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I have observed many instances where other passengers are disdainful of parents and children. While I'm not thrilled at the sound of a screaming baby, I do understand that babies cry when they're uncomfortable. And I understand that small children need to fly to gramma's house. I have also observed parents paying no attention to their children's behaviour and that makes everybody angry. Passengers are one thing, but a nasty, unhelpful crew is quite another. I do feel that this forum, along with other social media, can persuade airlines to pay attention to their passengers and improve things for all of us. I don't think that airline management wakes up in the morning tryhing to figure out another way to torture us, but I do think that they function in a bubble. Management could greatly improve passenger conditions and I think they might if they are made aware of the drawbacks to flying today.
Understandably, it's frustrating when passengers are treated rudely. I think it just strikes me as odd when it's stated as "(insert group) should be a special protected class" - as though they are the only ones who are treated rudely, and any other group can get what they get. No one should be treated rudely. (One of these days, I hope there is a massive uprising for "singles' rights" - of all groups, I think singles have to suck it up more than any others. Sigh, it's just a dream.) I'd also be intererested in the passenger's and flight attendant's side of the story. I also get that it is probably very difficult to travel alone with two small children - it's difficult enough getting my own self through an airport - but I would need help understanding why it is the airline's responsibility to help people with that.
Understandably, it's frustrating when passengers are treated rudely. I think it just strikes me as odd when it's stated as "(insert group) should be a special protected class" - as though they are the only ones who are treated rudely, and any other group can get what they get. No one should be treated rudely. (One of these days, I hope there is a massive uprising for "singles' rights" - of all groups, I think singles have to suck it up more than any others. Sigh, it's just a dream.)
I agree. Just because you were traveling with little kids doesn't mean you are entitled to extra privileges. As single woman I feel I have put up with a lot of hassle when traveling: people seem to think that I should be willing to switch seats because they want to sit with their bf/gf/friend/whatever and put up with some child kicking my seat. You CHOSE to have kids. I'm sorry you were traveling alone with them and guessing your kids' dad was not able to travel with you that day (a big reason I never had children -- women get stuck with all the child care). Now it is up to you to deal with that choice. Do not expect the world to bend around you just because you reproduced. I have never once complained about a crying baby on a flight and am not bothered by breastfeeding in public. But I am VERY bothered by entitled parents who think everyone else has to bow down to them.
I didn't want to touch this, but since others have dived in...no, I don't agree single parents - or any parents - are or should be a protected class. Yes, I, sure it's hard. Yes, it's nice when employees help. But be grateful when it happens, not mad when it doesn't. The flight attendant has a lot to do prior to departure and doesn't always have time to deal with extras like helping a child settle in.
One thing I do think airlines should do is have a mechanism for parents with traveling with children under 12 years of age or attendants travling with special needs people to ensure they don't get separated during the seat shuffle. Now, that doesn't mean mom, dad, and the two kids take up a whole row, but at least mom and 1 kid and dad and 1 kid are seated together. That just makes sense for everybody.
As far as the story, most of the time a baby crying on an airline doesn't bother me if the parent is trying. Toddlers will have fits, I get it. My patience goes rapidly down as the child's age inceases and when I see ineffectual parenting or a lack of effort. It's no fun for anyone to be stuck next to a 3 year old doing her best imitation of a tornado siren.
While I can certainly understand the issues that one encounters when they are a single parent, I do not believe that they need to be a protected class in any way, shape, or form. People in a protected class are there because of a problem or issue that they have no control over. Single parents by and large made the choice to become parents, knowing that they would have to give up certain things they might have been able to freely do previous.
For years I did not do certain things that I wanted to do because I had my two boys with me. I did not expect the place I was visiting to accomodate me, so I either did not plan an event, or I simply modified my plans. It was my choice to have children and so I need to account for my actions. Now with my boys being older, I can do all the fun things with them I would have done before, and quite frankly, we have a great time all together. This year it will be a NASCAR race, drag races, and an air show, which are all things that I could never have reasonably expected to be able to do when they were 2 or 3 years old.
Does this mean that a flight attendant can be rude and obnoxious? Not one single bit. The employee should have to answer for his or her actions and be held accountable because nobody deserves to be treated rudely by an employee, regardless of their behavior. By the same token though, we should expect parents to be accountable for their actions as well.
So are you trying to get on a TV show??? This happened 5 months ago... Sorry it happened but traveling with little ones is hard and you often need to decide if you and the children are up to the stress this will cause on yourself, your little ones and those around you.
You may want to consider bringing someone to help you in the future as you can not always depend on the kindness of strangers. Taking care of your children or dealing with your bags, etc is absolutely not the job of the flight crew!
I learned this lesson the hard way years ago as a young mother traveling with 2 babies in diapers.
Thank god for the young man in a nearby seat ..... I was lucky and never again attempted to take 2 babies on a plane by myself!
Hope your future travels are easier but don't expect the airlines crew to be more than polite.... Apparently that is what the United crew lacked!
Another thought I had after re-reading... this was based on just one bad experience? Your letter indicates you have flown with the children at least a few times before, without incident and with a positive experience. I understand a particularly rough incident getting to you, but it's just one incident. We've all probably experienced some not so nice service, but the vast majority of flights pass without any incident, and usually the FAs and the passengers are extremely nice and helpful. My advice would be to let it go as a one-off bad time, concentrate on the times when it was wonderful, and face any future flights with positive expectations. I don't see grounds in this one instance for a Million Mom March.