Dear lady in seat 24D…

Dear Lady in seat 24D,

You may not remember me. Heck, who am I kidding, you’ll remember me. I’m the girl lady who sat near to you early Saturday morning on a flight to Sydney. I had a baby {I mean with me, not that I gave birth on the plane}. And a mother who sat beside me. We had the audacity to travel. How dare we?

Yes we were those annoying people in seats 24E and 24F.

We were the people you rolled your eyes and shook your head at when we asked if we could get to our seats upon boarding. I understand your frustration upon boarding the plane so very early so you could read your book in peace. We were the people that you tsk-ed at when we dared order an egg sandwich for breakfast while you had a Coke Zero at 6am. Not judging. OK, just a little.

We were the people that adjusted your light for you so could peacefully read your novel throughout the whole flight. Oh no, no need to say thank you. That delightful grimace at us will do.

And yes, we’re the people with the baby who continued to smile right at you, even though you just sighed and grunted back at her.

I know being on a plane with a baby isn’t fun. Trust me, I’m the one with the baby. Especially when they’ve just learned to crawl and climb things and they’d rather be anywhere but in a confined space up in the air. Trust me, if I could get to where I have to be any other way, I would {as long as it didn’t take me more than 1.5 hours}. Flying with an infant makes me anxious {so does flying without an infant to be honest}. I kept her quiet for most of the flight, bar 2 minutes. I tried to make it as comfortable as possible. To be fair, your eye-rolling, tsk-ing and looks of disapprovement kinda didn’t help.

I’m not sure if you were having a bad day. Perhaps you were traveling to a funeral. Or leaving people you really loved and didn’t want to. I’m sorry if life isn’t good for you right now.

On the flip side, life was good for us. We had a nice, yet utterly exhausting day. Evidence below.

IMG_8375We drank champagne before lunch time. Just one.

IMG_8412We passed by this cute house and I wanted to move straight in.

IMG_8429We set up the table for lunch. The Twix cookies were a hit and the box of sweet lollies went down a treat. Also if you’re in Sydney again, I’m sure a visit to Apollo restaurant will make you happier. They do a fried cheese/honey dish that I haven’t stopped dreaming about.

IMG_8409This is us. Note the happy baby sleeping in the bottom of the picture. Also note my bad eyebrow job, yet I’m still smiling. Peace lady.

IMG_8401Saying goodbye to the hen and hello to more public transport. Who knew it was so expensive? $50 in one day, what the?

So, dear lady in seat 24D I hope your day got better. I hope you smiled at least once. I hope you weren’t scarred by the happy baby and the egg-sandwich-eating duo beside you.

Chantelle
Occupant of seat 24F

P.S. On the flight home the hostess stopped to say this, “I just have to tell you, you are doing such an amazing job at feeding your baby. Good on you.” Day made.

Comments

  1. says

    She sounds like a right royal pain in the ass. You, on the flip, sound ace. I would have been stoked to have a baby on a plane next to me. And I would have really, really wanted to ask for a cuddle, because I have maternal urgings, and I just really want one more, but am not sure that’s going to happen. So she can go about living a miserable life, and you can keep on keeping on and being fierce. Big love. x

  2. Aras says

    I lol’d, agreed, tutted (at the lady in 24D) and feel so validated by this story. People who have problem with babies need to remember one thing. They were one once, potentially a snotty nosed, unhappy, screaming baby whenever they were taken out in public. Glad you didn’t let her ruin your day, even gladder you made a passive aggressive (but humorous) blog about it too. I’ve been extremely lucky with bub #2 flying home to Melb from QLD at Christmas and the passenger next to me actually offered to hold and play with my baby for a large portion of the flight. She giggled with him and gently soothed him when he grumbled. I dare say that will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. :)

  3. Amanda Rose says

    Great post, and that last line — I adore that you loves from down-under say ‘good on you’ in passing. LOVE it.

  4. Shannon says

    Well said! I hate when people get upset at a well behaved baby on a plane! We live in a huge country with little option but to travel by plane. We are heading to Adelaide from Sydney in 2 weeks – hopefully the woman in 24D is not on my plane! Ps good on you for still feeding!

