you likely don’t remember me, or any of the other passengers on the same plane, please take my advice. This is the first and only rule of the flight club: Be courteous. So put down your gossip rag, shut off your phone and stay awake long enough to make sure you’re not the one being an ass. That way we can all enjoy the trip.