After enduring a 22-hour, door-to-door travel time getting home from IBC, I'm ready to endorse children-free airplanes. I was unfortunate enough to encounter several of the most ignorant, selfish parents with small children in all my years of flying.
In both legs of my return flight, there were multiple 3-year-old-something's who were allowed to totally disrupt the flights with their screeching, screaming behavior. I watched (and was forced to listen) as these acoustic terrorists held all of us passengers hostage, in one case for nine hours. No one, including the kids' parents, worked to temper the behavior of these obnoxious brats.
As any seasoned traveler will attest, traveling isn't what it used to be. Not that I ever knew “what it used to be,” mind you. I didn't fly on a 747 until I was, well, almost as old as I am now. So, I don't have experience with the days of refined travel. But, I'm told that travel used to be luxurious and pleasurable. Today, travel is everything but that.
I recently watched a Discovery program about the Boeing 747 aircraft. The takeaway point for me was that the interior space of the plane — where they stuff us passengers — is longer than the Wright brothers' first powered flight.
Think about that. On Dec. 17, 1903, these guys flew the world's first powered, heavier-than-air machine only 120ft. That's less distance than you might walk from your seat to the galley in the back of a large aircraft.
Now, having established that the maximum distance available in one of these flying closets is 120ft (at least in a Boeing 747), I'm here to propose a new air travel standard be established. This new standard would help return airline travel to the days of yore, where men were men, women were women and most importantly, children did not fly.
I hereby propose that all children, their parents, guardians, grandparents or other caretakers, shepherds, herders, whatever, be required to sit in the rear most seats of any plane. In addition, there should be erected an acoustic barrier between those seats and the rest of humanity forced to share the same limited space in that aluminum tube called an airplane.
Now I don't want you to think that I'm pinning all of flying's discomforts on the existence of children. If I buy an airline ticket and the guy seated next to me weighs 400lbs, he's going to overlap into my space. If that happens, I have every right to demand a new, full-sized seat. I'm merely maintaining that the same guideline should apply when it comes to noise. When another person's obnoxiousness intrudes into my space, we have an issue.
And it's not just child noise that I'm against. There's talk about making it so people can use their cell phones during flights as well. One poll by the National Consumer League said that 79 percent of airline travelers are for keeping the ban on cell phone use on planes. Professionals simply don't want to put up with the noise. And I'd say that screaming, misbehaving, unruly kids create no less of a disturbance.
Now before you think of me as some inexperienced, childless person, let me set the record straight. I raised three children — two of them as a single parent. I well understand the challenge, but children can be taught to behave.
Perhaps we could ban kids who can't behave themselves (and the parents who refuse to make them behave) to the airplane's cargo hold. Heck, the kids will probably love it because they can play with the other animals kept there.
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