Whats Worse Than Snakes on a Plane? Kids!

Sasha Brown-Worsham

More than 50 percent of U.S. travelers would like to see a families only section on airplanes, USA Today reported yesterday, raising the ire of many parents.

"Nearly 60% of more than 2,000 travelers polled by Skyscanner, a fare-comparison website, say they want airlines to create such a section. In addition, nearly 20% said they'd prefer child-free flights."

This comes on the heels of the Qantas Airline lawsuit where a 67-year-old female passenger said she was deafened by the screams of a toddler on her plane.

It seems that the only thing less welcome on a plane than vipers are cooped-up, miserable toddlers and young children.

This is the kind of thing that always makes me livid. Even before I was a mother, I recognized that I had to share space with children and that sometimes, those children will be loud. And for the most part, I find adults far more annoying than I find kids.

In some ways, I see the point, but it was the tone of the article that got me. There is this pervasive notion that children are terribly obnoxious and that they're "annoying."

But are they really more annoying than adults with loud jewelery or who smack their gum or who wear a lot of perfume or who talk on their cell phones loudly? Are they more annoying than people who take up two seats because of their girth? Should they be moved to the back of the plane, too?

Had the idea been proposed as a win-win, I might see it differently. Say, if the plane were divided and the back half was a playroom, but that isn't how it's being billed. The idea is more like: get your loud kid to the back of the plane.

Next month, I will take my first flight with both kids. My older child, now 3, flew a lot when she was first born and up until about 18 months, but our last flight from Boston to Los Angeles was hideous. She cried from the second we took off to the second we landed. For six hours straight. I'm sure she annoyed everyone on the plane, but I can also guarantee that no one was as annoyed and traumatized and frustrated as we were.

We felt like pariahs.

And because of that traumatic experience, we haven't flown in more than two years.

I feel like as a society, we've become so comfortable saying that families and children are "choices" that we breeders make. There are to be no accommodations made, no social niceties. Children aren't welcome in restaurants or Starbucks unless they're silent, and if they dare make a peep, then we're somehow poor parents for not controlling them well enough.

Any parent worth their salt doesn't want their child to run around in public tripping people. We are mortified when our child yells in a restaurant or cries on a plane. We apologize when our daughter kicks the seat in front of her in a theater or cuts in line, but children are going to be children. I'm not going to put a straitjacket on them, stick some tape over their mouths, and sedate them for a journey we're paying the same amount to take as all the other passengers.

We all share the world and we all have to get along.

I'll be a responsible parent and keep my child from kicking your seat and you be a responsible human and try not to say 15 curse words on the phone while my 3-year-old is listening.

We would all do well to remember that children are not the only ones who are inconsiderate.

What do you think of this idea?

Image via Sasha Brown-Worsham


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