Monday, May 14, 2012

Woman plus baby equals miserable flight

Mother and baby that create seat turbulence

No flight is pleasant when babies are crying.  The same can be said about being kicked in the back for almost three hours between Dallas and Los Angeles.  This woman looks nice and attractive, but she is the mother to avoid on a plane.

I should have tried to switch seats with her when she arrived at the end of my row, looked at a man by the window and announced: "I think you want to switch seats with me - unless you want to babysit my daughter."  I was pinned against the window.  The passenger next to me (in the middle seat) had already commandeered both armrests.  As I pondered whether a packed flight can cause claustrophobia, the man in the window seat in row 17, moved up to our row, and the mother sat in his seat, directly behind me.

At times it seemed like her toddler was grabbing my seat, but most discomfort was caused by the baby.  I repositioned my seat without any recline to see if that would help, but I still felt like my back was being constantly kicked.  I attempted to sit without my back against the seat, but that didn't help.  I kept praying that I would slip into a three hour coma.  No luck.

After at least 30 minutes of continuous kicking, I looked back at the mother and even asked twice that she please do something so my seat wasn't being constantly kicked.  She shrugged her shoulders.  (I can't remember if she denied being about to do anything, but that's how I read her look.)   It felt like she, her baby and her toddler kicked my seat nonstop for two hours and 50 minutes - mainly because the Mom kept putting her baby on the tray table where the creature wiggled and kicked nonstop.  (Had the baby been seated elsewhere, I would have thought she was precious rather than a creature from the Kung Fu Lagoon.)   After I asked the Mother twice to please make the constant kicking stop, I realized that I should have insisted or asked a flight attendant to insist that she hold the dang baby on her lap.

If you have ever been tortured by a Mom and a baby or a toddler on a plane, please comment and let me know if you had a better result.  Flight attendants don't seem to ever intercede so I didn't ask for help on this flight.  If any flight attendants read this and have a suggestion, please comment.  I want to create self-defense tips for passengers who have been tortured by children and/or neglectful parents on a plane.  On trips to Hawaii, I have regretted being in First Class, when the kids were positioned to kick my seat while their parents sat across the aisle, ignoring their children.  In the future, I believe I will request parents change seats with me so that their kids can kick them in the back for five hours.

Below is a second photo.  This woman was so inconsiderate, and yet I didn't have the guts to boldly snap her photo and announce I planned to post it online -- as a warning to other passengers.  Instead both pictures were snapped discreetly over my head as we deplaned at LAX.

The toddler's arm is in front of the baby (directly behind the second seat).
If you see this Mama sitting down behind you, BEG TO SWITCH SEATS!


  1. On my first flight to Europe (10 hours, non-stop, evening departure from San Francisco and mid-afternoon arrival in Paris) the couple sitting behind us left their reading lights on all night while drinking booze.

    Either because of his lack of leg room, or inability to recline his seat back due to the bulkhead directly behind him, every time the guy moved around in his seat he kicked mine.

    I'd just start to doze off and "Whack!" went his foot against the back of my seat, jarring me awake. I'd guess that I got a combined 15 minutes of sleep (about 5 seconds at a time) during the entire flight.

    The answer to your situation: Maybe you can throw Mama off the train, but not off the plane.

  2. These comments were shared by my friend Cindy Sicard Baynham via Facebook

    Comment 1: Ask the flight attendants to do something about unsupervised, unattended children. It is a safety issue as well and safety is their job. (My friend Mikie Hayes seconded this plan of action.)

    Follow up: On my packed in like sardines flight from Prague two little girls old enough to know better were kicking the seat of a big, burly Russian man. It wasn't pretty.

  3. On a Christmas flight from Los Angeles to Zurich the woman behind me railed that under no circumstances was I to recline my seat because she was holding a baby in her lap and I "didn't have the right" to invade her space. She was quite adamant - and felt extremely entitled-- and I ended up spending the 11-hour flight sitting straight up to be sure she wasn't uncomfortable. And if I had it to do over...I think I'd recline my seat and suggest she find someplace else to sit! Marian Gerlich