SAHK means "Stay-at-Home-Kid."
Apparently, Ian Burford, founder of the Facebook page "Airlines should have kid-free flights" wishes kids would forego the adventures of air travel and just stay home already. Unless the airlines create adults-only seating areas, which doesn't appear likely. In a front-page article in USA Today, Burford says:
"I'm 6-4, so seating is always an issue...But when you're uncomfortable anyway, and then you have some young child screaming or kicking the back of your chair, it just puts you in a bad position, because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not a case of not liking kids, it's a case of not wanting them sitting next to you or behind you when you travel."
Hmm. Where is that soapbox, anyway?
Let me say first that my children are relatively frequent travelers. They fly on 4 or more trips a year. Little Man has frequent flyer numbers on three major airlines and has flown to Mexico and to Europe and to many destinations in the continental US. Burford may have seen Little Man pulling his Thomas the Tank Engine rolling suitcase down the aisle ahead of me, his not-so-Stay-at-Home-Mom.
Little Mama, too, took to the skies early on. She's not yet a year old but has made two cross-country trips by air. She's ticketed for takeoff to the Caribbean next month.
Whether or not the airlines create family-friendly seating, Leading Mama and the fam will be flying. Why? Because the world is BIG. And it's hard to see it from my living room. Well, unless you count NatGeo. But parenting experts tell me the kids shouldn't be watching that for more than 2 hours a day.
So, in the interest of showing my kids the world, I take them places. We go to the local kids' museum and to the zoo, the park, and the library. We also go far, far from home. We travel to places with different cultural traditions and exotic food. Places like Fresno, where they can see their grandparents and great-grandparents. Places like Rome, where they can toss coins into the Trevi Fountain and eat real spaghetti 'til their bellies fairly burst with the deliciousness of it all.
Crowded seating, expensive airport food, and “other people” are unavoidable annoyances of air travel. And anyone who thinks they are a model traveler probably has a blind spot. We Americans, it seems, are an intolerant group of people.
We don’t want to sit next to children.
We don’t want to sit next to fat people.
We don’t want to sit next to the teen with the blaring iPod or the grandma who delays our exit because she isn’t limber enough to reach her carry-on baggage when it’s time to deplane.
We don’t want to sit next to the woman with the hacking cough.
We don’t want to sit next to the guy whose friend comes to “visit” from his seat 5 rows ahead and blocks the aisle for a solid hour so they can talk – too loudly – about nothing of importance.
We don’t want to sit next to a person who turns on the overhead light on the red-eye when we’re trying to sleep.
My point is that air travel isn’t fun for anyone. Not even my kids.
Burford probably doesn’t know (or care), but airline seats are too deep for 2-year-olds, who can't bend their legs and sit against the seat back simultaneously. The tray table is too far away for them to use, especially if they're seat belted for safety and to preserve their mother's fragile and limited sanity. And the windows? The windows are UP TOO HIGH for kids to enjoy.
While I'm up here on my soapbox, let me say that you, mister 6’4”, are not helping matters by reclining your seat into the lap of the mother flying with an infant. In case you couldn't tell, it was crowded back here already. Reclining your seat gives me and my baby five inches less space. If you're trying to punish me for flying with my kids, you succeeded. But you won't keep me from flying.
Children over the age of two pay the same fare as full-grown adults. They use less pressurized oxygen and contribute less to the total passenger weight. I dare say our party of three combined (Leading Mama, Little Man, and Little Mama) weighs less than 6’4” Mr. Burford. And we pay for two seats, not one.
If I had my way, the airlines *would* make a kid-friendly section on airplanes. They’d put in smaller seats with five-point safety harnesses. They’d staff the kids’ section with flight attendants who don’t mind putting lids on sippy cups or picking up goldfish crackers off the floor. Maybe the kids could do craft projects, too. I’d pay extra for my kids to sit in the kids’ club area while I sip an overpriced gin and tonic and read the in-flight magazine in business class.
Until that happens, they’ll be sitting with me. Right behind you, Mr. Burford.
What's your standpoint? Link up and share.