- Parents give goody bags to fellow passengers to apologize for flying with kids
Flying with kids is a pain in the butt, especially in 2016 when the TSA all but expects you to do a striptease before you’re allowed to board your flight, and other passengers seem to roll their eyes at the very sight of your approaching family. The skies are not a friendly place for people with kids, and that’s probably why some parents on a recent trip to Florida felt compelled to bribe other passengers to show their toddlers a little compassion.
The Love What Matters Facebook page recently shared a note from a woman named Christina Galese, who wrote that she was boarding a flight from New Jersey to Florida, when she noticed everyone passing up two rows of seats because a set of parents were sitting there with 18-month-old twins. “Because I don’t mind children (and knew I had my headphones for later on, just in case) I opted for the window seat next to the father and one of the twins,” she wrote.
Eventually, all of the seats filled up. The parents then passed out goody bags to everyone sitting near them. The bags included candy, ear plugs, and a note basically apologizing for their twins’ existence.
“Hello! Our names are Abby and Ashley. We’re twins, we just turned 18 months, and this is our first time on an airplane,” the note said. “We are heading to Florida to see Grandma and Grandpa, and mommy and daddy said something about a mouse. We’ll try to keep our cool, but in case we decide to get crazy, we’ve provided a sweet treat and some earplugs for your enjoyment. Thank you for understanding and enjoy your flight.”
Galese called it a “thoughtful, simple act of kindness,” but as a fellow parent of small children, I have to admit, I wish other parents would stop doing this. It’s not that I think flying with kids is so wonderful — it isn’t. But, the unfortunate reality is sometimes even people with kids have to go on vacations, move, attend a family reunion, or get to a funeral. And, in those circumstances, we shouldn’t have to spend our hard-earned money on treat bags to bribe grown adults to show us some compassion.
Some parents are more lenient than others, but the one thing we all have in common is that we’d rather throw ourselves off a cliff than be the person on the plane with a screaming baby. That’s why we schedule flights around naps and feeding times, arm ourselves to the teeth with every supply we could possibly need, and even pace the aisles to keep our spawn from making any noise at all — even a giggle. We don’t want to be obnoxious, but we’re also trying to teach a small, confused little person how to be a functioning human being. That’s a hard fucking job, and why should we be expected to apologize for it?
I can see why parents might feel compelled to pack goody bags. They feel judged. They don’t want to be viewed as bad parents, rude, tactless, or unconcerned. But, these chocolates and apologetic notes aren’t doing anything except making planes more hostile for people with kids. When you hand someone a note that basically says, “Sorry my kids are alive,” what you’re really doing is reinforcing the idea that people should have to apologize for having children, and that kids aren’t deserving of the same basic level of respect we reserve for other adults.
Yes, kids on planes are annoying as hell. But, you know what? So are the snorers, the seat kickers, the talkers, the gum smackers, the person by the window who uses the bathroom 14 times in a single trip, and the guy in seat 17C who couldn’t be bothered to brush his teeth this morning. Flying is pretty much always annoying, but if you want treats and ear plugs as a reward for basic human decency, you’re going to have to pack them yourself.