Just some of my thoughts from seat 34C on a return flight from our family holiday…
There’s an unspoken understanding between parents on planes: Do whatever the hell it takes to get through. Be it seat swapping, sweet giving, playing peekaboo over a seat, snorting the innards of a sherbet lemon in a vague hope of some legal high or simply accepting that normal rules will not apply for the duration of the flight. This seems to be if your children are aged 1, 10 or 33. If you’ve ever been a parent on an aircraft, you just get it. Then there’s those pesky people that fill up the family-void spaces on a plane: The pre-kidders or the people that made the life-choice to never have the little darlings (is it too late to make this choice?!).
Here’s just some of the questions and comments I wanted to put to the pre-kidders who occupied 34A and 34B on our recent travels…
Firstly, why the heck did you decide to travel in half term?
Second of all, have you been sent here to irritate the tits off an already hyperbolic, stressed out mother with 5 kids in tow?!
When I sat next to you, I saw the glance you gave my 1 year old and d’ya know what – if I were in your shoes, I would’ve given that same look which said a thousand words, amongst them “oh crap, we got the baby!”. Yup, you boarded a half-term flight with a renowned family holiday company – chances were high that you were gonna get a screamer. But I gave you an out. I, with a smile, informed you that I had quite a few children (yes, I saw you check your coil strings at this moment 34A lady!) and that two of them were down in row 29 on their own – if you would like, you could swap with them. 34A & B, being too young (all of 23) and clearly oblivious of the potential havoc a 1 year old can wreak in confinement declined my offer, obviously believing it the polite thing to do. IT WAS NOT!! It was my passive-aggressive way of saying “If you swap with two of my kids I won’t have to worry about every whimper, kick or elbow my toddler emits over the next 3 hours. He’ll be able to throw the in-flight safety card around his head with impunity. When he gets fed up of my lap (in about 47 seconds) and starts head butting my chest cavity, I’ll be able to let him crawl across his brothers and relinquish feeling in my arms for 2 minutes! Switch bloody seats!”
Whilst you complain to one another that your leg is numb and you can’t quite see Venice out the left hand window, note that I’ve had a 12kg dead weight on my arm for the last hour during the miracle in-flight nap. To top it off, my bum’s stuck to my seat from the sweat created by two bodies sharing a space just about made for 0.5 humans and biscuit crumbs from the snack I gave the toddler during take-off are now exfoliating my inner thighs.
My heart bleeds that you’re “bored” of your downloaded iPad films… I’m pretty frickin’ bored of my fidgeting 14 month old in a space only fit for a gold fish. But would you move to 29 A and B as suggested? No!
Awww, were the in-flight snacks “a bit shit”?! You have two hands, space to unfold your tray table and no small human hindering your snacking ability. I’ve so far been offered crisps recovered from an 8 year old’s lap after a bag explosion (crotch crisps!) and two fizzy cola bottles that Mr Only Girl retrieved from the bottom of his rucksack! If I were you, ditch the crap snacks and go straight for the “mix em yourself” pre-made cocktails, you’re not in charge of small people, get on it!
You can’t reach your bag? You have a bag! Thanks to company policy, the small person hogging my lap for the duration who comes with more luggage than J-LO on tour doesn’t have a baggage allowance. So any bijou bag I might have considered with lip balm, rejuvenating facial spritz and a bottle of Evian (note, hydration rates highly on my travel must-haves) was exchanged for a whopping great change bag stuffed to the brim.
Is the conversation you’re having at 50 decibels with your “mate” two rows in front about the colour of your cash card really important enough to warrant waking my sleeping child?
All that said, Casper, true his lovely little form, slept for half the flight and only required entertaining for 1.5 hours in a small space. 34A & B, whilst I may have had angry, annoyed and downright evil thoughts about you during our flight, as my stress levels were at a peak and the terror of returning home from a blissful holiday set in, you were bloody ace – you put up with not being able to go to the loo whilst my babe slumbered in my arms, you chuckled when he hit you with the on-board mag and we parted ways with a smile – although I doubt you’re considering children in the foreseeable future thanks to my brood and their in-flight antics!