  5. Ellen says

    Last year I flew solo (not for the first time) from Syd to Mel with my five and two year old boys. It’s an exhausting anxious minute-by-minute challenge and my boys are good and seasoned travellers. Waiting by the luggage carousel while the boys chase each other over abandoned trolleys and between disapproving fellow passengers a woman came up to me and said, ‘I just want to let you know that you’re doing a great job. People don’t say that enough to mums.’ Yay for that lady! It was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment when I still had to navigate two small tired boys and our luggage to the long term car park and drive an hour and a half to get home. I’ve often thought that I too should pay it forward and congratulate other mums on the great job they are doing just getting themselves and their little people out and about and through the day each day.

  6. bee says

    you just made my night with this post, made me laugh so much….. yes travelling with kids isn’t always fun. When we went to Bali recently I thought our 1.5 year old was pretty good on the 6 hour flight, yes he cried and complained some of the time, yes he threw his dummy at numerous people and yes he ran up and done the eisle but I figure I never have to see those people on the flight ever again and it was 6 hours out of their life, I’m sure they can get over my annoying toddler….

    • banananana says

      Really? I’m very tolerant of babies/toddlers/children on planes but no, those passengers shouldn’t have to get over your annoying toddler, sorry.

  7. M says

    I know this woman! Sounds like the midwife I had during the second half of my labour. The eye rolling, the sighing, the general annoyance of it all. It was almost 5 years ago now but reading this made me angry all over again, lol.

  8. Jen says

    I fly every year from Sydney to East Coast US, with two children 10 and 6, to visit my family. The ten year old has been 11 times, since he was an infant, and the six year old has been 5 times. Thankfully they are very good travellers (and they DON’T have all the hand held game and gadgets!). We bring goodie bags with new and familiar toys, books, snacks, etc. Just about the whole 25 hour trip (door to door) for me is spent taking care of them and making sure they are entertained, eating, sleeping and quiet. Most of the time I do this RT trip alone, but my husband comes sometimes. As good as the boys are, we still sometimes get some ass who cares to complain because they need to get up to go to the toilet, or someone who snaps at them for putting their feet on the chair. 25 hours is a long time for little boys to sit still, and I tell you, they do for almost the whole trip. So people, chill out, you were all kids once too! If I could invent instant travel, believe me, I would.

    • Another Jen says

      I tolerate most kids’ travelling behaviours, but definitely ask kids behind me not to put their feet on my chair. It is the height of rudeness to do that IMHO.

      • says

        Chair kicking is my travel bugbear too. I can deal with screamy babies, even pukey babies and kids next to me, but having my chair kicked for more than an hour does my head in. Often turns out to be a blessing though. Last long haul trip I had a quiet word to the flight attendant and got just as quietly upgraded to business class. Sweet as.

        • Joe says

          Do you realize that sometimes they aren’t kicking. It’s because they can’t touch the floor so they are sliding off the seat with plane movement. Yes I teach mine to not do it but sometimes it just happens as they are trying to brace themselves. What’s the difference from us pushing our seat back to sleep then forward to eat then back again… or crossing and uncrossing legs and hitting the seat. That’s just as annoying but we tend to not snap at adults for doing that a dozen times in a 24 hour trip from Australia to North America.

          • Janine says

            I have to point out, no-one will be sliding forward if they wear the lap belt. I have ZERO tolerance for seat kicking. There’s a lot I’ll put up with, but not that.

            And yes, I will turn around and glare at someone who’s continually bumping my back, regardless of their age.

          • nic says

            Absolutely! What child is gunna keep a lap belt on for longer than they must. Kids feet ooften just hang off the edge of the chair and happen to reach the chair in front, then they wriggle to push back. I might aip down with the lap belt too, they slip under, and push on the front chair to push themselves up straight. What really bugs me is ADULTS who insist on having their chair back the Whole trip!! Seriously, are people so incnsideratee to do this!!!???

