Why should airline passengers without children be expected to jump to move for families?
Kidentifiers on airplanes. A reality, a pressure cooker – and sometimes a delight. As a childless person and frequent traveler, I can’t count the number of times my heart sank at the sight of a toddler climbing into the seat next to or in front of me, only to find myself cooing through an impromptu game of peek-a-boo or smiling at their cute aviation questions hours later.
Then there are the other moments when, four hours into a 12-hour overnight flight to Bangkok, the four rows in front, six-year-olds, are playing on a gaming device. At full volume. Without helmet. Often cabin crew are reluctant to step in at times like this, unless it’s a complete meltdown in the aisle – when I asked in this instance, a flight attendant from Thai Airways just grimaced and said, “He’s a kid.”
There was the three-year-old boy who didn’t seem at all pleased that his parents had booked him a plum business class seat from Rome. It screamed its lungs from the Alps to the English Channel as I wondered why the manufacturer of my noise-canceling headphones hadn’t tested them. That said, I’m no freak, I understand that flying with kids is tricky, families need vacations as much as we do, and no parent wanna their child to make a scene.
What can be worse than the little darlings themselves are the parents. Model and Made in Chelsea WAG Vogue Williams recently made headlines when she told the story of a man (presumably a solo traveler) who didn’t want to swap seats so he could sit with his husband and child on a flight. Gibraltar to London. As she told the story, she was not mildly annoyed but downright enraged. She called the offending passenger ‘a piece of s***’ and ‘an absolute t**’ as she fumed over the interaction (which saw the man in question finally agree to move the seats).
Things I can understand about this story: being worried about not being seated next to your child, feeling annoyed by more than one child on a flight, feeling frustrated with yourself for not letting Pay attention to your seat reservation. (Williams said in the podcast episode with the story that it was “her mistake” to book herself in a different row than her husband.)
What I can’t understand is his astonishment and fury that this poor guy – who may have reserved his particular seat for some reason, may be a nervous flier or may be going through something less conspicuous than your Instagram family drama – didn’t jump to immediately offer his spot the minute he saw the parents sitting apart. I can imagine his predicament now: you’ve settled into your seat as a group, perhaps opened your newspaper, tucked your things neatly into the seat pocket. You are comfortable and adjacent to the driveway, as you have reserved. And then a shining dynasty of reality TV descends and asks you to change or risk facing the court of public opinion.
In fact, the man’s response to Mr. Matthews – “Yes, Spencer, I would have spirit” – suggests that he knew exactly who the brand-partnership happy couple was. Perhaps he thought that between their probably gifted sun holiday and their private transfer to one of three luxury properties in the UK and Ireland, they could swallow their disappointment and sit at an aisle one the other. I suspect he was annoyed by the sense of entitlement — by the inference that he, minus a trio of social media-ready cherubs, was essentially a no-person — even before the pair even pondered the question.
The question here is not whether it is best and fair for young families to sit together on flights, I think we can all give it a resounding ‘yes’. It is the right. It’s moving around, summoning flight attendants and shaming the public over a mistake that was, as she herself admitted, Williams’. The fact that she then referred to a “god-sent angel” on another flight, who saw she was in a middle seat and offered her his aisle seat, shows that she believes the families on planes are VIPs, and the others are just pawns to reorganize around them. It’s only fair to be annoyed if someone is rude and unreasonable to you; it’s not fair to be annoyed that they don’t fall over themselves to get out of “your” seat, perhaps offering the shirt over their back like a makeshift muslin. In Reddit lingo, Vogue, I’m sorry to say, YTA.
In another travelogue this week, a man took to Reddit to express his annoyance at having paid extra for a ‘bulkhead’ seat in the front of the cabin on a transatlantic flight, only to be moved back so that a parent and a child can sit there. “I don’t know, I was so pissed off,” the exasperated passenger said. In my opinion, it is up to the airlines and parents to make arrangements in advance to ensure that families are comfortably and safely seated together, not other passengers. If the front row is best for families (as it is for people with reduced mobility), flyers without children shouldn’t be able to pay extra to reserve it. If families have accidentally reserved separate seats, they should inform the cabin crew before boarding to allow them to juggle passengers, without expecting others around them to set aside their own. comfort and their planning. (I say this as someone who is truly a window-sitter and regularly pays more to choose my seat.)
If Willams had traveled alone with a child, I might feel more sympathy. People who don’t offer their seat on trains to a single parent with a baby annoy me too. I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety of traveling as a single parent. However, in this case, one parent was seated in a window seat with a small child next to them, while the other had a baby and a small child in the row directly opposite. The couple were close enough to swap babies or supplies if needed – and, ‘rude’ or not, this man barely sat them within a plane length of each other for the trip less three hours.
As the influencer said at the top of her rant, having a reserved seat in a different row was her mistake. I’d bet you anything that she didn’t come into interaction with the man in “his” seat with that energy. She’s missed two opportunities to plan ahead so far: reserving seats and talking to cabin crew at the airport. He simply reserved a seat and expected to sit there. Just as we should all listen to her cries that flying with children ‘is a nightmare’, Ms Williams should understand that every passenger is a person, with their own reasons for choosing their pre-arranged seat – and a reasonable expectation of a confrontation without confrontation. flight.