Flying with a small child is similar to sitting an exam. You work on it as much as possible beforehand. The morning of the test, you’re stressed. Hands are sweaty, jaw is tight, and your heart is racing. Only one thing is certain: it’s going to be long. You have no idea whether you will graduate as a “mother under control” or be branded a failure and an “overloaded mother!”
First test: boarder control. The aim: stay calm during the physical search of the cuddly toy, which is very often difficult for the owner to watch.
Second test: the long walk through the terminal. With one or more little ones this can feel like trekking across the desert. It’s hot, you’re thirsty and you feel like an Arabian camel burdened with the weight of all your luggage.
Third test: (the most arduous one) the flight. Or in other words how to conduct negociations with a small person completely free of self-control, with regard to staying stuck in their seat for take-off and landing. In silence of course. I could also mention the of difficulty trying to pack your luggage into the over-head lockers with one hand whilst simultaneously controlling your child with the other…
However, the main anxiety remains: stern faces and threatening glares from other passengers when they realize that there are kids on the plane. Ciao peace and quiet! Once again the sky is not exactly heaven on earth. I think that here lies the the greatest challenge- dealing with the anger and irritated sighs from the other passengers.
One airline company seems to have found a way to relax the atmosphere though. Passengers on flight 213 by the American airline Jet Blue received a unique offer at the beginning of May. Each time a baby cried, it equivalated to 25% off the price of the ticket. During this 6 hour domestic flight from New York to Long Beach in California, four adorable babies therefore gave each passenger a 100% reduction on their ticket. In effect the flight was absolutely free. How nice of them…
Jet Blue filmed the passengers’ reactions before and after they announced the offer. It’s quite enlightening. Whereas before passengers were looking at the babies with disapproval, after the announcement there were only huge smiles.
But don’t get too excited, it was only a marketing promotion. However, it highlights the intolerance of passengers towards babies on planes. They forget very quickly how hard it is to keep children quiet in a small and enclosed space. They obviously no longer remember that they were once children too. And shouldn’t we remind them that a grumpy adult surely would have been a crying baby too?