I thought we were progressive February 13, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Normally I don't say anything, but... the discussion about fat folks forced to fly on SouthWest and whether we need to buy another ticket on ask strikes me as fat bashing, which is not really what the poster asked for.

The poster asked for whether fat folks who flew Southwest had to buy the 2nd ticket, not for advice about flying etiquette nor to hear again from non-fat folks whether she should buy a second ticket for their sakes.

I am pretty disgusted by some of the folks' reactions to folks not fitting in airplane seats and what etiquette their version is. My level of disgust is not quite high enough for me to want to leave Ask, but it's close. Maybe I'll just avoid these sorts of topics in the future.

I personally think it's the airline's fault for treating us like sardines, not the individual passengers' faults for not fitting in the tin.

I think it's rude to not just deal with the situation you're dealt, fat or skinny. Sometimes folks are big. Sometimes folks are drunk, sometimes folks fall asleep and knock drinks into your lap. Sometimes folks are rude. Sometimes you have an inconsolable child within 1 seat of you. Sometimes they kick the back of your seat. A lot. It sucks that you get crowded, but I don't think it sucks enough that you have to tell other flyers to buy second seats.

Why not rage instead against the airlines' injustice instead of perpetuating that injustice and using it to be crappy to someone else? This is how we change the world, people, by not buying into the bullshit.
posted by kalessin to Etiquette/Policy at 12:41 PM (244 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

And you did suggest a reasonable solution in the original post, yes? No?
posted by katillathehun at 12:45 PM on February 13, 2008


I agree that a lot of those comments don't answer the question and should be deleted.

I disagree with your framing of this as some sort of terrible fat-bashing, and am further annoyed by your meandering jeremiad on the trials and tribulations of fatty-fatty-boombalatties.

Finally, as someone who had a shirt and pair of pants soaked through by the sweat of a giant woman, about whom the armrests wouldn't lower, I fully support forcing fat people to buy a second seat. Seats are apportioned based on area/volume, and just because you're a human deserving of dignity, etc. etc, doesn't mean that if you don't take up more space you shouldn't be charged more.

I also support banning most children from flights, or placing them in burlap "comfort bags," or something, so that I'm not charged when I snap and wring their little goddamned necks.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2008 [16 favorites]


I don't know--maybe the deleted comments were awful, but overall it looks like a lot more Southwest bashing than fat bashing to me.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2008


I'm not sure I understand the complaint. Jessamyn removed some apparently off-topic discussion before you made this post. I really don't see any fat-bashing in the thread really at all. I do see people saying "It's kinda rude if you're taking up someone else's seat, so if you're big enough that you would be, you should buy the second seat". That is fact, and I agree with it. I don't understand how it's fat-bashing at all.
posted by !Jim at 12:52 PM on February 13, 2008


rage instead against the airlines' injustice
At selling space on their aeroplanes by ... the amount of space you take up?
posted by bonaldi at 12:52 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not outraged or anything, but it's true that only 3 or 4 of those answers actually answer the question.

I'm not sure why there was so much support for explosion's answer ("explosion's advice is perfect.") since they totally didn't answer the question.
posted by smackfu at 12:54 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why not rage instead against the airlines' injustice

Because to some of us, it's precisely that lame victimologist mentality ("Let's sue others for problems we fail to control ourselves") that's keeping this country in the shitter.

Finally, as someone who had a shirt and pair of pants soaked through by the sweat of a giant woman, about whom the armrests wouldn't lower, I fully support forcing fat people to buy a second seat. Seats are apportioned based on area/volume, and just because you're a human deserving of dignity, etc. etc, doesn't mean that if you don't take up more space you shouldn't be charged more.

Correct.
posted by deern the headlice at 12:55 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


OP specifically said they'd be willing to buy two seats if required. Practically every answer in that thread was off-topic.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:57 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


No really, why aren't there child-free airlines? I'd pay an extra $500 to not have some little fucker kicking my seat for 12 hours.
posted by cmonkey at 12:58 PM on February 13, 2008 [8 favorites]


I gotta say, selling seats "as is" and saying that you have to buy a second seat if you don't fit in the first one strikes me as a sensible policy. It's not the airlines' job to make you feel better about yourself at the expense of the 98% of people who actually fit in their seats.
posted by Justinian at 1:00 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


[a few comments removed, this is getting a little off topic]
posted by jessamyn at 11:23 PM on February 12


MeTa
posted by kalessin at 3:41 PM on February 13


It looks like a normal thread once jessamyn went through it 16 hours ago. I don't see anything meriting a callout now. Perhaps kalessin was on a long-distance flight all this time and just assumed there was no mod oversight to be had in that time, and was too busy (traveling and all) to re-read the thread.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:02 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just looked at the thread for the first time and it looks ok to me. No one is blaming anyone for being fat, the blame seems to be heaped upon the airlines in all the answers.

Or what beerfilter just said.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:03 PM on February 13, 2008


I've got to agree that there doesn't appear to be any fat-bashing going on in there; even the comments that Jessamyn removed weren't, from what I saw, nasty so much as just kind of getting off on a deraily back-and-forth.

The thread itself is a little chatty, but I think that's to some extent just the nature of the beast: the poster is asking for personal anecdotes. Insofar as some of the comments wander a little from the premise, that's not really great, but there's no trainwreck there. And honestly, if it was a straight up poll without any qualitative aspect at all to it it wouldn't really be a good fit for AskMe in the first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:06 PM on February 13, 2008


The question was "If you’re fat and you’ve flown Southwest, did you have to buy a second seat?"

If the response doesn't answer this question, than it should probably not be there.
posted by drezdn at 1:07 PM on February 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


"It's not the airlines' job to make you feel better about yourself at the expense of the 98 50% of people who actually fit in their seats."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:09 PM on February 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've been on a lot of planes, crash, and most people fit in them. It's just that they are awfully uncomfortable even for the people who do fit.

I won't fly American, United, or their ilk any more.
posted by Justinian at 1:13 PM on February 13, 2008


I'm really not seeing it kalessin. I've seen many a thread go completely off the rails when it concernd weight issues but that thread, to me, has been decent and I was expecting it not to be. There are heavy people talking about their experiences and a few non-heavy people either relating their experiences or making suggestions. I didnt read a derogatory tone in any of it. If you could point out what is specifically setting off your alarms it might be easier to address this. My read is that a lot of people are saying that SW's policy kinda sucks in that it appears to be somewhat arbitrary and the OP is trying to get more data before she makes her trip.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:15 PM on February 13, 2008


smackfu: I'm not outraged or anything, but it's true that only 3 or 4 of those answers actually answer the question.

I'm not sure why there was so much support for explosion's answer ("explosion's advice is perfect.") since they totally didn't answer the question.


I agree completely. The question wasn't: "As an average-sized person, how do you feel about overweight people being forced to buy an extra seat?"
posted by loiseau at 1:16 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The thread wasn't all that rude, but the responses mostly didn't answer the question. The OP specifically said, "I need data, dammit," but very few responses actually supplied any pertinent data.

This is how we change the world, people

Oh, come on. An AskMe question about size and weight restrictions for airlines is not going to change the world, no matter how courteous and on-point the answers are.
posted by brain_drain at 1:16 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's fine that many of you don't agree with me, and jessamyn doesn't agree with me either. This is where we talk that kind of thing.
posted by kalessin at 1:22 PM on February 13, 2008


Except we have some leeway in not exactly answering the question asked as long as we're trying to help the person. If you're offering a reasonable solution that falls slightly outside the parameters of the question, but you're not a dick and are being helpful, then the mods will probably let it stay. Similarly, if you answer the question asked without being any help at all your answer might just get pruned.
posted by ODiV at 1:23 PM on February 13, 2008


Er, about that kind of thing, sorry.
posted by kalessin at 1:23 PM on February 13, 2008


that reminds me. I need to go eat some cheese fries from outback.
posted by Stynxno at 1:24 PM on February 13, 2008


It's just that they are awfully uncomfortable even for the people who do fit.

That's an interesting use of the term "fit."
posted by Floydd at 1:25 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


that reminds me. I need to go eat some cheese fries from outback.

Damnit, Stynxno, that literally caused me to salivate. And I'm still full from lunch. Ugh, at this rate I'm probably going to have to buy a second account :(
posted by 1 at 1:27 PM on February 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's an interesting use of the term "fit."

Fly Procrustes Air!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:28 PM on February 13, 2008 [8 favorites]


jessamyn, I think explosion's comment and many folks echoing em bothered me the most. It may well have been my own baggage/priorities that made me read it negatively, and it may not have been meant so, but to me that sounded the most like preaching and the least like answering the original question.
posted by kalessin at 1:29 PM on February 13, 2008


BeerFilter, I wasn't aware we were on a timer vis a vis response times on Metafilter. If we are, I can be sure only to make timely comments in the future. I did see jessamyn had moderated. I simply disagreed with the assumption that she was done, or disagreed with the degree to which she had moderated.

I certainly don't mean that disagreement to be a personal one, and since I am emphatically not a moderator, I bow to her priorities. I merely wanted to voice my disagreement.

I thought about doing it on the Ask thread, but then recalled that doing so on MetaTalk was preferable. If I'm wrong, please let me know.
posted by kalessin at 1:32 PM on February 13, 2008


I'd pay an extra $500 to not have some little fucker kicking my seat for 12 hours.

So, if my little one sits behind you and doesn't kick your seatback, you'll give her $500? Damn good of you, cmonkey!

BTW, if you call her a "little fucker" when you hand over the cash, you're going to eat it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:33 PM on February 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


I won't! I'm kinda attached to my feet...
posted by jouke at 1:34 PM on February 13, 2008


'I think it's rude to not just deal with the situation you're dealt, fat or skinny. Sometimes folks are big. Sometimes folks are drunk, sometimes folks fall asleep and knock drinks into your lap. Sometimes folks are rude. Sometimes you have an inconsolable child within 1 seat of you. Sometimes they kick the back of your seat. A lot. It sucks that you get crowded, but I don't think it sucks enough that you have to tell other flyers to buy second seats.'

Are you kidding? If telling any of those guys to buy a second seat would reduce the irritation caused by their behaviour, I'd be all for it. As it is - you get drunk and obnoxious on a plane next to me, I'll complain to the stewards, if you're violent you have a chance of criminal charges. You fall asleep - great. You knock a drink on me while asleep, I'll probably be upset quietly unless you left the drink somewhere stupid. A kid's crying, I'll make silent macGyver-like plans to gag it but do nothing. The kids kicking the back of my seat, I'll make them stop or one of us will move. Some of these behaviours are voluntary, and it is not ok just to say 'yah, it sucks when people are assholes! :D'. The difficulty with being fat is that it may be of varying levels of 'voluntary', but given that everyone knows the size of an airplane seat, and some people know they take up more space than that, then they are voluntarily being annoying.
posted by jacalata at 1:34 PM on February 13, 2008


Yeah no this is a decent place to talk about this stuff if you can avoid the chuckleheads and their tone deaf lulz. My feeling, personally, about explosion's comment is that it was about as close to just a flat recitation of a trip he (?) had along with some information that was helpful. If I thought he had been slagging on the OP or just fat travellers generally I would have deleted it and/or dropped him a note to try again without the snark. It seemed snark-free to me, though I can see it might have been read otherwise. It wasn't heavily flagged, or flagged at all actually, so I thought leaving it alone would be the best cours eof action. It also didn't seem to spawn any other comments besides one person agreeing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:36 PM on February 13, 2008


Maybe I'm not sensitive enough to the issue, but I didn't see explosion's response as preachy in the slightest. And, no, there's no particular time limit on call-outs, but a lot of us were confused as to what upset you. The fact that you made this post after the original had already been moderated pretty much cleared the possibility that you saw something we didn't.

Man, you're cranky.
posted by katillathehun at 1:38 PM on February 13, 2008


kalessin, you really considered hitting the big red button over that thread? You've been a member of the site for going on six years - have missed the dozens of other fat threads that devolve into embarrassing messes? I'm having trouble wrapping my skinny brain around that.
posted by item at 1:47 PM on February 13, 2008


Why not rage instead against the airlines' injustice instead of perpetuating that injustice and using it to be crappy to someone else?


And you, kalessinr, there on that sad site,
Curse, favorite me now with your fierce comments, I pray.
Do not post gentle into that thread blight.
Rage, rage against the fatty hatin' on that flight.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Southwest's behavior sounds shitty. On the other hand, Southwest has super tiny planes. (Not wanting the sensation that's there nothing between my feet and outer space but about two inches of fiberglass -- possibly hollowed out and stuffed with old newspapers -- is why I no longer fly Southwest.) On the freakish mutant third hand, the OP's question didn't address the rightness or wrongness of its policy, but rather simply its application. So probably anything that doesn't address that doesn't belong there anyway.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:49 PM on February 13, 2008


So, if my little one sits behind you and doesn't kick your seatback, you'll give her $500? Damn good of you, cmonkey!

There is a business plan in there somewhere....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:50 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


kalessin, that comment bothered me too. I didn't think it answered the question, and the aside about cargo weight was irrelevant and unnecessary. It was the sort of comment where if someone had replied "But what about the thin person who brings 500 lbs of luggage?", the tide would have moved to the usual HURF DURF posthaste.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:51 PM on February 13, 2008


These last three comments are not, in my mind, helpful. If you think I'm being bitchy, why do you think that calling me out for it is going to make me feel like I should apologize?
posted by kalessin at 1:52 PM on February 13, 2008


Oh, and as a tall guy who frequently bitches about legroom and yet doesn't want to pay more for it (or at least in the options packages currently extant on most airlines) I totally admit to being a hypocrite on this point.
posted by klangklangston at 1:52 PM on February 13, 2008


Oops, sorry gnomeloaf, not yours. The three before yours. Damn this internet and posting time sorts! :)
posted by kalessin at 1:53 PM on February 13, 2008


The answer to why now, why this thread, why bother, item, is that now is when I have the energy/inclination, and I will freely admit that part of that energy is because I am trying to bull through a work task that I need to do and that I don't want to do, so frequent focused breaks to try to articulate challenging topics are a godsend. The task is a detail-oriented double-checking of 3 other sources of work that are all talking about the same project.
posted by kalessin at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2008


MetaTalk pokes you not to make you sorry, but to make you sore.
posted by False Dichotomy at 1:57 PM on February 13, 2008


You really don't need to drag Metafilter into your drama just 'cause you're frustrated at work.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:58 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Heh. The "fuel costs notwithstanding" is completely ridiculous.

Because I'm taking a lot of stuff to my flight to Europe next week, I looked up the baggage allowances on United. The average person can only take 2 50lb bags. I, buying the same ticket for the same price, can take 3 70lb bags! Only because I have status on the airline, no other reason.

So, yeah, I'm agreeing that that particular comment really sucks.
posted by vacapinta at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2008


jacalata, I fit in an airplane seat. My sweetie doesn't. When we can fly together, we do, and together, we don't go over the borders. When we can't fly together, we can't afford two seats for her where she goes (she is freelance in a non-well-paying-field). In that case, we choose to be annoying over the alternative of her losing more time and more money to slower alternative transportation (time is money).

