Keys Disease

Keys Disease
Battling Keys Disease at the Futura Yacht Club in Islamorada, Fla. three years ago.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Flying Infants

I spent four and a half hours on a Delta plane from Atlanta to San Diego yesterday. I was first disappointed that security at the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, where my travel originated, hasn't changed. I knew there wasn't going to be a "happy ending" involved, but I was looking for my federal government-sponsored foreplay at the hands of a TSA agent. No such luck. I had donned clean underwear yesterday morning in anticipation of being manhandled in the security line. Please, touch my junk! Anyone? Anyone?

I suppose I'll have to wait for my return flight from San Diego this evening.

What prompted this writing, though, was the family occupying the row behind me on the Atlanta-San Diego flight: a mom, dad, a boy of maybe 4 years and a sub-two-year-old of in-determinate gender. Had this been a white-bread family from Dayton, I probably could have made a stab at whether the younger child was male or female, but this was a family of India descent and the kid was dressed in a way that didn't allow for someone unfamiliar with their traditional garb to make a gender guess. Gender is really irrelevant, but I strive to be accurate.

Of course the younger child spent the trip on the laps of Mom and Dad alternating from one to the other. Thus he/she occupied the four and a half hours – five hours if you count taxiing – alternately kicking my seatback and the seatback of the lady sitting next to me. Truth be told, this lady suffered less than I did based on the six times I had to get up to let her go to the bathroom. She probably spent 45 min of the flight powdering her nose. But I suspect I dealt with the problem for about 2 hours.

This episode aggravated one of my pet peeves: Kids 2 years old and under flying free on the lap of an adult. According to FAA rules during take off and landing, it is too dangerous for a woman to hold her purse on her lap; or for anyone to hold a five-pound laptop computer (even stowing it in seat pocket in front of them is verboten); yet, it's perfectly safe to hold a 20-pound squalling, struggling 2-year old. How does that work? How is that justified? Isn't a child just as likely as a laptop to fly out of someone's arms during a rough landing?

And finally, as someone who clocks a lot of air miles each year, I can't figure out how it is right that someone who paid nothing for a ticket gets to annoy someone who did for the duration of a flight? It's outrageous enough that some 400-pound, impulse-control-challenged tub can buy the seat next to me with his rolls of fat cascading over the armrests, pushing me into the aisle or against the bulkhead; but at least he's a paying passenger. Maybe he should be paying more, or I should receive a discount for sitting next to him, but he is a paying passenger. This projectile in waiting, kicking my seatback for two hours, didn't pay a penny, not a single penny, to be on the plane. I take issue with that.

Every passenger, regardless of age, should have his own seat. Period.

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