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You Kick the Back of this Seat Again & I'll...........

You Kick the Back of this Seat Again & I'll...........

Old Aug 28, 02, 6:57 pm
  #31  
 
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All great ideas, Paul. I've always wanted to suggest to a blockheaded parent that they put the kid in an overhead bin or under the seat, but I haven't had the chance yet. Maybe on my next trip.
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Old Sep 3, 02, 10:23 am
  #32  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Track:

I've always wanted to suggest to a blockheaded parent that they put the kid in an overhead bin or under the seat, but I haven't had the chance yet. Maybe on my next trip.</font>
Perhaps it's the blockheaded parent who should be put up there?

I'm writing this because I have spent much time on this thread defending the rights of passengers who are disrupted by hyper children and their arrogant parents. Well it is not only the parent who can be arrogant. I witnessed first-hand probably one of the most obnoxious people I've ever encountered (and that says a lot considering I live in a city of 8 million people! ) and this was not a parent by the way.

Saturday morning, I began a mileage run to SEA via IAH. I was in first for 3 of the 4 legs. The one leg I was in coach was from IAH to SEA. Anyhoo, I was in 8C. In 8A was a 10 year girl (Sarah) flying alone for the third time in her life (she was proud of how grown up she was!). In 8B was was an 8 year old girl (Ashley) making her first solo flight. Both girls did not know each other prior to the flight. As the plane was boarding, a very heavy man was assigned to 7A which was the bulkhead. He asked the FA to reseat him in a part of the plane which had two seats available. The FA found a couple (maybe in their early 60s) who gladly switched their back of the plane seats for the bulkhead. The FA told that couple that both 7A and 7B were available. With bulkhead, the armrests are stationary.

So the scene is set. Sarah was quite friendly and noticed how nervous Ashley was. Well she explained "the ropes" to her and let her know how fun flying can be. Ashley warmed up to her and felt comfortable that she was not the only child flying in a sea of adults. The FAs thought them to be adorable and gave them a set of wings, playing cards, and other trinkets to let them know how special they were. I was very impressed with how CO treated these girls. The FAs were first-rate.

Sarah was very talkative and open. She said that her parents had just moved to SEA from IAH and she had just spent a few weeks with her grandparents since the accident. Accident, I asked? In a very matter of fact demeanor, she told me of how her little brother was born prematurely and how he had lived in the hospital for nearly 4 months. The day came for the family to take her little brother home. The parents were up front in the car; she and her little brother were in the back seats. As they were crossing an intersection on a green light, a man trying to make the light hit the car and hit the backseat side where her brother was seated. The man was not drunk; he was merely late and in a rush. They all were taken by ambulance back to the hospital where her brother was put in an incubator with tubes all over him. Sarah then opened up her purse and showed me a picture of him saying "This is my brother". The poloroid was horrifying. He died the following week. Then she said that they all moved up to Seattle to begin life again and that's why she was heading up there now. Her maturity and composure given her family's nightmare were remarkable and something from which we adults can learn. Needless to say, I was very impressed with her. Moreover, she took on the roll of big sister with Ashley which I don't think any adult unknown to Ashley could do.

Both girls got up and down about 5 times to use the bathroom which is par for the course and not a big deal to me. I got up, stayed standing until they were done, and then sat down after they returned. The girls then started to giggle, play games, laugh, do anything to keep up busy for a 4 hour flight. The man in front of them had a problem with this. He would speak loudly to his wife about how those girls are disrupting his flight and that they were bothering him. He leaned his seat as far back as possible for the entire flight which of course he has the right to do. But even a 10 year old can feel constricted to be seated by the window with the seat in front of her nearly on her lap. Hence, she and Ashley faced each other, told jokes, did those hand-clapping games (remember Miss Mary Mack, all dressed in black? I do!) and kept each other company. They had their seatbelts on and were not doing anything to physically disrupt that passenger in front of Sarah. I know because I was there.

