To the man sat in front of us on our BA10 flight home from Bangkok, Thailand.
I clocked your face as you were walking up the aisle to find your seat. The corners of your mouth slowly dipped downwards as your furtive eyes surveyed all the passengers around you.
You’d been put in the a section filled with parents and young children.
By the hunch of your shoulders I could tell you were displeased and, even more so, when you saw my son sitting behind you.
I knew we were in big, big trouble when my son put something into the seat pocket and you stood up and curtly made an exasperated noise and glared straight at him, followed by the shaking of your head at the child behind us as he began to scream and cry because he didn’t like being strapped in. All this before the plane had even left the runway to embark on a 12-hour journey…
Your attitude and behaviour steadily worsened…
Not only did I have to hold back my husband from throwing you off the aircraft when you violently waved your arms behind the seat to try to strike my son, twice. But we got elbows into the chair, over zealous movements and dirty looks thrown at us every time the tray table was moved or a little bump happened to knock your seat.
My son was impeccably behaved. He did not kick the chair, sat quietly and watch his films, napped and played with his toys. He didn’t cry, scream or jump up and down. In fact, all the children around us were angels.
I’m usually a very patient and mild-mannered person but you really pushed my buttons when, after placing some headphones into the seat pocket, you turned round and told me: ‘To control my son’.
I don’t like causing a scene, but you were lucky we were in a public area as my language would have been far more vitriolic. I remember saying to you were we meant to sit behind you and not breathe too loudly?
Parents who travel with their children are already worried enough by the reaction they will receive from other passengers. I know this first hand from mums and dads who have told me they don’t want to fly for fear of a backlash from angry passengers who don’t like the sound of crying/happy/scared/tired kids.
For you sir, who clearly don’t have any children, kids are not dogs that can muzzled. Kids cannot be strapped down into a seat and made to sit in silence. Kids don’t have an on-and-off switch. Kids are not robots. They feel, they are aware… as you heard my son ask repeatedly: ‘Why is that man being horrible?’
It’s people like you – with your condescending looks and your elongated sighs – that induce the fear for some families to get on a plane, to see the world, to explore.
When you get on a plane again, try to remember that parents don’t want their children to be upset, to cry, to cause trouble. They don’t want a spotlight of shame shining down on them when their kids may happen to make a loud noise. Some patience and understanding goes a long way. However, judging by your character, I don’t think you know the meaning of those words.
I’m proud that my three-year-old son conducted himself in a more mature manner than you did. I’m proud that I kept my language in check and didn’t call you the C-word in front of everybody because that’s what I really wanted to do. And proud of all the other children surrounding you, who all illustrated perfectly why travelling with children is a good thing.
Your unpleasantness will in no way stop me from travelling on a long plane journey again, in fact I am glad to say it’s fuelled my desire even more so now.
You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. And next time, may I suggest travelling in first class… or even better still, not going anywhere and keeping your vile self at home, alone…