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Reality Check: Plane Etiquette

Q. How should I deal with airplane seatmates who might get annoyed by my little first-time flyer?


A. The rules I live by when I fly with my family:

Don't bother hoping fellow passengers will think your child is adorable and therefore automatically forgive him any restless-kid transgressions. Frankly, they're all praying their seat is at least five rows away from yours so they won't have to bear the brunt of said transgressions.

Do apologize in advance to all passengers in a five-foot radius of your seat for whatever spills, fits, kicks, and other random problems your child will likely cause  -- that way, no one will be surprised when the apple juice and pretzels start flying.

Don't bring more than one book or magazine for yourself  -- you'll be too busy running interference and reciting Goodnight Moon to read something for your own pleasure.

Do bring snacks  -- enough for everyone sitting around you. Who could get mad at the child of a mom who doles out Hershey's Kisses?

Don't pretend like you didn't see your child give the guy in the suit a noogie. It happened. Suit guy is probably ticked off. Ignoring your child's bad behavior will make suit guy even madder.

Do tell your child to stop kicking (and peeking over and crawling under) the seat  -- and say it loud enough so that the kickee hears you. That way, she'll know you noticed your child's behavior and are making some effort to stop it.

Don't stress yourself out over the bad stuff. Bad stuff happens. But you know what? Everyone gets over it.

Do be happy when the pilot turns off the seat-belt sign for the last time.Flight's over, and you made it!

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