Well this man made quite a stink about it. He turned around and told the girls to "stop it and be good little girls". What were they doing? Giggling? He then got the attention of an FA and said that he was being kicked by these "rabblerousers" and he would not put up with that. The FA must do something, he insisted. He then turned around and told both of them that they were bad little girls who deserved to be spanked. I was horrified and infuriated so I stepped in to defend them by remarking that he had gall to speak to two unaccompanied children like that. They were doing nothing of the sort except for laughing and then I asked if he enjoyed picking on little girls? I then suggested if they were disturbing him, he might not want to lean his seat into one of them.

The FA then came to me and asked if what this man said were true. I said it was not and that neither of these girls was kicking the seat in front of her. I then mentioned that this particular man moved up to the bulkhead on his own volition knowing that there were children behind him. I then mentioned that I'm particularly sensitive to being kicked by the person behind me and that I was paying attention to what the girls were doing. The only time they touched the seats in front of them were when they were going to and from the bathroom. With those seats leaned all the way back, they had to grab them for balance.

The man kept quiet after that but did not move his seat up. The girls showed maturity during this whole situation by not saying one word. I spoke for them. This man made up the kicking story (I'm guessing) because he could not complain about the loud giggling these two girls were doing. Funny, his wife never said a word.

Now I may get annoyed and ticked off when I'm kicked by a child, but I would never, ever speak to a child like that, especially if that child were flying alone. That's taking things to the worst and opposite extreme. When that man told those girls how bad and poorly mannered they were, I was fit to be tied. To label children like that is just plain wrong. Had he heard about what Sarah went through, he might have seen what a trooper she is. But no, he just thought of himself and made up lies to justify his discomfort.

After a while, the FA came around to take drink orders. I asked for a diet coke; Ashley asked for orange juice; Sarah asked for a Bloody Mary mix, no vodka. The FA looked at me, I at him. Yup, that was one sophisticated little girl.

I just wanted to share this story because it's one thing for us to get upset at being kicked; it's quite another to be someone who lashes out at children.
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Old Sep 3, 02, 10:46 am
  #33  
 
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Sometimes the parents aren't seated next to the child and couldn't care less about what the offspring is doing. On a AMS-JFK flight a couple of years ago, a 5-year old (or so) had a window seat, next to my husband's and my middle and aisle seats. The parents--and it took me a couple of hours to figure out they were the parents because throughout the entire flight they exhibited complete indifference to the child--were seated in the middle section.

Neither the parents nor the child spoke any English (or Dutch or German or French, etc.). We figured they must have been East European since the child recognized a couple of words when we tried Russian and Polish with him (out of desperation, we tried every language we knew). He talked non-stop to us (it didn't bother him that we didn't understand a word), walked all over us (literally) to get to the aisle to run around, and of course, he had to go to the bathroom IMMEDIATELY as soon as the meal and the drinks were served (getting him out was some exercise, believe me). He refused to take the aisle seat, despite my best effort to convince him otherwise. All my attempts to communicate with the parents proved futile--they wouldn't even look at me (they must have been happy to have somebody taking care of the little brat for a while). And the FAs thought he was my child and kept giving me dirty looks until I finally stopped one and explained the situation to her. Then she tried to communicate with the parents--but had about as much success as I did.

I'm curious: is there a law requiring that children be seated next to their parents? I would have gladly switched seats with anyone; hell, I would have moved to the baggage compartment, just to avoid those 8 hours of terror.

[This message has been edited by helenka (edited 09-03-2002).]

[This message has been edited by helenka (edited 09-03-2002).]
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Old Sep 3, 02, 1:14 pm
  #34  
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Analise:

Thank you for sharing your story. The girls were lucky to have an advocate for them. I'm sure they'll remember this experience and be better people for it.

