fee for me to sit with my family? I find this kind of funny, mainly because I've tried to book seats away from my family before, and the airlines didn't like that one bit. There was a flight where I could only get four seats together, so I dropped my family off in row 7 and then proceeded to settle in to my exit row window seat for what I anticipated would be one of the most relaxing flights of my life, only to have the flight attendant move Heaven and Earth to find somebody willing to switch with me so that I would be within reach of my children in case of an emergency (Not surprisingly, somebody in a middle seat was willing to switch). We got even more grief the time the computer automatically upgraded Lori and I to first class, leaving our children alone back in coach. Something about leaving them "unsupervised". Hey, they weren't unsupervised...I left them their iPads.
The fact is though, that my kids are old enough now that separating us throughout a plane isn't that big a deal. If the airline wants to charge us $25 per person to make sure that we sit next to each other, I'm more than happy to let the dice roll and see what kind of seat assignments we end up with. My kids are pretty good at handling themselves on planes, so I don't feel the need to warn them about the kind of behavior I expect from them. I do however, feel the need to warn the people who find themselves seated next to my children, what they're getting into.
For instance, should you find yourself seated next to my son on a flight, do not, under any circumstances, open up a laptop. Doing so will invite a non-stop critique of whatever device you're using, unless you've purchased the latest and greatest Alienware device within the last week. You should also be prepared to analyze every possible place that a portal can be placed in order to shave seconds off your Portal 2 time, and if you're crazy enough to purchase online access during a flight, get ready to delve into the ridiculous effect that lag time has on the gaming experience at 35,000 feet. Your best bet for productivity is to simply buy him his own access to the in-flight Wi-Fi and then try and pretend that you're taking a nap. You'll probably still hear the words "Ping time" over and over again in your sleep, but at least he won't make you run speed tests over each state.
If you find yourself sharing a row with my red-headed daughter, congratulations. You've lucked out and gotten a seat next to the easiest one of my children to deal with....as long as you come prepared. This is my chatterbox child, and once you get her started (and I still haven't figured out how to avoid doing that) there is no stopping her. Unless you have chocolate. My wife has a saying that "Chewy stops the chatter" and I'm pretty sure that it was based on dealing with this daughter of ours. If you come prepared with a bag of treats, you'll be able to enjoy a nice, peaceful flight. If you forget...well...the airlines still take plastic at the food and beverage cart right?
My last child is going to lure you into a false sense of security. She'll settle into her seat and get out her iPad and headphones so that you think she'll just entertain herself throughout the flight. And she will, but great entertainment is meant to be shared, so you should be prepared to be interrupted every five minutes and told to "Watch this" or that "You have to see this. It's the best part!" I also hope that you're a One Direction fan, because unless you have no peripheral vision, you're going to see their latest video at least fifty times during the flight, and every time Harry comes on you'll be told "It's the best part!"
So now you're ready to sit next to my kids. Would it be better for you if the airlines would just let my family book it's seats together so that you don't have to know this stuff? Probably. Would it be easier for the gate agents and flight attendants, who are going to have to deal with all the problems this policy causes, to let people book seats next to each other? Definitely. Honestly the only people properly equipped to sit next to my family on a plane are the other members of our family. The rest of you might want to look into paying the $25 fee to sit away from us. Or for $5 I'll teach you the words to the new One Direction song. 10% off if you can tell me which one is Harry.
Written by Steve Pratt