Unruly Kids Leave Unpleasant Surprise

September 9, 2016

in Baby & Kid Stories

After working a string of 17-hour days on the West Coast, I was more than ready to leave SFO and head back east. Unfortunately for me, doing so meant traveling mid-day on a Friday in the summer – which, if you don’t know – means kids galore. Flying during the afternoon in the summer is like boarding a school bus that’ll be darting through the sky… and boy, was I not prepared for this.

Usually I upgrade to premium economy on cross-country flights, knowing that it cuts down on the probability of having to sit next to some of the world’s most amateur flyers. Unfortunately for me, all of those seats were booked.

No matter, though, I’m usually pretty lucky when it comes to seatmates. I like to look around the gate at boarding to play what I call “airline roulette” to determine who I’d least like to sit next to (hint: kids. Always kids). The odds were very much against me at this SFO gate.

We board. I’m in a window seat on the left side of the plane one or two rows behind premium economy. In front of me are two small children, about four and six years of age, with their mother in the aisle. Behind me are two young boys about similar age with their mother in the middle. Great. Here we go.

Upon taxi, the younger girl directly in front of me decides she does not want to wear her seatbelt and starts screaming to get it off her. We are precisely zero minutes into a six hour flight, so I pop a Xanax.

I’m just about to doze off into that lovely little narcotic-induced haze when I’m jarred awake by young Messi behind me, who has decided to practice soccer by kicking the hell out of my seat. I turn around and shoot his mother a nasty glare. She says nothing. I start to watch a movie.

A few minutes later, the girls in front of me get into a screaming and hitting match over their shared iPad. Their mother hands them a Ziploc baggie of blueberries (this will become important later).

Behind me, the kicking starts again. I wasn’t aware the flight came with a free shiatsu massage. I turn to the mother and ask if she could please tell her son to stop kicking my seat. She ignores me.

I watch some crappy TV shows while being jostled by Messi as we cruise the flyover states. A few miles east of Toronto is where the fun really begins: our descent.

The young girl in front of me decides she has had. enough. of. this. plane. and. she. wants. off. right. now. (Her punctuated screams, not mine). I do too, except we’ve got an hour to go. Her screams continue through descent into EWR, but they’re now joined by the retching of a woman in the middle seat using her airsickness bag.

The cacophony of unpleasant sounds comes to a dull roar before we plop onto the tarmac 45 minutes late. I rush to grab my bag and get out of this hellhole as soon as possible. I’m halfway down the aisle before I feel wetness on my back. Without thinking, I reach back to see what the issue is. I feel something squishy on the bottom of my brand new backpack, which had been under the seat in front of me. I consider my retching seatmate and decide right there that I am ready to die a very undignified death. This is the end.

Then I recognize the culprit: Blueberries. So many blueberries smashed into the fabric of my backpack. I’ve not eaten one since out of protest.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Cooltails September 10, 2016 at 6:42 am

That is a flight from hell.

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Shoshannah September 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Flyover country? I think that would be us. Keep on flying.

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nyrB September 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm

what does that even mean??

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Zombie September 13, 2016 at 9:04 am

"Flyover country: is an expression developed by a midwesterner and us ised by people in the midwest to feel sorry or themselves.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160314

A search through Google’s massive archive of scanned books and periodicals finds that many subsequent occurrences of flyover country come from people who, like McGuane, put the phrase in someone else’s mouth. Rarely is it ever used by a New Yorker or Angelino as a pejorative.

“It’s a stereotype of other people’s stereotypes,” lexicographer Ben Zimmer says.

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Lori Rodriguez January 6, 2017 at 10:05 am

He said flyover STATES, which is a commonly used phrase for the midwest. Get over it.

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John September 26, 2016 at 12:03 am

stop bitching, be grateful

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Jonathan October 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

The writer does indeed sound a bit like a spoiled brat himself – kids can be annoying on a flight but calling that a "hellhole"? And did I miss something or why is the story tagged "vomit" – because of the blueberries??

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She-Ra October 24, 2016 at 8:39 am

These stories are the point of this site. We need some troll-be-gone.

OP, I love kids, but having raised three myself. £ am amazed at the moms who don't correct thei kids kicking seats! That was rule #1 for us!

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Mongol November 5, 2016 at 3:02 pm

What an spoiled asshole you are OP

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Sara November 6, 2016 at 10:19 am

Some stories are plain hell, some are not. This is not one of them. First off, kids are gonna be kids. Don't try and pretend like you never annoyed a traveler when you were a kid, whether it be on a bus, a plane, or a train. When traveling, most people expect for there to be babies and kids, and expect for it not to go well. If you're anything like me, I don't expect flights to be perfect. I expect flights to suck, actually. And they do, every single time. Anyway, it was rude of the mother behind you to ignore you when you kindly asked her to make her kid stop kicking your seat, and it was rude that the people in front of you got fruit on your new backpack. This definitely does not sound like a fun flight- but hey, what flight is? If you fly a lot, you come to get used to terrible experiences. It sounds to me like you never fly, have never been around kids, despite being one for thirteen years of your life. Next time, when you go to post a flight from hell, I recommend you actually post a flight from hell. Aside from the blueberries on your backpack, this is just a normal flight. You need to stop being ungrateful and thank the person that invented planes so you could just go and complain.

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Leslie December 31, 2016 at 6:26 pm

You probably should have just spoken directly to the kid kicking your seat. Even children understand, "stop kicking my seat," and the stranger danger element would've scared him into submission

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