Kick kids and parents off flights

I'm not very lucky when it comes to flying. Just about everything has happened to me.

I have lost my ticket in the airport (remember the days when you needed a ticket at check-in?), I've left my passport on board planes, I once forgot to take my passport with me, I've missed countless connecting flights (and as a consequence spent sleepless nights at airports or had to fork out for a hotel), my luggage has gone missing several times and so on and so on.


This time around there were no delays even though Storm Barbara arrived the day I flew to Scotland. It was a bumpy flight.


The problem was on my return journey.

Unfortunately, you can't choose who you sit beside.

I had an aisle seat for the first leg. I watched other passengers find their seats and wondered who would be sitting next to me. It turned out to be a mother and her young daughter.

I didn't worry too much. I have sat next to children who have behaved well.


I found it strange that the mother took the window seat.

I smiled politely and helped the little girl put on the seat belt.

"What do you say to the man?" asked mummy.

"Thank you" replied the little girl.

"You are welcome" I said.


The mother then proceeded to play a word game with the safety instructions.

She read out every detail omitting a word for her daughter to guess.

I thought the conversation would stop once we were up in the air.


Mummy then started to question the girl about all sort of things.

"Do you remember all the places we have visited this Christmas?"

"Who did we see?"

"What was your favourite present?"

"Do you miss Daddy? Do miss him because you love him?"

And it went on.


I thought if I pretended to sleep, the talking might end.

It didn't.


What is more the girl curled her legs on the seat and would not sit still. She kicked me (admittedly not deliberately) the whole flight.

When I showed my annoyance, Mummy told her twice "Don't kick the man, darling."


My hopes were raised when the colouring pad and pens were taken out but quickly dashed as the talking continued.

"What colours shall we use for these flowers? Do you like flowers?"

And it went on.


Darling then asked to be read a story.

Mummy was delighted.

We were given a performance of Snow White. I say performance because she read it as if she was rehearsing for a play. Perhaps she expected her audience to give her a round of applause.


I should point out that nothing was whispered. Everything was at a volume so that at least four other rows could hear.

I started to mutter audibly.

Mummy ignored me.

A couple on the other side of the aisle gave me sympathetic looks.


Every time a flight attendant passed, they failed to notice my desperation.


"I've got to say something" I thought to myself. "I can't let this woman get away with this"


At last Darling turned her feet to the seat in front.

Mummy told her not to annoy the people. "You wouldn't like it if the person behind you kicked the back of your seat, would you?"

It was my chance.


"I've had plenty of kicks too" I dared to say.

"She's only four years old" came the reply.

"Next time you should sit your child in the window seat so that she doesn't disturb the other passenger"

"But then she would have started screaming" she answered confidently. "You should have said something earlier."

It sounded as if it was all my fault.


"You should have realized what your daughter was doing" (a dumb thing to say as she knew fine what was happening).  "Other people wouldn't have put up with this behaviour."

A sorry finally passed her lips.

"What's wrong Mummy? asked Darling.

"The man is a bit upset."

I wasn't finished.


"But the worst thing is that we have all had to listen to your voice the whole flight. Why should we endure your story telling?" I complained.

Mummy didn't reply.


"I love you Mummy"

"Mummy loves you too Darling"

She was defiant. My words had no effect.


I couldn't believe it when the young woman sitting in front of me turned round to speak to the girl and said "I think you behaved really well."


Now I had three people to contend with, For the last five minutes of the flight, I heard all about an upcoming tour of the Harry Potter film studios

"Isn't that exciting, darling? Maybe, we can visit the studios when you are a little older"


The thing is this woman probably thinks that she is a wonderful mother. In my opinion, the girl will grow up thinking she can do whatever she wants regardless of anyone else.




I had the window seat on the flight from London to Madrid. "Great," I thought. "I'll take the opportunity to lean my head against the window and get some much needed sleep"

The two people in my row were in their twenties and didn't know each other.

But...

... as soon as the flight had taken off, I felt a bang at the back of my seat.

I thought I must have imagined it.

No such luck.


I heard the voice of a little boy.

I glanced round to see a mother and her teenage son. I didn't see the boy who was directly behind me
.

There were a few more bangs. My patience was wearing thin.


It's not often that I am able to sleep on a plane but I was exhausted.

Just at the point when I was dropping off, there was one almighty kick to my headrest.


"Joder!" I shouted out and startled the guy next to me.


I turned round to give the mother a death stare. No words were needed.

The little brat was made to change seats with his older brother.


One lesson I have hopefully learned from these two episodes is that I must demand to change seats at the first sign of intolerable behaviour from other passengers.




What would you have done if you had been in my shoes?

Have other passengers ever annoyed you?


Have a look through the posts under the flying label and comment on one.


Do you agree with this top ten list of the most annoying plane behaviours?




