Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My attempt at the "Rant of the Week"

I took the puddle jumper from Paris to Bordeaux today. As it was a late morning flight, it was fairly empty, and with no one around me, I was looking forward to 50 minutes of peace and quiet. Until a mom carrying a small child plopped right down behind me just before they closed the plane doors.

Let me preface this by saying that I know a lot of you readers have children, so this isn't against kids in general. I know flying solo with one or more children is not an easy task by any means. But I still take issue with what happened on this flight. I was sitting in the window seat, and the mom was sitting in the seat directly behind me, with her child on her lap. Now you all know that there isn't much leg room for a normal adult on a national flight. Add a child in there and there's really no space left.

The kid started kicking my seat and causing a general ruckus as we were heading down the runway. After five straight minutes of kicking, and the mom doing absolutely nothing to stop it, I turned around and said "Excuse me, but your child is kicking my seat". She replied "So what?", to which I said "I'd like it to stop, it's really bothering me".

The kicking and pushing continued. None of this is the kid's fault - confined to such a tight space, he didn't really have anywhere else to go. And his mom had brought nothing with to occupy him, so he was finding his own amusement. Seeing as she had no one in the two seats next to her, I turned around again and asked if she could move one seat over. She said "No, you're the one that's bothered, you move". I said "I'm not the one causing the problem, so I shouldn't have to move. If you were sitting in the middle, you wouldn't be bothering anyone". That apparently didn't please her, because she called me a b*tch and said there was no way she was moving.

At that point, a flight attendant was walking by, so I stopped him and said "Excuse me sir, but I have a small problem. I keep getting kicked by the child behind me. " He looked at the woman, and then looked at me, and said "Why don't you just move to the middle seat?" I said again "Because 1) I paid for a window seat and 2) I'm not the one bothering someone". He said "Madame, surely you understand that we can't ask a mother and a child to move?" I replied "I'm not asking them to move rows, I'm just asking her to put her child in the seat next to her, and then he can kick all he wants". The flight attendant replied that he couldn't do that and told me I could either move myself or put up with it.

And you know what? That just really ticked me off. I'm just trying to be tranquil on my flight, and I'm the one that has to move? I understand that you can't control what small children do, or how they react - but you can control your own actions, and I thought that mom was being pretty b*tchy herself. If she had just apologized for her child, or made even the slightest attempt at stopping him from doing it again, I would have understood. But none of that happened. Instead she just told him to ignore the mean lady and keep on doing what he was doing.

The flight attendant eventually came back and told me there was another window seat up front, so I finally decided to move seats. Good thing I did too, because right after, the kid started crying and basically screamed for the remainder of the flight.

(And yes, I do realize that writing this has probably increased the likelihood of me being the lady with the screaming kid on the plane one day. But still. Other people's kids, right?)

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Blogger Keith Eckstein -A Taste of Garlic said...

Nice try and...

You're currently in the lead for the Rant of the Week Award at Garlic but...

You are up against stiff competition so I , if I were you, wouldn't rest on my laurels and would continue all your normal effort to win some sort of prize.

I do have to say that if you'd concluded your first paragraph with the words.... "A small child Pooped right down behind me" you'd probably have won the award already even though it's Thursday and there are four days left to go!

Perhaps next time you take an internal flight?

All the best


April 7, 2011 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Global Librarian said...

That's pretty bad. And I have flown with children a lot. Usually they do pretty well, but they have had their moments. However, I have never just let it go. And I always have a Bag of Tricks (i.e. toys & snacks) to keep them occupied.

Although I could easily have been the woman who came in just before boarding closed. Because I let the children run at the gate area until the last minute to expel as much of their energy as possible before a flight!

April 7, 2011 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

That sounds pretty bad. I have lots of sympathy for parents with young kids on a plane, but the big sticking point for me is if they are making any effort to control the kid. I completely understand that you can't always be successful but I think you owe it to the other people to at least try vs ignoring them.

April 7, 2011 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I can't stand kicking children. Last time that happened to me was--oddly enough--on a Bordeaux-Paris puddle-jumper. Unfortunately, it's almost always the parents' behaviour that makes or breaks the situation. Glad you finally found a new seat. And welcome back to Bordeaux!

April 7, 2011 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Oneika said...

