An Open Letter to the Woman on our Airplane

Dear 16F/17F-

Yesterday we preboarded for our hour long flight from Phoenix so that we could be as out of the way as possible for all the rest of the passengers on the flight. We were sitting in our seats, 16D/E with Eli, who was laughing and calm and adorable as ever. Because we were seated before most of the main cabin, we got to watch all the people walk down the aisle to take their seats. We knew instantly you were supposed to be seated in 16F. Do you know how we knew?

Because you loudly sighed, rolled your eyes and told the person behind you, who it seems you maybe? knew, that you were NOT going to sit next to THAT BABY. You said baby as though it was one of the most serious pejoratives ever. You completed your fit, one I might add, which was far worse than anything my son has ever done in public, by muttering, not quietly, that “people with babies should just stay home.”

Now look, I get it. I don’t blame you one tiny bit for not being excited to sit next to a baby on an airplane. They’re noisy, they smell, the have all kinds of unsavory secretions. I did not expect our seatmate to be enthusiastic. But the public showing and shaming you gave for us taking a trip out of town was completely unnecessary. And honestly, I think I’m more glad than you are that you switched seats. Although I seriously question the logic in being relieved to sit one who row behind us. Do you think the rows have sound barriers? Did you think that being 12 inches away was going to make all the difference in the world?

And I have to wonder, when the flight ended and my baby made not a single peep, did you feel like a jerk? Or did you still feel self-righteous in your judgment and condemnation of our trip? Should we still have stayed home with our baby, who traveled with fewer issues and considerably lower volume than you did?

For my money, I would rather sit next to a baby than a drama queen like you any day. I hope you enjoyed your trip. And I hope that someday you have several “spirited” children close together in age. Just for funsies. But, be sure when you have them that you stay home, you wouldn’t want to ruin anyone else’s good time.

Katie, the mom in 16D

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