Protect Me From the Grown-Ups
By BETH J. HARPAZ, AP
I'm starting to think there's a backlash against traveling families.
First there was the nursing mother who was told to get off the plane. Then there was the mother who was stopped because her toddler had a sippy cup full of water as they went through security. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's against the rules.) Now the mother of a 19-month-old boy says she and her son were kicked off a plane by a flight attendant who didn't like the child saying "Bye, bye plane!"
Kate Penland, who lives in suburban Atlanta, said she and her son, Garren, boarded the Continental Express plane last month in Houston on a trip from Atlanta to Oklahoma City via Houston. Penland said that a flight attendant who heard Garren say "Bye, bye plane," told her: "It's not funny anymore. You need to shut your baby up."
When Penland asked the woman if she was kidding, she said the stewardess replied, "You know, it's called baby Benadryl."
"And I said, 'Well, I'm not going to drug my child so you have a pleasant flight," Penland told WSB-TV.
Penland said other passengers began speaking up on her behalf, and the flight attendant announced they were turning around and that Penland and Garren were going to be taken off the plane.
Here's a related item: A recent online survey by Maritz Research claims that nearly three-fourths -- 73 percent -- of respondents believe there should be a family section on airplanes. The survey did not state whether those asking that families be segregated were people without children, who never want to be around kids, or parents with children who'd rather not deal with other adults.
Put me in the latter group. I would like a section of the airplane segregated so that I don't have to deal with rude, loud and disgusting grown-ups.
I would like to never have to overhear someone's self-indulgent cell phone conversation from the moment they get on the plane to takeoff, which, given the state of airplane delays these days, could be several hours.
I would like to never hear a grown man curse at a flight attendant, like I did once when the passenger was asked to put his seat back for landing to comply with federal regulations.
I would like to never see a slob spill his coffee or food on the person sitting next to him, as I have more than once.
And I would like to not have to bear witness to arguments between couples who are apparently headed for divorce.
Sure, I have heard kids babbling, singing songs and playing games on airplanes. Yes, I have heard them complaining or crying when their ears hurt or they are bored. But that's OK. I don't mind. A world without children and their sounds is not a world I want to live in.
And by the way, airlines could do a lot more to entertain kids -- how about making play packs available for various age groups? Or letting kids borrow Game Boys for the flight? Or offering sugarless gum to chew and pop-top water bottles to drink from to reduce pressure on the ears?
I don't know about you, but my choice of a seatmate is clear. I'll take the toddler babbling "Bye bye, plane" over the self-involved diva describing last night's party on her cell phone any day.
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