The information super highway, or as it is more commonly referred to these days, the internet is full of people who want to express an opinion and tell you what to do. I do it every time I write a blog. I generally caveat my writing with something along the lines of “YMMV” or “this is something that has worked for us but may not work for everyone”.
As I am generally always looking for new ideas to make my travel days a bit easier, I read a lot of articles and blogs. I don’t mean to belittle anyone so I won’t name writers, but sometimes I see advice that is just monumentally bad based on my experience and common sense.
Never Pay For an Extra Seat
Generally airlines will allow you to fly with a child under two on your lap. An article I recently read from a travel “expert” argued you should essentially beg others around you on the aircraft to move around and give you a seat next to an open seat. The author even would take a car seat all the way through the airport and into the aircraft in case they could finagle an extra seat, then if not, have the cabin crew take care of it. So essentially they were arguing that it was alright to burden everyone around you and the hard working flight crew because they wanted to save a few bucks. This is a sure way to make everyone around you even more sympathetic when your baby decides to scream for a couple hours in the middle of the night. The author probably also complains to anyone that will listen about the treatment they receive from other passengers and the flight crew.
Colour or Use Stickers on the Tray
The argument was that most stewards and stewardesses did not mind removing stickers and crayon marks if it kept the children quiet. What I am actually hearing there is a parent saying “I am just going to create a problem for others, as long as it keeps my kids quiet and allows me to have a glass of wine undisturbed on the flight.”My kids get bored and cranky all the damn time on flights, but not once have I offered vandalism as a solution. Be a parent, not a jerk, and have the wine while you sort it out.
Gift Bags for Other Passengers
I am pretty sure this must have originated on Pinterest with some overly creative person with far too much time on their hand making up little bento boxes with ear plugs and Tootsie Rolls. I have had to endure countless hours of “adults” jibber jabbering about Kardashians, systems for beating Vegas casinos, how usually they are upgraded to first class, and a myriad of other asinine topics. Not once did any of them give anyone around them candy or earplugs so they didn’t need to be subjected to their stupidity. I paid for my toddler’s seats, they have just as much right to be there as anyone else so if you are near us, don’t come looking for gift bags.
I believe this one gets the award. When we fly, we feel the looks of everyone around us. Why are they flying with two babies? Why won’t those kids stay quiet? Why are they seated behind us? We don’t care, but we know what some people are thinking and feeling. In case we had not felt like we had aggravated those around us enough, we could put our child in time-out in the lavatory. Just imagine you flying with your kids and hearing “I need to pee” and discovering the lavatory was occupied by someone just chilling in there for no good reason.
A lot of bad advice exists that involves you treating others poorly because you are feeling burdened. It’s a challenge to travel with kids. If you find yourself in a tough spot, ask for help and people will likely help. Make yourself an undue burden on others and good luck to you.
Enjoyable and safe travels.