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The Joy of Flying


We arrived in Spain just fine after a 17-week flight, but I’m now doing a personal research study on whether jet lag can be a permanent condition, triggered by a flight but exacerbated by parenthood. While I go over my data – zzzzz – I’ve invited Moral Certainty Mommy to answer any questions there might be about the ever-popular topic of flying with kids.
Q: On the plane my daughter kicked the seat in front of her from Chicago to Washington, D.C. The person sitting there seemed annoyed, and in fact said something – not so politely! – to that effect after an hour or so. But I think the man overreacted. What’s a kick or two?
MCM: My feelings exactly. The passenger in front of you was likely one of those unencumbered business travelers, jetting around and disturbed at having his oh-so-important personal space invaded by a little jostling. I am sure that if the fancy business hotel he was surely traveling to offered the exact same treatment listed as a $200-per-hour spa massage, he would have jumped at it. Next time perhaps you’ll want to suggest he pay you for the privilege of having his seat kicked, and see how he responds.
Q: Can I just strap my child into the seat, put my headphones and eye mask on and assume that a flight attendant will take care of anything he needs?
MCM: Of course. Flight attendants, as their job title indicates, are there to attend to the flight. Thus, if your child is on the flight and needs attending to, well, clearly they will take care of him. I’m sure any flight attendant you speak with on the flight will be happy to confirm that.
Q: What are you talking about? That doesn’t even happen in first class.
MCM: Perhaps you don’t know how to ask properly. I’ve found that a polite request, followed by the appearance of being in a coma, is rarely turned down.
Q: I have my first long flight alone with my 2-year-old coming up. Do I need to bring any toys or books or anything, or do you think he’ll nap the whole way?
MCM: There’s no need for you to worry about entertaining him; he’ll surely nap all the way. Toddlers, at least those helped by certain pharmaceuticals, are known for taking 10-hour naps. And if he doesn’t, 2-year-olds can usually entertain themselves on a long flight by reading the in-flight magazine. Since they know few words and so much enjoy sitting still, figuring it out keeps them busy for quite a while.
Q: OK, but if that doesn’t work, can I just let him run up and down the aisle and pretend I don’t know him?
MCM: Of course. Other passengers and the flight attendants will be happy to keep an eye out for him, especially when the food and beverage carts are going up and down the aisle. Don’t be surprised if the flight attendants do track you down though – to offer you complimentary Champagne as a thank you for taking on the tough job of parenting and as an apology for making you buy a full-price ticket for a quarter-size person.
And thank you to Moral Certainty Mommy. I’ll keep her phone number at hand, just in case my jet lag study continues.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 3:07 PM | Permalink

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