  9. Beach Hut Cook says

    I live in the UK and had this experience on a bus. I had a toddler and slighty older one plus a pushchair to deal with and the witch (not as forgiving as you) that sat next to me groaned every time I moved or spoke. I should have been more like you instead I got of the bus and burst into tears. Elinor x

  10. Cas says

    Oh gosh this bought back so many memories of when my kids were younger and our nightmare plane trips. What is it with people like that?? I am not a happy flyer and tend to have panic attacks so two toddlers under 5 on a plane is not my ideal. Once on a trip to Qld obviously the sight of a stressed mum and two little girls (who by the way behaved impeccably and made me proud) was too much for her as we were completely ignored for the whole trip. Not even a drink was offered to the girls. I’m so glad you didn’t let this woman spoil yr trip and how can you NOT smile at a baby who smiles at you?? Really?? Pfft!

  11. JJinc says

    After 4 years of traveling with a baby, my little boy is now old enough to be the one who is most likely to smile at your baby, share his colouring in or cars to play with your little lady but most of all listen to his mum when I ask him to be helpful so I can help you with your luggage. Traveling Mums Unite!

  12. says

    Hurrah for the gorgeous flight attendant. That’s the type of interaction you want, deserve.
    I don’t rate nego Nancy’s like you’ve written about. I have to wonder what the state of her life is like with such a stand off exterior and preference for the grumps. Sorry you have to deal with that. You obviously did a stella job to keep your baby so settled and I’m glad you had a top day.

  13. L says

    Last year I travelled from Sydney to Europe upon finding out about the sudden death of my father. My sister and I (who I flew with) cried the entire 24 hour journey. This journey really opened up my eyes to human behaviour. The entire journey we experienced people around us secretly peering at us from around their books, take their headphones out to listen to our conversation and avoid us like we had some strange disease. Not one passenger on any of the 3 flights we took, made any effort to go out of their way to be friendly, accommodating or understanding. I understand that grief makes people feel uncomfortable, but I think that everyone should be a little more considerate of others especially when flying. We have no idea why those around us are flying, does the man next to you suffer from an extreme am case of fear of flying? Is the lady in front of you anxious for what is awaiting her at her destination. Or did the lady in seat 24D just experience the death of a family member and was tying her best to hold it all together. I’m not judging your particular experience, as I was not there. I just would like to remind people that people fly for a whole magnitude of different reasons and many of them you’ll find is not for fun. If we take anything from this, please next time your taking a flight, be nice to those around you.

  14. Alisa says

    No excuses really for her rudeness. Personally if I was having a bad day nothing would cheer me up more than having a smiling baby next to me. Shame on her or should I say Tsk Tsk :).

  15. Shaye says

    Have lost count how many times I have flied from Darwin to Sydney over the last 4 years with little ones in tow. Must admit, the majority of the time our neighbouring passengers were quite kind. But it only takes one to make it a nightmare of a flight, and funnily enough it is never the toddler sitting on your lap! Perfect post!

  16. Michelle W says

    On my most recent flight with my 11 and 6 year olds, I had a lady beside me and my 6 year old roll her eyes, tsk, tutt, scowl, and move to another seat in the next row to continue her rude behaviour for the next 1.5 hours. My daughters were both quiet, polite, and having normal conversation. I think the lady just objected to children on the flight. :-(

  17. lib says

    I hear ya!
    I flew with both my girls once, my youngest was just under 1 and wasn’t that keen on flying. She cried for about 3 minutes before falling asleep. The lady next me grimaced and carried on. My oldest was so amazingly behaved but every time she asked me a question the cranky lady beside me would role her eyes and humpf. I was so anxious by the end of the flight. As i got off the hostie congratulated me on my well behaved children while the lady who sat next me loudly complained to her friend (who had sat across the aisle) i hate having to sit next to people with children.

    People need to learn to be more tolerant, how can we except our own children to tolerate all types of people when they have to face that kind of intolerance. When we got off the plane, my innocent little 3 year old (At the time) said to me “Mummy why did that lady have an angry face for, i was a good little girl”

  18. Camille Duque Aguila says

    I can just imaging getting a baby sit still for most of the flight. I wonder what it will be like for me when we traveled too. I agree, you are doing an amazing job just by keeping your cool despite the tsk-ing and eye-rolling. Maybe she’ll know what it feels like when she’s at the same bridge as you are. Motherhood will definitely change her too! Like most of us. *hugs* to you and your baby

  19. Jo says

    About to head to Mexico with my young family. My 6 year old is a seasoned traveller, but this will be my 16 month year olds first flight. It’s going to be a very long flight from Melbourne to LA. But I dare anyone to tsk at me ;)