Comments

Anonymous said…
Kick kids and parents off flights
Hi Graham, I’m sorry but I have laughed a lot with your story. However I understand your bad mood perfectly. Since 1972, I flight three or more times each year and I can remember truly nasty situations on board, even with the flight attendances. I remember once an Iberia stewardess hit my knee heavily with the food trolley. Sorry sir!, she told me, and followed driving the trolley forward the aisle while I writhed in pain. Recently, flying to Las Palmas, I was about to lose my patience with a young father who was exciting his son (one year old, more o less) with shrieks the whole flight. I just wanted to read something, but I couldn’t. I proved to stare him in disapproving way but I’m sure that he thought that I was an unsociable man that didn’t understand the special relationship between father and son (typical Spanish thinking in this situation...). Another experience was also very unpleasant. Long time ago, I had the bad luck to travel with a group of teenagers who came from a summer camp. One of them, seated beside me, had a cold and he wiped his nose with his hands primitively (I don’t want to continue, but you can imagine the scene...)
Of course, it’s better to travel in business, but it’s too expensive for me. Although to travel by plane is now cheaper than in the past, the truth is that is also more uncomfortable. As you know, I’m tall and I suffer a lot with the short distance between the seats in the economic class. For me it’s like a nightmare, especially if the person seated in the front seat decides to lower the seat. In this case I’m trapped literally. Anyway, it’s the price that we have to pay if we want to visit a lot of places with our salary. In the end, I accept the established system, but others, like Jeremy Corbyn, also accept the system, as we have seen recently...
José Luis professor
Carlos Roldan said…
Hi Graham I´m Carlos.
Fortunalety I haven´t had a bad experiencie on a flight.
If I had been you, I would have some words with the mother, and the other passenger.
The only annecdote that I have had during a flight was the last summer, road to Ibiza.
The flight was crazy because it was the last fly of the night and everyboy was drinking all the travel. It was crazy!
The plane look´s a "school bus".
Montse said…
Hi everybody by there!!
I'm so sorry for you, Graham! Hahaha! I can almost see you at those moments!
If I had had to give my opinion about that subject some years ago I am sure I had said that people have lost their patience and we are becoming more and more selfish and unsociable. In the end, everybody was a child at some time ...
But now, I have no choice but say that I agree with you. It may be the age but when we go to a restaurant we always ask for a table far from families with kids and at hotels, we enjoy if there aren't any children running about.
Sometimes I feel a bit like Mr. Scrooge and sometimes I feel sorry for the parents of those little ones since I was one of them long time ago.
Anyway, I always look forward to listening to your flight stories. This one seems to be better than that about 'the warden', doesn't it?
Kisses,
Anonymous said…
There are number of things that can spoil a pleasent flight, the more you travel the bigger are the stakes to face a hell trip. Whether it will be a nagging kid, a drunken passenger or a chatty old lady, my preventive solution are headphones and pretend to be sleeping.

My personal nightmare does not involve kicks or noises, I can stand with that, smell is what makes me go nuts. You can not fight against that, why do they still offer alcohol on flights when it is obvious that some of the passengers have already smugglered amounts of it in their bodys. Don´t get me wrong, I am not against small alcohol consumption to easy the nerves prior or during a flight, but I would charge every drink rather than giving them for free.

The bright side about an awful trip is that you will have an anecdote to share with your friends, It might not seem to you that suffering an ordeal will make you any popular, but bear in mind that one of most important books of the western literature is the story of a guy who had the most misfortunated tour while he attempted to go back home…..His name was Ulysses.

Daniel
brigida said…
The story is hilarious. Personally, I don´t like kids (I have to be honest), especially in trips but It´s the problem when you travel in Christmas, Easter or August ;(. I have two stories. On a train from Malaga to Madrid, I complained because the kids were playing with a toy hoop, they took all the newspapers, they were watching something on their Ipads without their headphones. The train attendant understood me but the rest of the passengers said that they were adorable. We spent the rest of the trip with the car in a unconfortable complete silence, all of us angry with the rest.

And in my flight to Chicago (a nine hours flight) a girl with mental retardation sat next to me. She had 32 years old and she travelled on her own I had to take care of her for the nine hours. The flight attendants got angry with her and I said that I took care of her behaviour and would try to get her calm. In that case I didn´t end up quite upset because she made my flight less boring. I was very surprised that she were able to travel so far on her own, I wouldn´t have dared if I were her mother.
Graham said…
Hi José Luis,

It wasn´t so much the little girl but the mother who annoyed me. I would have sympathised with the parent of a crying baby but this woman encouraged her daughter to talk constantly. The girl might have been quiet if it weren't for her mother. And she could have spoken quietly instead of at the top of her voice.


I’m sorry but I laughed a lot with your story. However I understand your bad mood perfectly. Since 1972, I have flown three or more times each year and I can remember truly nasty situations on board, even with the flight attendants.

I remember once an Iberia stewardess hit my knee heavily with the food trolley. Sorry sir!, she told me, and continued pushing the trolley down the aisle while I writhed in pain.