I've found being with children, even in trying situations, helps to improve me as a parent and a person.
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Old Sep 3, 02, 3:51 pm
  #35  
 
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i dinna, i'm with Punki, i never really have much any of these troubles.

i'm almost thankful when it's a kid sitting next to me; their discussions tend to be simpler and i don't mind a 5-year-old talking my ear off anywhere near as much as some bore from Wahoosie. i'd rather talk about Dora the Explorer than the NASDAQ trends.

so, uh, i'm fine with kids. now adults who kick the seats....grrrr...
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Old Sep 3, 02, 4:23 pm
  #36  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by helenka:
I'm curious: is there a law requiring that children be seated next to their parents? I would have gladly switched seats with anyone</font>
There's no law. As a matter of fact I have been separated from my kids on flights several times. At least 95% of the other passengers were too self-centered to even listen to seat switching requests (sound like anyone here? )

Of course the kid wasn't going to switch away from the window. I guess you were never a kid or you'd know that. Why didn't you ask the parents to switch so they could be with their child? If language was a problem, you could have just stood up and made an obvious gesture towards your open seats.

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Old Sep 3, 02, 4:37 pm
  #37  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by CozumelJen:
A kid came next to me on the seat (I am some kind of kid-magnet) and started splashing deliberately. He soaked me and my book. &lt;snip&gt;

I felt my blood pressure rising and thought of saying "oh well if this pool is for everyone to do whatever they want then I think I will drown this kid or kick your head in" or something.
</font>
Let me see if I have this straight. Kid acts like a kid by playing and splashing in a pool and your thoughts turn to kicking heads in? And just what was it that you wanted to parents to do? Perhaps slap the kid around a little for not listening to the uptight American woman?

Next time maybe you could try just splashing the kid back.
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Old Sep 3, 02, 4:48 pm
  #38  
 
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To get back to the main issue:

You Kick the Back of this Seat Again & I'll...........

Politely offer to exchange seats with them.

If everyone who was bothered by the kicking followed suit, the offending kids would eventually get to the bulkhead row where they couldn't bother anyone else. I know this wouldn't work in many cases, for example from anywhere behind the exit row, but it might be worth a shot.

Scowling and growling at the kids or their parents (who may well be doing their quiet best) only makes people angry and upset and less likely to cooperate.
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Old Sep 4, 02, 9:06 am
  #39  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by dhacker:

Perhaps slap the kid around a little for not listening to the uptight American woman?
</font>

Somebody is a bit bitter I see. Uptight American woman?
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Old Sep 4, 02, 9:13 am
  #40  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by dhacker:

At least 95% of the other passengers were too self-centered to even listen to seat switching requests</font>
Well if those 95% (a figure I'll accept on your good word) do refuse to move seats, perhaps it is because those non-self-centered parents are requesting that the other passengers take seats which are worse than the ones that they selected at the time of purchase? It takes a lot of gall to ask people to switch to seats which are worse.

If parents buy tickets too late in terms of getting seats together, it is arrogant to expect that other passengers who were planners to move. I have offered to move if the seat change were equal or better than the one I had selected. I will not move to the back of the plane or to some middle seat because some parent did not plan accordingly.
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Old Sep 4, 02, 9:32 am
  #41  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Analise:
I have offered to move if the seat change were equal or better than the one I had selected. I will not move to the back of the plane or to some middle seat because some parent did not plan accordingly. </font>
Two things:

Even far in advance, it is often difficult for families to get seats together. The initial bookings tend to pepper the cabin with window and aisle seats alone; often a block is not available.

My usual strategy if I can't get seats together when traveling with the family is to book my wife and child together, and to get the highest seats nearby for myself andwe trade. I usually have no trouble trading my aisle seat for the aisle seat near my wife and son!
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Old Sep 4, 02, 1:06 pm
  #42  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Analise:
If parents buy tickets too late in terms of getting seats together, it is arrogant to expect that other passengers who were planners to move.</font>
I think its arrogant to criticize others for not being perfect planners. So I guess in your view parents with kids shouldn't dare plan a last minute trip? In real life, getting seats together can be totally beyond the parents control.

