Two Flights, Three Children, Hell for Una

Now, I need to keep this specific to the incidents, so I don’t invoke the wrath of the “children are always precious, precious angels on airplanes and you are a heartless cold bitch” crowd who always show themselves in these sorts of threads. (although I’m sure they’ll come trotting in anyhow…)


But no, there was no stopping these treasures. I turned by head around to speak to their mother, who was sitting staring into space with a slackjawed expression often found in glue sniffers or roadkill, and said “Miss? Can you please have your children stop kicking our seats?” Her response being to slowly turn her head, give me an icy look, and say, halfheartedly, “be quiet” in a soft voice to the kids. They giggled and hit my seat harder. Then they started a screaming contest. You know - who can scream the loudest and longest? Another man turned and asked if she could keep them quiet, as he was trying to sleep. Her response? “They’re kids.” :rolleyes:

So it went, while we sat on the tarmac, and circled in formation, late for our connection. Late, overcrowded, and everyone unhappy. Kick. Kick. Kick. Kick. Kick. Hit the tray table. Climb on the tray table and fall off. Scream like a howler monkey caught in a food processor. Two more requests for the kids to be quiet, both ignored. Finally, after one of the precious angels hit the back of my seat so hard it knocked my head forward, I turned and said “Goddamnit - what is so fucking hard - we all are stuck on this plane, find some way to control you kids!” To which her response was along the lines of “DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY CHILDREN!”

Oh yes, the stewardess had been told, and had admonished the lady. With all the power that had - which was none. And during the last part of the flight, when the kids went absolutely apeshit (including throwing their drink on the person behind them, splashing a very unhappy man’s X-series IBM laptop, people were pushing the call button for the stewardess, but we were in turbulence and they were seated.

I can anticipate some of the responses now: “You don’t know how hard it is to raise kids, you evil bitch.” “It’s not the kids fault, you heartless cunt.” or “Why didn’t you find some way to take time from your career and the work you needed to do as you sat on the plane to be a babysitter to them - it’s all of Society’s duty to love children, no matter how feral they are, after all.”


Flight 2: I knew there was trouble, as it was a tiny prop plane, packed to overflowing (they made two people get off the plane due to weight/balance, and as I stared into the blinding snow and thought of the overloaded prop plane I was on, I started hearing songs by Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper in my head…) and they seated me next to a child. Well, a much older child, about 10 or so, who was alarmingly only about an inch shorter than me, about 10 pounds heavier, and who had size 10 feet (which kept stepping on my feet). He wasn’t a hellion like the two on the last flight, and was quiet at first. Then, while we sat on the tarmac delayed, he started bellowing to his father, who sat 3 rows up, screaming in my ear. OK…I’ve had people do that before, it’s not a kid thing…then he kept hitting me with his body as he rummaged for things. A collection of home-burned CDs that he was listening to - all of them, I noticed, being such artists as Eminem and, one CD which had written on it in magic marker, “N*gger music”. Remember, this is a “kid” who was no more than 10.

No sense of personal space at all, he was leaning over into me hard, pushing me into the fucking isle, until I said “Excuse me? Can I help you?” He then looked at me with a disturbing look, like he had never seen me before, and then snorted in my face with some sort of expression of disgust, and then ignored me.

Until the plane took off. Then he “fell asleep” (we were in turbulence like a bucking bronco, right) and leaned over onto me, trying to nuzzle my fucking neck with his head! Now, I don’t like being next to people on the best days, and I don’t like being touched my males on the best days, and I don’t like kids in general, and I especially didn’t like a kid who sort of giving me the creeps - and this person who combined all of these traits was now over into my seat, on me. With, I noticed, twin rivulets of snot about to drip on my coat! :mad: So I shook him to wake him up, and the precious tresure sleepily said:

“Fuck you.”

And nothing else. So I pushed him off me forcibly, and he leaned over against the window, then right back on me. And I kept pushing him and pushing him, and he kept leaning over on me, quite deliberately doing it. So finally, when the airplane leveled out, I yelled at his father. “Can you tell your son to NOT sleep on top of me? This isn’t very comfortable.” His father’s response was “He’s tired. He’s been flying for 5 hours.”