Wow!! That is some real BS!!! Stuff like that really pisses me off. I mean, really!!! SHE is the one with screaming brat (poor child) who is inconveniencing YOU and you are just supposed to deal with it?! And to add insult to injury, she decides to get an attitude and you don't get any support from the flight attendant???? She's a real bitch, but I would be livid at the flight attendant's solution to move YOU... I would write an email to the airline. Stuff like that gets me piping mad.

April 8, 2011 at 2:46 AM  
Blogger ~meredith~ said...

I've flown a lot with my girls and I never would have let them do that to someone. I would have moved over a seat with my girl or tried to occupy her attention. But unfortunately, I know quite a few moms like the one that sat behind you...

April 8, 2011 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Jess in Brisbane said...

Oh this I totally understand! I remember being on a very full flight internationally (France to Australia) with noisy kids and parents just letting them run amuck!

April 8, 2011 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger wcs said...

Ok. Here's my story: I flew from Orlando to San Francisco a few times, non-stop. This one time, I was seriously the most hung-over I think I have ever been, having partied all night before the flight and getting 1 hour of sleep before having to get to the airport. So far, the problem is all mine.

I'm on the aisle. Hurting. Directly across the aisle is a man with his toddler on his lap. Before take-off, he starts bouncing the kid up and down on his lap while reciting, in high-pitched baby-talk way, "BOING! BOING! IT'S THE BOING-BOING MAN!"

He did this for the duration of the five-hour flight. THE ENTIRE TIME! Had I not been suffering from my self-inflicted hangover, I might have been able to handle it (either by saying something or asking to be moved). As it was I just sulked in pain and let it go on. Nobody else on the flight seemed to mind.

But really. Five hours of "BOING! BOING! IT'S THE BOING-BOING MAN!" I might have enjoyed screaming and kicking more...

April 8, 2011 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Vivi said...

As the mom of a toddler, I agree with you, she was completely unreasonable and a total b*tch to boot.

April 8, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only was she bad mannered, she was also letting her child vandalise the seats. If every passenger constantly kicked the seat in front it would not be long before the seat gave in and burst. It used to be there were signs on buses and trains to keep feet off the seats but now it seems anything goes. I personally would have asked to get moved to the seat behind and played her at her own game. LOL

April 8, 2011 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger oliviadog said...

You didn't specify if the woman was French or not. I assume so simply based on one clue: she didn't bring anything for the kid to do.

I have a 14 month old and anywhere we go, I probably bring a bit too much for her to do. One could easily conclude that she is spoiled, but the fact is I do it for the adults!

If she gets bored, she will always find something to do that is generally not really child-friendly. This leads to conflict, drama and so on. Until the world includes children's needs while designing space - which they aren't going to do- it is up to parents or caregivers to create that space.

Even before I had a kid, and therefore toys, my French friends with kids in tow would have nothing to do. I felt so sorry for them. I would always haul out my crayons and paper and the mom's were always like, "oh, you didn't have to do all that". Um, yeah - yeah, I did. Geez.

April 8, 2011 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Okay, whew, I'm glad those of you with kids agree with me!

And @Oliviadog, yep, she was French.

April 8, 2011 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger TN said...

On a full flight I would disagree with you. As I have had to fly internationally alone with a small toddler. And if there is no room then we are really sorry. But in your case she had plenty of room to move over one seat (how old was the child? My son was 18 months and I buckled him in and he was content sitting in his seat the entire international flight). But if the baby was small too small to sit up then I understand she couldn't just move him/her over. But she could have moved too.

Bag of tricks is necessary for any flight! 1 minute - 13 hours!

Good thing you moved nothing is worse than a crying baby on a flight! Yours especially ;-)

April 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

I'd say he was close to 2yrs old. But what struck me as weird was that the mom kept him on her lap the whole time, even during take-off and landing.

April 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I would have MURDERED the mom and locked the kid in the bathroom. You deserve an award for handling it like an adult.

