“I Don’t Want a Man Sitting Next to My Kids on a Plane”

Readers ihayeeanyd
— Some day, sooner rather than later, I would like the idea of not trusting men around kids to be considered as repulsive as racism. At that time, opinion pieces like this one will seem completely wild and disgusting by all but the lunatic fringe. – L.

I Don’t Want My Kids Sitting Next to a Man on a  Plane, by Tracey Spicer

I know it’s sexist. But I don’t want my kids sitting next to a man on a plane.

Sure, almost 90 per cent of child sexual abuse is committed by someone in, or known to, the family, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

However, stranger danger is a risk and women are perpetrators in only about 8 per cent of cases, says the ABS data.

In 2001, Northwest Airlines paid a US family half a million dollars after a 10-year-old girl was molested by a 28-year-old man on a flight from Kansas to Detroit.

…My nine-year-old Taj and seven-year-old Grace flew as unaccompanied minors, for the first time, on Virgin last year. They were put in the last row with a bunch of other kids where doting staff plied them with treats.

It was a relief to see their smiling faces at the end but I was disappointed I had no choice about where they’d be sitting.

Read the rest here. You may need an airsickness bag.  – L.

God forbid a MAN sits in a seat next to an innocent (or at least UNTIL THAT MOMENT innocent) child!

God forbid a MAN sits in a seat next to an innocent (or at least UNTIL THAT MOMENT innocent) child!

112 Responses to “I Don’t Want a Man Sitting Next to My Kids on a Plane”

  1. Frederick Polgardy April 28, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    “However, stranger danger is a risk and women are perpetrators in only about 8 per cent of cases, says the ABS data.”

    This is the same logical fallacy that says: Most terrorists are {{insert religion or ethnicity}}, so most {{insert religion or ethnicity}} must be terrorists. Or: Most dog injuries are caused by {{insert breed}}, so most {{insert breed}} dogs must be violent. I think people need to study more logic.

  2. Warren April 28, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Simple, you don’t want to risk your lil darling being beside a man on the plane, either travel with them, or don’t travel.
    I will be damned if I am going to move from a seat I paid for, to accomodate the paranoid masses.

    This author is a whackjob,and should be charged with spreading hate literature.

  3. Gary April 28, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    they closed the comment section on that article pretty fast, she is a stupid ass.

  4. Donna April 28, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    When we flew to California for Spring Break, my daughter was seated in a separate row from me. I asked if she wanted me to change it and she did not, so we let it go. She sat next to a man for the entire flight between Atlanta and Phoenix. We couldn’t have cared less but the man seemed less than thrilled. She was perfectly quiet and absorbed in her kindle, but he seemed annoyed to be stuck next to a kid. Then my kid threw up as we were landing in Phoenix from a stomach virus (no, I didn’t realize she had it before we got on the plane) combined with a very rough landing so maybe he had reason to be annoyed.

    We also had separate seats on the way home. Afraid she was going to get sick again, my daughter asked me to try to change them this time.

  5. Ravana April 28, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    I had a child seated next to me on a flight from Alaska a few years ago. I called a flight attendant and demanded to be moved. I am female, but I do not like children (especially unrelated ones) and putting me next to a child for even a short flight would endanger everyone on the plane.

    If she truly cared about her children maybe she’d have figured out a way to keep her family together so they didn’t have to fly as unaccompanied minors. Or, perhaps she could scrimp on herself a bit in order to save the money up to accompany them.

  6. Mark Biek April 28, 2014 at 11:01 am #


    My family almost missed a flight home from vacation a couple of years ago. As a result, we were scattered all over the plane.

    My (then) 6-year old son ended up in a middle seat between two complete strangers, both men.

    These gentleman were incredibly nice. They helped my son get things in and out of his backpack during the flight. They helped him with his drink and snack when the flight attendants came around.

    My overwhelming experience has been that people are more than willing to help strange children and this trip was no exception.

  7. Tony Shreck April 28, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    There is some good news in that most of the comments are giving her what for.

  8. Jennifer Hendricks April 28, 2014 at 11:09 am #


    The attitude you are displaying toward children is no better than the attitude of the mother in the article toward men. Children are part of the world who have just as much right to travel as you do. And once they’re old enough to handle the basics, there’s no reason to spend hundreds of extra dollars to “keep the family together” when, say, the kid is traveling to visit the non-custodial parent or the grandparents invite the kid for a parent-free visit.