Regarding making people aware of their rudeness, that cuts both ways. In my case, I feel like I am making folks aware of what I thought was rude right here and now.
posted by kalessin at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2008


Brandon_Blatcher, that's a completely unfair way of characterizing this discussion. That I have time and inclination now to discuss something about Metafilter that's been bothering me for a long time is what's important.
posted by kalessin at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2008


Yeah, I'm gonna agree with Blatcher on this one. Also, you really considered ThePinkSuperhero's comment to be bitchy? You've been a member of the site for going on six years - have you missed the thousands of comments that actually are bitchy? I'm having trouble wrapping my skinny brain around that.
posted by item at 2:01 PM on February 13, 2008


Now the issue is brought to light.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:01 PM on February 13, 2008


It actually does make more sense now that we know your side to the story. And I gotta say it - it seems like you're taking this more personally than anyone really intended.
posted by katillathehun at 2:05 PM on February 13, 2008


Hehe, item- I don't think kalessin was talking about my comment. I think she was talking specificially about this one, this one, and this one. Correct me if I'm wrong, kalessin ....

so I can take out my earrings before we start this fight, what what!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:07 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and I do see now that kalessin is a he!)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:08 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll put my earrings back in then. I never hit men- it's just not proper.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:09 PM on February 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


He said the three previous comments, TPS. Leave my totally-not-bitchy comment out of this.
posted by item at 2:11 PM on February 13, 2008


Kalessin, I found it preachy too. I read it like this:

OP: Does anyone know what measurements a person would have to be required to buy an extra seat on Southwest? How does this work?

Commenter: For the sake of the rest of us, don't be rude. Pay for an extra seat.

Me (thinking): But she only asked what the standards set by the airline are, not whether or not she should pay for an extra seat.

It's sort of like someone asking "What time does the opera start?" and getting the reply "Don't be late to the opera. That's so rude."
posted by loiseau at 2:12 PM on February 13, 2008 [11 favorites]


Thank god for all that Emergency Exit legroom, 'cause otherwise my particular physical attributes would necessitate a first class ticket.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:13 PM on February 13, 2008


I never hit men, item- but I'd make an exception for you, biyatch.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:15 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It may well have been my own baggage/priorities that made me read it negatively

not just your own baggage, but it certainly seems to have something to do with it.
posted by shmegegge at 2:22 PM on February 13, 2008


It's sort of like someone asking "What time does the opera start?" and getting the reply "Don't be late to the opera. That's so rude."

See, my reading of the exchange was more like this: "I may be late to the opera by a few minutes—my mode of transportation is a little unreliable. Will I be allowed in if I knock on the doors after they're closed?" And then, a reply: "I'd advise you to adjust your travel plans to get to the opera on time. It's rude to knock on the doors."

That's not any more definitive of a reading, and I don't think it's a perfect response besides, but this is a good example of a situation where it's easy to read a lot more into a mostly pragmatic response than is actually there, based on your own personal/emotional investment in the issue. I read explosion's comment as wandering a touch from the question, and I can see how it could be read pretty negatively, but I don't think the negative reading is totally fair.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:29 PM on February 13, 2008


Q: "Will I be forced to buy an extra seat or will they let it slide?"

A: "Yes."
posted by ODiV at 2:32 PM on February 13, 2008


I dont see what is so bad about explosions comment. The way I read it, there are several sub questions, but the major issue is the the OP wanted to make an educated decision about whether or not to buy an extra seat. Explosion provided a well reasoned response. I dont see why kalessin is upset at all, and each of his responses confuse me more, except for the one about his unrelated work issues.
posted by fermezporte at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2008


That I have time and inclination now to discuss something about Metafilter that's been bothering me for a long time is what's important.

To be fair, that's what's important to YOU. To some of us, what's important is wondering why there's this metatalk post going off about fat bashing in a thread that doesn't really seem to have very much fat bashing in it. Explosion's comment (with a whopping THREE favorites last time I read the thread (it may have more now that we've drawn attention to it)) may not have been ideal, but it's hardly fat bashing and it's certainly not an example of how progressive mefi isn't. In fact, it doesn't really invite a whole discussion about whether or not it's fair to ask fat people to buy an extra seat. The only thing that seems to do that is this thread, which wouldn't be here except that (for some reason) you seem to feel like we really need to talk about this.
posted by shmegegge at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


On the freakish mutant third hand...

Larry Niven-reading geeks would call that "the gripping hand." It's a useful phrase, particularly for identifying Larry-Niven reading geeks.
posted by malocchio at 2:37 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I personally think it's the airline's fault for treating us like sardines, not the individual passengers' faults for not fitting in the tin.

Is there evidence that airline seats have gotten narrower in recent years?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:39 PM on February 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Thank god for all that Emergency Exit legroom, 'cause otherwise my particular physical attributes would necessitate a first class ticket."

I will say that on my last trip, had I not been so exhausted by the vagaries of red-eye travel, I almost gave one of the folks in the exit row a physical challenge to prove that his aged ass was up to the challenge of exit row seating. I hate it when shorter people end up there, or folks who look unfit, when I could be sitting there and stretching out, ready to carry out my evacuatory duties.
posted by klangklangston at 2:40 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a bran muffin and a cup of coffee a couple of hours ago and I am so ready to carry out my evacuatory duties.
posted by ND¢ at 2:42 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Good thing I fly first class. Coach sounds positively awful.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2008


ODiV writes "Q: 'Will I be forced to buy an extra seat or will they let it slide?'

"A: 'Yes.'"


You answer "or" questions like my wife. "Is the dentist appointment today, or tomorrow?" "Yes."
posted by Bugbread at 2:47 PM on February 13, 2008


MetaFilter: the chuckleheads and their tone deaf lulz
posted by nasreddin at 2:48 PM on February 13, 2008


That I have time and inclination now to discuss something about Metafilter that's been bothering me for a long time is what's important.

Or you could just let it go, you know, instead of dragging the rest of us into it, now that YOU have the time and inclination.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:50 PM on February 13, 2008


kalessin: "I personally think it's the airline's fault for treating us like sardines, not the individual passengers' faults for not fitting in the tin."

As was pointed out above: the annoyance that overweight people cause others on planes is how much lateral (left-right) space they take. The compression of seating in planes in the last few decades has been in the front-back direction (less leg room). So while it totally sucks that planes are crunching people, that doesn't actually have anything to do with the problem of not fitting in your seat. Unless you're so big that you don't fit left right OR front to back.
posted by Bugbread at 2:54 PM on February 13, 2008


"...sitting there and stretching out, ready to carry out my evacuatory duties."

Normally there is a special little room for that on the flight.
posted by 517 at 2:57 PM on February 13, 2008


Metafilter: You answer "or" questions like my wife.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:06 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"the chuckleheads and their tone deaf lulz"

I saw them in concert one night at the Ramada Inn by the Cincinnati airport.

They were exactly as you would expect.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:10 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah no
People that start sentences with that have to pay for two accounts.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:14 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


No really, why aren't there child-free airlines? I'd pay an extra $500 to not have some little fucker kicking my seat for 12 hours.

I would love there to be an airline without children, and another one where it's expected that some passengers will be preschoolers. Child-size seats so we don't have to lug carseats through the airport; plenty of bathrooms; TVs showing G-rated movies; and an understanding that children will cry during takeoff and landing because their ears aren't fully developed, and not because their parents are bad people... I wouldn't be dreading our summer travels so much if we were booked on KidsAir.

Oh, and we'd all get those cool "Junior Pilot" pins. Grownups, too.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:16 PM on February 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah no
People that start sentences with that have to pay for two accounts.


No yeah I totally know what you mean-- I hate that too!
posted by dersins at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2008


Yes but no but okay, look:

eat it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on February 13, 2008


Do you really need to eat that?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:28 PM on February 13, 2008


More to the point: ARE you going to eat that?
posted by shmegegge at 3:31 PM on February 13, 2008


Cuz, you know, if you don't WANT it...
posted by katillathehun at 3:32 PM on February 13, 2008


And if you don't, it's wasteful. There are lots of hungry people in the world.
posted by languagehat at 3:36 PM on February 13, 2008


One of the funnier airline experiences I've had was travelling from Southern to Northern California on Southwest during Thanksgiving week with my wife and then 3 month old son. As anyone who has travelled Southwest knows, the airline has an "open" seating policy (no assigned seats). Being Thanksgiving the flight was full, so eventually someone was going to have to sit by us. It was the absolute height of comedy watching as the flight grew fuller and fuller how people would notice the empty set in our row, yet travel back and forth up and down the aisle several times over trying ever so desperately to find any possible other vacant seat than the one next to a baby.

The funny thing is being 3 months old, he slept the whole flight, both ways. Now that he's 3 *years* old and not particularly fond of being confined for any length of time, *I* would gladly pay $500 to avoid sitting by him on a flight.
posted by The Gooch at 3:40 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd love to have child-required flights. The hardest part of flying with a kid is that you spend every waking second trying to keep him happy and entertained so he doesn't kick the seat in front of him. Think about that, folks in front of the kid: You get little bursts of kicks every few hours which annoy you and keep you from resting. I, as the kid wrangler, spend the ENTIRE 14 hours doing my hardest to prevent him from kicking the seat. And two year olds aren't exactly known for their long attention spans. You have to come up with something new and cool every 5 minutes or so. For 14 hours. I'd love to fly with my son and a bunch of people who understand that, yeah, 2 year old kids aren't terrors because they were raised bad, but because that's how 2 year old kids are.

I'm not saying that should make anyone happy their seat is getting kicked. Go ahead, be annoyed. But just know that, as annoyed and grumpy as the kid is making you, he's probably making the parents even MORE annoyed. Sure, maybe they deserve it for having the kid in the first place, but, trust me, they're getting their just deserts on that plane.
posted by Bugbread at 3:41 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah no, BLAH!!
posted by Bugbread at 3:43 PM on February 13, 2008


Brandon Blatcher: That I have time and inclination now to discuss something about Metafilter that's been bothering me for a long time is what's important.

Or you could just let it go, you know, instead of dragging the rest of us into it, now that YOU have the time and inclination.


How, exactly, have "the rest of us" been dragged into anything? The last I checked, reading and posting in this thread was not compulsory.
posted by loiseau at 3:48 PM on February 13, 2008


Economy class seat survey -- "Flying sardine class you can still stretch your legs. Up on top, things start at the bottom. So how wide are those seats in the back?"
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on February 13, 2008


The Standard Airline Seat: 17.2 Inches Wide; 31-32 Inch Seat Pitch
"During the development of the 777 family of planes, Boeing took their findings and decided to add 5 inches to the width of the plane. It permitted them to put in wider, 18.5" seats without diminishing the overall capacity. The standard airline seat is 17.2" wide, while seat pitch ranges from 28" on some short-haul, down-and-dirty charters, to 33-34" on some planes."
posted by ericb at 3:57 PM on February 13, 2008


How, exactly, have "the rest of us" been dragged into anything?

He set the trap with peanut butter. NOBODY can resist peanut butter and you know it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:14 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love the slowly developing trend of child-free movie theaters and would be all for child-free flights. Not gonna happen, though, so I'll have to continue bringing duct tape and my bull whip when I travel.
posted by item at 4:32 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


How, exactly, have "the rest of us" been dragged into anything? The last I checked, reading and posting in this thread was not compulsory.

Because we're invested enough in the goings on of the site to take accusations of fat bashing etc. a little bit to heart. It's not that strange.
posted by shmegegge at 4:34 PM on February 13, 2008


You're supposed to drug your kids so they shut up during flights.
posted by puke & cry at 4:37 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


SHUT UP NO YOU SHUT UP
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:47 PM on February 13, 2008


I'm going to start drugging people during Metatalk threads.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:01 PM on February 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


SHUT UP NO YOU SHUT UP

Ah, shaddap ya face! (that's my mama)
posted by nzero at 5:05 PM on February 13, 2008


I'd pay an extra $500 to not have some little fucker kicking my seat for 12 hours.

That's a nice seat you've got there. It'd be a shame if someone... kicked it, you know what I'm sayin'?
posted by kindall at 5:10 PM on February 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm going to start drugging people during Metatalk threads.

Do you take requests?
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:12 PM on February 13, 2008


Those "Junior Pilot" pins are one of my worst airline memories. Sitting in front of two 11-year-old unaccompanied minors as an 11-year-old unaccompanied minor myself, getting jabbed repeatedly with a pin is NOT FUN.

The stick-on-kind are perfectly fine, however.

I have also willingly sat next to a woman with a small baby. Small babies really don't do that much.
posted by that girl at 5:19 PM on February 13, 2008


Okay, this is one of those discussions where I guess I ought to have to sat on my hands, because I have certain beliefs about overweight people that are decidedly not "progressive."

I guess it's just a matter of "high metabolism privilege" but then again there are plenty of things that are a pretty core part of my personality -- including ADD -- that are absolutely physiological and, though medication helps, still cause plenty of problems in my life. Although my friends and coworkers know about them and adapt to them, the general world still judges me if I am late, or disorganized, or have difficulty focusing, or speak impulsively.

I would love to not have these problems, but I also don't expect the world to just ignore them. For events where being on time is important, I basically have to lie to myself and convince myself that I have to be there 30 minutes or an hour earlier. I don't expect the plane to wait for me.

Similarly, I'm sorry but I think obese people just have to let go. I am sorry that you are going to get judged based on the amount of fat you have on your bodies and not always on your character. But it is also the case that many -- not all, but many -- people who are overweight become this way because they ate too many calories and burn too few. Tragically, it is impossible to tell at a glance who is simply eating too much and who has a genuine physiological origin to their obesity. Similarly, it is unfair that there are those who have magical metabolisms and can eat as much and whatever they want -- just as it is unfair that there are people who can interact with ease in social situations and stay focused and organized with what appears to be little or no effort.

Everyone has difficulties in their life, and have to face them. My good news is that there is medication that helps. The good news for overweight people is that, very often, getting into a healthy diet plan and increasing exercise will help you lose weight. If not, there is now medication for you as well that can help with metabolism and other weight-related difficulties.

I am somewhat skinny myself. I don't find the seats all that comfortable, but if they make them wider then whenever there is turbulence I will be banged back and forth against the armrests, and that will be unpleasant for me. Won't someone please think of the skinny people?
posted by Deathalicious at 5:24 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


A kid is about the same size & weight as a monkey. Monkey tranquillisers aren't that difficult to get hold of. Unfortunately, my strategy has been thwarted thus far by the difficulty in getting a blowpipe though security checks.
posted by blag at 5:26 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


No really, why aren't there child-free airlines? I'd pay an extra $500 to not have some little fucker kicking my seat for 12 hours.

My guess is that if you purchase a ticket from a top-quality airline, like Singapore Air, you're not going to have a whole lotta kids on that flight. I think you'll find families are gonna tend toward the discount airlines: they aren't gonna want to spring the extra coin on the kids.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:26 PM on February 13, 2008


Come to think of it, wouldn't the extra $500 purchase you a business or first-class ticket? Again, the rotten kids are gonna be back in coach and economy, while you'll be up where the adults are.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:28 PM on February 13, 2008


I could take or leave child-free flights - earplugs go a LONG way in making a screaming child situation a lot less miserable, and my airline of choice (Delta) actually gives 'em away for free on long-haul flights now. The seat-kicking thing is usually fixable by a nice word to an accompanying parent, if present.

On the other hand there is some really serious karmic retribution coming to parents who change their infant's thoroughly be-pooped diaper not only in the cabin (ignoring the fold-down changing table in the lav directly across the aisle), but in the middle of the FUCKING MEAL SERVICE, and then doing it AGAIN in the middle of the second meal service of the 11 hour flight. Airline food sucks bad enough by itself, and it's aroma and flavor are not exactly improved by the smell of baby droppings.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Ms. sitting-in-seat-30C-on-Delta-flight-75-from-Milan-To-Atlanta-This-Past-Sunday.
posted by deadmessenger at 5:40 PM on February 13, 2008


I also support banning most children from flights, or placing them in burlap "comfort bags," or something, so that I'm not charged when I snap and wring their little goddamned necks.
posted by


I feel your pain. I've flown quite a bit with my twinfants, and on all but one occasion they didn't peep the whole flight...but that one time, man, I wanted to wring my son's neck myself. It's why we always bring a giant jar of earplugs when we fly, and preemptively offer them to those around us.