“Yeah, well, I’ve flown for 13 hours and avoided offending my fellow travellers somehow, imagine that. Can you do something?”

His father looked at me, smirked, and turned away. I sat there, teeth gritting, trying to bear it and read, and was successful for a while. An old man near me smiled a few times at me, and when I raised an eyebrow, he pointed to the mass laying on my side and said “Kids.” with a beatific grin.

“Yeah. Kids. Right. You want to trade seats?” His smile scampered off to greener pastures, and he turned away. Yeah, I didn’t fucking think so…

Then, finally, his hand went into my lap and his face touched my neck.

That fucking did it. No one else has the right to invade my personal space like that, especially not a male “child” who is nearly larger than me.

I turned and with all the force in my small body (which wasn’t much, since it was my left side with broken rib and all WHICH HE HAD BEEN LAYING ON TOP OF, THANK YOU), pushed him off me and against the wall on the other side of his seat, and said “STOP FUCKING TOUCHING ME! SIT IN YOUR OWN FUCKING SEAT AND STOP GROPING AND DROOLING ON ME.”

He opened his eyes, looked at me with that odd look again (really, a creepy look that told of heavy drug use or a profound disconnect with reality), and he snorted and shook his head. Then turned up his CD player louder. Meanwhile, his father came back to “see what the problem is”.

“The problem is that your son is sleeping on top of me. I told you to stop it, and you refused. So I stopped it. Now sit down.”

He started to get indignant that I had “pushed” his sweet, sweet angel, and I actually saw him ball his fist as his spoke. So now, because I wouldn’t let his overgrown horse testosterone-shooting kid sleep on me and grope me, the alpha male was going to “teach me a lesson”? In my most dangerous voice and look ever, similar I guess to what Broomstick commented on in her thread recently (which I am not very good at doing), I gave him the look that said “The only thing honest to God keeping you alive is the fact that it’s illegal to kill you” and said “We’re all tired. This is a bad flight. We all need to work together to show respect for our fellow passengers. You and your kid are not showing respect for your fellow passengers. Sit down. Now.” Amazingly, he did, with muttered threats/maledictions.

Things went well after that, until it was time to depart the plane after landing. At that point, the kid woke up, gathered his bag, and stepped over and onto my body, slamming me against the seatback and pushing his way through the aisle with force, to move to the front of the plane. There were several exclaimations as junior gangster kid slammed his way down the aisle, even forcing one man to fall back into his seat, but I can’t blame him that much, as he was only following the lead of the alpha male, who had shoved and bullied his way to the front of the plane in the exact same way.

Kids. Planes. A combination that spells trouble on numerous occasions. It’s not every kid, nor even a majority, but when it happens, it causes a tremendous amount of stress on people bordering on assault, and is supreme assholic behaviour on the part of the parents - and the children too, although the parents are the ones who are supposed to be controlling them. Whether its a howler monkey screaming for hours on end, or kids hitting seats (which seems to be a favourite obsessive-compulsive behaviour of theirs - is this taught, or learned? Or innate?), or even worse, kids left to roam free-range on transoceanic flights, where they wander the aisles and poke their fingers into the eyes of sleeping adults because it’s “fun” - something needs to be done about them. But the airlines, ever afraid to offend people with kids, will not do anything other than have the stewardess admonish them. Which does nothing.

I’ve been fortunate that I don’t run into it much on my typical airline (Delta) since I usually am in First Class. Oh, there are kids in First, but for some reason they seem to have the sort of parents who are able to control them and maintain discipline - imagine that. This time I was flying on a bargain basement airline, which understandably encourages family travel due to the low prices.

Who here would accept an adult kicking their seatback for two straight hours? Or an adult screaming with ear-piercing tones right behind their seat? Or an adult running their fingers through your hair, poking fingers in your eyes, or dumping juice on your computer?

