Cloud Nine? Not So Much

Packing and repacking. Zip-lock bags for small size toiletries. Long lines at security. Shoes off, laptops out, keys and phones and change dropped into a container.

Maybe a search for good measure.

You arrive at your gate. There’s waiting. More waiting.

Eventually, you board – and you count your blessings because you feel as if one more inconvenience is going to send you over the edge. Unless of course, you have good drugs.

Legal, naturally.

And then it starts.

The kid behind you is kicking. The baby four rows back howls. A brother and sister on the other side of the aisle are tussling. And you haven’t even left the tarmac.

Now about that screaming infant or toddler, and those fussy four and five-year olds. Contrast this with the oasis of calm you convinced yourself awaited you. So how do you react?

Traveling With Kids

A recent news item brought it all back to yours truly, as a toddler’s tantrum got an entire family kicked off a JetBlue flight.

I know what it’s like being a passenger on one of those flights, and it’s dreadful! Then again, I’m equally aware of the parent’s perspective. Traveling anywhere with little ones, particularly overseas, can be a nightmare.

My transatlantic trips for business?

They were usually solo, and there were plenty. It was tough enough to catch any zzzzzzs at all, much less within earshot of a squalling infant. And may I add that it’s especially aggravating when flying all night, and knowing you have to be “on” when you arrive at the break of dawn, ready to pull off a productive work day?

Then again, flying the friendly skies with my own children – as infants, toddlers, and kiddos – not so simple.

Occasionally I hauled my babes in arms (and front packs and back packs) on a business trip. The precious progeny were deposited with a doting mother-in-law, and I would hop a train to Paris to do my corporate thing as she enjoyed the pleasure of a few days with her grand-babies.

But for the most part, overseas travel with my boys was not combined with business travel. It involved visits to see their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, their cousins. Duty visits, if you will. At times, like most babies, they cried. Color me apoplectic!

Still, I consider myself fortunate. They were rarely a handful. And as for their good behavior, I chalk that up to a four-letter word that rhymes with truck – LUCK.

Ban Babies From Flights?

So what about this family booted off the plane in somewhat seemingly dramatic fashion? And the $2,000 it cost them?

What have we come to? Is “How to pack for overseas travel” now a matter of “leave the kids, take everything else?”

Is air travel so miserable as it is, that babies and toddlers should be shown the door? Or have we become so intolerant of so much – short-sighted and short-tempered – that we can’t deal with a few challenges?

What about families who need to see relatives on the other side of an ocean or across the country? Or dare to take a vacation? Can’t we find a small bit of sympathy for them?

I’ve been in both positions. They’re both a drag. Still, I say – let the airlines offer up those awful earphones to all the passengers and call it a day. Or, along with the requirements for carry-ons and zip-lock bags, remind us to bring our own. And some of those good drugs.


© D. A. Wolf