Family Only Seating on Airplanes? Hmmmmm…

When I read about the recent Skyscanner poll, stating that 59% of travelers would like a ‘families only’ section on flights, I had mixed feelings. Before I had children, yes, I would have been one of the 59%, however now it’s a whole different story. Traveling with kids is stressful, even if you have the best behaved ones on earth. To start with, the packing and organizing alone needed for a successful airplane ride with children can be extremely stressful, especially if you have really young ones. Fast forward to security that you have to endure, and hope you get the sweet Grandpa that understands the need for 10 different liquid substances in your bag. You of course pray that your child will pass out upon take off and hope not to hear a peep or a poop, for that matter, for the entire ride. Reality then sets in and you realize that your little one’s ears are in great pain and there is nothing you can do. The guy across the aisle who is loathing you and giving you dirty looks will soon fear you as you are in no mood for anyone’s input on this horrible situation.

When I travel without my kids, and I hear a screaming child on the plane, I usually just smile inside, thank my lucky stars it’s not mine, and dive into my tabloid magazines I never get to read. I know what the parent is going through, feeling frustrated and embarrassed, so I have sympathy for them. If you don’t have kids though, you simply just don’t get it. You of course have a right to be annoyed but it ends there. I say if you can’t handle it, drive in the privacy of your own car instead of flying with other people. Children are a part of life so get over it and put some headphones on.I do however think that parents need to take responsibility for their child on a plane and at least try to remedy the situation, and that includes having manners. Nothing bothers me more than a kid that kicks a seat, and it’s usually the one I am sitting in. True, there isn’t much room for a lap infant but there are ways to stop it or at least show you are making the effort. When my little one kicks the seat in front of him, I take off his shoes which definitely helps, I make sure my seat is all the way back to create more space, and then rather loudly say that we are not allowed to kick seats and the man in front of us is not going to be happy. This way, at least the guy knows I am trying and am aware. Once I had this boy directly behind me who had to be around 5 and I heard his mother say to a friend that this was his first time flying. He spent the whole plane ride opening and closing his tray and playing drums on the seat in front of him, which as I mentioned, was mine. I could not believe the mother didn’t say anything. A parent without manners raises a child without manners!So am I a fan of the kid free zone? I can see both sides but my vote is no. My boys are very well behaved on planes and often times are sleeping for most of the flight. Why should I have to sit with the nightmare ones in family seating? The Skyscanner poll shows that 45% people with families agree with me on that one.

On an end note, I was on a flight about 7 years ago, and this young woman sitting in front of me took off her shoes and I tell you I seriously threw up in my mouth. I would have traded that smell for wailing sextuplets in a heartbeat! Will there be a non-smelly zone too?
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Here are a few tips to give you and those around you a smoother flight:

-If possible, try and book your flight during your child’s nap schedule. This way the child is more likely to fall asleep.

-Try and book with an airline that has television screens, so there is an option for your child to watch cartoons or family friendly programming. Don’t forget to bring headphones from home so you can avoid paying for them on the flight.

-Bring your child’s favorite toys, travel games, coloring books, reading books and other age appropriate items, so they can be entertained during the flight, especially if there are no television screens. You can also bring a portable DVD player from home.

-Pack more food than you really need so you are prepared in case of delays. A 2 hour flight can easily turn into a 5 hour nightmare and hungry kids mean whiny kids.

-Bring two separate carry-on bags; one for food only, in case of leaks. This also makes it easier to find what you are looking for in flight since there is not a lot of room to fumble around, especially with an infant in your lap. If your children are older, bring a favorite back pack and let them help you pack it with leak free snacks, toys, or whatever they choose. It’s also one less bag for you to carry!

-If your child is recently potty trained, it is still a good idea to put on a Pull Up, in case you are not allowed to get up from your seat, or if the line is too long for him to hold it in.

-Always bring an extra pair of clothes in case of a diaper disaster.
-Upon take off and landing, give your child something to suck on so they can swallow and relieve some of the pressure from their ears. This can be a bottle, sippy cup, or pacifier.
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For further information about the Skyscanner poll, click on http://www.skyscanner.net/news/articles/2010/08/007776-59-of-travellers-want-family-only-section-on-flights.html