No one would. And yet, because (some) children do it, it should be tolerated? This behaviour is of a similar category to “air rage”, and deserves a similar penalty. I want to see serious fines and lifetime flight bans passed out to parents who cannot control their children. Or seating in the rear of the plane (or front of the plane, whatever, just in a certain area). Maybe if all children and parents were seated together, they could play together and the parents could have “my child is cuter than yours” contests, whatever.

Just leave me alone and control your children on the plane! Two small requests in life that should be no unfair burden to anyone.

I’ve been saying this for a while: put a creche in the back of long-haul planes. Soft toys, padded floor, diaper-changing facilities, somewhere for the parents to sit with their squalling brats - and soundproof walls.

You might get your wish, jjimm. The Airbus 380 (first commercial flight in 2006) will offer an extra deck for various purposes, one of the suggested ones being a creche. Or, halleluja, sleep cabins. Oh, man.

Una, I’m the mother of two, and I don’t have a problem with the way you reacted. I have had to fly with my children (now 6 and 3) several times and they’ve never screamed, kicked, cried or in any way bothered the other passengers. It can be done.

The real problem is that these children have never recieved any kind of discipline or attention. I hate to say it, but it really isn’t the child’s fault, it’s the parents. Blame them.

Nah - just pump valium into the air conditioning.

Look, I gotta say, it’s amazingly hard. And I honestly don’t know what the solution is because often, attention is actually what they’re seeking.

But I’ll let you in on a little bit of psychology our local shopping mall recently employed to get rid of skateboarding brats who used to hang around at night doing bratty kinda things…

Management started playing music at night on outdoor speakers. But they deliberately played ultra, ultra square and profoundly annoying shit music - like Doris Day’s worst hits and the Bay City Rollers and really bad stuff nobody would buy.

And the late night brats were so aghast they cleared off - permanently. My point here is that reverse psychology seems to work - that is, by deliberately exposing bratty kids to stuff which grosses them out the ball is on your foot, and not theirs.

Nonetheless, you have my sympathy Una Persson, honestly you do.

And think of movie theatres as well? How often do you see a whole bunch of kids down the front carrying on real loud during the film? They should be kicked out on the spot I think. And on that note, the nightmare kids on your flights should have been kicked out too - in mid air - that woulda taught 'em something.

Alternatively, hostesses should be legally endowed with high-voltage cattle prods. I’d be all for that.

You’ve got elbows, Una. Use 'em. Accidentally, of course.

No, no, I would never think of injuring a child. But I did shove gangster boy off me somewhat harder than needed, because he was invoking the “fight or flight” instinct in me. Hell, I’m sure he could probably have beaten me in a fair fight.

[sub]Except I don’t fight fair…[/sub]

Ding Ding Calls Flight Attendant

“Yes? How can I help you?”

“Maam, I am terribly sorry to bother you, but this little bastard has spent the last hour trying to grope me. Badly. If I am not moved or he is not disciplined severely within 15 minutes, I will strangle the little shit with his own belt, cut off his fucking head, and serve it to his father on a dinner tray. His father is right up there. And then I will I will sue.”

Damn - your “why flying sucks shit” stories beat mine this week (mine would have been titled "please stop farting)

But, with a 16 hour trip to Indonesia on Monday ahead of me and business class booked out, I feel confident I’ll soon have something to match.

Holy crap.

I want kids. I like kids.

Even so, I’m flying to Orlando to head to Disney this weekend and your post just scared the ever-living crap out of me. I’m on the verge of walking.


Seems to me there needs to be ejection chutes installed under the seats. When someone gets too far beyond the bounds of civilied behavior, the flight attendant can push a button, and Mr or Mrs Problem (and any offending offspring) can make their way to their destination riding the silk.

Note to the humor impared: This is a fucking joke.

As much as it’s not always a parent’s fault when they’ve got a kid with behavior issues, it seems that most of the time trouble kids are that way because they learn it from their stupid parents!!! Your examples certainly illustrate that, at any rate.

