MamaBlogger365: Flying the Friendly Skies by Mary Rekosh
I read recently that some airlines are beginning to implement a child-free “Quiet Zone” on certain flights. You know what I say to that? ‘Bout time. Sign. Me. Up. Tell you what: I’ll pony up an extra $50, and you can send my kids to the back of the plane. See you when we land, suckers. Here’s a backpack full of bubble gum and Sharpies to keep you occupied. Bon Voyage! Pick you up on the baggage carousel, so keep that tag around your wrist. Remember your manners, hands are not for hitting, don’t wipe your nose on your brother, yadayadayada. You know the drill. I’ll be sitting up in front with the rest of the civilized travelers in their berets and elbow patches, poring over all 150 Shades of Grey and chugging mimosas.
What’s that? This isn’t how the “Quiet Zone” works? Well, fine. Then I’m going to have to request that airlines begin to treat the rest of us “back of the bus” passengers, who have had the audacity to procreate, with the courtesy that we deserve. Granted, most parents have been trained to expect minimal courtesy – we haven’t even been allowed to pee alone for years. But we still hold fast to a shred of our former dignity, and even though we routinely tolerate having sweet potatoes spit in our faces, we shouldn’t have to deal with the kind of treatment that some airlines subject us to. (I’m talking to you, airline who shall remain nameless but rhymes with Shmoonited.) If you want our loud, messy, germ-laden business you’ll have to adhere to this brief list of our demands:
Pretty please don’t play that hilarious little game of delaying flights for 15 minutes at a time for an aggregate delay of several hours, with the warning that passengers aren’t to leave the gate area due to imminent departure. While I appreciate the fun factor of the guessing game (will we depart before midnight? 2am? I’m on the edge of my seat!), the reality that we can’t feed, water or change the soiled garments of our offspring puts a damper on the festivities after an hour or six.
Some of us travel with our children, sans spouse from time to time. No, we’re not very bright thanks for asking. Anyhoo, when we do this we have no fewer than three absurdly decorated miniature rolling suitcases that we’ve allowed our kids to pack themselves so they are crammed full of marbles, Barbies, Legos, and one superhero costume as the wardrobe for the entire trip. As the lone adult, we end up carrying every single bag for our entire party, even though our kids swore up and down when they packed them that they would carry and roll their own stuff.
We’re also lugging around any number of backpacks, loveys and anywhere between one and three flailing humans. When you change our departure gate no fewer than four times as you play the 15-minute delay game, sending us racing from one end of the airport to the other, and eventually we cry “Uncle” because it’s after midnight and our children are in tears and we and ask you if we can have an airline representative help us hail one of those awesome looking cart thingies to drive us to the fifth new departure gate, please don’t tell us “Nope”, while your dismissive glance down toward us as we plead with you tells us to “Suck It”.
Hey, you know what Shmoonited? If you tell frustrated passengers that “We’ve finally found a working aircraft!” at 1am (like we should high-five you, or at least not be mildly terrified that this is an accomplishment worthy of excitement), after playing the 15-minute delay/musical departure gates game for five hours, and said “working aircraft” has been on the ground since the early afternoon and it’s 20 degrees outside and sleeting, you may just need to de-ice the aircraft.
Come on, you’ve done this flying thing before. Get it together. It shouldn’t take you until after you’ve boarded all the passengers on the plane to look at one another and say, “Wait a second! There’s ice all over these damn wings, which will probably make this airplane crash and then we’d get sued! What should we do? Better get a de-icing crew! What’s that you say? They aren’t still at work at 1am because no flights are supposed to be departing at that absurd hour? Better call them guys up at home, get them in here to the airport, have them warm up the de-icing equipment and take care of that pesky problem! That process shouldn’t take more than two hours, and it sure beats the pants off of us having to shell out dough for these suckers to stay in a Comfort Inn for the night if we cancel this flight! I’m sure the passengers won’t mind waiting on this tiny plane on the tarmac in the meantime, and the newly estimated 3:30 a.m. arrival time at their destination won’t ruffle their feathers at all! Let’s go ahead and lock the restroom while they sit there. Kids never need to pee. Good work, boys! We’re the friendliest skies around!”
If you fail to adhere to demands 1 through 3, I agree with that mom in the row behind me, who said to the flight attendant as she passed out cups of water to us while we waited on the tarmac in the dead of night for the de-icing crew: “That had better be Vodka.”
Bio: Mary Rekosh is a freelance writer, children’s yoga instructor and mother of three in Charlottesville, VA. She is also a parenting columnist and a blogger who hopes that documenting the found humor in her journey through motherhood will help others gain a fresh perspective as well. She believes that children are meant to be seen, heard and definitely laughed about.
MamaBlogger365 is a blogging project coordinated on behalf of the Museum of Motherhood, now open in New York City! Exhibits, events, a Meet the Expert series, playgroups, arts programs and more – visit MOMmuseum.org for hours and info.