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  • Writer's pictureLance Blackstone

Flying… with Children

So, earlier this year, I got an awesome opportunity consulting for a company based in Greece. As part of the gig, they flew me to their headquarters in Athens to work with their staff for a week.

This did not suck. As a childhood fan of all things mythological going to Greece is a dream come true. I got to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon, got to eat Greek food and drink Greek wine. I got to hang out on the Mediterranean and see the beautiful harbor and ships. Not to mention, my hosts were awesome. They took really good care of me.

But the upsides of the trip are not really what this post is about. The preface was just to make you jealous. No, this post is about an incident I witnessed on one leg of my flight over. And, you guessed it… it’s about muthah f’n snakes kids on a plane.

Have Baby, Will Travel

I was flying out out of Boston Logan to Amsterdam’s Schipohl airport. This leg of the trip is about 5-6 hours long. The equipment was an Airbus A-330; a big plane. As a contractor the client did not see fit to put me in business class (sigh…) but as frequent flyer on Delta, I was at least able to select a decent seat. That meant emergency exit seating with about 6 feet of leg room in front of me. Score!

We began boarding the flight. My seatmate ended up being a man from Holland and we chatted as the rest of the passengers began to take their seats. I soon noticed that there was a woman with an infant across the aisle, a couple of seats away from me. Why did I notice? The high pitched screaming caught my attention.

My seatmate and I exchanged the international glance of seasoned travelers confronted with a bawling baby on a flight. The glance contained all of the following information:

  1. You gotta be f’n kidding me!

  2. Again?

  3. Isn’t there a law against this/Why isn’t there a law against this?

  4. You got any sedatives?

  5. Do we take them or give them to the baby?

  6. Have they started serving drinks yet?

  7. Have they started serving drinks yet? <– Yes, twice

They were not serving drinks yet, so my next action was to put on my noise-cancelling headphones. I cannot recommend a good set of noise-cancelling headphones strongly enough for frequent travelers. They cut out much of the background noise wherever you are including jet noise, sirens, and Gotye Muzak. They even take the edge off of high pitched baby screams.

With the noise-cancelling headphones on I went from the equivalent of being vigorously stabbed in the neck with an ice pick to being halfheartedly jabbed with a spoon. Still not fun but also not life threatening.

It gets better.

Have Baby, Will Travel II

At about this point another woman shows up, infant in arms and she is apparently also seated across the aisle from me, right next to the woman with the bawling baby. Now this new infant was not bawling; it was peacefully asleep. Ahhh, how cute!

And this where it gets even better.

The newly arrived woman – we’ll call her mother #2 – starts bitching about being seated next to the screaming infant. Yep. That’s right. “I just got my sweet little baby to go to sleep and now you expect me to sit next to a screaming baby?” she says (taking some liberties) to a flight attendant and the rest of the plane. Not a single second of commiseration was shared, not a lick of support for another mother.

Mother #2 commences hassling the flight attendants to re-seat her somewhere quieter.  She’s informed its a full flight. She continues being an asshole.

Meanwhile I have to say something about mother #1, she of the screaming infant. All of this time she is dutifully trying her best to quiet her baby. She has the good grace to look sorry for the commotion being caused. This is something that goes a long way with me because I do get it; you have a baby, babies sometimes cry, you’re doing your best, and you understand that this noise is spilling over and causing problems for other people. A parent that realizes that she is not the center of the world. I approve.

Eventually mother #2 manages to get re-seated elsewhere. I assume some sucker gave up their seat for the poor mother traveling with an infant.

Karma, You Magnificent Bitch

As soon as the plane starts to back out of the gate, the screaming baby falls asleep and remains asleep the rest of the flight. Yeah for us!

But here’s my favorite part of the story. About midway through the flight I get up for a bio break and to stretch my legs. As I walk forward in the plane what do I hear but (wait for it, wait for it…) a screaming baby! And guess who’s baby it is?

Hee hee hee!

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