Gah. I’m almost more pissed at the parents in these situations. As you asked, can’t they find some way to control their kids? The answer is no, because they are, at least as far as teaching proper behavior and etiquite and basic social skills, bad parents.

Too bad tasers are not allowed on planes… a teensy zap would have fixed that punk up. If he’s old enough to give attitude to an adult, he’s old enough to deal with the consequences.

I wonder what would happen if you informed the stewardess that while you would dearly love to sit next to these wonderful children, the court order specifically prohibits it…

Grr. I was waiting for the karmic bitchslap in your story Una, and there was no sweet sweet revenge in either. That just leaves me in a foul mood.

My husband surely saved the life of a little brat on a flight back from Italy, several years back. He was sitting in front of us - or rather, his mother was. His father was seated elsewhere in the plane, a number of rows up, and wasn’t paying much attention. His mother would occasionally, weakly, attempt to rein in the ~3-year-old boy by softly repeating his name. Naturally he paid no attention and spent much of his time throwing pillows into the aisle, playing in the aisle when elderly Italian grandmotherly types attempted to get through on their way to and from the bathroom, tearing apart the headphones found in the seatback pockets, and so forth. The flight attendants were no help - one who came over instead chided me (in Italian, though I knew enough to understand, if not defend myself) for using a portable CD player, even though my husband was sitting next to me and doing the same thing - and we were at cruising altitude when that’s allowed. (You couldn’t hear the music sitting next to me, even. I think she was just grumpy at being summoned.) When I returned from a trip to the restroom, the kid was seated. My husband told me that the boy had been standing on the seat, and had turned around. On my tray table, he saw the intricate cross-stitching that I was working on, and reached out a food-covered hand towards the light-colored linen. My husband saw this and said firmly but not loudly, “No.” The little boy recoiled as if shocked, looked at my husband, then sat down. The life-saving that I mentioned in my first sentence is that I probably would have tried to throttle the kid - ok, so I would have just had a fleeting wish to do so - if he’d actually stained my stitching project that I had spent months on before that point.

So yeah, I think a fair amount of that sort of misbehavior is caused/encouraged by parental tolerance. Pity that some parents actually seem to think that their progeny deserve to be disrespectful of others.

Sounds like an awful flight. Some parents are idiots. Usually, the kids are idiots too.

This, however, says a lot about you IMO. Sounds like you have a problem with lots of things, “even on the best of days”. And let me guess, children should be seen and not heard? What a great plan.

Nice rant, though. And good for you for having the strength to be nice to the punk kid’s dad. I would have been boiling over at that point, on the inside at least. Don’t know what I would have said. But I really like smiling bandit’s reply, although I would have toned down the rhetoric a little.

Good rant, Una.

I say hit 'em in the pocketbook. These discount airlines with their family-friendly packages won’t be nearly so attractive to Mommy and Daddy Lasseiz-Faire if they get socked with a $50 - $100 fine for every complaint for their little darling untrained monkey-fucking offspring.

To prevent abuse of the system, make it for every complaint over three, or something.

And you can’t get your luggage back without paying for your little darling’s fines first.

But then again, I don’t fly. Airplanes leave the ground, and that is a bad, bad thing.

Regrettably, Una, this is one of those times it’s good to be a guy, and wearing a suit. It ain’t fair, but it just is. On my last flight, I had the same kicking chair kid behind me, and after asking his parents politely to control their spawn, which had only temporary effect, I fixed the kid with the look of death, and asked him personally not to kick the chair. Apparently I frightened him, which is ok with me.

You have my condolences, because I know what fresh hell it can be to fly.

I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to ask that children should be taught to NOT BOTHER OTHER PEOPLE! I have a daughter. I taught her, from an early age, to keep her hands off of things that don’t belong to her, to use appropriate voice levels, to stay with me when we were out in public, and above all, not to pester other people. She grew up into a fine, happy adult (she gets her BS in about 6 weeks!) and seems to have no more than the usual childhood traumas.

Personally, I think flight attendants should be allowed to carry tasers, or impose fines to problem fliers. Or possibly both.

Nice assumption. Where’d you learn mind-reading?