Kids and Airplanes - someone shoot me

John, over at Castle Argghhh! posted a story about Northwest Airlines' tactics to prop up revenue by charging a la carte prices for things such as meals and leg room. While agree with the post itself, Bad Cat Robot of Snark Patrol suggested adding a "screaming children fee" - a bond of sorts for families travelling with small children.

BCR says, " If children were well-behaved the bond would be refunded, but if not would be disbursed amongst the passengers for earplugs, Valium, and/or alcoholic beverages."

I am the first to admit I do not like to fly with small children - even my own. And I HATE flying with small children who misbehave, ESPECIALLY my own. However...like I said in the comments, airlines are not like movies and sometimes families cannot avoid flying with small children. Driving is not always an option (they have yet to finish that bridge between Hawaii and the mainland...) and sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it.

And I am the first to find fault with the parent(s) if children are misbehaving. Parents are the first line of defense in the war on bad behavior and often times that first line of defense is woefully inadequate. But children are CHILDREN and sometimes they misbehave. Sometimes they get tired or bored or don't feel good. It happens.

Does that mean that I would have to forfeit my "screaming children fee"? At what point does the forfeiture kick in? Case in point: We were on our way from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on official Permanent Change of Station orders. Can't drive from SoCal to Hawaii so we had to fly. The kids were well-rested, well-fed, well-prepared. We had plenty of toys, movies, and other items designed to keep the children occupied and under control during the 6 hour flight to Hawaii.

We boarded and as Little Man and I are turning into our row to sit down, the "lady" in front of us makes a wonderful comment that was *just* loud enough for me to hear. Her comment was "Oh, GREAT. Just what I wanted on a 6 hour flight to Hawaii. I swear, there should be a separate flight..." Now, mind you, my son had not made a PEEP. We hadn't even sat DOWN at that point! I wanted to crack her on the back of the head with his car seat.

Little Man was PERFECT during that flight. I could not have asked for a better experience. But what if he had fussed? He was 12 months old at the time. What if he had experienced ear pain from the pressure changes? Should he have been able to sit there and not make a sound? How would the airline have known WHY he was fussing? It's not like he would have been able to articulate WHY he was crying. What if he had only fussed for 30 seconds? 5 minutes? 30? Where is the line drawn?

An Albequerque, NM movie theatre has implemented a ban on babies in R rated movies after 6 pm. While I agree with this in theory, my gut reaction is "Where the hell does this theatre get off?" It's a slippery slope to walk and the gray area is vast.

I didn't intend to pick a fight with BCR and I hope I didn't. Maybe I'm a little testy on this subject due to my upcoming (and unassisted) flight with my children across the Pacific here in a few weeks. Who knows? It just hit a nerve...


- hfs

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