Saturday, 23 August 2008

Drop the Pilot

If you think long flights are a nightmare, try getting yourself on board a long flight with a baby. The biggest con the airlines are trying to sell us, new parents, is the bassinet.
Getting one is not something you can rely on if you have a one year old, because availability is limited and the airlines hand them out to younger babies first. Makes sense, but I can't see how the parents are expected to endure a long flight without the checking themselves right into a mental asylum as they land if they don't have front row seats.
Priority bassinet seating for young babies makes sense because the bassinets are pretty small. Our one year old Dylan proved to be an exact fit! Which meant that he couldn't turn over or make himself comfortable in there, which in turn meant that we had to put him to sleep first before we laid him in the bassinet. And since Dylan doesn't go to sleep on our lap anymore just like that, we have to wait until he's totally exhausted first. And as every parent knows, you don't want to be around an exhausted baby.
If you think that's the only thing I have against bassinets you're wrong. Consider this scenario: You seat with your baby on your lap, tied to you with this joke of a seatbelt, until the baby exhausts itself to sleep, screaming and wriggling like all good babies. You think the worst is behind you; hey, you're just about to chuck the baby in the bassinet and catch some sleep, maybe even have a read or play your Nintendo DS. You put the baby in the bassinet and you think there might, after all, be a reason to live.
Five minutes after you put the baby in the bassinet, the "put the seatbelts" sign lights up and this announcement goes in, saying you should take buckle in. Oh, and also take the babies out of the bassinets and buckle them to you. Guess what? Once you remove the baby out of the bassinet, you have an awake baby in your hands yet again. And a very annoyed baby at that.
And the whole god damn thing starts all over again.

Multiply that by five repetitions per flight and you'll figure out why I could easily kill a few pilots lately. The stupid thing is that behind some very slight shakes there were no real signs of turbulence; and even if there was something worth shaking for, the baby is probably much better protected by the bassinet's fastener than it is by the loop seatbelt that's as baby proof as an exposed power outlet.
It's all just your average case of a company doing its best not to be found liable for anything, sticking to the written law with such jealousy that they lose sight of the bigger picture - the picture that says the airlines are there to serve their customers. Then again, who am I kidding? They're there to make money, nothing more.
In conclusion, if you are considering having a baby but are not too sure on whether to take the plunge or not, get on board a long flight. Make sure you sit next to the bassinet seats, take a deep breath and enjoy your flight...

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