  20. says

    I’m an Aussie expat living in Doha. I’ve travelled back and forth so many times with my now 5 year old and I can’t tell you how many horrible looks, grunts and down right rudeness I’ve received from other passengers. Meanwhile, my daughter has always been a great flyer and we’ve never had a problem and I love giving this horrible stranger the smug smile as we exit the plane! People can be so downright rude on planes and it can make the whole travel experience daunting and intimidating! I really hope the lady in seat 24D has read this post xxx

  21. karynjk says

    sometimes its not just the passengers… last year I went overseas with my 2 boys, 3&4 yrs. the older was upset about leaving his dad and refused to put his belt on… and I was across the aisle in a small plane. the “lovely” hostess came over and told him, while he was sobbing and asking for daddy, that if he couldnt behave, put his seatbelt on and be quiet he would have to get off the plane. way to go, lady.

  22. says

    A big high five to the hostie, what a wonderful human! Unfortunately I have also sat next to similar people when flying with my baby boys. My personal favourites are the ones who make the ‘quiet’ comments to their travelling partners about how much they “hate travelling with kids” before you’ve even taken off and the kids haven’t made a sound!!!
    This is great timing, I’m flying down to Melbourne on Sunday (from Brissy) by myself with BOTH of my boys. It will be the first time my oldest boy has had a seat to himself (he was 2 in january) and my almost 10 Month old has just started crawling… wish me luck!!

  23. Natalie Hunter says

    I tend to find, sadly after way too long in retail, that for the most part people create their own drama.. People who get on a flight and assume the baby is going to be a pain probably dont get off thinking “oh that baby was well behaved”.. they cant see the positive. And they are always the poor person who has to put up with blah blah.. How about people before you go off on your poor me tangent stop, think about the other person and decide whether you are actually the one with the worst deal cause yeah probably the mum having to fly with a child/ children is having a pretty ordinary time. I dont know why as a society we dont think about anyone else anymore..

    • Nerrida Wood says

      Hi Natalie, you know you are so right. When my son was 5 we joined a trip going to the Outback with a small group of people that we didn’t know. We were the youngest in the group with the all of them being over the age of 50. The minute they saw my son, they thought Oh God this is going to be great, a kid is here. I will admit that it was not obvious that they though this at least being of an older generation they were not so rude as to show it. HOwever about 3 days into the trip, I was pulled aside and told what a delightful boy he was as he never cried, screamed or got bored and acted like a complete angel. They also admitted that they thought their holiday would be ruined when they first saw him. For the rest of the trip he had about 10 surrogate grandmas and granddads!

  24. says

    Fantastic letter, it astounds me how many travelers continue to tsk tsk mums with children. It’s public transport lady, if she doesn’t want to sit beside someone, pay for first class! When we travelled with our three wee ones, who were 4 months, 2 years and nearly 4 years, we got a mixture of love/hate reactions. Luckily I no longer give a shiz about rude people, unlike when I just had one bonny babe. Back then I felt bad when she cried, shame on me. Lovely photos!

  25. Donna Hilton says

    Cranky old bat! Ok, as you say, we don’t know what kind of day she was having but it takes just as much energy to smile as frown or tsk!! Looks like the weekend was FABULOUS anyway sweetie and , lets face it, happiness is the best revenge, ESPECIALLY when there’s morning champers!!! I pity her and whoever she was flying back to!!

  26. says

    People still roll their eyes and audibly tsk at people on planes with babies? Babies who didn’t make any noise? I don’t understand why an egg sandwich is tsk-worthy? So confused right now. Confused and annoyed at people :-(

  27. Terry Beth Tucker Barnhart says

    I would gladly sit next to you and your babies and help you. Especially if I was on my own. I love making babies smile and playing with them. I would have joined you eating an egg sandwich. My niece is looking forward to a trip on a plane, her first flight and baby boy’s first also. She is anxious about the 1 1/2 hour flight. Any suggestions for preparing for tsk tsk ? I told her, as bad as you think it is for them, it is worse for you for worrying. Just be prepared for anything and take something along he has never seen but would love. Or take a notebook and show him the world. Shame on those who can’t be patient and those who think they are too good to help the situation.

