Barry Kaufman | August 13, 2015 4:45 PM ET
A Dad Defends #ChildFreeFlights
As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I am a father to three children. In a previous column, I compared taking my children out in public to hauling around, and I quote “a pack of howler monkeys.”
I stand by that analogy.
Which is why I completely understand why a bunch of childless travelers have started up the #ChildFreeFlights movement. If you don’t have children, they can be pretty obnoxious to be around, particularly on an airplane. Frankly, if you do have children, they’re still obnoxious to be around but you love them so you give them a pass.
Look, you child-free travelers who are free to come and go as you please, I get you. You’ve been saving up for who knows how long to take this dream vacation, easily pinching your pennies because you aren’t having to buy the same school uniform on a biannual basis for a kid who won’t stop growing. You’re trying to relax on your flight, which you can do since no one is bothering you every 12 seconds because they’re bored or their thimble-like bladder has become full again.
And it’s hard for you, the non-parental flier, when some tiny hairless chimp is kicking the back of your seat or filling the cabins with shrieks of displeasure at the lack of SpongeBob on mommy’s iPad. So you’ve gone ahead and started a #ChildFreeFlights movement, (using your peanut-butter-smudge-free mobile device that probably doesn’t even have Angry Birds on it).
Look, I understand where you’re coming from. Now let’s flip this around so you can understand where I’m coming from.
I don’t want my kids bothering you. It’s embarrassing to me when my kid inconveniences other people. If it seems like I’m ignoring their tantrum, it’s because I am ignoring their tantrum. What is a temporary inconvenience for you is a long-term strategy for me to raise a human being who finds other ways to express their desires than through interpretive screeching.
But it’s still an inconvenience for you, and I have no desire to inconvenience you.
Which is why I’m completely on board with the #ChildFreeFlights movement.
For one, it gives us parents a chance to see the world, and share our love of travel with our children. And if our children lose their minds on the flight, it gives us the freedom to parent in the manner of our choosing without worrying about how it affects our fellow passengers. Because our fellow passengers will all be parents, trying to rein in their own tiny creatures.
And second, I admit selfishly, it keeps me from having to see all those childless fellow travelers, with their endless disposable income and free time.
You go ahead and start your hashtag movement. I’m right there with you. And when you’re carrying around your own pack of howler monkeys, we’ll raise a glass in toast of our shared struggle comfortable in our seats on the kids-only plane.
More by Barry Kaufman
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Latest Travel News
Airlines & Airports
Airlines & Airports
Hotel & Resort
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship