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Monday, January 29, 2007

Child-free aviation

As my first flight of the year approaches, I am filled with trepidation at hurling myself into the pit of contemporary human misery that is air travel today.

Nothing can ever habituate you to the squalid overcrowding of Dublin airport, the terrorist frisk-downs at destination airports on arrival and on return, or to the contemptible service standards of certain low-cost airlines, where everything has a price and the customer has no value whatsoever.

But I could, with the assistance of prescription pharmaceuticals, somehow manage to handle all of the above if only someone in the aviation industry would hear my plea and provide child-free flights.

There has been reports that a smoking airline might be about to set up in business. But frankly, and I speak as a smoker here, that idea is really pretty disgusting in the context of recycled air.

That's not what the customer wants or needs. We would like to be treated like human beings, and at least in my case, we would welcome the offer, even if we had to pay a little extra, to fly without the accompaniment of colicky newborns and their sleep-deprived, frazzled parents, especially on long-haul flights.

Next week, I have a short hop. Even if I get allocated next to a mewling, puking brat, I can flee their presence within a couple of hours.

But later in the year, I may be flying much further afield. And no amount of tranquilisers, airport bar gin and tonics, or over the counter sleeping tablets will be able to take the edge off the shrill caterwaul of someone else's infant for hours on end at 40,000 feet.

The O'Leary's and Willie Walshes of this world are supposedly innovating air travel daily, constantly seeking to open up new opportunities for diversifying airline income.

Well, if they value making an extra few quid, let someone speculate on raising prices on long-haul flights that are guaranteed over-twelves only?

I appreciate that sometimes people HAVE to travel. Granny's funeral and so on. But surely it is always possible not to mention preferable to leave a young infant behind? Even older children do not enjoy hours on end stuck in a seat in a cramped jet airliner.

So if it is Granny's funeral, and you can prove it, then alright, take the child with you. But won't someone give me the option of catching the next, child-free, flight too?

And if it's not Granny's funeral, then please, leave your rugrats at home with someone, or better still, holiday locally. It's better for the environment, better for your stress levels and better for the general sanity of the rest of us who didn't volunteer to bear witness to your offspring's marathon ability to tantrum.

Bill Hicks was right. But then again he usually is...

kick it on kick.ie


The Swearing Lady said...

What about, like, really really sick kids who need operations in the US? Eh? Eh? Got you there!

I suppose they wouldn't be running around, opening the air locks, though,

JC Skinner said...

I don't mind the poor ickle cancer kids at all. I'm the first one over making silly faces and teaching them card tricks once the seat belt light goes off.
One thing I've noticed about sick children, is that the hospital regimes and perhaps their incapacity also, makes them quiet and obedient sorts who don't tend to cause havoc on planes under the eye of smiling, indulgent, hapless parents.
Anyhow, I never fly to the US or Switzerland, or the Ulster Clinic, or wherever else the HSE sends sick kids these days, so I'm perfectly happy to make exemptions in medical cases.
All I'm asking for is for airlines to offer dedicated child-free flights once in a while. I'll pay extra. I value my rest and peace of mind enough to shell out a few quid more.

Caio said...

I've had enough fucking 20+ hour trans-pacific flights without a smoke, I think I could handle the recycled air.

Or howabout this: Fly from Vancouver to London, get off the plane, wait in international customs for an hour, and then walk a kilometre to the nearest smoking room, god fucking damnit. I'd breath in just about anything to avoid that shit.