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?)
Labels: Air travel, Rants