April 8, 2011 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

move to sit behind her seat and kick her chair. :)

April 8, 2011 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I haven't flown with my small child yet but i'm of the mind that it is the parent's responsibility to control the child, and to be prepared for anything -- i.e. snacks, games, books, you name it. The least she could have done if she was a decent human being would have been to apologize sincerely and just scoot over a seat. Anybody with the slightest ounce of consideration would have done that. She sounds like a snotty bitch who probably doesn't know how to control her kid and doesn't care about anybody but herself. Some people just suck at life.
At least it was only 50 min.. otherwise you might have been telling us a story involving the gendarmes.. although I think Keith has an award for that one too!

April 8, 2011 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Juli said...

You should have laid your seat all the way back and just bounced in it LOL. I have a 2 year old on my lap right now and if she were kicking a seat in front of me I would be ready to pull my own hair out. However, I do think you are supposed to keep the kid in your lap if you do not have a child safety seat. It will still annoy you when your own kids get here, was that some sort of an announcement?

April 8, 2011 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Kids suck.

What's a puddle jumper?

April 9, 2011 at 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She might have HAD to keep him on her lap... I recently flew with my 18 month old and despite having an empty seat next to me, they wanted her in my lap for landing and take off and any turbulence. I think that is the regular safety rules.

She definitely should have had some things for him to do. Though, it is hard with little ones on planes. And, I seriously don't understand why she couldn't move seats if the plane wasn't full... Ugh. Some parents!

April 9, 2011 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger TN said...

Not sure how French Airlines are (IF you were on one) but if you don't buy a ticket for the baby they are supposed to be a lap child. BUT if there are extra seats usually the airlines gives it to you for free. But then again not sure if non-US airlines are the same. I would never have my now 21 month year old on my lap...first of all he wouldn't stand for it! He's so independent. No sense at all on her part. And airlines don't care if you have an infant seat or not it is not regulation (yet!) like with cars.

April 9, 2011 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger TN said...

KSAM - it is def not US airline rule we flew American internationally and they never once wanted me to have him in my lap or a safety seat. Maybe if there was turbulence but we had a perfect flight.

Since I was traveling alone I could not take the car seat with me. When we arrived in the States my sister had bought a car seat for us to keep there for our next trip. Just easier for us.

April 9, 2011 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger leon's life said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 11, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger leon's life said...

When my son was small and we flyed anywhere he was sat on my lap and I was given a special type of belt to tie him to me ( flying within Europe) I hadn't paid a full price and therefore there was no seat for him.

Although it's obviously not good that the child was kicking your seat it really wasn't a big deal for you to move either, your talking a really short flight there. Karma baby karma.

Remember you post from 18th January ?

April 11, 2011 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 12, 2011 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

She might not have had a choice. I have been on [long] flights with small children and the flight attendants have had me keep the child on my lap almost the entire time.

Or worse, long flights with my baby in the cot and then when there is turbulence, the flight attendants have me hold him, which wakes him up and leads to crying.

It is hard to travel with children, but another thing to keep in mind is that it is hard for children to travel.

In your position, I would have just moved. You were all acting childishly.

And some of the commenters to this post are really mean! "Kids suck"???

April 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Fingers said...

Sounds like you handled it well. I have two children and always make sure their public behaviour is acceptable. Seeing as this other woman had space to move, she should have done, if only as a mark of basic consideration.

Children under two years of age generally 'have' to stay on a parent's lap, if only because they haven't paid for a seat. Still, if the neighbouring seats are empty, there's really no excuse.

April 13, 2011 at 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that in France. at least, even if the seat next door is empty, if they are under two, they want them in a parents lap for take off and landing. With the seatbelt attachment thinghy ON. In the US, no seatbelt and no one seems to care. Just different rules...

April 13, 2011 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

What I would like to know is this: The mother, was she French? I take it that the steward was. Therefore, it might have been a case of ganging up on 'another complaining American'. Must just point out that I am not anti-French, God knows I love this country and here I am for the rest of my life.

April 19, 2011 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger JChevais said...

KARMA BABY! Don't you worry, that lady'll get hers.

What I don't understand is if she wanted the kid on her lap, why she didn't just turn the kid to the side so the kid was kicking into the air.

On a full flight, ok, but a half empty plane, grrrrrr.

Don't you worry though, come adolesence, that lady is freaking toast... HA!

Ksam, I want you to know that I haven't read blogs in ages and I happened upon yours. I don't know if I'll get back in the habit of "blogging" (at least reading), but hello!....

April 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM  

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