Photo by Ben Hogan, via Flickr.
As a well-traveled person with and without my eight-year-old, I read with interest a new survey by Expedia.com that ranked “Inattentive Parents,” at 41 percent and “Rear Seat Kickers,” at 38 percent ranked first and second on the list of “Most Annoying / Offensive Airplane Etiquette Violators.” And I believe these findings 100 percent, so I’ll focus just on them.
During my travels alone, I’m always amazed at how many inattentive parents I see on flights. It’s as if someone flipped a switch and after the aircraft door closes, it means parents can just shut down. I’ve seen children running down the aisles, screaming and yelling, playing their electronic devices loudly, and kicking the backs of seats.
I look over at the parents, and they are reading books, taking a nap, or watching something on their electronic device of choice. And when anyone has the temerity to ask the parent to actually do the job of — wait for it — parenting, you are made to feel like the bad guy. I actually had one woman tell me that she had no control over her own child, who insisted on kicking the back of my seat during an early-morning flight from Baltimore to San Francisco. One stern “sit still and stop kicking the seat” from me and there was no more kicking from said child.
I’m not child expert Dr. Spock, but I was raised by old-school parents who did not tolerate bad behavior in public. I took my first flight when I was six. My sister and I were dressed, complete with hats and white gloves. We knew that we had to address all adults and ma’am and sir, that we said please and thank you, and we were never to act up in the cabin.
I’ve been flying with my daughter since she was 10 days old, and I can’t tell you many compliments I get on her behavior. What’s my secret? It’s all about preparation. I carry a food bag with all her favorite snacks. I make sure her iPad is 100 percent charged, and I carry a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo where I can power two electronic devices. I bring along one or two of her books in case she wants to go old school. So when a child is able to keep him/herself occupied, you won’t see any of the annoying behavior on flights. See? Simple!
So take my poll and tell me what you think are the top five most annoying flyers!