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Silence is Golden When Flying with Kids

Flickr user jdunwoody, CC Licensed.

My annual right-after-New-Year’s guidebook-reporting trip to Las Vegas (for the 2014 edition of this) yielded the usual dose of useful stuff: Updates on the latest and greatest bars and restaurants, profitable sports bets and a scoop on all of the city’s coolest family travel destinations for the next 12 months.

It also delivered a sober reminder about why so many people cringe at the sight of kids on planes.

The reminder came Saturday morning, on my flight home. A ground hold in San Francisco (my destination) left my Virgin America plane stuck on the tarmac at McCarran International for an hour. And for the duration of that hour, I and every other passenger had to listen to some kid playing a game on his mother’s iPad.

It beeped. It bonked. Every now and again, the thing played a little jingle. And the more I was forced to listen to that awful noise pollution, the more I wanted to take the oblivious mother and dunk her head in the rear lavatory toilet.

Regular readers of this column know I’m a huge proponent of kids on planes. If you’re a first timer, I’ll make it clearer: I SUPPORT KIDS ON PLANES.

But when parents abrogate their responsibility to make sure their children respect (the physical and aural space of) other passengers on the plane, I will be first in line to throw them some stink eye.

These are the slothful parents whom everyone loves to hate, the “family travelers” who give the rest of us a bad name.

Put simply, they drive me nuts.

I mean, really, how difficult is it to nix the volume for a few hours? To give a kid (the kind of) headphones (that won’t make him or her deaf)? Better still, to the sloths among us: How much of a hassle would it be to interact with your kids and put away those handheld devices all together?

Let’s be honest, people, I’m not asking for world peace. Just some consideration for others. And some semblance of responsibility. The next time you fly with your little ones, PLEASE be sure you’re not guilty of this offense. The “friendly” skies are unfriendly enough for us family travelers as it is. Don’t give the haters any more reasons to hate.