Parents Deserve Special Treatment on Airlines (& Other Places, Too!)

Flying the "friendly" skies just got a whole lot less friendly this past week when United announced that they are going to stop allowing parents with small children to board early. Now parents will have to board with their section, even as they clutch car seats, strollers, diaper bags, and the dozen other large-scale items that make traveling with babies such a nightmare.

I am sure many will say suck it up, you don't have to fly, and sure, that may be true. But as a mom, I am disgusted by this. Flying is hard enough for ANYONE, let alone parents with our hands full of things, plus kids. We need the overhead compartments and the extra time to get settled, and this will make it practically impossible for one parent to even consider flying alone with a child.

It's not just that, though. We are also a society. And it says enormous amounts about our society if we treat children badly.

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Parents of young children and babies know how much we are hated on planes. And it isn't just planes, either. We are hated in restaurants, on subways, on buses, and on city sidewalks. 

I am so glad my children are no longer babies so I don't have to endure the double stroller glance of fury. Anyone with a double stroller who lives in a city knows that look, full of stink-eye and rage.

The thing is, it's not about special rights or a sense of entitlement or whining. It's very simple. It's about not being an asshole.

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Sure, kids are annoying. I get annoyed at my own children and I birthed them. But they are also just small people. They are small people who are hard to manage in lines, difficult to travel with, and sometimes they scream and they yell. They will learn as they grow. They are like plants and kindness is their water. But unlike plants, people can grow without that water. They just become twisted and angry. They become the kind of people who look at a child and give them the stink-eye while those who are watered with kindness grow strong and lovely.

They become the kind of adults who looks at a harried mom with two screaming children and sees themselves (if they are a parent) or their mother (if they are not). They see a friend, a neighbor, and a human being. It's our job as humans to support one another.

Sure, we can be mean and punitive and say no one deserves special rights. But we could also just be kind. And gracious. And helpful when someone is having a hard time.

Kids' menus exist for a reason and parents should be able to cut to the front of a bathroom line if their child has to go to the bathroom; otherwise, a child with a smaller bladder than a grown man may have an accident.

Here's a test: If you are the man who refused to let that child cut because it was your place in line, do you think it makes you a better person if he suffers the humiliation of a public accident? Do you look at him and think "tough shit, kid" while he cries in discomfort and humiliation?

If you say, yes, then guess what: You are a hopeless jerk. But hey, at least your bladder is empty.

For those who said they would let a child cut, I say this: If we start acting like a civilized society, maybe we will become one.

Do you think this is awful?

 

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