Friday, September 10, 2010

Troubling toddlers in air create on-line row

Photo: Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A330-243 landing at Vancouver International Airport by Makaristos

No, but yeah, but no, but yeah, but no because something what I don't even know nothing about.
So shut up and don't be giving me evils because I'm hanging with my man Jermaine now and we've just been round the back of the waterside, making babies

One of many legendary remarks by single mother Vicky Pollard in Little Britain

The charter air carrier Thomas Cook may introduce flights where families with small children will be seated in a separate part of the aircraft. That has started an on-line row blown completely out of proportions in a Norwegian tabloid paper. Why? Is it that hard to accept that different people have different needs?

For years different charter companies have marketed itself for families with children, and nobody has raised a eyebrow. In trains families sit in children compartments, and toddlers are confined  to special play rooms in shopping centres.

When the air carrier Thomas Cook recently suggested that they might  introduce planes with designated family areas, little did they know this would create an online row in  Dagbladet - a  Norwegian  tabloid paper. Trade Union officials called this proposal start of an "apartheid"-policy, and the airline responded to the claim by saying that the official was "tosset i hodet" - having "bats in the belfry."

The discussion was initiated by an American  survey among 17000 travelers conducted by airfarewatchdog.com, where an overwhelming majority of 85% answered at would prefer to be seated in a no-kid section.

Since the article was publised an on-line row has blown the question completely out proportion. Family fathers and mothers exchange hate messages with those that would prefer not to seated close to them. I am completely baffled by the lack of understanding in the two groups. I do not see the question separated from  kids compartments in trains or play areas in supermarkets.

The hostility from families to this suggestion is in my mind strange. Personally I travel when exhausted by the pace of life, and I love peace to prevail on board. I am happy that cell phones are banned in the air and that you have ear plugs for those that wants to play loud music without distubing anyone else. Can't families of children see these needs as well as their own rights. What is at stake here? We are talking child-free zones on board, not children free flights. All will be allowed to travel!

The on-line vote on the matter in Dagbladet has more or less the same result as  in the US. Of the 2883 Norwegian readers 73%  answered that they wanted child-free compartments, and only 17% were opposed. This may indicate that the row is conducted by extremists, and that the need of separate sections are shared by families with children, and those of us that have not.

See the on-line hate exchange here (In Norwegian only - sadly, as this is great fun!!)

6 ways to reduce stress caused by toddlers on speed


This is airfarewatchdog founder George Hobica own advice to stay sane while seated among toddlers on planes.
  1. Wear sound blocking ear phones or ear plugs to travel in blessed silence
  2. Choose first seat row by emergency exits as they are reserved for grown ups only 
  3. Be an early bird. Travel at dawn! Fewer children, but prepare for more grumpy adults!
  4. Confront mother or father,  calm and collected,  with the problem, and ask assistance from cabin crew if it does not help. 
  5. Ask to be upgraded to business class. Most families cannot afford it!
  6. If nothing helps, descend to the opponents level - get nasty!

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