Flying Solo

15 Oct




If you’ve been out in public during the past ten years you may have noticed that there are few “adult” domains dotting our landscape. I don’t refer to the “Live” “Nude” Times Square of decades past. I refer instead to any and everywhere. The stroller set has infiltrated your local coffee shop and bar (hey after a long day playing in a sanitized million dollar soft-edged heat-proof playground, you’d need a stiff drink too.) Restaurants whose white tablecloths and staggering bills once signaled and adult oasis, now have nuggets of processed foods on the menu (because after all small children do enjoy fine dining they just don’t enjoy actual food.) No doubt much of the free-range high pitched squealing you experience (in restaurants, bars or Holocaust memorial museums) is mostly due to a parent not wanting to deny themselves anything of their pre-parenting life. It would seem that some people skipped the “What to EXPECT when you’re expecting” chapter. Life should continue unaltered save for many more accessories.

But what of the scenario in which the presence of one’s own child ruins the experience of the parent. Clearly ruining other people’s experience is a great motivator, but what if your own child negates your pleasure. No, we’re not venturing into “family bed” territory. Instead we’re looking at high-end travel. Not private plane, private island, private ecosystem travel. Just ordinary 5-star travel. Why would a person choose to fly first-class with a child younger than school age? If we assume both are healthy and that the child(ren) are not actual owners of the airline; what in the world would compel an adult to fly first-class with a small, squealing, squirming child? It can’t be the free food, children don’t seem to eat real food. (Oh for the love of all decency, don’t tell me they now serve nuggets in first-class!) It’s almost certainly not the free booze, although it could be that warm wet towel. The parent’s experience could not be improved by being in first class. Unless the flight attendants actually relieve the parent of the child, how is the parent enjoying the benefits of first-class? Is it merely the mustache twirling delight in having ruined everyone else’s first-class experience? Doubtful.

Once the aircraft has taxied to the gate and the fasten seat belt sign has been turned off, where are the little tykes staying? Are they off to visit relatives or perhaps moving into their new home? No, they’re off to the 5-star hotel/resort with zero child-centric amenities. Their parents will play running, screaming games of hide and seek in the plush penthouse level hallway at 10:30 PM. These adults will encourage the practicing of door slamming (“good boy!”) throughout the early morning hours. And we are left wondering why. Why would anyone choose to spend so much money to not enjoy the quiet, the plushness, the afternoon tea, the romance and the restorative nature of a very posh hotel? Why in an area dotted with chain hotels and motels catering to children and their nugget ways would anyone think that children should be in a place created for the pleasure of adults? Is it merely an extension of the ‘not being denied’ anything of one’s pre-parenting days? Does it matter not a whit that you spent the money and didn’t actually have the experience for which you paid? Is it an insistence of not lowering one’s standards just because one has decided to parent? (Note: Entitlement isn’t really a standard; it’s more of a pervasive and toxic behavior.) Could it be something even slightly more disturbing? Could it be that the child/infant is an adult security blanket? The world and/or social gatherings are far less daunting when you can dress up a little person and spend the day deflecting. That motivation would certainly explain the appearance of children/babies at funerals and weddings. “Pay no attention to the adult behind the baby!” It’s enough to make a person miss the security blankets that were smoking and sedatives.


Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Childhood, Travel


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Flying Solo

  1. Julia Hendrix Miwa

    October 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Also, do not get me started on the issue of the children’s menu. Why can’t a children’s menu just have child-sized portions of the same foods the restaurant serves to adults? Some do offer that but they are few and far between. We just had the kids order off the adult menu and then took home the extras.

    • brendatobias

      October 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Oh Julia you are playing my song!

  2. Julia Hendrix Miwa

    October 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I don’t even pay for first class for me, let alone for my kids, but I flew first class with a toddler once. We were flying across the country for some reason (visiting family?) and the airline called the night before our trip to ‘notify us of a change in itinerary’ (i.e. let us know that they were putting us on a 5 AM flight instead of the 10 AM one for which we were ticketed). Trying my best to be polite and pleasant, I asked if there were no other options for flying at a time somewhat resembling our initial plans. The attendant said “well, we could put you in first class on the 10 AM” and I said “well let’s do that, then”. 🙂

    I could tell that people were not excited to see a toddler in first class, but she was quiet and in those big seats she couldn’t even accidentally kick the seat in front of her.

    Definitely don’t see the point of staying with kids in a non-kid-friendly hotel, though. Much too stressful, even with well-behaved kids. We went to Disney a couple of years ago and got a room with bunk beds for kids – now there is an amenity that was worth every penny (vs. having kids share a double bed).

    • brendatobias

      October 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

      If only more were like you! My mother flew cross-country (back when that was a BIG deal) with my 1-year old older sister. My sister chose that time to learn to walk, toddling her way back and forth until she arrived in California. I’m guessing she was rather unobtrusive as my mother has always had a firm “no whining” policy, but I know she would’ve preferred a seated child!
      I’m (STILL) constantly amazed by the overt teaching of obnoxiousness. We’ve all modeled poor behavior at one point or another. But to teach a child to run up and down a hotel hallway? To teach a child to slam doors at 7:00 AM?


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