The truth is, I *hate* flying with my kids, because it's hard on everyone else, and because it's hard on us. At the end of the day, though, they have grandparents in their late 80s who aren't necessarily going to be around when they're old enough to behave on flights (and based on some passengers I've seen, age alone does not mean you'll behave yourself.)

So if it helps any, know that most likely the parents are suffering right along with you

You're supposed to drug your kids so they shut up during flights.

Actually, you're supposed to keep them well-liquidated so that they don't dry out, bring lots of toys and games, and actually interact with them instead of sleeping and leaving them to their own devices. It also helps if you buy the extra seat(s) and bring car seats with you to keep them comfortable and strapped in.

But yeah, some parents dose with Benadryl, and I've been tempted.
posted by davejay at 5:41 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, wouldn't the extra $500 purchase you a business or first-class ticket? Again, the rotten kids are gonna be back in coach and economy, while you'll be up where the adults are.

Hint to parents: Gravol.

In that case, we choose to be annoying over the alternative of her losing more time and more money to slower alternative transportation (time is money).

What an amazing ability to rationalize rude behaviour. Because she doesn't want to pay for the space she takes up, I should end up with clothes sticky from her sweat and a backache from hell because I can't sit up straight? What colossally assholic behaviour.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:44 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's why we always bring a giant jar of earplugs when we fly, and preemptively offer them to those around us.

Brilliant!

Yes, I'm looking at you, Ms. sitting-in-seat-30C-on-Delta-flight-75-from-Milan-To-Atlanta-This-Past-Sunday.

Good lord, one should think basic health laws would require the stewards to kick her poop-spreading arse down to the changing table. Did no one kick their asses into gear?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:47 PM on February 13, 2008


Hey, I know it was a million years ago, but my post was hardly a personal attack on anybody. Southwest planes are fucking small. If you're this guy, you will probably not fit comfortably into a seat on one. I'm not hating on fat people; I'm just pointing out physical realities. Yes, I think it's extraordinarily dickish and humiliating to single out someone who may be sensitive about their weight anyway and penalize them for it, but it's not as if (in extreme cases, anyway) this has no rational underpinning. Solution: Don't fly to your destination in a fucking kit plane. It might cost a little more (provided Southwest doesn't try and make you buy two tickets, in which case it would cost about the same), but you'll probably be happier. You'll probably be happier whether you're heavyset or not.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:49 PM on February 13, 2008


I personally think it's the airline's fault for treating us like sardines, not the individual passengers' faults for not fitting in the tin.

If you want to get more space, you'd have to get fewer people on the flight. Fewer people on the flight inevitably means higher prices for everybody. So what you really think is that average sized folks should subsidize the extra costs needed for bigger people.

I could live with that if they'd let me smoke as a bit of give and take to other people with unfortunate social habits though. Presumably the fat people wouldn't mind as they're going to die early like I am?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:50 PM on February 13, 2008


Good lord, one should think basic health laws would require the stewards to kick her poop-spreading arse down to the changing table. Did no one kick their asses into gear?

No, no one did, but, on the other hand, I don't think anyone complained, either. I know I wasn't the only one who noticed - the looks I saw on other people's faces sitting around her couldn't possibly have been from the "chicken" we were served.

However, Mrs. Deadmessenger gave me no end of shit about the fact that I didn't complain long and loud when I got home and told her what happened.
posted by deadmessenger at 6:06 PM on February 13, 2008


Explosion's comment in that thread struck me as the perfect example of how not to comment in a MeFi thread.

OP: If you’re fat and you’ve flown Southwest, did you have to buy a second seat?

Explosion: I'm not fat, I may or may not have ever flown Southwest, and I've never had to buy a second seat. But let me extrapolate from my individual personal experience to a policy I'm happy with for anyone who is fat and give you advice you didn't ask for.

The OP's question was a perfectly phrased attempt to get the information she actually needed and to avoid a general discussion about overweight people and air planes. It was not an open referendum on airline policies, fat people, or passenger comfort levels. The fact that Explosion's post was both politely phrased and arguably very reasonable does not change the fact that it was not an answer to the clearly articulated question.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:13 PM on February 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Won't someone please think of the skinny people?"

Yeah, we tend to forget all about the skinny people, what with the TV and print ads being filled with them.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:15 PM on February 13, 2008


I don't understand why people keep rewriting explosion's comment to make it sound worse. It's not like it's terribly long to quote. We don't need to make an analogy. It is what it is and it's been deemed appropriate.
posted by ODiV at 6:37 PM on February 13, 2008


Good thing I fly first class. Coach sounds positively awful.

It really is. I dream of being able to afford a first class ticket someday, but it doesn't look like it'll ever happen.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:48 PM on February 13, 2008


It really is. I dream of being able to afford a first class ticket someday, but it doesn't look like it'll ever happen.

First class is totally overrated on domestic flights. I'll take it as a frequent-flyer upgrade (and I have a few times), but I don't think I'd pay for it, nor would I really ask my employer to do so for me.

On the other hand, on transoceanic flights first class is completely kickass. You can actually sleep in one of those seats and not feel like running straight to the nearest chiropractor's office when you deplane.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:15 PM on February 13, 2008


For a split second, I thought this post might be about the comment referring to the bigotries of SouthWest gate agents, because that seems offensive. Fat bashing? I don't see it.
posted by ssg at 7:19 PM on February 13, 2008


For me, flying first or business class is less about the big seat and more about the warm nuts they serve you in a little dish.

Heh heh, warm nuts.
posted by brain_drain at 7:20 PM on February 13, 2008


The good news for overweight people is that, very often, getting into a healthy diet plan and increasing exercise will help you lose weight.

Oh my god, are you serious? Is it really that simple? Here I thought it was going to be a production.

Tragically, it is impossible to tell at a glance who is simply eating too much and who has a genuine physiological origin to their obesity.

Is it really tragic? Seems to me people should get dignity no matter what their size (or social class or educational level or or or...) But then again I don't think fat is a moral failing.
posted by sugarfish at 7:30 PM on February 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


First class is totally overrated on domestic flights.

Unless you need to check-in in person with an agent, in which case it KICKS ASS because you get to skip the big long lines of crabby people.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:33 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


But then again I don't think fat is a moral failing.

Nor do I. But neither do I think there's anything wrong with requiring someone to purchase a second seat if they don't fit into one seat. Just like I don't think there's anything wrong with not requiring that all doorways be at least 8" tall to prevent really tall people from bumping their heads or getting rid of top shelves in grocery stores because handicapped people can't reach them from wheelchairs.

Sometimes life isn't fair for people through no fault of anyone.
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I lucked into first-class home from Cancun this summer: seatbelted leather recliners plush enough to lose a book in, only a few other passengers up front, and plenty of congenial service.

It's worth it when it's free, for sure.

What was the question again?
posted by breezeway at 7:41 PM on February 13, 2008


I'm going to start drugging people during Metatalk threads.

Ooh, ooh! TPS, pick me, pick ME!!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:45 PM on February 13, 2008


I always assume that most of you are already drugged.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:58 PM on February 13, 2008


You're supposed to drug your kids so they shut up during flights.

But flight attendants should refrain from doing so.
Man Accused of Spiking Child's Juice

"Authorities charged a former Northwest Airlines flight attendant with assault for allegedly putting a prescription depressant in 19-month-old girl's apple juice to stop her crying during an international flight.

Daniel Reed Cunningham, 33, also was charged Thursday with distributing a controlled substance on the August 25 flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

He is expected to appear in court next week for his arraignment.

The girl's mother, Beate Turner, told FBI special agent Terry Booth that Cunningham seemed upset when her daughter became restless and began squirming and crying on the flight. Cunningham offered to give the girl apple juice three times before Turner accepted, according to the agent's affidavit. The girl suffered no serious injury.

Turner later noticed the juice was bitter and foamy and had blue and white specks floating in it. Ten days after the flight, she took the juice to University Laboratories in Novi, which confirmed the presence of Xanax, a prescription medication used to treat panic attacks and anxiety, the FBI said.

The drug's side effects include lightheadedness, fatigue and drowsiness. The Federal Drug Administration hasn't approved it for children under age 18, the agency said."

U.S. v. Daniel Reed Cunningham [PDF].

Flight Attendant Admits To Spiking Baby's Drink; Cops a Plea.
posted by ericb at 8:05 PM on February 13, 2008


Yeah no, the chuckleheads are coming and you are the first on their list.
posted by blacklite at 9:13 PM on February 13, 2008


Sometimes folks are drunk, sometimes folks fall asleep and knock drinks into your lap. Sometimes folks are rude. Sometimes you have an inconsolable child within 1 seat of you. Sometimes they kick the back of your seat. A lot.

This is a great list of people who should be fined, penalized, or just ejected from the plane while it's in flight. They (or their parents) can't possibly get charged enough for the privilege of bothering those around them.

p.s. I'm fat.

p.p.s. Not fat enough to need two seats.

p.p.p.s. Southwest is a bargain basement airline. If you fly with them, you should expect to be uncomfortable throughout the trip. That's the way it works. And just like taking a Greyhound, the low rates come with the understanding that you're going to be in close quarters with people who disgust you. Bite the bullet or deal with paying more for a better experience.
posted by bingo at 9:49 PM on February 13, 2008


Go ahead, be annoyed.

How magnanimous of you.


they're getting their just deserts on that plane.

No they aren't. They get their just desserts when they and they alone have to put up with that bullshit. The rest of the time, they're just inflicting misery on undeserving innocents who aren't kicking your seat. It's not that others necessarily think the parents are evil, but rather that, knowing full well the nature of the two year-old, parents take them on flights anyway despite the fact that the kids aren't old enough to handle the experience. In other words, the screwup is a done deal by the time the brat first kicks my seat - it happened when you booked his ticket. And you knew it. And did it anyway.

It isn't the child's nature people don't understand. It's the adult who thinks "hey, he's two, so you all have to put up with his shit" that people don't understand.
posted by trondant at 11:47 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awwww, did trondant get a booboo from those mean kids?
posted by brain_drain at 12:58 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Look, kalessin, I love your username and all, but you are fucking insane on the topic of fat and fat bashing and fat people. Pre-emptively bashing fat people on a thread about a commercial donut maker, to make sure that no one else does it seriously? As a one-off I figured maybe you were drunk at the time, but here you go again.

I don't know what your issues are or what the hell you're talking about - and neither does anyone else. Maybe consider giving yourself a time out from thinking about fat people; you've earned it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:33 AM on February 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


I see that I was rushed and stupid and implicated ThePinkSuperHero in my accusation of rudeness, which I did not intend. Commentsr fly too fast and furious for me, apparently.

Later this morning I'll post other responses as needed.
posted by kalessin at 3:31 AM on February 14, 2008


Yay, fun day ahead!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:56 AM on February 14, 2008


shmegegge, my primary reason for bringing up the conversation here and about that thread was that I figured it was not just about the idiots that (like my sarcastic self ikkyu2 points to above) are explicitly trolling. I make a distinction between idiot trolling and actual fat bashing.

Fat bashing, to me, is when folks take questions not meant to discuss the fat and how rude it implicitly is as an opening to talk about just that. That's how I read explosion's comment. It wasn't directly answering the question, but promoting an ethical agenda not really asked for by the OP. You can find other people getting how I read it in this very discussion.

Trolling, I think, is something we're all familiar with, so I won't go to the trouble of defining it.

It is a more profitable discussion for me when it does not devolve to trolling and when there is an opportunity to talk about the actual issue of how we deal with self-identified fat people and whether the way we deal with people like that as a community is at its root respectful. And to me, that's the essence of the progressive philosophy - respect.
posted by kalessin at 4:23 AM on February 14, 2008


DarlingBri: The good news for overweight people is that, very often, getting into a healthy diet plan and increasing exercise will help you lose weight. If not, there is now medication for you as well that can help with metabolism and other weight-related difficulties.

This is not true. If you'd like I can send you citations. But these assertions are false.
posted by kalessin at 4:38 AM on February 14, 2008


I am an idiot. DarlingBri is not the person who said that. It was Deathalicious.
posted by kalessin at 4:40 AM on February 14, 2008


Me: In that case, we choose to be annoying over the alternative of her losing more time and more money to slower alternative transportation (time is money).

five fresh fish: What an amazing ability to rationalize rude behaviour. Because she doesn't want to pay for the space she takes up, I should end up with clothes sticky from her sweat and a backache from hell because I can't sit up straight? What colossally assholic behaviour.

What amazingly rude comments about my partner. Of course all fat people are sticky with gross and disgusting sweat. Glass houses, fish.
posted by kalessin at 4:43 AM on February 14, 2008


PeterMcDermott: If you want to get more space, you'd have to get fewer people on the flight. Fewer people on the flight inevitably means higher prices for everybody. So what you really think is that average sized folks should subsidize the extra costs needed for bigger people.

Believe me - the minute I can afford to take First Class when I fly, and can do the same for my sweetie (or she can), we will. People seem to think that fat people like to inconvenience and annoy thin people. In fact, most people I know in general, like to get away from rudeness, discomfort and unsolicited advice, fat or thin.

PeterMcDermott: I could live with that if they'd let me smoke as a bit of give and take to other people with unfortunate social habits though. Presumably the fat people wouldn't mind as they're going to die early like I am?

This is by no means certain.
posted by kalessin at 4:47 AM on February 14, 2008


trondant writes "It's not that others necessarily think the parents are evil, but rather that, knowing full well the nature of the two year-old, parents take them on flights anyway despite the fact that the kids aren't old enough to handle the experience. In other words, the screwup is a done deal by the time the brat first kicks my seat - it happened when you booked his ticket. And you knew it. And did it anyway."

Well, I'm going to, as fresh five fish put it, rationalize rude behaviour: If my choice is annoying someone innocent for a few hours or not letting my parents see their grandkid for several years, I'm sorry, but you're going to get annoyed. You're right. I knew it, and I did it anyway. And I'll try to stop it as best I can, and feel really bad if it happens. But if you think, even for a second, that I should feel so bad that I should run the risk of my kid not being able to visit his grandparents for Christmas, never knowing when they might pass away (mine did when I was 2), then you're an idiot. It's not like I can drive from Tokyo to Houston, nor can I take a month off to take a transpacific boat.

So, yeah, I'm sorry it annoys you, but nowhere near as sorry as I would be if my kid never got to see his grandparents. And the more stringent you are, ironically, the less I'm sorry.

By the same token: parents know that their kids may cause trouble, but they take their kids on planes anyway. What a screwup! And people know kids cause trouble on planes, but people without kids fly planes anyway. What a screwup! The end lesson, I guess, is that I never should have had a kid, and you should have gotten a better paying job so you could charter a private jet.
posted by Bugbread at 4:48 AM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Justinian: Sometimes life isn't fair for people through no fault of anyone.

It's my assumption that progressives, the kinds of people I think are in the majority on Metafilter, are people who are actually about trying to address and overcome those kinds of imbalances in life, especially if the biases are established to be systemic.

Usually the fat topic gets ascribed to individuals' moral failings, which is an out from progressives having to share the burden, and though you aren't saying so explicitly, that's still the vibe I'm getting from you.
posted by kalessin at 4:51 AM on February 14, 2008


ikkyu2: I don't know what your issues are or what the hell you're talking about - and neither does anyone else. Maybe consider giving yourself a time out from thinking about fat people; you've earned it.

