Should there be a separate section for children in flights?
I was on a flight, sitting peacefully, working on my laptop when a small kid accompanied by his parents, came and sat beside me. Suddenly, the first officer of the flight, Rahul Jain, announced that due to heavy traffic on the runway, the flight would be delayed by 40 min. The moment he finished, the kid beside me started crying loudly, as if he knew what announcement was made. This was really amusing.
His father apologised to me profusely because of the nuisance his son was creating. I replied saying, “No, never mind,” even though I did mind. After about 10 minutes, I decided to do something interesting; so, I asked this kid’s father, “what do you think Sir, should there be a separate section in flights for children?” Honestly, I was very scared when I asked him this question. He gave me a death stare and the kid started hitting on my laptop, again as if he knew what I was talking about. This was getting a little crazy now. To my delight, the flight finally took off.
I prodded him again, and in an annoyed tone, defensive tone, he asked, “if you were a father, what would your reply be?” I tried to calm him down saying, “I don’t know sir,” . He then went on to justify his child’s behaviour by saying, “children don’t know what they are doing, so why should there be a separate section for them?” The conversation was getting intense now, with him giving me scary looks, so I tried to save myself by saying that I had read about this in an article. I assured him that as far as my opinion was concerned, I totally agreed with his view. He went on to say that those who had written this article were also children at one point of time; and even they might have annoyed many people, so they should not judge children so harshly. I agreed with him, even though I totally supported what the ‘article’ said.
I was still not willing to let go of this discussion. I had a nagging need to see if he would change his opinion. So, I asked, “Sir, if you were on a business trip and working on something very important, or if you were a journalist and you had a deadline, and kids in flight were annoying you, what would you do? Would you be able to concentrate on your work?” I further said, “Sir, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like kids annoy us every time but everyone needs a peaceful environment while working, so that they can focus on their work, otherwise everybody loves kids,” . Fortunately, at that exact moment, the air hostess interrupted me by asking me if I needed coffee. I asked for water, as I needed it because the conversation was taking an intense turn. The father laughed and said that I would make a good journalist because I convince people with my diplomatic questions, and the kid started clapping and smiling, as if again he knew what was happening between us. I smiled and thanked him, saying that I am a Student of journalism which is why I was curious to know his opinion regarding this topic.
Again, an announcement made by the first officer stating that we were preparing to land in Jaipur. The kid’s father appeared uncomfortable; may be he was scared of landing. I asked him the same question again and he softly smiled and said, “Yes, you’re right, there should be a separate section for children, not because we don’t love children or they annoy us, but because we want them to play with better things than a laptop.” He laughed and patted me on my back, wishing me good luck, and that’s how a long, boring journey turned into an interesting one.