I am about to embark on 24 hours of travel back to Singapore from New York. I am packed and ready. I have my reading material, iPod, GameBoy (yes, it IS 1994) and sleeping mask. I also have a good set of earplugs, because I was surrounded by screaming kids on the flight over here and I will NOT deal with that again. Screaming kids on a plane are the absolute worst. If you encounter a screaming kid in a mall, let’s say, you have the option to walk away to another part of the mall and not have to hear the shrill noises. In a restaurant, you can get up and leave and in a movie theater, you can ask the usher to make the people with the screaming kid leave. But, on an airplane, you’re stuck there….listening to the shrill, gasp-filled screams of a child. Maybe they’re not in the row directly behind you, or seated next to you, but they’re in earshot, and there’s no way you’re sleeping, or even enjoying this flight, at all.
The phenomenon of the screaming child is not really the child’s fault. It’s the fault of the parent; the parent who reared the child to be a screamer…..the parent who didn’t bring any material to distract the child so they wouldn’t cry….the parent who didn’t force the child to stay up all night the night before so they will sleep on the plane. The parents are also the ones who ignore the child while they scream and disturb everyone else around them by doing nothing. Some parents even walk away from the child and go to the restroom or the galley while they are crying. This is YOUR child!!! These people are having their eardrums ruptured by YOUR child!!! Do something you selfish prick!!
Some parents may counter this argument with “sometimes there’s just nothing you can do.” I counter that with “there’s always the little bottles of whiskey that you can give them to put them to sleep!” We’re in international airspace, honey, there’s no law here! If your child is screaming and inconveniencing everyone around you, then you do ANYTHING to get them to shut up. If the rocking doesn’t work, you hold them close to muffle the sound! If the onboard entertainment doesn’t work, you put the sleeping mask and a gag on them! Do something!! I have been on too many flights where I was an innocent victim of screaming children. No sleep, no enjoyment, no possible way I will ever get over it!
My good friend, Dave, sent me this article (http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/quiet-zones-on-airlines-are-kid-free-zones-on-airplanes-worth-it), which highlights how some airlines are actually creating “quiet zones,” where children under 12 are forbidden to travel. For years, we have been lamenting about childless flights, or even a childless airline. Finally, some airlines are doing something to help the people without children (who don’t want to deal with other peoples’ children) have a restful and pleasant flight. Lucky me, the three that have already set this up are in Southeast Asia! I will have to travel with them always! I actually went on AirAsia’s website to research this, and they have it as clear as day (of course, it costs a little more to fly in this zone, but it’s totally worth it).
I was very happy when Cameron Diaz came out and spoke about her decision to not have children. I think she did a favor to all of us who choose not to have them. I do not think, however, that she owed the world an explanation. I would like to have all the people who decide to HAVE children give an explanation (sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it….well so does asking a childless person “why don’t you have any children yet?”)! The Asian airlines that are creating the childless zones are also helping us live a more comfortable, childless, life. We have chosen not to have children, so don’t shove yours in our faces. We do not need to hear their incessant screaming on the airplane that we are all sharing. How would you like it if I came over to your seat and started screaming in your ear for hours!? We are trying to have a comfortable flight and do not need your out of control brat piercing our eardrums with their shrill little shrieks! Here’s hoping the only tears I have to hear on the flight tomorrow are tears of joy coming from me when I find out there are no children seated near me. However, just in case, I have my earplugs and an iPod that has a very high volume control!