It sounds like you're about as tired and pissed off as I was when I made my comment that you linked to. I'd like to think it's important to really get a feel for the whole person I am before dismissing me completely, and not cherry picking the juicy bits from my commenting history, but I get the impression you're not really interested in going to that much effort.
posted by kalessin at 4:57 AM on February 14, 2008


It sucks that you get crowded, but I don't think it sucks enough that you have to tell other flyers to buy second seats.

Why not rage instead against the airlines' injustice instead of perpetuating that injustice and using it to be crappy to someone else?

we choose to be annoying over the alternative of her losing more time and more money to slower alternative transportation (time is money).


When you succeed in getting the airlines to offer wider seats (and hopefully with more legroom) at rock-bottom prices, I will rejoice with you. Until then, I am suggesting to you that physically encroaching on my seat, by raising the armrest and spilling over into my 17.5 inches of personal space, is incredibly fucking rude. Much ruder than bringing a toddler (who can't control their own behavior, and all of us were toddlers once), because it comes from a specific decision to choose to impinge on my very limited space -- if I had enough to freely give it away, I would.

It's awesome to be snuggled with your sweetie for the flight, like you and she do when you travel -- it is fun and snuggly and wonderful. It's decidedly not-awesome for me to be snuggled with your sweetie for that flight when I'm not interested in having calf-to-shoulder contact with a stranger, having my own elbow jammed into my ribs, and being pressed against the opposite armrest. That's really rude.

When it happens because the person was willing to buy a second seat but the airline says "no, the flight is full," then the assholeness is coming from the airline. When it happens because the person "choose[s] to be annoying" by refusing to buy a second seat or upgrade or rent a car or whatever, then the assholeness is coming straight from that person.

And I say this not at all judgmentally about fatness. Maybe it is that person's "fault" that they are fat, maybe not; certainly we have a society that is structured to encourage obesity (car-centered cities, subsidized corn syrup, cheap calories and expensive exercise options) so if there is to be blame I think we all share it, and I'm not sure that attributing that blame is really a helpful exercise. I think that the airlines are, on the whole, complete corporate scumbags and should never have received a cent of the various bailouts they have gotten in recent years; Southwest's policy of making some poor underpaid and overworked gate agent have the responsibility for determining this is really repellent.

But until those big changes happen -- the airlines actually figure out a coherent, transparent, and ethical policy for dealing with a growing public -- the burden of making ethical and polite choices is on the traveler-of-size; it's not for everyone else to make those accommodations for them.
posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's my assumption that progressives, the kinds of people I think are in the majority on Metafilter

I don't mean to stir shit up with this statement, but I think this assumption is wrong and that may be part of the problem here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:19 AM on February 14, 2008


When 15% of a 140-comment thread consists of your contributions you might want to stop and consider that the problem is not with Metafilter, but with yourself.
posted by hugsnkisses at 6:56 AM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


hugsnkisses, some folks beg for responses, and other folks dislike wordiness. In discussions like these (online, tended by folks who are not constantly present, in large communities) I tend to be biased toward communication (figuring folks don't have to read it all, have the ability to skip, etc.), but it's clear that new ground is not being explored here, so I'll take the rest of discussion into e-mail, if folks want to continue it there.
posted by kalessin at 7:44 AM on February 14, 2008


"I have sharp elbows; sorry. I was born that way. Maybe I should buy an extra seat for my elbows." We all have potentially obnoxious body parts that may make it uncomfortable for others to invade our personal space.

When a kid's kicking your seat, just recline it suddenly. Do it a few times, at odd intervals. When the parent gets up to beef with you, suggest that if they switch seats with their kid, your suddenly reclining seatback might fix itself.

I remember as a kid being scared of kicking the seatback in front of me, on a plane or a bus or in the cinema or a bus or wherever. I must have been taught not to, and fear must have been the tool that worked to make me stop. All parents aren't the same.

I'm confused by all the touching that goes on when the person next to me's too big for their seat. I kind of like it. It sometimes gives me an erection. That's just a natural consequence of all the touching. I can't help it. If anyone's sexually harassing anyone, it's the person who can't keep from touching me. You don't know what a human touch does to me; it makes me so lonely and crazy and I'm like a teenager, I pop a boner at the rustle of a feather. It's not my fault. I was created this way, just like you. If you're embarrassed by my arousal, please don't touch me like that.
posted by breezeway at 7:48 AM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


"And people know kids cause trouble on planes, but people without kids fly planes anyway. What a screwup!"

Oh, fuck that. Hush your fucking brat or move to fucking Houston, but don't imply that it's my fault that your kid is an obnoxious little shit. Seriously, your disingenuous false equivalence between your active misdeeds and my passive victimization by them is the sort of stupid that your parents should have beaten out of you.

I know you're smarter than that shit.
posted by klangklangston at 8:30 AM on February 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure the analogy to flying with kids is really applicable in the first place. Anecdotal experiences aside, having a 2-year old seated near you on a flight doesn't automatically correlate to having an unpleasant flight (it increases the chances, sure, but universal archetypes aside, there are 2-year olds who can sit throughout a whole flight without kicking the seat in front of them or bawling uncontrollably for great lengths of time). Whereas if someone physically doesn't fit into the space of one seat and spills over into the next one, the person who has rightfully purchased that seat *IS* going to have an unpleasant flying experience, guaranteed.
posted by The Gooch at 9:00 AM on February 14, 2008


Glass houses, fish.
Giant aquarium!
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, is this a haiku thread now?
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on February 14, 2008


Thanksgiving travel
My child is bi-polar
Apologies, all
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:12 AM on February 14, 2008


More to the point: ARE you going to eat that?

Hey, no fair just asking that here--we demand one of those fun "is it safe to eat?" AskMe threads! Especially the bit where MetaFilter Premium members get to wager on whether the querent survives or not.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:14 AM on February 14, 2008


To end seat-kicking
Air carriers should mandate
Tots sit behind mom.
posted by breezeway at 9:20 AM on February 14, 2008


Spring travel ahoy
flying toddler demons aft
drugging is the rule
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2008


klangklangston writes "Hush your fucking brat"

Tell me how.

Go ahead.

The only people who ever say "hush your brat" are people who haven't raised a toddler. Toddlers are the most unreasonable people IN THE UNIVERSE. Might as well say "convince spammers to get real jobs" or "get the pilot to fly you personally for free". Great ideas, but nobody ever seems to give advice for "how" (other than "dope up your little kid"), and yet they insist that it can and must be done, and that for some reason parents have the magic key to how to do it, but just don't.

klangklangston writes "...or move to fucking Houston"

"Hey, guy, you're mildly inconveniencing me by flying with a kid. In fact, you're pissing me off for an hour or two. How about, instead, you sell your house, move, try to get your wife a green card, try to find a new job, say goodbye to all your friends, and give up any financial stability you have from your current job? It makes sense that to avoid me being annoyed for a few hours, you should fuck up your life for a year or two. Oh, and when you move to Houston with your kid? Don't fly. Oh, and when you now get stuck shuttling your kid from Houston to Japan to visit his other grandma? Sell your Houston house, quit your Houston job, try to get a Japanese visa again, and try to find a new job. And when you move to Japan again with your kid? Don't fly. I'm sure you'll agree that this is an eminently reasonable request."

klangklangston writes "but don't imply that it's my fault that your kid is an obnoxious little shit. Seriously, your disingenuous false equivalence between your active misdeeds and my passive victimization by them is the sort of stupid that your parents should have beaten out of you. "

Then give me some PRACTICAL advice. I hear plenty of bitching from people who are annoyed by kids, but NEVER any practical advice. Impractical? Sure. "Kill your kid" "Don't even have kid" "Put him in the luggage hold". And I'm about 0% likely to kill my kid because some annoyed guy on the net suggested it. So I'm basically stuck with "doing the best I can, working as hard as I can to keep the kid quiet and occupied and behaved, and get hated for it anyway". Which is fine. That's what I do. But until you can give some sort of practical advice, all I can say is "I'm trying the best I can, and if that still pisses you off because 'as hard as physically possible' isn't synonymous with 'perfect', then fuck you".
posted by Bugbread at 9:32 AM on February 14, 2008 [10 favorites]


Summer harvest binges
hips eventually swell
two seats a cruel fact
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 AM on February 14, 2008


With apologies
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 AM on February 14, 2008


(If it makes you feel better, I'm probably about as pissed off now as you are when you're getting your seat kicked. And I can fucking guarantee that I'm more tired on that international flight than almost anyone else on the plane. So consider yourself avenged.)
posted by Bugbread at 9:35 AM on February 14, 2008


Remember you should either mention or obliquely reference the seasons in a haiku.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 AM on February 14, 2008


Oops, sorry gnomeloaf, not yours [comment]. The three before yours. Damn this internet and posting time sorts! :)

I see that I was rushed and stupid and implicated ThePinkSuperHero in my accusation of rudeness, which I did not intend. Commentsr fly too fast and furious for me, apparently.

I am an idiot. DarlingBri is not the person who said that. It was Deathalicious.


kalessin -- Maybe you should slow down, read more carefully and double check before hitting 'post comment.'
posted by ericb at 9:42 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Except we have some leeway in not exactly answering the question asked as long as we're trying to help the person. If you're offering a reasonable solution that falls slightly outside the parameters of the question, but you're not a dick and are being helpful, then the mods will probably let it stay.

posted by ODiV at 4:23 PM on February 13 [+] [!]

Not to derail the lovely haiku thread, but isn't this exactly wrong? I've always been confused about this and it has stopped me from "answering" a number of AskMe's . I have in mind one of my favorite MeTa threads ever -- both in that it was very useful to me in understanding how AskMe is supposed to work and in that it had one of my favorite MeTa comments ever -- the "astrology question" thread. I think Jessamyn took the position in the thread that you must answer the question and only the question, no matter how much you disagree with the premise. By that standard explosion's answer is weak at best and the whole thread fails at AskMe (with very few exceptions).

Having said that, I don't necessarily agree with what I believe is Jessamyn's stance on this. Sometimes the best answers do have to go slightly awry of the question (though not, I think in this case). Much as I often disagree with him, Dr. Steve Elvis, I think, really nails the issue here.
posted by The Bellman at 9:50 AM on February 14, 2008


Then give me some PRACTICAL advice. I hear plenty of bitching from people who are annoyed by kids, but NEVER any practical advice. Impractical?

For what its worth, bugbread, I'm probably one of the most frequent flyers in this thread (Premier Exec on United) and I don't mind kids at all. They can be kind of entertaining actually and even when they're a bit obnoxious...well, they're kids. That's part of their nature. Sometimes when they're screaming and crying I think to myself "Kid, thats how we all feel in here. Good on you for expressing it for the rest of us."

I think what does annoy me is parents who feel some sort of entitlement because they're parents. That the rest of us should accomodate their kids. As I said, I'm willing to make accomodations but I resent people who *expect* me to. It all comes back down to simple courtesy.

Every plane flight has some young couple who is flying with their kid for the first time. They tend to be polite and sometimes a bit ashamed that they have become "the couple with the crying kid." No problem. Just don't lose your cool.

The entitled folks tend to be seasoned travelers who have met their share of assholes who have told them to shut up their brat or something like that. And so now they assume eveyone is an asshole. Don't let encounters with aggressive people color your view of humanity. That's probably good advice in any situation.
posted by vacapinta at 9:51 AM on February 14, 2008


vacapinta writes "I think what does annoy me is parents who feel some sort of entitlement because they're parents. That the rest of us should accomodate their kids. As I said, I'm willing to make accomodations but I resent people who *expect* me to. It all comes back down to simple courtesy. "

That annoys me too. They're shirking their responsibility. Any time I see a kid pissing people off, and parents not trying to stop the situation, I get pissed off, even if the kid isn't pissing me off directly. But I don't get pissed off if I see the parents trying and failing.

vacapinta writes "The entitled folks tend to be seasoned travelers who have met their share of assholes who have told them to shut up their brat or something like that. And so now they assume eveyone is an asshole. Don't let encounters with aggressive people color your view of humanity."

I guess I'm not seasoned enough (good!), because I think of other travellers as the victim, not as targets. Though if klangklangston were sitting in front of me, I'd probably kick his chair myself and blame it on the kid. When we got off the plane, I'd buy him a beer or something, because in general I think he's a fine person. But inside the plane, it would be grudge time.
posted by Bugbread at 9:57 AM on February 14, 2008


Then give me some PRACTICAL advice.

Fly the grandparents to the kids.
posted by trondant at 10:00 AM on February 14, 2008


Winter klangs the children
Narrow-hipped righteousness
Flies the friendly sky
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:03 AM on February 14, 2008


I would like to start out by saying that breezeway is awesome. His solutions for things are sublimely practical in a way that I find immensely appealing. He's the bee's knees, in clearer words.

on to the topic at hand:

the following have all been said by kalessin at various points since I last posted:

Fat bashing, to me, is when folks take questions not meant to discuss the fat and how rude it implicitly is as an opening to talk about just that.

Okay. But what I and others are trying to say is that that's an awfully narrow view of what explosion said. As I already stated, there is ample reason to think his answer is less than ideal in a number of ways, but it's really stretching it to think of it as some kind of fat hatred, and most importantly it is not evidence of some kind of metafilter fat-bashing trend. There are and will be, in fact, plenty of opportunities to find fat bashing on this site, but at those times you will also find plenty of other people condemning that very bashing. You're not seeing some sort of site-wide sanction of fat bashing. You're seeing evidence of what may be one user's slight prejudice toward fat people, and extrapolating it to represent metafilter. And you're doing that on top of exaggerating just how much fat bashing he's actually doing. This is evidence of a confirmation bias on your part, and I sincerely hope you try to see that.

It's my assumption that progressives, the kinds of people I think are in the majority on Metafilter, are people who are actually about trying to address and overcome those kinds of imbalances in life, especially if the biases are established to be systemic.

These biases are not systemic. There are systemic biases in society, sure, but they're not sytemic where the system of metafilter is concerned. You really need to understand that metafilter does not have an anti-fat agenda, nor does it have a blind spot for the sensitivities of fat people. There are just some assholes, here. What's weird is that explosion doesn't seem to be one of them. He just made a comment that rubbed you the wrong way. And that's the thing. It rubbed YOU the wrong way. It's not some verifiably horrible thing to say that anyone would say is cearly unacceptably offensive. It just doesn't sit right with you. And that's fine, but that's not a matter for community discussion so much as it's a matter for private correspondence either between you and explosion or you and the mods. Who knows? Maybe explosion would apologize. But if he didn't, it wouldn't be because he's an asshole or not progressive enough or what have you. It would be because you two simply have different values about this. Yours are not necessarily the standard by which all behavior is measured.

in response to ikkyu2 you said:

It sounds like you're about as tired and pissed off as I was when I made my comment that you linked to.

here is the crux of things. you get really tired/busy/pissed off/whatever and post these things. I think you need to more seriously consider that your feelings on this are affected by things external to the issue more than the comments you're talking about. This is why people are telling you not to drag us into your personal frustrations. you don't get to use your crankiness or real life stress to excuse this while simultaneously insisting we really give it serious consideration. This whole post has come from pretty far out in left field and i think you should maybe back down and let it lie.
posted by shmegegge at 10:06 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


shmegegge, please don't misunderstand - I was not tired or pissed off when I brought this topic up and posted the post this thread is in response to on MetaTalk. The comment ikkyu2 linked to, however, was definitely in one of my tired and pissed off phases.

This is my main personality and the post and subsequent comments stem from who I am and what I normally care about.

With respect to the differences we obviously have in interpretation of social bias and its origins, and whether or not I can derive anything useful about the global "self" of Metafilter from this or any other topics related to that stuff, all I can say is I am totally fine with having a difference of opinion with you about these subjects. In the future I will do my best to reconcile my conflicting drives of living my life to the fullest and trying to keep yours as comfortable as I can.

Finally, as I said earlier, further conversation should probably be taken to e-mail as the frequency of new things to talk about here on this thread is rapidly decreasing.
posted by kalessin at 10:33 AM on February 14, 2008


Somehow, without ever beating me, my parents made it clear that I was not to act up in public. I think they weighed their own personal discomfort at making me sad against the discomfort of others, and never let me get my way when I was a two-year old. And yes, me bawling my head off was considered me getting my way.

So, long before I was ever on a plane, or train, or bus, I had learned that bawling got me nowhere, so I didn't do it. I'm sure it hurt my parents to ignore me, but that's all it took. And seat kicking? That went without saying.

You see, my folks didn't threaten to take lunch, or treats, or any thing away if I was bad. They would take away their approval, and to me that felt like they were taking away their love. And that scared me into not embarrassing them in public.

Like I said, all parents aren't the same. It's hard to have kids and know what to do. Fearing your disapproval isn't really fearing you. Hours of sullen silence might get on your nerves as a parent, but at least it isn't getting on everyone within earshot's nerves.

Or think of it this way: the other folks on the plane never experienced the fun of a romp with your mate before they were saddled with your little behavior problem, so they have nothing good to reflect on when the kicking and crying starts. Maybe a quickie is all it would take to make them understand.

Or maybe they'd have to fall in love to the point where they decided that they wanted a baby with your SO, and that all the pains in the ass would be worth it to make a beautiful child out of the love they built.

See, you put up with all the crap out of love, and a lot goes into that. Expecting anyone else to feel the same way is crazy.

"I'm just gonna fantasize about falling in love and sleeping with your wife, maybe then I'll understand why you brought that baby on board."

Whoah. That's fucking ridiculous.

Fact is, I can't abide kicking, because that can be dealt with by an attentive parent. And, like bugbread, I don't get mad when I see the parents trying and failing (though I have trouble not being inwardly judgmental). But when it comes to noisy kids, or crying kids, I don't mind, really; signs of life usually make me smile, sometimes make me cry a little. But I'd never expect anyone to agree with me; noisy kids strike us all in different ways.

On preview; thanks, shmeggegge. My latest suggestion, though, is kinda rotten, like this haiku:

Travel by balloon:
The "by" means "get there via"
Not "sitting next to."
posted by breezeway at 10:34 AM on February 14, 2008


Heh, shmegegge, I spelled your username with an extra "G."

'Cuz you so money.
posted by breezeway at 10:47 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Tell me how.

Go ahead.

The only people who ever say "hush your brat" are people who haven't raised a toddler. Toddlers are the most unreasonable people IN THE UNIVERSE. Might as well say "convince spammers to get real jobs" or "get the pilot to fly you personally for free". Great ideas, but nobody ever seems to give advice for "how" (other than "dope up your little kid"), and yet they insist that it can and must be done, and that for some reason parents have the magic key to how to do it, but just don't."

Put your hand over its mouth. Hold your hand there. That will greatly muffle the amount of noise. If your child squirms, use appropriate force to keep your hand over its mouth. I'm sure that some sort of improvised gag could be made out of a scarf and a sock or something. As long as the nose is clear, the kid should still be able to breath, but not make nearly as much noise. And if they keep kicking the seat in front of them, tie their fucking legs together and lash them to the fucking seat. Hell, get one of those child-size sleeping bags and secure the kid in that. Stuff a spaceman helmet full of acoustic wadding and let the kid be a soft murmur. Or, hey, dope the kid.

"And when you move to Japan again with your kid? Don't fly. I'm sure you'll agree that this is an eminently reasonable request.""

Whose fault is it that you live in Japan? Is it my fault? No. So don't try to shift the consequences of your decisions off onto me. If your kids are too young to reliably fly in a polite manner, don't fucking fly with them. How you get around that is not my problem. But you're the one who's responsible for your kids (and your job and where you live), and when they violate the norms of air travel (or fucking civilization), that's on you—not on the people who don't want a colicky scream keeping them awake on a plane.

"I guess I'm not seasoned enough (good!), because I think of other travellers as the victim, not as targets. Though if klangklangston were sitting in front of me, I'd probably kick his chair myself and blame it on the kid. When we got off the plane, I'd buy him a beer or something, because in general I think he's a fine person. But inside the plane, it would be grudge time."

And I'd have no problem getting a steward involved. I tend to have little patience for people who fuck up the program for everyone else, whether by trying to cram too much shit into the overhead bins, or not getting the hell out of the aisle, or not knowing how to exit the plane, or fucking with the back of my seat or slamming their seat up and down in front of me, etc. etc. Just like I have little patience for people who don't know how to drive properly—lingering at green lights, especially left turn ones, is a massive FAIL, as is cutting me off to slow down, or weaving in and out of lanes.

I'll also say that frequently parents seem to act as if they are doing everything in their power when they are still trying to placate or cajole a child rather than disciplining them. So, yes, if it looked to me like you were doing everything possible, I'd still be pissy but I'd cut some slack. If you were feeding junior handfuls of skittles and trying to coo them down while they were screaming and flinging them down the aisle (like one recent trip), then no, I'd tell you to shut your fucking brat up, because your brat should be your problem, not mine.
posted by klangklangston at 10:48 AM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Fly the grandparents to the kids."

That's better advice.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2008


With respect to the differences we obviously have in interpretation of social bias and its origins

What social bias? If you are too fat to fit in the seat you should purchase another one, or else the person next to you will be uncomfortable. I don't see any bias in that.
posted by goo at 11:02 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't like listening to obnoxious kids when trapped in an airplane. I'm seriously frustrated by parents who seem incapable of understanding how to, uh, parent. I don't have kids. I like my friends' kids, but will avoid sitting near other people's kids if possible if the kid looks potentially annoying.

That said, everyone who thinks that they never, ever acted up in public as a baby or very small child, please call your own parents for verification of this fact. It's possible that there are some things you don't remember.
posted by desuetude at 11:05 AM on February 14, 2008


Put your hand over its mouth. Hold your hand there. That will greatly muffle the amount of noise. If your child squirms, use appropriate force to keep your hand over its mouth. I'm sure that some sort of improvised gag could be made out of a scarf and a sock or something. As long as the nose is clear, the kid should still be able to breath, but not make nearly as much noise. And if they keep kicking the seat in front of them, tie their fucking legs together and lash them to the fucking seat. Hell, get one of those child-size sleeping bags and secure the kid in that. Stuff a spaceman helmet full of acoustic wadding and let the kid be a soft murmur. Or, hey, dope the kid.

This is immensely silly advice. Everyone knows the best way to keep a kid from bothering other people on the plane is to stow him in luggage and check him in during pre-boarding.

I'll also say that frequently parents seem to act as if they are doing everything in their power when they are still trying to placate or cajole a child rather than disciplining them. So, yes, if it looked to me like you were doing everything possible, I'd still be pissy but I'd cut some slack. If you were feeding junior handfuls of skittles and trying to coo them down while they were screaming and flinging them down the aisle (like one recent trip), then no, I'd tell you to shut your fucking brat up, because your brat should be your problem, not mine.

Now, I don't have kids, but it's my understanding that there are quite a lot of things that can be done to stop a kid from doing almost anything without resorting to abuse. But crying is, again as I understand it, one of those things that simply requires years of training to stop. If a kid is kicking a seat, it doesn't take a lot to put a stop to it, although you may have to do so frequently during the flight. If a kid is throwing shit or otherwise making a mess it's again not difficult to put a stop to it. But the thing that cannot be stopped (short of the physical advice klang gave which I'm inclined to think borders on if not outright qualifies as abuse) is needless crying (as opposed to crying because the diaper's full or their starving, etc...). As I understand it, allowing a lot of that other bullshit in public is sometimes the result of parents trying their hardest not to give the kid a reason to cry because then it's even worse. I'm inclined to think that that particular attitude is bad parenting, but then I don't have kids.

Anyway, point is, for my perspective the one thing I'm willing to tolerate (though in my head I'm a frothing psychotic lunatic curb stomping the parents) on a plane is crying. If a kid kicks once, hey no biggie. If a kid keeps doing it and nobody tells him to fucking quit it, it's time for someone to die. But if a kid is crying because he hates the air pressure or because he just wants to cry, there's little anyone CAN do. The kid probably won't take a bottle or pacifier, because he just wants to cry. He'll only stop when he gets tired of it.

Now obviously this wouldn't be a problem if people didn't take the kids on the plane in the first place, true. But I can't help but feel like the attitude of "it's your kid, it should be your problem" is ridiculous. It's their kid, but it's not just their problem. Why? Because your comfort, or my comfort, simply isn't important enough to them to keep the kids from seeing the grandparents. And that's tough titties for you or me. You can think they're an asshole all you want, but the fact is that you're an asshole and so am I, too. And if my kids' grandparents one day live an airplane flight away, guess what? At some point I'm going to fly the kids out to see them when they're young enough to flip their shit over it. Maybe I'll try hard to fly the grandparents out instead if I can, but that's not always an option. Because when it comes down to it it's really easy to think "shit, I can just go till they're 6 or so before I take them on a plane! I'll fly the grandfolks out here in the meantime! no biggie!" and then you have another kid. and you realize that it'll be 6 years plus however old the first kid already is before you go anywhere on a plane. maybe you have a third. so it's looking like 9-12 or maybe even more years. And you know what? At some point I'm probably going to have to take the damn kids on a plane. And when that happens I'm frankly not going to worry too much about the other people on the plane. Yup, it'll suck for them, and yes it'll be my fault and yes i'll wish I weren't doing that to them. But in the end, fuck it, grandpa's got the aids and won't last the 6 more years we'd need to spare everyone in the world 2 hours of an uncomfortable plane ride. You may hate me if you want, but let's be honest: it doesn't matter and however much anyone may want to act like the world's most reasonable man it won't matter to you either when it's your turn.
posted by shmegegge at 11:29 AM on February 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


*they're starving.
posted by shmegegge at 11:30 AM on February 14, 2008


What the bloody hell are you people talking about? More haikus and less blathering ninny.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:32 AM on February 14, 2008


Lateral passive-aggression,
Luggage-patch kids
Unleash the blathering monsoon
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:40 AM on February 14, 2008


"and then you have another kid. and you realize that it'll be 6 years plus however old the first kid already is before you go anywhere on a plane. maybe you have a third. so it's looking like 9-12 or maybe even more years. And you know what? At some point I'm probably going to have to take the damn kids on a plane."

You say that as if having kids is a mysterious phenomenon that could happen to anyone at any time, unbidden.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on February 14, 2008


no, I don't.
posted by shmegegge at 11:56 AM on February 14, 2008


Do some of you fly some evil obscure airline that packs every flight with monstrous, red-faced children? Because I fly a lot and I have never once been on a flight on which a child cried, screamed, or otherwise was disruptive for the duration of the flight. At worst, a couple of babies cry for a while at takeoff and the early part of the flight, and there's some whining at various points when they get hungry/cranky/whatever, but it generally doesn't last very long and it's easy enough to tune out. Plus, honestly, how often do you have a kid kicking the back of your seat? And of those occasions, how often did it continue after you politely asked the parents to intervene? If your answer is anything greater than 1 or 2, you're either making things up or you have just had tremendously bad luck.

Listen, if you really get yourself so worked up about in-flight child misbehavior that you think parents should give up air travel entirely for several years or more, then the problem is clearly not with the kids or the parents -- it's with you, either because your state of happiness is a delicate eggshell that is easily shattered, or you just plain don't like kids.
posted by brain_drain at 12:02 PM on February 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


If having one kid is too much of a strain already, then having another isn't exactly a good decision.
posted by klangklangston at 12:02 PM on February 14, 2008


Plus, honestly, how often do you have a kid kicking the back of your seat? And of those occasions, how often did it continue after you politely asked the parents to intervene? If your answer is anything greater than 1 or 2, you're either making things up or you have just had tremendously bad luck.

I meant to say this too. I think they're making things up.

In fifteen years of flying (in the early 90's I flew once a week) I've never once had a kid kick the back of my seat.
posted by vacapinta at 12:10 PM on February 14, 2008


"Do some of you fly some evil obscure airline that packs every flight with monstrous, red-faced children? Because I fly a lot and I have never once been on a flight on which a child cried, screamed, or otherwise was disruptive for the duration of the flight."

Really? I mean, I only fly three or four times a year (so six or so total flights, not counting switching planes for different legs), and it's usually about once or twice a year that I get stuck with an unruly child who won't shut up for the entirety of the flight. Add that to the creeping fatties, the horking sickies, the nattering morons, the idiots who fall asleep on you, and the incompetent malingerers, and I usually get about two trips a year that don't have some sort of obnoxiousness that impacts my enjoyment of the flight. The holidays tend to be the worst for kids and illnesses. I have to say that aside from this last holiday flight, where both ends were red-eyes behind the galley and which both had multiple kids who wouldn't stop crying the entire six-hour flight (most of them seemed to be younger than a year old, and who shouldn't have been flying at all in my estimation), Delta's been pretty good, as has Southwest. The worst has been Northwest, which has struck me as an apathetic failure on almost every possible level.
posted by klangklangston at 12:13 PM on February 14, 2008


Oh, and once in the last year I've had a kid that wouldn't stop kicking my seat, and twice my girlfriend's had that happen to her. When I told the parent that the kid was kicking my seat, they ignored me, so I had to get a steward, which stopped the kicking for about twenty minutes. I was ready to fight the mother by the end of the flight, but she seemed totally unconcerned about her child's behavior and was more concerned with my "inappropriate language."
posted by klangklangston at 12:16 PM on February 14, 2008


If having one kid is too much of a strain already, then having another isn't exactly a good decision.

before I go any farther, let me clarify something: I'm just saying why I try not to judge people who bring kids on a plane. Or at least, why I try to stop judging them once I'm off the plane and visions of their broken bodies stop dancing in my head. At some point, I may be in their position though I hope to avoid it.

now, as far as the number of kids are concerned, I'm not trying to say that it's too difficult to raise one kid or whatever. all I'm saying is that some people may choose to have several kids. Whether or not this is going to affect their travel plans really doesn't have any place in the decision making process for having a kid so I think it's safe to assume that the answer of "well if you want to be able to take one kid someplace, don't have another one" isn't really all that valid. So if they do have several kids, that buffer zone (whatever age it may be) that a thoughtful parent might have in order to avoid bringing a potentially bothersome kid on a plane expands dramatically for every kid they have. and if we're talking about grandparents and the visiting thereof, spans of time like 12-18 years are staggering since the grandparents could be dead before then. since old people are fragile and could very well be on a death bed or have some other medical reason for not flying long distances, it's not unreasonable to assume that people could easily have a reason to take a child on a plane, and I strongly believe that if you were in that same situation you'd just take your kid on the plane. It's well and good to come up with these things in our heads - I've done it myself - where we can think of all the reasons why no parent should have to bother people on a plane like that so that we can think of them as total villains in our minds. It's really satisfying to do. But the truth is that we don't really listen to all those reasons ourselves. I fucking hate it when people cut me off and slow down in traffic, and I avoid doing it as much as I can but you know what? Sometimes I get mad enough to do it on purpose to piss off some dude who I think is going too slow for the left lane. I hate it when people walk slowly in groups that block the whole damn sidewalk but the truth is that sometimes I don't bother walking single file when I'm out with my friends, myself. That's all I'm saying. You want to tell me you don't ever do things like that, and that you'd never bring a young kid on a plane ever? Fine. I'll take your word for it. I'm just giving my reasoning for feeling a bit differently about it.
posted by shmegegge at 12:17 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


brain_drain, I don't fly very often, but my experience is somewhere more in the middle. I've had noticable crying babies on probably a third of my flights, with maybe a third or a half of those featuring really significant uninterrupted portions. (I once sat one row behind screaming, vomiting kid on a little 30-seater. Oof.) I had a seat-kicker once, but he wasn't a machine gun about it; it was just four or five times during the flight where he'd start and then stop.

So the whole "obnoxious kids and/or kid noise" isn't really a myth, but I think people's experiences (and tolerances, too) vary enough that it's easy for folks to not really see eye-to-eye on the situation, even when they're all coming at it from an honest account of what they've experienced and how they've reacted to it.

You say that as if having kids is a mysterious phenomenon that could happen to anyone at any time, unbidden.

Sorry, klang, but I think you're arguing the indefensible position here. There's a pretty huge gap between "going to the movies" and "flying on an airplane" as far as utility and alternatives go. I hate having a screamer on a flight, but I wouldn't dream of telling someone to arrange their family obligations around that. It's part of why I take my enclosed headphones with me when I fly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:20 PM on February 14, 2008


Add that to the creeping fatties, the horking sickies, the nattering morons, the idiots who fall asleep on you, and the incompetent malingerers, and I usually get about two trips a year that don't have some sort of obnoxiousness that impacts my enjoyment of the flight.

Have you considered not flying? It's really that simple, after all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on February 14, 2008


I was ready to fight the mother by the end of the flight, but she seemed totally unconcerned about her child's behavior and was more concerned with my "inappropriate language."

this is the funniest thing I've read today. the implication of your reaction instead of straight up telling it is just comedy gold. god damn that's funny.
posted by shmegegge at 12:22 PM on February 14, 2008


breezeway writes "never let me get my way when I was a two-year old."

Your memory is faulty, or your parents' memory is faulty. Two years old is the age precisely where you try to get your way, your parents don't give in, and thus you scream and shout. When a kid isn't let to give his way, he cries. At that age, you can't say "crying is getting ones way, and they didn't allow that", because: what could they do to prevent it? Explain things calmly? You're two. That doesn't work. Hit you? You're two, that'll make you cry more. Scold you? You're two, that either will run off your back or make you cry more. The only way I can think to prevent a two year old kid from crying on a completely consistent basis is to gag him, and I hope your parents didn't do that.

Now, three, four? Maybe. Five? Absolutely. But if you were quiet when you were two, it wasn't because your parents had taught you better, you were just a quiet kid. So was I. My parents taught me awesomely, I think, but that's not why I was quiet at age two. It's why I was quiet at age 5. At age 2, it was just a lucky throw of behavioural dice.

One of the things that folks without kids, or folks with angelic kids, tend to believe is that the nature versus nurture debate has been conclusively solved: If you have an extra chromosome or some horrible defect, that's nature. Anything else is all 100% nurture. Two year old cries? Parents raised him wrong. Two year old hits kids? Parents raised him wrong.

When you actually have a kid, though, you realize that there's a hell of a lot of nature involved in kids, beyond just "he does/does not have a crippling genetic disorder". My wife was extremely shy as a child. I was relatively shy. Now my wife is very social, and I'm reasonably social. Our son? Incredibly shy. Very surprising: we certainly haven't socialized him to be shy. Nor have we tried to force sociability on him, making him swing towards shyness. No, shyness is just an unexplained trait in him, just as it was with my wife.

So, yeah, I totally believe your parents raised you well. And I totally believe you were a well behaved toddler. And I totally believe your parents' efforts are what shaped you into the adult that you are today. But your parents' responsibility for your well-behavedness as a 2 year old just sounds like the unconscious congratulatory back-patting all parents do. "My kid is awesome -- which means we're awesome parents!"

breezeway writes "Hours of sullen silence might get on your nerves as a parent, but at least it isn't getting on everyone within earshot's nerves."

Again, you don't remember toddlerdom well. Toddlers don't have the attention span for "hours of sullen silence". Not even 10 minutes. The average emotional cycle of a toddler is something like 5 minutes. Crying jags can go on for quite a bit longer, but even that is rare at age 2. 5 to 10 minutes seems about tops. You're just thinking of your childhood, not your toddlerdom. Very very different beasts. A misbehaved elementary school kid is something which should have been dealt with earlier (though keep in mind that even the best kids have bad days, so if you see a kid acting like an ass, it doesn't mean they always get away with it). A misbehaved toddler is just bad luck. If the parents are doing their best, hopefully the toddler grows up to be a well behaved kid. If not, that's when the parents are fucking up.

breezeway writes "Fact is, I can't abide kicking, because that can be dealt with by an attentive parent."

Well, see, there's the rub: your chair got kicked 10 times during a flight: does that mean the parents were inattentive? Maybe, maybe not. If the kid tried to kick the chair 10 times, and the kid succeeded 10 times, then the parents suck. If the kid tried 1000 times, and the parents stopped 990 of the kicks, the parents are doing a good job.

klangklangston writes "Whose fault is it that you live in Japan? Is it my fault? No."

So I'm a bad person for moving out of the US? Yes, klang, that's very reasonable. My fault entirely.

Whose fault is it that you live somewhere where you have to get in the plane? Why don't you move? It's not my fault you don't live near where you want to go.

klangklangston writes "If your kids are too young to reliably fly in a polite manner, don't fucking fly with them. How you get around that is not my problem."

Well, in the absence of decent advice, then I guess I will keep flying, so I guess it is your problem.

klangklangston writes "when they violate the norms of air travel (or fucking civilization), that's on you"

Huh. You know, considering how much bitching you do about this, and lots of people here do, I would posit that this behaviour is within the norms of air travel. So it's not on anyone.

klangklangston writes "I'll also say that frequently parents seem to act as if they are doing everything in their power when they are still trying to placate or cajole a child rather than disciplining them."

The airplane is the one place where I will absolutely try to placate or cajole my kid rather than disciplining him. Because disciplining does not take effect in 5 minutes, it takes effect over the long haul. A few months; a year. He does something bad, I discipline him, he cries, I tell him "well, now you'll learn not to do that again", he continues to wail, I don't give in. It's an excellent system. And, by the time he's 4 or 5, he'll know that wailing doesn't work, and that he can't get away with stuff. But in the intervening years, "disciplining" = "wailing child". And out of respect for my fellow passengers, I decide that when on a 14 hour plane flight, I'd rather shut my kid up than have him wail and drive people crazy for hours just so that he becomes a well behaved kid on his fourth birthday instead of a week later. If you're arguing that you want parents to cause their kids to wail and kick and scream in an airplane, well, then, you're kinda contradicting yourself. And, frankly, while you may want to hear a wailing kicking screaming kid for hours because his parents aren't going to make an exception during plane travel, I trust your fellow passengers would prefer that we just keep him distracted and happy for the flight and resume disciplining after we land.

klangklangston writes "If you were feeding junior handfuls of skittles and trying to coo them down while they were screaming and flinging them down the aisle (like one recent trip), then no, I'd tell you to shut your fucking brat up, because your brat should be your problem, not mine."

Guess what? Bribing kids with skittles and trying to coo them down IS trying to shut a brat up. Again: what would you have them do? Given that they're ALREADY on the plane (so no suggesting "don't get on the plane"), and eliminating all dumb-ass snarky answers like "kill the boy", "parachute out", "rip out his vocal cords", "stuff him in luggage", etc., what is your suggestion of what you'd rather those parents have been doing at that time?

(Wow, been a long, long time since my hands have shaken in anger while reading MeFi, and my kid is actually fairly well behaved on planes)
posted by Bugbread at 12:29 PM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


What, that after the third time or so, I said something like "Your fucking kid is kicking my fucking seat again," and she wanted to give me a lecture about swearing in front of children, which I consider to be less of a social sin than letting them kick my fucking seat?
posted by klangklangston at 12:31 PM on February 14, 2008


klangklangston -- how's your non-flying life? You seem to be a magnet for inconsiderate people.

I've never had a kid kick my seat in an airplane (although I have in a movie theater, plenty of times). I do, however, get the adults who have to grab the back of my seat in order to stand up. Somehow they always -- always! -- grab my hair, too. And what really sucks is that since they're not flying with their parents, I don't have anyone to yell at.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:34 PM on February 14, 2008


Dear MetaFilter: My collicky newborn weighs 450 pounds, but the airline says children under 18 months can share a seat with their parent, so I guess I'll just get one ticket. The question is: where can I change his diaper? Obviously the restroom is out (we won't both fit), so the lap of the person next to me is acceptable, right?
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:36 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


What, that after the third time or so, I said something like "Your fucking kid is kicking my fucking seat again," and she wanted to give me a lecture about swearing in front of children, which I consider to be less of a social sin than letting them kick my fucking seat?

Yup. I'm not criticizing you, believe me. I think it's awesome and hysterical. I'm being totally serious, that exchange is running through my head right now in a way that's really funny. It's like that moment in Raw where Eddy Murphy is telling the story about how Bill Cosby called him to chastise him for cursing in his comedy and when he told Richard Pryor about it Pryor said "Next time motherfucker calls tell I said suck MY dick!" Seriously, I'm cracking up over here.
posted by shmegegge at 12:41 PM on February 14, 2008


Bugbread, you strike me as an excellent parent... Good on ya.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 12:41 PM on February 14, 2008


"Do some of you fly some evil obscure airline that packs every flight with monstrous, red-faced children? Because I fly a lot and I have never once been on a flight on which a child cried, screamed, or otherwise was disruptive for the duration of the flight."

I fly usually several times a month, a totally random assortment of airlines and times. International and local. I'm pretty good at tolerating all manner of adult and child bad behvior, but mostly because I basically gave up assuming I'd be able to rest, read, recline or otherwise do anything on my flight because of the randomness of other humans in an enclosed space. As it is, I view every flight where someone doesn't change a diaper next to me or watch their DVD player without headphones, speakers ablaring, as a tiny blessing.

However, in answer to your question, the majority (over half, approaching two thirds) of my flights have screaming children where children is defined as up to about ten years old. Seat kicking is a rarity. I bring ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones. I really try hard to be the smiley "Oh it's okay I know you can't help it" lady on the plane and I'm always the "Do you want me to move to that middle seat so your whole family can sit together?" person, but some people are just bad at flying or bad at parenting or bad at keeping their own stress levels down or just inconsiderate of other people or some combination of those things. I can't do anything about them in the short term.

In the long term I help run a website where those people can get some advice on how to make everyone's trip more enjoyable. I hate to be all "don't let it bother you" but other than not flying, what are your reasonable choices besides just going all "curse the darkness" on everyone?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2008


"Guess what? Bribing kids with skittles and trying to coo them down IS trying to shut a brat up. Again: what would you have them do? Given that they're ALREADY on the plane (so no suggesting "don't get on the plane"), and eliminating all dumb-ass snarky answers like "kill the boy", "parachute out", "rip out his vocal cords", "stuff him in luggage", etc., what is your suggestion of what you'd rather those parents have been doing at that time?"

Dude, feeding a kid more sugar is only going to give them more energy to freak the fuck out. And there's nothing child-abuse in putting your hand over the kid's mouth so they can't bawl at the top of their lungs. If bribing the kids with skittles and cooing at them isn't working, I do expect a parent to have a little more in their arsenal than just pumping the kid full of more candy and letting them continue to fling shit like an ape. And if you can't come up with another way to distract your kid beside giving them more sweets, you're failing at parenting in public.

"So I'm a bad person for moving out of the US? Yes, klang, that's very reasonable. My fault entirely."

Where did I say you were a bad person? I said that it was your goddamned responsibility, not mine. Were you whisked away to the Orient by tengu? Did you wake up there one morning unable to remember anything prior? Or are you someone who believes that taking responsibility for their choices is unfair?
posted by klangklangston at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, klang. It really sounds like the rest of the universe should just get off the fucking plane you bought.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Put your hand over its mouth.

Its!?? Troll.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:47 PM on February 14, 2008


"klangklangston -- how's your non-flying life? You seem to be a magnet for inconsiderate people."

Pretty good, in general. The only time that I seem to have the same level of general bile towards humanity is when I get stuck in malls in the holiday shopping season. Well, I'd say malls in general, except I was in one yesterday and there was only one social failure, which was a family running up the down escalator and pushing people out of the way (like, mom, dad and two kids—what the fuck?). Oh, and parking lots around here, where SUVs tend to park in compact spaces, leaving me no room to get out of my car. That seems to happen a lot, even though I try to avoid using my car to go shopping, or parking up in the high demand spaces. But people who drive SUVs seem to be a generally selfish and retarded lot too.
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 PM on February 14, 2008


"Wow, klang. It really sounds like the rest of the universe should just get off the fucking plane you bought."

See, except that I manage to have a couple flights a year where all of this doesn't happen, which leads me to believe that it's totally within the realm of possibility, and that it's only people violating social etiquette that fuck it up for everyone.

"Its!?? Troll."

His or her, happy?
posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on February 14, 2008


Wait a minute... Klang do you even have kids?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:51 PM on February 14, 2008


"Yup. I'm not criticizing you, believe me. I think it's awesome and hysterical. I'm being totally serious, that exchange is running through my head right now in a way that's really funny. It's like that moment in Raw where Eddy Murphy is telling the story about how Bill Cosby called him to chastise him for cursing in his comedy and when he told Richard Pryor about it Pryor said "Next time motherfucker calls tell I said suck MY dick!" Seriously, I'm cracking up over here."

I remember being out to breakfast once, with girlfriend and hangover in tow, and about halfway through my meal some old guy from the next booth comes over and says, "I hope you have a nice fucking day." I cheerily thanked him, and he said "Yeah, I hope your meal was really fucking good." It was, thanks, I replied. Then he said, "There are children here." Yeah, and?

Oh… He was mad because I was casually swearing. Up until that point I thought he was just being neighborly.

Still, I told him I hoped he had a nice day too, and went back to eating and swearing.
posted by klangklangston at 12:55 PM on February 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Wait a minute... Klang do you even have kids?"

Nope, even though sex is a lot more fun without birth control.
posted by klangklangston at 12:56 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also don't have pets, because I don't feel that I'm currently able to take care of them properly.
posted by klangklangston at 12:59 PM on February 14, 2008


Klang, I appreciate where you are coming from. I really do. But until you have kids of your own, you are talking out your ass about how to discipline and manage them.

Even those of us with kids understand that no two kids will react to the same discipline the same way.

What you are doing is no different than what explosion did in the AskMe thread.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:02 PM on February 14, 2008


I'm being totally serious, that exchange is running through my head right now in a way that's really funny.

Submitted for your enjoyment
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:03 PM on February 14, 2008


I tend to have little patience for people who fuck up the program for everyone else ...

Still, I told him I hoped he had a nice day too, and went back to eating and swearing [loudly in public].

Goose, gander.
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:09 PM on February 14, 2008


"Klang, I appreciate where you are coming from. I really do. But until you have kids of your own, you are talking out your ass about how to discipline and manage them.

Even those of us with kids understand that no two kids will react to the same discipline the same way."

Hey, if you have better suggestions for Bugbread or other parents, I'm sure they'd love to hear 'em. Until then, not having to learn how to raise kids is a pretty strong reason for me to avoid having 'em. Just like not caring about the proper habitats for ferrets is a pretty good reason for me to not have ferrets.
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on February 14, 2008


"Goose, gander."

Oh, Dan, y'know, you don't have to make up things like my swearing loudly. And biology kind of makes the crying of a child a little more noticeable than the profanity from someone at the next booth over.
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 PM on February 14, 2008


You were loud enough to people to hear. It was annoying enough that someone went out of his way to confront you about it. I don't really any difference between that and your confronting the mom about her kid kicking your seat. Well, except you're supposed to the adult.
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:15 PM on February 14, 2008


klangklangston writes "Dude, feeding a kid more sugar is only going to give them more energy to freak the fuck out."

Ok, good point, I hadn't thought about the specific foodstuff in question. We keep our kid occupied with crackers and seaweed, so I wasn't really thinking of how skittles are different.

klangklangston writes "there's nothing child-abuse in putting your hand over the kid's mouth so they can't bawl at the top of their lungs."

You'd be amazed how much kids can squirm, how strong they can be, and how much louder a kid can get when their mouth is covered. All that would accomplish is to change WAAAH!!! WAAAAH!!! to mmph-mph-mMMpH-WAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!WAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!maphhmpmWAAAAAH!!!!!!

klangklangston writes "I do expect a parent to have a little more in their arsenal than just pumping the kid full of more candy and letting them continue to fling shit like an ape. And if you can't come up with another way to distract your kid beside giving them more sweets, you're failing at parenting in public. "

Well, I didn't take your set (giving skittles and cooing) to be the entirety of what they did, I thought it was just two examples. If that's all: yeah, unprepared parents.

When we fly, we get a bunch of cheap car toys at the dollar store, a bunch of snacks of varying nutritional levels (from nutrition-free but also sugar-free crackers to fish sausages to seaweed), and a bunch of books, and don't let him know that we have any of it, so he isn't expecting them. When he starts to get antsy and it looks like he's going to start trouble, we bust out something, which keeps him busy for a while, but eventually he gets antsy and the cycle starts again. Still, we've got the goods to keep him relatively occupied, and we walk around the plane with him a ton (note: walking kids don't fidget, cry, or kick much), so while he does cry, and he does bump the seat in front (I think "kick" is the wrong word) a little bit, it's certainly not much.

klangklangston writes "Where did I say you were a bad person?"

You said it was my fault. Not my choice, or my decision, but my fault. I did a bad thing, and I was responsible for that. So, I guess you're right, you didn't say I was a bad person in general, just that I did a bad thing by moving out of the US.

klangklangston writes "Until then, not having to learn how to raise kids is a pretty strong reason for me to avoid having 'em."

But if you don't know how to raise kids, that seems like a pretty strong reason not to categorically state that someone is doing it wrong. You can be pissed about the kids, that makes sense. You can wish the parents weren't bringing the kids on the plane. A little bit of an extreme and impractical position, but makes sense. But having no idea how to parent and then saying other people are parenting wrong just plain doesn't fit; you must acquit.
posted by Bugbread at 1:31 PM on February 14, 2008


danOstuporStar writes "I don't really any difference between that and your confronting the mom about her kid kicking your seat. Well, except you're supposed to the adult."

The rule of thumb is:
1) If I annoy other people, it's their fault for being sensitive.
2) If other people annoy me, it's their fault for being annoying.
posted by Bugbread at 1:34 PM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


While I appreciate your ESP, bugbread, I should point out that mine were the parents who would say, "stop crying or we'll turn around," and then turn around if I didn't stop crying. Yes, I had those parents who removed me from the situation if I couldn't behave, and made it clear that it was I who had ruined everything. It only took a couple ruined trips to impress me.

I have a friend who had a beagle years ago. The dog did everything wrong, and was incosistently trained. My friend would say, "Oh, it's just beagles. You can't train beagles."

Since then, I've met a few well-trained beagles.

Now, any conversation about anything related to parenting will be seen as a referendum on a few specific parents' parenting ability. It's natural, and usually the parents get het up about it because they feel personally attacked.

My personal anecdote about being a publicly well-behaved two-year old was offensive because it implied that there is something parents can do about their kid acting up. But beagles can't be trained, so forget it. I don't have a dog in this race anymore.

I was a second kid. My parents had me figured out. I didn't make scenes. If you say it's a roll of the behavioral dice, then fine. Think what you want. If you want to turn around and start a referendum on my parents' actual lack of parenting ability and sheer luck at having a well-behaved tot, have at it.

I'm sure you're right, there's nothing you can do about your kid. I'm not sure you're right about me, though. Mileage varies.

Parents and children are already sacrosanct. World societies are all structured around accomodating parents and their children. If you admit to being annoyed by children, you may get other childless people to agree, but you're most likely to get a parent telling you to shut the hell up and put up with it, you don't have any idea or knowledge of what you're talking about, even things you've been told by your parents are false, because you're not a parent and don't understand what children are like.

The reasonable response would be, "Fuck you, you don't know me," but let's not forget that having children is the goal of our biological function, way, way more important than the comfort of other adults, I mean, we're just baby-making machines, if you aren't on the assembly line then shut up yourself.

It makes sense. I'm sure, with a roll of the dice, I'd be telling others what it's like to have a two-year old and that beagles can't be trained.

As is, I'm only voicing an opinion that can be easily disregarded by the experienced, knowledgeable reader, since I've never had a two-year old. Bummer.
posted by breezeway at 1:40 PM on February 14, 2008


Wait, where is klangklangston's hugsnkisses?

P.S., <not>I thought this thread was all about me!</not>
posted by kalessin at 1:44 PM on February 14, 2008


Although I am finding the child-rearing discussion interesting, I think that equating the toddler melt-down with the large person in your seat is a false comparison.

One is just a stage of life, magnified by some unpleasant aspects to modern US child rearing practices (such as appeasing rather than disciplining, pandering to the child, and so on -- one of the most fascinating things for me when I travel is seeing how different kids behave in public in different countries -- a lot about children is universal, but there is a huge amount that is nurture, or cultural, rather than behavioral). The other comes from a decision to be rude (by the person who won't buy a second ticket, an airline that won't make the seats wider or won't allow a second ticket to be purchased, or whatever), and irritates me in a way that a small child never will. (Especially because, unlike breezeway, I was a miserable child, noisy and energetic and probably awful to sit in front of on airplanes, so I can't go pointing fingers about that.)

Saying that people with children shouldn't fly is just silly -- when I see them on the plane, trying to keep two kids on an even keel, juggling water bottles and books and toys, and getting the same shitty service and unpleasantness that all the rest of the flying public receives, I feel really sorry for them. I've only once had a chair-kicker, and really that's better than the guys on the way to their bachelor party who are banging things on the tray table. I'm sure everyone -- parents, airline staff, non-parents, the kids -- wishes that airplanes had a glassed-in area at the back, soundproofed and with padded walls, in which parents and kids could be housed, free to run around, make noise, and entertain themselves in a more natural way, rather than trying to force energetic small children to sit still for 8 or more hours at a stretch. (Baby rooms sure have made movie theaters nicer, for example.) But for all kinds of reasons, that isn't happening, and so kids on planes is just something you have to deal with. If it makes you angry beyond what is reasonable, take anger management classes or get medicated or drive your car; the kids are going to be there and will be crying whether you like it or not.
posted by Forktine at 1:55 PM on February 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know, on rereading, I find I reacted to a few things that weren't in what you wrote, bugbread, and a few things that you made clear you weren't saying. Who am I to talk about others being het up?

Kids are great; I'm just jealous. But if you feel put upon as a parent, remember being a non-parent. Sure, there are things you do and you go, "Oh, I was so wrong, I never knew what it was really like." But part of being a parent is learning constructive condescension and how to be a protector. I think these things often combine to be serious slings and arrows to the childless, especially when combined with all the complaining parents do about how hard a job it is.

Sometimes, to parents and non-parents both, any comment feels like, "You're a failure." It's a stick with two shit ends.

Sorry for shoving it at you.
posted by breezeway at 2:10 PM on February 14, 2008


"You were loud enough to people to hear. It was annoying enough that someone went out of his way to confront you about it. I don't really any difference between that and your confronting the mom about her kid kicking your seat. Well, except you're supposed to the adult."

Really? Then you're kinda an idiot.

"You said it was my fault. Not my choice, or my decision, but my fault. I did a bad thing, and I was responsible for that. So, I guess you're right, you didn't say I was a bad person in general, just that I did a bad thing by moving out of the US."

A bad thing only in that it has negative consequences—that it's harder to see your parents, etc. Same way that it's your fault if you miss your parent's birthdays or whatever because you live far away, not their fault for having birthdays that you've missed.

"Still, we've got the goods to keep him relatively occupied, and we walk around the plane with him a ton (note: walking kids don't fidget, cry, or kick much), so while he does cry, and he does bump the seat in front (I think "kick" is the wrong word) a little bit, it's certainly not much."

Then frankly, it sounds like you're doing a pretty decent job and I'd cut you slack over incidental contact and whatever. What makes me irate is the long, sustained pattern of ill behavior—I don't mind the five minutes of crying very much, but I very much mind the six hours of it. And after six hours of it, I'm likely to conclude that a kid was just not yet ready for flight and be pretty annoyed at the parents for taking the kid on the flight. I'm not demanding the perfect German flight, where everyone moves like automotons in a cuckoo clock, but rather a basic level of consideration and on-the-ball-ness where people don't actively fuck things up for the rest of us. Because I go out of my way to make sure that my travel is as smooth and unobtrusive as possible for everyone else, and I expect the same level of consideration.

"But having no idea how to parent and then saying other people are parenting wrong just plain doesn't fit; you must acquit."

I disagree—I think it's perfectly consistent to judge people based on the outcomes of actions. I may not know the ins and outs of making a narrative film, but I can tell you that four hours of a static shot of the Empire State Building is doing it wrong. I may not know how to land a plane, but I can tell you that crashing it into a suburb is doing it wrong. And I think that "Not doing it" is a pretty good rejoinder regarding what I would do differently—because I don't know how to land a plane, I don't get into positions where I have to. Likewise, if I were to want to have kids, I think that I'd at the very least try to do a shit-ton of research and probably volunteer at a day care first.
posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on February 14, 2008


I'm sure everyone is having fun but its also clear that these things can't be decided by reason. Usually this is because assholes are self-justifying.

It reminds me of these reviews I saw recently. They're for a boutique hotel in Spain. Even if you can't read Spanish you can see the endless list of 4 and 5 star raving reviews.

But also hard to miss is that 1-star review smack in the middle of the page. They guy slams the hotel saying how badly he was treated there and how all the staff are smiling hypocrites. How they dared to charge him for a lamp in his bedroom that he had supposedly broken.

You can also see that that review is followed by a note from the proprietor basically saying: "Oh yeah! I remember these folks with their bad attitude and their loud, rude gestures. Other guests even commented how these people must have arrived at the wrong hotel." In short, assholes.
posted by vacapinta at 2:17 PM on February 14, 2008


Perhaps a bit late, and sorry to be 'that guy,' but...

I was on this one flight, right, I'm flying, I'm sleeping on the plane, I'm fucking "kackered." Very tired, right, and I feel this tapping on my head. And I look up, and there's this little kid . . . loose! On the fucking plane, he's just loose. It's his playground in the sky. And he has decided that his job is to repetitively tap me on the top of the head. I look across the aisle at his mom. She's just smiling, you know. Guy next to the mom goes, "They're so cute when they're that small." Isn't that amazing letting your kid run loose on a fucking place?

And then the kid runs over to the emergency exit, and he starts flipping that handle to the door. And the guy next to the mom starts to get up, and I go: "Wait a minute . . . we're about to learn an important lesson right here."

*Kawoosh!*

"Boy, you're right: the smaller he gets, the cuter he is."

/Hicks

posted by the other side at 2:22 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll also say, generally, that I'm more sympathetic to the momentary misbehavior of a younger kid than I am to the 10-year-olds who go running up and down aisles, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 2:29 PM on February 14, 2008


Fat people, amirite?
posted by Mister_A at 2:49 PM on February 14, 2008


klangklangston writes "I disagree—I think it's perfectly consistent to judge people based on the outcomes of actions."

Yes, but what I'm saying is that, not being a parent, you aren't realizing that those events are not the outcomes of actions (or, at least, not in the parenting sense). Yes, a little baby may cry. In 90% of cases, that's not the outcome of the parents' parenting technique, it's biology. Sure, they are the ones who made the baby, but usually "parenting" is used to refer to what you do once the baby comes out, not the steps involved in making it.

It's more like Shroedinger's cat: 50% chance that the cat will be dead, 50% that it will be alive. You wouldn't tell the scientist who opened the box to find the live cat that he's doing it well, and the scientist with the dead cat that he's doing it badly, because there's a random element. Kids start out with a high randomization factor, and that eventually comes down, but the randomization factor exists regardless of whether or not the parents are good parents.

breezeway writes "While I appreciate your ESP, bugbread, I should point out that mine were the parents who would say, 'stop crying or we'll turn around,' and then turn around if I didn't stop crying."

Breezeway, what I'm saying is just that your memories, though they seem valid, all sound like a kid much older than 2 (and, remember, we're talking relative, so age 69 is not much older than age 67, but age 4 is much older than age 2). Toddlers around age two don't understand that much English. Nouns, verbs, ok. Maybe some adjectives, and some miscellaneous words ("hello", "please", "ow!"). "If/then" conditionals, not so much. I believe your parents kept you in line when you were young by saying "stop crying or we'll turn around". But if they pulled that off by the time you were two (not just starting it, mind you, but completing your training), then it's not so much that they raised you right as it is that you were a genius.

(Well, okay, maybe at the end of age two. I confess that when I've been saying "age 2", I've been meaning "around 2 years old", so I've been thinking of the span between 1.5 years old and 2 years old.)

breezeway writes "I have a friend who had a beagle years ago. The dog did everything wrong, and was incosistently trained. My friend would say, 'Oh, it's just beagles. You can't train beagles.'

"Since then, I've met a few well-trained beagles."


I get where you're coming from, and I totally agree. But you would agree that there is a point at which training is not possible, right? One can definitely teach a 20 year old to raise his hand and ask to go to the restroom instead of pooping his pants. Same with a 10 year old. Same with a 5 year old. What about 3? 2? 1? 6 months? 3 months? 1 month? 1 week? Right after the umbilical cord is cut?

All I'm saying is that the training takes time. Not that you can't train. I just think that 2 is the age when the learning is happening, not the age when the learning has already been completed.

I always hated the "you're not a parent, you wouldn't understand" line. It's used so shittily, by so many people, to defend such vile and insipid stuff. Scaremongering news, invasive laws, restriction of expression. It's also used to defend incredible amounts of selfishness. Kids ripping up stuff in stores and parents letting them do it, and then just walking out of the store.

However, just because 90% of the time "you don't understand, you're not a parent" is pure bullshit doesn't mean it always is. And it's a vague phrase, anyway. There's a big difference between "you're not a parent, you could never understand", and "you could understand, but you don't, and as such you probably won't until you become a parent". What I meant was "if you were a parent, you would understand", not "if and only if you were a parent, you'd understand".

breezeway writes "But if you feel put upon as a parent, remember being a non-parent."

