Kristin

Kristin
My buddy Kristin, with whom I'll be shooting some BEER2WHISKEY videos, and me at the awads dinner for this year's Texas Truck Rodeo.

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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