Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Traveling with kids...

So Regina - comments negatively on parents wanting her to move so they can sit together on the travel blog I mentioned in the previous post:

Pick your seats when you book so that you all sit together! Wow, I really had to wrack my brain to come up with that one! As is so often the case, people with children think the whole world revolves around them. If they can’t be bothered to choose their seats ahead of time, tough luck. Don’t expect others to give up their seats for you. Flight attendants should not buy into that nonsense and it’s appalling that they would try to guilt people into it. I totally agree with Raven – I choose an aisle seat for a reason and I’m not giving it up.

Thanks Regina - I never would have thought of that. That is why I actually did that when I booked my full fare tickets on Continental's website. I did not go discount, I did not look for the cheapest fare - I bought my ticket directly from the service provider, providing the service I am buying. I even took care to book seats in the back of the plane, the seats no one really wants. It was a 737, I booked ABC and yep, Regina, I was going to spend the three hours in dreaded middle seat.

Here is the deal, there are some parents out there who are clueless and insensitive to those also traveling. Flip the coin? There are some travelers who are really clueless and insensitive about kids. News flash, those kids paid the same fare you did. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Children are not plague. Nor are they put on this earth to make your life, Regina or those like you, miserable.

Let's go back to my example. I did not create the travel bru ha ha. Continental did. They separated me from my children. It was not sloppy planning on my part. I was not looking to sit with my kids, because I want to be difficult. It is for safety reasons first and foremost, that I sit with my children. L and E are little children. I would not allow them to ride in a car with a stranger. I would have children's' services on my case of I put them on the bus alone.

Let's think this through, in the event of an emergency is a stranger really going to want to deal with my hysterical child, while I am 10 rows forward. I think not. Is that same stranger going to want to deal with the spilt apple juice, crushed crackers, or other issues, which are NORMAL for children to experience?

This is my response to Regina and other people commenting on the blog:

@Regina – I did. I picked my seats with CO. I was traveling solo with my kids ages 5 and 7. Due to an equipment change, we were scattered all over the cabin. Not acceptable. Southwest is cattle call and you take your chances. When I booked with CO, I selected seats together. Ergo in my mind, I paid for seats together.
@ Everyone else – Really? On a 3 hour flight, late in the day, who but me, wants to fly with my kids??? Do you, Mr. “I want the aisle seat” want sit with my tired, hungry and now SCARED 5 year old. Being over 10 rows from mommy is a panic inducing moment for most 5 year olds. Do you Mr. “I plan to stretch out and nap with my leg room” really want to sit next to my chatty 5 and 7 year olds, separated from mommy? Both of my kids talk a mile a minute, which I try to mitigate for the sake of those around us, if I am separated from them, there is little I can really do. I cannot shush them from 10 rows away and you - just don't have the authority or right to be rude to my kid. Let’s not even talk about kicking the seat. Again if I am next to them, I am there to nip that in bud. 10 rows away, what am I going to do to stop that. Do you have their toys, their lovey, their mp3 player, crayons or books. No I don’t think so.
Had I not booked ahead and selected seats together – I could see this being my “problem” the reality is – families with small children do not just “want” to sit together – it frankly is the only things that makes sense.
Did I mention that I called CO twice the day prior, I tried in CMH and IAH repeatedly to get us reseated appropriately, safely and sanely (cuz I gotta tell you a book and nap has a certain appeal, but my kids are my responsibility and no one elses’) and then having failed, appealed to the lead FA, who ignored me. So yes, my crying kids clinging to me, did manage to get us back together again. But really? It SO did not have to be like that.

I was not asking for special treatment. I was asking for sensible treatment, which I had paid for and dearly. Furthermore, I reached out to the service provider - Continental - asking them to correct their error. They changed the equipment or merged flights or something and as a result, they busted up our seating. Don't ask me to pick seats and then sprinkle us around the plane on a whim, knowing full well I am traveling with small children, to the detriment of everyone. No one, certainly not Regina it would seem, wants to sit with or near my 5 or 7 year old but nor do they want to make the sacrifices to get us back together, so that I can care for them properly on the flight. That is my role. It is no one's job but mine to care for them during the flight. That said, I cannot care for them properly if Continental makes such egregious errors in judgment and then refuses to correct it. No less than 7 Continental employees failed to provide any of us with the correct and sensible level of service. This was a process failure at its finest.
So next time you want to jump on the parents traveling with children and wanting special treatment - let's take a deep breath. Sometimes they are boneheads. Sometimes they are getting the screws put to them, by companies who want to take their money and not deliver on the services promises.


Laura said...

Holy crap my blood pressure went through the roof on your behalf while reading this.

Susan said...

What Continental did was just stupid and it illustrates a total lack of regard for safety.

Regina's attitude is worse yet. I did not just become a stupid insensitive person when I gave birth. Nor is sitting with my kids a convenience or a perk, it is the only correct way to address the situation. I get that she has paid for her aisle seat - but news flash ladies and gentleman, I paid for three seats together.