Actually, I don't feel put upon. I mean, it's a really, really, really stressful job, but that's all internal stress, not external. I haven't felt any external stress, really. Society is really cool when it comes to coping with kids (perhaps because I live in Japan). Perhaps that's what got me all riled up in the thread: it's not that it prodded a sore point, but it prodded some really soft point that didn't have the calluses it should.

klangklangston writes "Then frankly, it sounds like you're doing a pretty decent job and I'd cut you slack over incidental contact and whatever. What makes me irate is the long, sustained pattern of ill behavior—I don't mind the five minutes of crying very much, but I very much mind the six hours of it. And after six hours of it, I'm likely to conclude that a kid was just not yet ready for flight and be pretty annoyed at the parents for taking the kid on the flight."

Maybe that's the reason I'm all riled up: what I've realized is that there is just very very little reliability in that sense. I've flown with my kid 4 times (two round trips, Tokyo - Houston and back). He's been fine each time. INCREDIBLY tiring, because we've been keeping him fine, but he's pulled through without any stern glances or comments or anything (er, actually, I was too focused on him to catch nonverbal cues like stern glances. But definitely no comments.) But, at home, he has great days, and ok days, and bad days. Days where he's cooperative and nice and focussed, and days where he is just incredibly pissy and aggravated. There's no difference in the external factors between the two days. Maybe it's that one night he didn't sleep well, and another night he slept more soundly. So I know that, even though my wife and I put the work in for the plane flight, and we pull it off, it's just blind luck at this age, and if we happened to hit a bad day, we'd be thoroughly fucked. Right now, all the complaints you're leveling at kids on planes doesn't really apply to me. But it could, at any day, and there's nothing I could do about it (except, of course, not flying, but we've already discussed that).
posted by Bugbread at 3:01 PM on February 14, 2008


Nono - kids on a plane, amirite?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:13 PM on February 14, 2008


Completely unrelated "annoyed on plane" anecdote: the most annoyed I've ever been on a plane was when I was a kid, and the annoyer was a flight attendant. I was flying back from Madrid with my mom, and either back in those days you couldn't just walk to the back of the plane and ask for a glass of water, or, if you could, neither my mom nor I knew about that (I only found out a few years ago. They don't exactly pass out instruction manuals ^_^).

So the plane has entered the long nighttime stretch. Dinner is finished, most people are sleeping, lights are out. And I'm parched. So I press the stewardess call button, which makes a little "ping" and turns on a little light above the seat. About twenty minutes pass, and nobody comes or even walks by. I press the stewardess call button again -ping-. I can see the stewardesses way in the back, chatting and doing crossword puzzles and the like. I wait ten minutes. Still ignoring the button, still chatting and reading magazines. My interval grows smaller. 5 minutes - ping-. 2 minutes -ping- (my personality then was a lot like it is now, so I'm sure I was looking at my watch and actually timing the intervals). 1 minute -ping-. 30 seconds -ping-. And then, voila!! I see a stewardess start walking towards me! Finally, my dry and cracking throat, the Sahara of my thorax, will finally get some water, or, dare I dream, some coke! And she finally reaches my seat and says:

"You're disturbing the passengers. Please stop."

...and walks away. I was too stunned to even say anything to her. Not "the other passengers", even. "The passengers". I think I ended up drinking out of the sink in the lavatory.
posted by Bugbread at 3:18 PM on February 14, 2008


Kirth Gerson writes "Nono - kids on a plane, amirite?"

Samuel Jackson: "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking kids on this motherfucking plane!"
posted by Bugbread at 3:21 PM on February 14, 2008


Yep, bugbread; you hit on exactly the things I meant when I said I was reacting to things you hadn't written. It's really easy, with certain topics, to respond not to the comment at hand but to some sum of every comment you've heard on the topic, or only to an accretion of all the nasty or disingenuous or false things that have been aimed your way. Or to just respond to your own frustration regarding a topic.

I've had co-workers who didn't know anything about me ask, in the middle of a sentence, "But you don't have kids? What do you know?" And I want to say, "A lot more than any parent ought to know," but then I think, No, hold your tongue, that cocoon they're in is important to them, and I just let it build up until the next time someone dismisses me for being childless. It gets my back up every time.

A woman at a bar I visit every now and again with the esteemed jonmc was telling me all about her children a few weeks ago. She pulled out pictures, and I told her they were beautiful. "Yeah, I fuck good, don't I?" she said, beaming.

I pulled out pictures of my nephews to show her, and she said, "Who the fuck cares about nephews? What, you don't got kids of your own?"

Once I had a motherfucker tell me I would become Republican as soon as I had kids, and until then I would remain a child myself.

Airplane behavior is thorny: the carriers don't help by cutting service and cramming in the customers: the customers don't help by feeling that their exorbitant ticket price guarantees them a perfect flight; individuals don't help by having different visions of the perfect flight. Everybody can feel involved because it's a behavior issue, and everyone feels entitled to comment on the behavior of others.

But we're all commenting on different behavior. Some are commenting on negligent parents, some on careful parents, some on obnoxious kids, some on relatively well-behaved kids, some on flight attendants, some on two-year olds, or three-, or five-, or seven-year olds; but everyone is commenting on the experiences they have had, and while certain similarities exist, they are always different combinations of different people in different situations.

So we get defensive or offensive about it, sometimes to the point of trembling, when deep down in the thick of the discourse, we actually aren't really talking about the same thing at all.

So when someone says, "I can't stand those screaming, kicking children who ruin my plane flight and thus spoil my business trip, costing my company money and me a job," and someone responds, "Well, I'm doing the best I can, and my kid doesn't scream all that often, so deal with it, you jerk," they really aren't even having a conversation: they're each talking about different things.

I know I've been engaging in more than a little of that. Sorry.
posted by breezeway at 4:46 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Boy am I late to this one, but I do have to say that this time around, klang, you have no fucking idea.

You're telling me that my now 18 month old son has had no right to visit his grandparents, aunties, uncles thus far in his life because he cries and might keep some people on the plane awake? That attitude makes it clear who the fucking cry-babys are around here.

You're telling me my wife should have "disciplined him" when she was flying with him when he was 5 months old instead of comforting him?

Once when my wife was flying with my son, the passenger in front kept accusing her of letting him kick the seat in front. He wasn't. He was asleep. It was just my wife taking magazines out of the back-of-seat pocket.

We know that we can get him to sleep quite well if we happen to have a spare seat we can lay him down on - twice we've got on flights and asked if we can be next to a spare seat and have been denied, only to find half-a-dozen emtpy seats on the flight once we're on.

And you forget who the people are who are closest to the crying, who are the ones dealing with the tantrums; the parents. I can assure you they're enjoying it no more than you are.

Where do people get the idea that flying is supposed to be enjoyable, or even tolerable? Planes haven't been comfortable, relaxing places since about about 1956. They're fucking cattle trucks. And as a fellow tall person, my general discomfort surpasses any kid I've ever heard crying.

Maybe it's different if you're talking about a 9-year old who's running riot, but personally I've never experienced that. All I've ever had are babies and toddlers crying, and parents doing their damn best to comfort them.
posted by Jimbob at 5:29 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


What amazingly rude comments about my partner. Of course all fat people are sticky with gross and disgusting sweat. Glass houses, fish.

Glass house what? I'm not the one spilling into someone else's private space, let alone smooshing them into the window and guaranteeing a chiropractic will be in their near future.

If my choice is annoying someone innocent for a few hours or not letting my parents see their grandkid for several years, I'm sorry, but you're going to get annoyed.

AFAIK, Tokyo to Houston is going to be a helluva lot longer than "a few hours."

BTW, what's the matter with drugging your kid? Pop a gravol into him, let him sleep. You and your kid will both be happier for it. [on catching up the thread, apparently this isn't necessary for your kid.]

I'll also say that frequently parents seem to act as if they are doing everything in their power when they are still trying to placate or cajole a child rather than disciplining them.

Christ, yes. The very definition of not parenting.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"So when someone says, "I can't stand those screaming, kicking children who ruin my plane flight and thus spoil my business trip, costing my company money and me a job," and someone responds, "Well, I'm doing the best I can, and my kid doesn't scream all that often, so deal with it, you jerk," they really aren't even having a conversation: they're each talking about different things."

I think that's pretty accurate.

And yes, Jimbob, I'm saying that if your kid can't keep from crying through a whole flight to his grandparents that he shouldn't be flying and that you're a dick for taking him. I don't care if you're suffering worse for being near him, that's not the damn point. Or do you not realize that some kids are too young to fly? Frankly, at that age, he won't remember the trip to his grandparents anyway, so you'd be better off flying them to him or forgoing the whole thing until he's older.
posted by klangklangston at 6:14 PM on February 14, 2008


"Where do people get the idea that flying is supposed to be enjoyable, or even tolerable? Planes haven't been comfortable, relaxing places since about about 1956. They're fucking cattle trucks. And as a fellow tall person, my general discomfort surpasses any kid I've ever heard crying."

Oh, and that's both a bullshit tu quoque and not true—I've had a fair number of totally enjoyable (beyond tolerable) flights, even some with small kids on them. I will agree, generally, that being tall and flying sucks ass, and that I become exponentially more grumpy when I can't get an exit row or when I can't get an aisle seat.
posted by klangklangston at 6:17 PM on February 14, 2008


And so if my wife and I want to visit our families, we're supposed to leave our child behind somehow?

And I'm wondering how we're supposed to travel to the city my new job is in April, 4000 kilometers away. Not to drone on about the circumstances, but to sum up, flying is the only way.

Man in my experience there's just so much going on on planes which is worse than kids misbehaving. I get pissed off by the lack of space for my legs, I get pissed off by the dry air, and I know that there's not much anyone can do about that, but on recent flights I've taken they seem to have turned down the air conditioner so it's always stuffy and hot as well as dry. The flight I most often catch leaves at 1 or 2 am in the morning, and I get pissed off by the cabin crew's insistence on keeping the cabin lights on for the first two hours into the flight so they can sell people sandwiches and movie players, and then I get pissed off by the passengers around me who keep their personal lights on all night instead of trying to get some fucking sleep. I get pissed off about the guy sitting next to me who's just pretending to be asleep and won't acknowledge me when I try to ask him if I can get out to the bathroom. I get pissed off by the people who stand in the aisle talking and messing with their baggage when we board instead of just taking their seats, I get pissed off with the people who show no respect or order with disembarking. I get pissed off with the woman next to me texting on her phone while we take off despite having already been told, personally, twice, by the cabin crew to turn her fucking phone off.

And for me, all these things have always annoyed me more than the sound of a baby crying, or the actions of a kid misbehaving (as I said, I've never even been on a flight where an older child has misbehaved). Maybe I'm just used to babies crying now.
posted by Jimbob at 6:31 PM on February 14, 2008


Frankly, at that age, he won't remember the trip to his grandparents anyway

Dude! Just...just..dude. There is a line. There is a LINE!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:32 PM on February 14, 2008


Hi, OP here. I realize y'all have been talking about children rather than fat people for the past 12 hours, but this is the first chance I've had to post.

jessamyn said "My read is that a lot of people are saying that SW's policy kinda sucks in that it appears to be somewhat arbitrary and the OP is trying to get more data before she makes her trip." Yep.

As I posted in the Ask thread today, these tickets on Southwest were purchased for me. By my mother, no less, with whom I'll be traveling on two of the five flights. If there is going to be a kerfuffle in front of my mother over a Southwest gate agent's opinion of the size of my ass, I'd like to be emotionally, and financially, prepared.

I did get a few pieces of data here, and the other stuff is no worse than I hear some days as I walk across campus (OMG A FAT PERSON WHO CAN WALK!!!11!!). Thanks to all and feel free to go back to yapping about children now.
posted by shiny blue object at 6:48 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


if your kid can't keep from crying through a whole flight to his grandparents...

...then you should be be cited for child abuse.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on February 14, 2008


five fresh fish writes "AFAIK, Tokyo to Houston is going to be a helluva lot longer than 'a few hours.'"

Yeah, that was a bit vague. Judging by all the toddlers I know, unless a kid is sick, his/her specific mood has an arc of about 5 to 10 minutes, and his general overall mood of maybe an hour or two. I didn't assume a kid would be kicking and screaming for 14 hours straight, no matter how bad the kid. He'd get tired out and fall asleep way before that.
posted by Bugbread at 8:13 PM on February 14, 2008


Thanks to all and feel free to go back to yapping about children now.

I hope you have a nice trip. Please don't kick the seat in front of you too much!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:22 PM on February 14, 2008


Awwww, did trondant get a booboo from those mean kids?

No. We got our seats kicked and headrests punched (changing channels on the tv) until the friend I was flying with threatened the two little shits who were flying unchaperoned in the seats behind us with bodily harm. To top things off, the dumbass stewardess gave the little bastards candy midflight. It was a transatlantic flight and we landed lagged and exhausted at Heathrow. You are more than welcome to go fuck yourself if you don't believe me.
posted by trondant at 12:27 AM on February 15, 2008


Well, I'm glad we've all identified the real source of flying misery - people who reproduce. Let's deny all people related to reproduction their civil liberties because various Mefites had bad flights. I feel so sorry for all of you so deeply affected.
posted by kalessin at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


BTW, what's the matter with drugging your kid? Pop a gravol into him...
... Christ, yes. The very definition of not parenting.


But better living through chemistry is?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:23 AM on February 15, 2008


In a word, yes.

Gravol is an anti-nausea drug with a side-effect of mild sedation. Like all drugs, it is a tool: one uses it to accomplish a goal. Used appropriately, it does no harm.

I can see no reason whatsoever why a responsible parent would not give their child relief from the stress of flying. Given the choice between an upset, seat-kicking, people-poking child that is demonstrating behaviours that clearly indicate he's terribly stressed by the ordeal, and one that is calmly napping during the trip, I can see no reason to avoid popping a gravol into him.

Also, all living is chemistry. Finished your coffee yet? Enjoy your wine last night? Here, have a donut: you look like you need some sugar.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 AM on February 15, 2008


kalessin, you simply don't understand common courtesy. So long as you and yours get what you want, fuck the comfort, enjoyment, and spinal alignment of everyone else, eh?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Finished your coffee yet? Enjoy your wine last night? Here, have a donut: you look like you need some sugar.

Joke's on you, all this time I've just been smoking harmless tobacco!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2008


kalessin, you simply don't understand common courtesy.
Understands victim mentality perfectly, though.
posted by bonaldi at 8:43 AM on February 15, 2008


five fresh fish writes "Gravol is an anti-nausea drug with a side-effect of mild sedation."

Problem is, gravol is for kids two and up. The four flights we've had with the kid have been at 9 months, 10 months, 21 months, and 22 months.
posted by Bugbread at 11:46 AM on February 15, 2008


I doubt they're kicking seats or poking people's heads at those ages, eh? It's rather difficult to be a problem child when you can't even walk.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:31 PM on February 15, 2008


Yeah, those are the ages when you rub a little whiskey on their gums to help with teething/put them to sleep.
posted by klangklangston at 5:39 PM on February 15, 2008


five fresh fish writes "I doubt they're kicking seats or poking people's heads at those ages, eh? It's rather difficult to be a problem child when you can't even walk."

Some kids can walk at 9 months (our kid can), and if you can't walk at 21 months, you probably have bigger problems than annoying people on planes. Now, poking heads is not a problem at all, but kicking seats? Yeah. Well, again, "kicking" is the wrong word. "Squirming around and constantly bumping" or "pushing with ones feet" (that is, not a sudden thing like a kick, but slow pushing). Still, the difference is probably pretty academic to the person in front.
posted by Bugbread at 2:36 AM on February 16, 2008


« Older MONO MONO! ... D'oh!   |   fun with the s.o. askme... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments