I just returned from some summer travel and I must say it can be challenging to travel with children, especially the young 1-4 year old crowd. But some parents seem to be more prepared than others.
On a recent flight, my husband and I were seated behind a family with 2 young children, 1 of whom looked to be about 4 and the other a toddler around 15 months. The father and the 4 year old had 2 seats together, and the mother and toddler were seated across the aisle from them. Thankfully the flights were on time that day so we took off without much delay. It was a 3 hour flight late in the evening so I thought that the parents had planned well as the children would probably play for a bit, watch a movie and fall asleep.
Well, that's not what happened. Immediately after take off, the parents leaned back their seats and put on head phones. The dad had an iPad and started to watch a movie, (it wasn't Dora), while the mother was playing a game on her iPhone , (it looked like a game with multiple apples or something that she was shooting?)
The children (of course) were not thrilled that they were not being engaged and the youngest started to cry and fidget. At that point, the mother, who never took off her head phones handed the toddler across to the dad, who put the child on his lap while he kept watching the movie. This went on for the first hour or so with the child crying every few minutes and both parents handing the toddler back and forth. Luckily the 4 year old was sitting nicely and watching something on her electronic gadget.
As it got later into the flight, (about 9:00pm), the toddler was getting more irritable. About the same time the other child's movie ended and she started crying as well. Fortunately, the dad took off his headphones and put down the iPad and took her (screaming and yelling) to the bathroom.
In the meantime, the toddler continued to cry and kick (who can blame him)? Can you picture the mother with the toddler on her left arm while holding that iPhone and still playing a game! I mean REALLY? I couldn't make this up! When the father came back the parents starting arguing about who had spent more time taking care of the kids, and even used some inappropriate language with one another.
It took everything I had not to interfere with the whole situation! Where were the toys, coloring books and crayons, stuffed animals and blankets? How about some snacks, even forbidden foods like cookies and a fruit roll up (real ones). Did they not bring anything to entertain a child while traveling? How can they be entertained (and fed) and ignore their children? I felt more sorry for the kids than for the rest of us around them.
Of course, once off the plane they were the talk at the baggage claim area. I think they even went on to another flight! I wish I had taped the whole thing on my iPhone, but I am not smart enough to have thought about that at the time. Would have been a hit on YouTube!