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The (un)friendly skies

I don’t usually use this blog as a platform for my own personal rants, but I wanted to share this experience and get some feedback. We flew home from Orlando today, and poor weather in Boston delayed our flight by nearly two hours. If you’ve got small children, you know that airport delays are especially difficult. Most parents, like myself, will meticulously schedule their flights to coincide with nap times, to allow for maximum peace and quiet in the air. This afternoon’s flight should have been perfect – a 2:30pm departure would push off right as my children’s eyes grew heavy. But after the delay, we instead ended up with an overtired toddler on our hands, as did many other parents on the flight. With sympathetic nods, we all struggled to get our children settled. I was sitting next to my four-year-old, while my husband, seated directly in front of us, was wrangling our two-year-old.

I knew I was in trouble when the guy next to me started rolling his eyes and huffing at the very first peep. For the duration of the flight, he behaved as if my kids were carrying an infectious disease. Even after both kids were sleeping (about 3 minutes after takeoff, with the little one lying in my lap), he harrumphed grumpily any time a little foot would inadvertantly brush his leg. I was torn between feeling awful for being such an apparent bother to him, and feeling completely indignant that he was so flamboyantly distressed by the presence of children on a flight – from Orlando of all places. All things considered, my kids were great – and if he had been there for the red-eye flight home from Las Vegas in September, he would have agreed. But even as I write this, I can understand that it must have been hard to be trapped in the midst of a chorus of tired, shrieking children.
I thought about apologizing after the plane landed, but he was just so unfriendly I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Should I have? What would you have done?

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