Getting on a plane with an upset child … even worse an upset child that isn’t yours … it is something every traveler fears. No one likes being locked in a pressurized metal tube with a screaming kid. We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village,” and when traveling that same principal applies.
Last week I settled into seat 2A for my three hour and twenty minute flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Kansas City International Airport on board a not-so-comfy regional jet. Not long after the wheels when up I heard the sounds of an unhappy little traveler from the back of the plane. When I say I heard these sounds, I mean I heard them over the noise of the aircraft, coming through my noise canceling headsets with Iron Maiden playing at close to maximum volume.
The reaction of many on board the flight was the same as on other flights … shut the kid up … but if you’re a parent who has ever been anywhere with an unhappy youngster you know you may be helpless, especially when sealed into a flying metal tube. You may sit in your sear and think “this kid is annoying me,” or you can do something to try and assuage the situation making the little flyer happier, giving your fellow flyers a better flight and allowing you to get nestled back into your seat and relax.
For me, I did what I frequently do, and have written about before. I reached into my bag and pulled out a pack of triangle shaped crayons. I have frequently packed Crayola triangle crayons in my bag over the years for just such an occasion of encountering an upset kid in the sky. Why triangle shaped crayons? They don’t roll off the tray table, which is likely to start another tantrum.
Triangle crayons in hand I made my way back to Row 17 to find bored three year old who just didn’t want to play with an iPod any longer and handed them the crayons with a sheet of paper. Less than a minute later the kid was quiet and focused on drawing.
Does this always work? No. Hell, sometimes the parents think you’re a weirdo, but more often than not it brings the noise level in the cabin down and gives everyone a more enjoyable flight.
You know the phrase “we’re all in this together“? Well on a plane, we are!