Recently, flying to Las Palmas, I was about to lose my patience with a young father who was exciting his son (one year old, more o less) with shrieks the whole flight. I just wanted to read something, but I couldn’t. I tried staring at him in a disapproving way but I’m sure that he thought ...

Another experience was also very unpleasant. A long time ago, I had the bad luck to travel with a group of teenagers who came from a summer camp...

Of course, it’s better to travel in business, but it’s too expensive for me. Although travelling by plane is now cheaper than in the past, the truth is that it is also more uncomfortable. As you know, I’m tall and I suffer a lot with the short distance between the seats in economy class. For me it’s like a nightmare, especially if the person seated in the front seat decides to recline the seat. In this case I’m trapped, literally. Anyway, it’s the price that we have to pay if we want to visit a lot of places on our salary. In the end, I accept the established system, but others, like Jeremy Corbyn, also accept the system, as we have seen recently.


All our conversations, whatever the topic, come back to the same thing - Brexit, the Tories, Corbyn, Thatcherism... haha



Graham said…
Hi Carlos,

You are very lucky not to have had any problems when you fly. Over the years, I have had my fair share of bad luck when flying.

I wouldn't have complained about noisy passengers on a flight from Ibiza. It's to be expected.

I never dared to go to Ibiza even at the height of my partying days. I didn't think I would survive it. haha


Fortunately, I haven´t had a bad experience on a flight.

If I had been you, I would have had some words with the mother and the other passenger.

The only annecdote that I have had during a flight was last summer on the way to Ibiza.
The flight was crazy because it was the last fly of the night and everyboy was drinking the whole journey. It was crazy!

The plane was like a school bus.

Graham said…
Hi Montse,

You know me too well.

I try to be polite and patient as much as I can. Perhaps that is the problem. I shouldn't have put up with the situation for so long.

It just drives me crazy when people don't give a damn if their actions disturb others.


Hi everybody out there!

I'm so sorry for you, Graham! Hahaha! I can just see you in these moments!

If I had had to give my opinion about the subject some years ago, I am sure I would have said that people had lost their patience and we were becoming more and more selfish and unsociable. In the end, everybody was a child at some time ...

But now, I have no choice but to say that I agree with you. It may be age but when we go to a restaurant, we always ask for a table far from families with kids and at hotels, we enjoy it if there aren't any children running about.

Sometimes I feel a bit like Mr. Scrooge and sometimes I feel sorry for the parents of those little ones since I was one of them .

Anyway, I always look forward to listening to your flight stories. This one seems to be better than the one about 'the warden', doesn't it?


I wonder which incident gave me the highest blood pressure haha

Graham said…
Hi Daniel,

I remember the days when flying was a pleasure. I don't think it is my memory playing tricks.

Every other flight nowadays involves some level of stress. I am sure it wasn't always the case.

I know you think I'm just a grumpy old man, I sometimes fear that's how I come across. But believe me, I am more patient and tolerant than the average person.


There are number of things that can spoil a pleasant flight, the more you travel, the higher the stakes of facing a hellish trip are. Whether it is a *nagging kid, a drunken passenger or a chatty old lady, my preventive solutions are headphones and pretending to be asleep.

*Do kids nag? I tend to think of a nagging wife - never happy and always getting on at her husband. (I'll get me into trouble for saying that haha)

My personal nightmare does not involve kicks or noises, I can just about stand that, a smell is what makes me go nuts. You can not fight against it, why do they still offer alcohol on flights when it is obvious that some of the passengers have already smuggled amounts of it in their bodies. Don´t get me wrong, I am not against a bit of alcohol consumption to easy the nerves prior to or during a flight, but I would charge for every drink rather than giving them *for free.

*Drinks for free? It used to be the case many years ago but nowadays? Certainly not in misery class.

The bright side of an awful trip is that you will have an anecdote to share with your friends. It might not seem to you that suffering an ordeal will make you any popular, but bear in mind that one of most important books of western literature is the story of a guy who had the most misfortunate tour while he attempted to go back home…..His name was Ulysses.

Graham said…
Hi Brigida,

I can see the funny side now but believe me, at the time it was no laughing matter.


The story is hilarious. Personally, I don´t like kids (I have to be honest), especially on trips but it´s the problem when you travel at Christmas, Easter or August ;(. I have two stories.

On a train from Malaga to Madrid, I complained because the kids were playing with a toy hoop, they took all the newspapers, they were watching something on their Ipads without their headphones. The train attendant understood me but the rest of the passengers said that they were adorable. We spent the rest of the trip with the carriage in an awkward and total silence, all of us angry with each other.

And on my flight to Chicago (a nine hour flight), there was a girl with a mental handicap sat next to me. She was 32 years old and she was travelling on her own I had to take care of her for the nine hours. The flight attendants got angry with her and I said that I´d take care of her behaviour and would try to calm her down. In that case I didn´t end up upset because she made my flight less boring. I was very surprised that she was able to travel so far on her own, I wouldn´t have dared if I were her mother.