Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

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Hanna
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Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by Hanna » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:41 pm

latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-alkon24-2009nov24,0,2649186.story

Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!
Parents don't have a right to get on a jet with unruly children. In fact, they're stealing from the rest of us.

By Amy Alkon

November 24, 2009

Alittle late in making those Thanksgiving flight plans? Wondering how you could possibly afford your ticket -- that is, without putting a kidney up for sale on Craigslist? Good news! You can get a free flight home on Southwest plus a $300 travel voucher. Just do what I plan to -- get on a Southwest flight in the next few days, and when it's taking off, shout over and over, "Go, plane, go!" and "I want Daddy! I want Daddy!"

Pamela Root got the free flight and the voucher, plus an apology from Southwest, after her 2-year-old kept screaming those things at the top of his little lungs as their San Jose-bound flight was about to take off. In fact, little Adam reportedly screamed so loudly that the safety announcements couldn't be heard and the pilot turned the plane back to the gate in Amarillo, Texas, where the two were booted off.

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."

Unbelievably, Root demanded the apology she eventually got from the airline (shame, shame, Southwest) and hit it up for the cost of diapers and the portable crib she says she had to buy for the overnight stay. Even more unbelievably, there's still no word of any apology from Root to the other passengers.

There is a notion, reflected in numerous blog comments about the incident, that other passengers should "just deal" and "give a kid a break." This notion is wrong. Parents like Root and others who selfishly force the rest of us to pay the cost of their choices in life aren't just bothering us; they're stealing from us. Most people don't see it this way, because what they're stealing isn't a thing we can grab on to, like a wallet. They're stealing our attention, our time and our peace of mind.

More and more, we're all victims of these many small muggings every day. Our perp doesn't wear a ski mask or carry a gun; he wears Dockers and shouts into his iPhone in the line behind us at Starbucks, streaming his dull life into our brains, never considering for a moment whether our attention belongs to him. These little acts of social thuggery are inconsequential in and of themselves, but they add up -- wearing away at our patience and good nature and making our daily lives feel like one big wrestling smackdown.

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.

Granted, there sometimes are extenuating circumstances, reasons parents and their little hell-raiser simply must take a plane. Well, actually, there are two: dire family emergency (Granny's actually dying, not just dying to see the little tyke) and the need for a lifesaving operation for the wee screamer. In all other cases, if there's any chance a child is still in the feral stage, pop Granny on a flight or gas up the old minivan. It really does come down to this: Your right to bring your screaming child on a plane ends where the rest of our ears begin.

Amy Alkon's book "I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners into Impolite Society" will be published this week.

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SoMelo
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by SoMelo » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:32 am

I vote mandatory Benadryl for all children under 5 :thumbsup:

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GOODave
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by GOODave » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:44 am

Yeah, Melo's right.

There are ways to deal with unruly children, but most of them have to occur in the years preceding those holiday flights. We've been flying with our children since they were one and one-and-a-half. We learned to blow a gentle puff in their face to get them to "yawn" and clear their ear pressure, we learned to take Benadryl with us on flights (which they needed anyway once they got out to California for their allergies), we learned to bring a backpack filled with treats, games, activities, and other diversions. Our now teenaged daughter now even knows to bring her laptop with her (with headphones) so she can watch a movie or listen to music.

I find it peculiar that other passengers compliment us on how well-behaved our children are: We're not doing anything out of the ordinary or uncommon. I cannot imagine why all parents who fly with their children cannot take the same steps.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I also wrote a letter to Southwest to complain about how we were treated. But that was after my 2-year old son had gashed his forehead on the little luggage "size" box and NO southwest employee would offer us any level of assistance: Not even a Kleenex to sop up the blood. We finally got him some care after we boarded the plane: One of the attendants finally got us a clean towel and a band aid. But even THEN, he was not unruly during the flight.

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Troglodyte
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by Troglodyte » Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:08 am

SoMelo wrote:I vote mandatory Benadryl for all children under 5 :thumbsup:
And for all the yakers who believe you have to hear their life story during the whole flight.. ](*,)
Maybe they should have separate kids flights..... I'm going to Thailand in January. Can you imagine a screaming brat for 18 hours??
I don't suffer from any mental illnesses.. I enjoy them..

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SoMelo
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by SoMelo » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 am

Troglodyte wrote: And for all the yakers who believe you have to hear their life story during the whole flight.. ](*,)
Maybe they should have separate kids flights..... I'm going to Thailand in January. Can you imagine a screaming brat for 18 hours??
No way, I would have have to be drugged.. I learned from many years of travel to avoid eye contact if I don't want to hear the woes of the person I'm sitting next to. Screaming, whinning, seat kickers kids, I've had my fill. 2 years ago I was on a red-eye to Pittsburgh and everyone on the flight was asleep with the exception of me and the person next to me who decided to munch on some corn nuts. ](*,)

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Parrotpaul
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by Parrotpaul » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:31 am

Adults should be allowed to buy booz for all kids on airplane flights.
"I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education." John Locke

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GOODave
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by GOODave » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:00 pm

Parrotpaul wrote:Adults should be allowed to buy booz for all kids on airplane flights.
Good thing I'm not a mandated reporter.

Red
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by Red » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:24 pm

Parrotpaul wrote:Adults should be allowed to buy booz for all kids on airplane flights.
I must say, you being a LIBERAL I am not surprised at your response, however as person in your profession and not having kids, it is a pretty shameful comment. #-o #-o #-o

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Parrotpaul
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Re: Screaming kids and airplanes: Mayday! Mayday!

Post by Parrotpaul » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:36 pm

Parrotpaul wrote:Adults should be allowed to buy booz for all kids on airplane flights.
Red wrote:I must say, you being a LIBERAL I am not surprised at your response, however as person in your profession and not having kids, it is a pretty shameful comment. #-o #-o #-o
Doubles.
"I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education." John Locke

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