Last Friday I flew from Orlando to Chicago. I love traveling and hopping on a flight doesn’t phase me. I enjoy the time being disconnected and immersed in a good book. Having lived in Orlando for most of my life, I’m used to flights that are filled with children. It’s a perk that comes with Mickey, beaches and year round sunshine. That experience, combined with being an aunt/masi to multiple babies, leads me to believe l have a decent amount of patience when it comes to little travelers. Not much bothers me.
But there is one thing.
I had the unfortunate pleasure of being seated in front of a rowdy, seat kicking, screaming 4ish year old. I can handle whining and screaming but seat kicking is where I draw the line.
I politely turned around and asked the child (and her mother) if she could please stop kicking my seat. I used my chipper voice and I was sure to smile, so as not to appear a cranky childless traveler:
“Hi! I was wondering if you could stop kicking my seat, please?”
My eyes made contact with both her and her mother. Neither one acknowledged me or that I was speaking to them. I wasn’t exactly sure if I should have been directing my comment at the mom or her child so I tried to address both of them.
Two blank stares later, I turned back around and resumed reading. The kicking and tray table banging continued for the next two hours. It was narrated by hushed reprimands of a mother who was beginning to lose patience, though this had little impact on the intensity of the kicking.
Not wanting to be a nuisance, I refrained from asking her to stop again.
I fully respect how hard it is to be a parent, let alone to travel with a small child. My question for all the moms/dads out there is what was the right way to handle this situation?
What could I say or have said to the parent and/or child that wouldn’t make me sound like an awful person? Should I have directed my request to the parent or the little kicker?