As of today Malaysia is my top holiday destination. Why? Because the head honchos in their wisdom at Malaysia Airlines have created a baby-free first class section. Admittedly they stopped short of creating utopia (a child-free flight) but I am willing to fork out extra if it means not being disturbed on a long haul flight by someone else’s little angel.
I imagine that the message boards on mumsnet will soon go into meltdown as the bleeting classes bang on about human rights, discrimination, their bundle of joy visiting elderly relatives and all the usual crap spouted whenever the subject of children in transit is brought up. I must confess to having recently signed the passport photo of a friend’s baby, when it was 2 months old. I barely even clocked it as it was being swaddled by a maternity nurse who clearly modelled herself on Supernanny and had the wide-eyed (nay deranged) stare of Jo Frost that always makes me suspect that she is one step away from abducting said children. Not that this stopped me signing as I had arrived in the middle of a play date so was coming out in my usual pre-schoolers rash and couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Consequently, this little Princess and her toddler brothers can now make their way to Paris on Eurostar and I can only apologise now (in absentia) for the poor sods also in their carriage. I once did likewise for my former boss as she wished to take her 3 month old to Mauritius, so I know that this is not an isolated incident. Basically the new mantra seems to be ‘have had child, will travel and f*ck my fellow passengers’.
From the commuter train to the jumbo jet, nowhere is out of bounds for tyrannical, barely civilised offspring and I am sick of spending my journey with my fingers in my ears or batting off an exuberant under-5 who thinks hitting me is a game. I don’t find it endearing when my reading is disturbed by someone’s toddler peering at me or offering me a sticky paw with a half-chewed sweet. I switch off when I travel as that’s how I like it. Even when I am with others, I adopt a stance of companionable silence as the best way to combat the stresses of check-ins, body searches and foreign public transport systems. That is my choice so I wish that parents would bloody respect that.
I’ve sat on many a plane cursing at the amount of respect offered to the folk who have bred.
Why is it that a child is no longer a single entity? Each one comes with baggage yet no-one has updated the transport to accommodate such paraphernalia. After all, a mother who has a seat for her, one for her child and an unfolded pushchair blocking the standing area is quite simply a selfish 3-seat hogging (for the price of one ticket) c*nt. She exists in South East London and has plenty of chums who also like their wee ones to stand on the seats so they can see out of the window. Children stand in dog sh*t with as much regularity as adults. Just because they are oft strapped into their 4x4 perambulator does not mean that they don’t run around once they are released from their shackles. I can’t abide adults sticking their filthy feet on the seat opposite any more than I can kids, so what example is their parent setting when they lift them on to the seat for a better view? Not that I should worry about it because I am unlikely to experience the softness of this seat, given that any spare ones are littered with nappy bags or one of those hideous kiddie-suitcases used to transport Tarquin’s toys.
I’ve sat on many a plane cursing at the amount of respect offered to the folk who have bred. There is a clear prejudice towards the barren and the independent travellers who see no need to make a confined space even less bearable by clogging it up with kids. Parents are offered priority boarding, seats at the emergency exit so the wee one can stretch its legs and lots of snacks to keep its mouth busy and delay the inevitable wailing. My husband would be most grateful to be afforded such special treatment but it appears that he doesn’t qualify and I must show patience in the queue, tell him to furl his long legs up and and carry my own bag of treats.
I don’t blame the kids. I was dragged to enough places as a child to know that they are simply bored, frustrated and tired when the shrieking begins. What I appear to have been blessed with though is a memory. If travel can be avoided why put yourself through this hell? Of course there will always be necessary journeys and for that parents ought to show fortitude, discipline and comprehension of the people around them, which isn’t too much to ask. Day nurse is pretty useful too, so I’m told. For all the rest is it too much to ask that you think before you travel? Babies experience pain when their ears pop on a plane. It’s negligent and self-centred to put them through this and is a good indication of where a parenting model is headed. Oh and to the woman in the row behind me on that flight to Aberdeen last year, who told me I would be more understanding if I had one of my own; have you met my mother? For all her faults she did at least perfect the art of dousing a baby blanket in chloroform.
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