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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Men, Children, And Airplanes

Stewardess Serving a Meal to a Businessman in an Aircraft
Who behaves worse on airplanes?  Middle-aged men, or children?
Based on my recent experience, the guys win out.

I usually blend in with the business travelers.  But not on my recent family vacation.  As much as I love my children, I completely dread traveling with them on airplanes.  Yes, I’ve had my share of trauma and drama.  And I’m usually prepared for just about anything.  But even I was not prepared for the tantrums mantrums on our last flight.

Before boarding (and pre-selecting our seats online), the airline mysteriously re-arranged everything.  Out of five seats, only two were next to each other.  Doug tried his hardest to put me with Abby, but Abby wanted to sit with “Daddy” (her hero) so I was home free!  That’s right, I actually got to sit by myself.  I can pretend like I don’t know my children if they misbehave, I thought to myself.

I was still surrounded by children.  A little girl behind me looked about three years old, and she was screaming after being separated from her older sister.  A women in the aisle across from me was nursing a fussy baby.  Been there.  Done that.

The guy next to me  -- who I’ll call Rude Guy -- apparently didn’t know I was a mother.  Rude Guy was talking on his cell phone at the top of his lungs,

“Charlie, I’m on the flight from Hell.  Every kid headed to Disney is on this flight.  Thank God I’m not sitting next to one of them.”

Just then, Nick started yelling at me across the aisle for some chewing gum.  Sure, he blew my cover, but at least Rude Guy was on notice.  He’d better stop the trash talking or he would have to deal with Mama Bear.

Just then, I heard a man several rows behind me start yelling,  “Did you see that?  She assaulted me.”

I turned around to see what happened.  An overweight woman was trying to lift her baggage in the already-jammed overhead compartment.  And she was struggling.  Instead of getting up to help her (or moving out of his coveted aisle seat) self-absorbed Crazy Guy was scolding her.  She sarcastically apologized under her breath as she reached over him,

“I didn’t mean to assault you!”

“Well, you assaulted me with your big belly,”  Crazy Guy replied.

At this point, my blood was starting to boil.  I would have laid into him myself, but a few other passengers stepped in.

Yes, I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior on airplanes (and have a few stories of my own), but at the end of this flight I was more embarrassed for Rude Guy and Crazy Guy than for the children.

What’s worse on airplanes, badly behaved men, or annoying children?


MC said...

What's worse? Badly behaved men. They know better and choose the rude behavior. Ever get up to go to the small airplane toilet only to meet a man in the aisle headed to the door toting a Wall Street Journal and a pained expression?? You are doomed. Maybe at 35,000 feet both good manners and the oxygen thin out.

Susan DiMickele said...