  28. says

    This really annoys me. Like a lot. I was once sitting behind a woman on a plane from Melbourne to LA and her child SCREAMED his lungs for the whole flight. It was awful. I felt the worst for this poor woman though, she was absolutely wrecked, looked on the verve of tears the entire time and he poor baby was so distressed he started breathing weird and she got even more worried. Everyone needs to calm down and just support other people around them. Obviously it’s not ideal to have a crying baby on a flight but get over yourself. If you don’t want to share your life with other people then don’t leave your house. Simple. Also kids on flights are RAD! I always make friends with kids, they make the time pass so quickly. I once passed notes backwards and forwards with this little 8 year old girl sitting in front of me. She had stickers, glitter pens and cute paper and lent me a little bundle of goodies so I could write cute notes back to her. It was rad.

  29. Michelle says

    Beautifully written Chantelle! My kids are older now but I flew a lot with them when they were small and remember how stressful it can be. You made me laugh, thank you!

  30. Julie M says

    How can you grunt at such a gorgeous little bubba! Hubby & I are taking our daughters (5 & 2.5) on their first flight to Brisbane tomorrow. I’m kind of dreading it. I’m hoping my 2.5yr old enjoys it, and doesn’t cry all the way there or have a travel companion like 24D to be sitting in one of the vacant seats next to us grunting and eye-rolling our children…I’m sure the girls would try and make her laugh! :)

  31. Ella Spurling says

    If I was sitting in 24D I would have totally asked to hold your smiling baby for you Chantelle. While you ate your egg sandwich, with two hands. Some people seem to check in their manners (and brain for that matter) when they check in their luggage! Rather annoying. As an ex-flight attendant, I’m with you judging the coke zero! People have asked for stronger at an earlier hour of hour of the day! Haha.
    p.s glad your day wasn’t dampened by the sad sack in 24D and you made the Twix cookies gift! x

  32. Rachel@ A Mother Far from Home says

    I had a man flat out refuse to sit by us and went to the flight attendant for a change. She refused because it was full. By the end of the flight he was showing my kids his phone pictures and shamefacedly admitted that his kids and grandkids were horrible travelling and he was so tired that the thought of babies crying made him lose it! Sad, really.

  33. says

    So glad the flight attendant made up for the “uncomfortable” flight. Travelling with little ones can be really challenging and a little bit of patience and understanding from other travellers goes a long way … unfortunately, though, you don’t always get that. Sounds like both you and your little one were perfect travellers!

  34. thekessilrose says

    Wow…just remember the lovely time you had before you encountered this disagreeable woman who’s apparently upset at the world around her. Too bad no one will take the same negative attitude she has and join in the unhappiness, we have way too good of a time to do that! I remember I was on a plane from Denver, Colorado to Portland, Oregon (I’m in the USA) and have always enjoyed flying so when I expressed my joy as the plane lifted off I got tsked at by the woman sitting next to me, mind you, I was quiet, smiling and saying a mild “Yahoo!”
    We all don’t have time for joy-killers! So…just keep dreaming about the cheese/honey dish and everything will be fine…

  35. plate4eight.com says

    My husband takes a lot of long haul flights (and not always business class) so he often encounters families with young kids. But he comes home and tells me how cute they were, how they made him clucky (sorry, shop closed for business at 6 kids!) and he has even taken photos of kids for people without their cameras and e-mailed the photos to them. Maybe if people stopped to enjoy the moment and soak in some of the happiness from these kids they would be happier themselves and the flight would seem shorter. At least you enjoyed the rest of your day. Don’t know about the other lady.

  36. Deb http://www.thefifowife.com says

    Once I was that lady..I know sigh…I have no excuse for my behaviour I was selfish and self absorbed but slap face me head long into reality and the the love of three kids I am no longer thank fully that lady..now I am that lady who when on 17 hour trip to paris with three babies (not mine) who cried and struggled with confinement non routine and mum’s desperate plead’s offers a a hand..who says can I help you and I am also now the one who says let them cry its tops there ears from hurting..well done sweet thing I would have told her to bugger off right then and there because once being that lady I know it would have helped her pull her head in..

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