Over the past two days I’ve had the (non) pleasure of flying from SFO to Charlotte, NC and back. It would have been a haul, no matter what. But what it was, at least on the outbound flight, was an enormous hassle.
The day started with a 10:40am departure from SFO on a United flight. Boarding commenced and got through 1st class, and the first part of Zone 1 before stopping. There was a mechanical problem on the plane and we stood in line for 30 minutes before boarding was cancelled, the passengers who had boarded were deplaned (sounds painful, doesn’t it?) and the plane was towed away. United provided a replacement plane that would depart at 11:40 (yeah, right!) from a different gate. That would be fine, except the connecting flight in Dallas would be gone by the time this plane arrived, so, off to the trusty telephone to find alternatives.
My executive assistant was very efficient in finding a direct flight to Charlotte on US Airways that departed at 1pm literally as far away from the airport as is physically possible from where I was standing, no problem, the hike over is fine and I arrive to check in at US Airways and they have no record of me as a passenger (I should mention a colleague was traveling with me, he’s in the same boat so to speak.) After an hour of phone calls and actually having the ticket agent (a very helpful fellow) speak with the travel agent, tickets are finally issued and we can get on with our flight, which, naturally, had been delayed.
Once we’re physically on board, seated directly behind us is a family with two boys, aged 2 and 4 (estimates) who were apparently raised by wolves. The older boy was a whinier, crankier Caillou and the younger one was two years old, need more be said. Couple this with a parental style of no correction, no distraction, no entertainment, no boundaries and you get nearly 5 hours of constant screaming and seat kicking. Sufficiently loud to penetrate the usual solitude provided by Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelation headphones.
The only respite in the entire flight was when my colleague played peak-a-boo over the seat with them for 5 minutes. I was thinking of horrible things to do/say and wishing I had cough syrup to offer these clueless, rude, parents. In any case, if you see two small boys named Marley and Noah get on your airplane, ask to be on a different flight!
The best thing I can say about that flight is that we landed safely. Meanwhile, no Caillou in our household ever again, it will remind me of Marley and that’s a bad thing. Below is a short Caillou clip in case you don’t have children of an age to know this stuff…