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I’m Sierra. I live in the Boston area with my family.

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Nerve endings

by Sierra on February 19, 2010 · 16 comments

in Uncategorized

Well, hello there Internet. It’s been an interesting 15 minutes. I hope some of you are enjoying this blog, and will hang around for the bits that are not ranting at big corporations (which is most of it, really).

Apparently people really love to hate on airlines. And on traveling moms. I had no idea I’d be touching so many nerves when I wrote that post about my awful US Airways trip.

I love all the support I’ve been getting from other parents and random People On The Internet. It’s been sad to hear so many horror stories from families who’ve been treated even worse by airlines than I have, but also great to see people getting into lively conversations about how to fix it.

One reader made the great suggestion that I should use this space for helping families share travel tips about airline policy and family-friendly flying. Look for that coming soon.

Of course not all the feedback has been positive. To answer the more reasonable critics among you: I’m not perfect. I’m flighty, disorganized and often overwhelmed (my doctor calls this ADHD, I call it life). I’m also not an expert air traveler. I missed a few tricks that all the savvy travelers know. Tricks I’ve now been made aware of and won’t soon forget. I suspect my grandkids will be mocking me decades from now about my obsessive attention to the details of airline reservations.

BUT. As Amadea said, a system that depends on optimal behavior from every participant is not a working system. The airlines system should work for disorganized, clueless, snarky me AND for the super-travelers out there. Not because I’m a diva, but because otherwise it screws everyone. Even if I want to sit at the front of the plane and park my small kids at the back, I shouldn’t be allowed to, for their safety and that of whoever winds up next to them.

Now, for the less reasonable critics. All you charming people who called me a demanding bitch, or wrote me off as one of “those” mothers.

I am one of those mothers. I’m a mom who believes that the well-being of our children is a shared responsibility of everyone. My kids are not an exotic hobby, or a bizarre lifestyle choice. They are little people with all the rights and privileges people are entitled to. Their emotional and physical well-being is in your interest as well as mine.

When you are old, and need care, it is my kids and their peers who will be your doctors, your bus drivers, your congresspeople and your financial advisors. Whether you had children and took on the burden of raising them or spent your middle years blissfully child-free, jet-setting around the world and bitching about those annoying kids on airplanes: today’s kids will wipe your ass someday.

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  • Rich Wilson

    Well said :-) As for making things better, this got an idea for a seat swapping service rattling around in my brain. Wouldn't it be great if you could go onto a website and say “I have seats 3B and 12C on flight 1722 on March 2nd, I need two seats together” or “I have seat 18A … and I'm willing to trade with someone who needs it”. I'm sure there are a lot of the latter, my problem is getting them to go to the website.

    This wouldn't change any seats, it would just let people make connections with other traders before they all get squashed onto a plane.

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  • GimliGirl

    Hell yeah! Thank you, Sierra.

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  • Megan

    My husband travels regularly for work. He’s always on the lookout for families – especially one parent with a kid or kids. He does whatever he can to make life easier for them. He’s generally not in a hurry, travels all the time and has a lot of experience he’s willing to share. He warns parents about what’s coming at security and is quick to help collapse a stroller or help pull a bag off the luggage belt. When thanked he just smiles and says “I’ve been there AND I hope someone would help my family.” It makes me really proud to have him out there, representing our family in our nation’s airports.

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  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    That is a completely awesome idea

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  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    That's completely great! I'm glad to know he's out there too.

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  • Diana Onken

    Great post, Sierra, from one of “those” moms to another.

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  • denise

    Go girl! To those whose comments were rude and mean: travel first class.

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  • http://www.thecuppajo.blogspot.com/ Joline

    Just found you because of your experience. Loved reading. And will continue to do so. Thanks.

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  • http://www.thecuppajo.blogspot.com/ Joline

    Loved reading your piece about your horrific experience. Thanks. I now have a new blog to read!

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  • mpacket

    I'm horrified at the treatment. Wow was that one heartless bitch of a stewardess. Two suggestions: Virgin Airways and Jetblue. They treat their passengers with respect, not contempt.

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  • aguane

    I will never forget the man who was sitting in front of me when my son was around 9 months old and we were flying from Pennsylvania to Utah. My son was crying and antsy and just generally having a horrible flight, and this man turned around and handed my son a small travel flashlight. My son calmly played with it the entire rest of the trip (3+ hours). We all had a better flight because of his thoughtfulness. Tell your husband that as a traveling mother, I say thank you (even though I doubt he was the same man that helped me), it's nice to know that he's out there.

    [Reply]

  • mpacket

    I'm horrified at the treatment. Wow was that one heartless bitch of a stewardess. Two suggestions: Virgin Airways and Jetblue. They treat their passengers with respect, not contempt.

    [Reply]

  • aguane

    I will never forget the man who was sitting in front of me when my son was around 9 months old and we were flying from Pennsylvania to Utah. My son was crying and antsy and just generally having a horrible flight, and this man turned around and handed my son a small travel flashlight. My son calmly played with it the entire rest of the trip (3+ hours). We all had a better flight because of his thoughtfulness. Tell your husband that as a traveling mother, I say thank you (even though I doubt he was the same man that helped me), it's nice to know that he's out there.

    [Reply]

  • mpacket

    I'm horrified at the treatment. Wow was that one heartless bitch of a stewardess. Two suggestions: Virgin Airways and Jetblue. They treat their passengers with respect, not contempt.

    [Reply]

  • aguane

    I will never forget the man who was sitting in front of me when my son was around 9 months old and we were flying from Pennsylvania to Utah. My son was crying and antsy and just generally having a horrible flight, and this man turned around and handed my son a small travel flashlight. My son calmly played with it the entire rest of the trip (3+ hours). We all had a better flight because of his thoughtfulness. Tell your husband that as a traveling mother, I say thank you (even though I doubt he was the same man that helped me), it's nice to know that he's out there.

    [Reply]

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