July 25, 2005

I knew they were hazardous

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at July 25, 2005 3:35 PM

What's this? A David Brooks column I actually agree with! His topic: the horrors of children on airplanes.

Anybody who thinks it takes a village to raise a child has never sat near a crying baby in first class. In these circumstances, if it were up to the village, somebody would be stapling the brat's mouth shut and somebody else would be locking mom in the overhead storage compartment.

We proles flying coach would be even less civilized. Speaking of which, as someone who frequently has cram diagonally into plane seats because the distance from my back to my knees is longer than the space provided, it seems incredibly wasteful to see children in first or business class. They'd be perfectly comfortable in my seat.

The most interesting part of the column, though, was this revelation:

The final hour of the flight is aptly captured by Picasso's painting "Guernica." Parents are strewn about in heaps, hardened air marshals are weeping under the strain, the kids look like flesh-eating Beanie Babies, and the pilots emerge to complain that because of the kids' crying they can't hear the air traffic controllers (this actually happened to my family).

[Emphasis mine.] I can't believe they make us turn off our harmless laptops and iPods, while allowing truly dangerous items like screaming babies on board. I assume, however, that the FAA will continue to ignore my recommendations.

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If I were allowed to keep my iPod on, the worst part of a certain excruciating airplane horror that would have made Cthulhu weep in agony could have been significantly ameliorate. (It would still have sucked, but sucking less is among the noblest goals imaginable.)

As for what's written, A-bloody-men! A long flight with crying babies, children kicking my seat for 5 hours (and I have a bad back, so that typically requires multiple days for me to recover), or the dreaded Fanta Boy is enough to make me kill several people and injure hundreds more. (Not that I have any violent tendencies or anything...)

I have always felt that if the child isn't ready to fly on the airplane (aka, be in close quarters with people who don't think the kid as as cute as his/her parents evidently do), then leave the bloody kid at home!

(I actually like kids in limited doses, but which parents want to limit my dosage so that they have to actually do something? Apparently, it's ok for them if their childen are getting in somebody else's way for a change. One guy once even chastised me for sighing in frustrating as a result of his child't incredibly annoying behavior. I hadn't said any words because I knew the child was so young that it would be pointless, but apparently it's not even ok for me to express my frustration with a sigh. Sheesh.)

Posted by: Mason | July 25, 2005 5:45 PM

Here is a subject on which all can be in agreement without regard to ideological predelictions. I think the FAA should mandate at least two "no children" flights daily between major cities. People would flock to these flights in droves.

I was on a regional jet- that's right, regional jet- from Dallas to Toronto yesterday at 6:30 in the morning, within arm's reach of a screaming infant. Thank god for the Bose headphones and an iPod.

And you know what? It's not just the noise they make on the airplanes. Ever seen a family of five infrequent flyers try to make it through airport security? What with the strollers and the diaper bags and the sacks of snacks and other shit these people are prone to travel with? What is supposed to be a fairly serious security check often ends up looking more like a damn carnival midway.

When I travel I look for the security line that has the fewest number of children in it. It always moves the fastest.

But Cousin Anita has the story to end all stories on traveling next to children, which would be the time the five year old she was seated next to dumped a milkshake in her lap.

Posted by: Dad | July 26, 2005 10:00 AM

Somehow I think people would put up a huge stink if anybody tried to implement this (which I agree lots of people would support). _Somebody_ would turn this into an ideological issue. The person who proposes doing this would be labeled anti-children and whoever employed them would take a huge PR hit. Our country has been masculated to the extent that I really can't forsee any serious attempts to implement anything like this any time soon. I wish I were optimistic enough to think people would be sensible about this.

For what it's worth, I am anti-"family values" and proud of it! (OK, so that's a stronger statement than supporting such a policy like the one you mention, but many of these terms carry ridiculous meanings nowadays.)

Posted by: Mason | July 26, 2005 3:28 PM

Sad to say, I think you're probably right. No politician or policy maker can afford to be seen as anti-children even if it's pro-good sense. In fact, now that I think about it, such a proposal if implemented by the GOVERNMENT probably would run afoul of the constitutional right to due process and equal treatment.

However, a private company- an airline company- could institute such flights, I think, without that being an issue. Just as apartment firms can have no children apartments complexes.

I know a former airline company executive. I think I'll ask him if this has ever been considered by an airline. I'll post anything useful that I learn.

Posted by: Dad | July 26, 2005 3:48 PM

Okay to close the loop on this- I talked to my buddy, who's a business partner of mine and who once ran an airline. I asked him if they ever considered having "adults only" flights. He said they didn't and if he had to give a reason for that, it would be that they were worried that it would be viewed as politically incorrect.

Of course, he's heading to Hawaii on Friday with his three kids, all under the age of 6. I'm glad that's one flight I'll be missing. Although he says he does plan to drug them with something before they board the plane.

Posted by: Dad | July 27, 2005 3:11 PM

Well, the reason he gave is exactly where I was going with my PR comment. Sigh...

Let's just kill all people in the world under, say, 16 years old and start over. :)

Posted by: Mason | July 27, 2005 6:40 PM
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