One time I even had boarding passes for specific seats together, only to find that someone else did too. Since they were there first, we were out of luck. And no one volunteered to switch even though everyone nearby saw what happened.

Another time was on the new Pan Am, which uses a system similar to SW. We had one of the highest (last) boarding numbers even though we arrived at the airport 2 hours early. In that case, at least, one passenger switched with my eleven year old so she could sit accross the aisle from my eight year old. I had to sit about 10 rows further back. If my normally well-behaved but sometimes fidgety kids kicked the back of someone's seat, I didn't see it and so I couldn't do anything about it. I suppose I could have arrived four hours early to ensure a low boarding number, but I imagine that would just make kids more restless and likely to annoy you.

Separate seats can happen for many reasons including schedule changes, higher level elites bumping lower levels, etc.

Anyway, arrogant parents or not, if people refuse to accomodate parents trying to sit near their kids (which may not be applicable to helenka), someone else may get their seat back kicked as a result. You can't have it both ways, even if you technically have a right to expect it.
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Old Sep 4, 02, 1:16 pm
  #43  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Analise:

Somebody is a bit bitter I see. Uptight American woman?
</font>
What would I have to be bitter about?

My apologies to CozumelJen. Based on my recollection of her prior FT posts, I wouldn't describe her as uptight at all.

I had thought uptight was a relatively mild term to describe how a (presumably) Mexican couple might view a visitor from New York who was so upset over their kid splashing and acting generally bratty in the pool. What term would you suggest to get across the point that they might see it differently than CozumelJen?
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Old Sep 4, 02, 2:00 pm
  #44  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by gwendolynaoife:
i dinna, i'm with Punki, i never really have much any of these troubles.</font>
I am with the two of you on this one, but then again, after 12 years of teaching and 13 years of being a mom, I have that "stare into submission" down PAT!

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Old Sep 4, 02, 3:43 pm
  #45  
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Analise, I'm with you on all your points. I can relate to everything you say and you too Jen. As for the splashing, I would have made a loud comment to the kid(s) and/or the parents as you do have a right to expect not to be splashed on continously. If a kid jumps in and gets you wet well so be it but if they sit there clueless and splash you its the parents and the kids job to either move or stop it.

However in defense of Dhacker, I can see how parents and kids get separated on planes, I see it all the time, heck even when I travel with a co-worker or someone (and we both have status), it can be a hassle to get two seats together much less a whole block of them, although parents (if there are two) should be willing to sit apart and each have a kid next to them if possible.

One reason for not flying a WN or PA would be the seating system, if you know the system is cattle style then you should get there to ensure a low number if you must sit together or fly someone who will assign seats. I don't fly these types of airlines for that reason. Its the price you pay for not getting there early enough and for paying the lower fares. I really wouldnt expect someone who arrived early to get a low number to move so someone who arrived later could get a better seat. it just doesn't make sense to me.

I understand the double booking in a seat, but in all reality, its not something (as far as I can see) that happens on a regular basis.

I flew WN way back in 96 on those LAX-SJC runs 3X a week and we arrived early enough to sit together, plain and simple.

As for the kids who kick the back of the seat the initial issue is to nip it in the bud, the first time he or she makes kicking a habit (as opposed to an accidental occasional kick) is to say something to the kid (depending on age) and/or the parent depending on age and how much it is happenening. For me I don't care what the parent or kid thinks of me as I'm not looking to make friends with them. If it persists I would tell them again in a much harsher tone and notify the FA that their is a problem and that if it doesn't stop that the kid/family be moved. Hopefully, you have a good FA and they will address the issue. I'm sure some of you will ask why they (kid &/or family) should be moved, well because they (or their kid) is causing the disturbance) and why should the pax (and companion if travelling with one) being on the receiving end of the boot be moved to a lesser desirable seat in the back when that pax has not done anything wrong?

Just my two cents to the annoying kids (and oblivious parents) who think the back of a seat is a soccer ball.
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