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— which as the hours pass has becomes a sort of day-care center full of mothers clutching their crying children.
Perhaps they are congregating here out of courtesy?
Once again, at least for a moment, I’m relaxed and happy. Actually, it’s a baby carriage flanked by a mom and two toddlers, one on either side of a strapped-in infant. It’s a wailing, electric, claxon-like sound, like a nuclear attack alert, loud enough to rattle my tableware. Reading is impossible; sleeping is out of the question. It is so loud you cannot hear the public address announcements from the crew.
Until, hardly three minutes later, as I’m scanning through some emails, again I hear a tell-tale noise. And this foursome of noisemakers is aimed directly at the table next to mine. And I would love to tell you that this time I got lucky, and this was one of those quiet and well-behaved babies who whines for a minute and then, miracle of miracles, utters nary a peep for the rest of the flight. Those are the flights that restore our faith in both air travel and humanity at large. The only escape is watching movies with the volume cranked up (unfortunately Asiana’s entertainment system is terrible and offers only a few boring choices). When we touch down at JFK in September sunshine just before 11 a.m., I don’t feel the least bit sated, refreshed or relaxed. Experience two: There’s a lot to like in Emirates business class on the Airbus A380. The carrier’s “ICE” entertainment system is second to none. Amenities are all around you, from the duvet and mattress to the luxurious lounge and bar in the back of the upper deck. I’m at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, walking up the jet bridge that leads to the upper deck, when a huge family of at least a dozen, six of them kids, rudely cuts the line.
But when I get there, I discover the lounge isn’t simply overcrowded (as so many premium class lounges tend to be these days).
The kid then screams , and mom screams back, also louder. That includes not having your experienced wrecked by disruptive passengers of age.I CONTINUE to be astounded by the sheer number of people traveling around the world with babies, toddlers, and other preschool-age children.Even more astounding is how many of these kids are traveling in first or business class. Experience 1: I was in Bangkok, looking for a way home.After all, people in the bar are socializing and drinking, not trying to sleep.
Maybe, but that doesn’t excuse the one woman who has placed her toddler on one of the bar’s semi-circular sofas and is playing The Screaming Game.
Around him is a spray of plastic toys deposited by his five — count ’em, five — preschool-age children, who when they aren’t tossing toys around are shrieking and throwing food at each other. Every so often Vlad claps his hands and scolds them in lazily indignant Russian. And if the Putin clan isn’t annoying enough, elsewhere in the room at least three infants are crying. I distract myself with the buffet, helping myself to a gin and tonic, a miniature pastry-pillow labeled “chicken roll,” and some finger sandwiches made with institutional-looking white bread. Then a staccato series of gasps and yelps and piercing cries.