  9. Cindy Karlan April 28, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Are you KIDDING me?! My kids have all sat next to men at some point or another on a flight. Last summer, my 13 year-old daughter was flying alone as an adult — possibly next to a man, and because of a tight connection, the airline insisted that an airport employee escort her to her flight. The employee was male. We had no problem with the fact that he was male. We had a problem with the fact that the employee was incompetent. He kept going the wrong way, and my daughter had to re-direct him to get her to her gate on time. We can not live in fear of 1/2 the population of the world.

  10. mystic_eye April 28, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Also, I demand that all the flight attendants be female and the pilots, oh wait, is this seeming less rational now? Also of course no men working at daycares or schools. In fact, as sex abuse is sometimes carried out by other children no boys at school either.

    In fact lets keep men and women segregated at all times, we’ll be just like Afghanistan at it’s worst.

  11. pentamom April 28, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Actually, if you follow out her logic, children should *only* be allowed to fly unaccompanied, since putting them next to friends and family puts them at much higher risk than putting them next to any stranger could possibly do.

  12. Leppi April 28, 2014 at 11:27 am #


    – your husband or father were to say to you: I do not want a man sitting next to you
    – you were to say: I do not want a black/hispanic woman to sit next to me/my child

  13. SOA April 28, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    If you are that picky about where your kid sits then don’t fly them unaccompanied. Yes, I agree what happened to that little girl was outrageous. I was very upset when I heard about it as well. Not because she was sat next to a man but because it was the airline’s responsibility to ensure she arrived safely to her destination and that means unmolested. The flight attendants should have been paying more attention to her and checking on her more and that probably would not have happened. I would think a guy would have to be pretty bold to try to molest a girl if the flight attendant kept coming by to check on her.

    A woman could have molested her too. There are women molestors out there in the world. Sitting them next to other kids could get them molested too. The whole point being it is up to the flight attendants to make sure they are checked on regularly and that won’t happen. Especially since I heard airlines charge an extra fee for unaccompanied minors now. That extra fee should cover the flight attendant checking on them.

    But, I honestly don’t trust an airline to take care of my kids. Not at this moment. So they don’t fly without me. In the end the responsibility is on the parent to protect them.

  14. SOA April 28, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    I think someone has a right not to want to sit next to a random child that will need assistance during a flight. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s kid sometimes. I love kids and most of the time I am happy to help out other people’s kids. But for example if my husband and I got a trip to Vegas for our anniversary, that might be a time when no, I am not so keen to spend the whole flight helping a random kid. That is not my responsibility. That would be my time to relax from taking care of kids 24/7 for once. So I would be pretty irritated if they stuck a kid next to me because I looked like a nice lady. My husband would not be thrilled either.

    If they are going to do something like that, at least give me a discount on my seat. I would never expect other people to take care of my kids like that. The most I would ask is if the airline was stupid and did not put our seats together like I asked, that they would switch seats with me.

  15. SKL April 28, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Well, it just struck me that all my life, I’ve been hearing about how the male/female segregation in many traditional societies was about keeping women down. Ironic that now we are heading toward segregating men from women/kids based on thinking men are scum. Then again, maybe that was always the whole point, but nobody wanted to come out and say it before.

  16. Brooks April 28, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    I’ve had both moms and dads rearrange their seating so the kid wouldn’t be sitting next to me. I would say that 1/2 the time it isn’t because they think I’m a bad guy, but the kid is not comfortable. Some of that is the nature of little kids, but surely some of it is that our society is constantly teaching them to be afraid of everyone.

  17. MichaelF April 28, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    I guess this woman won’t be having any male babysitters then either…to drag up an earlier post

  18. Donna April 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    SOA – What care exactly does a child old enough to fly unaccompanied or seated away from his/her parents need?

    That is the problem with so many of the anti-free range crowd – this belief that a child without an adult needs some kind of care. My child rarely needs care while sitting in a seat. She has been able to sit up by herself, eat and drink by herself, go to the bathroom by herself, and order a drink from the flight attendant by herself – about the only things you can do on a plane – for many years now. She doesn’t usually throw up on planes, but she even handled that all by herself by grabbing airsick bag and using it.

  19. Richard April 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    I admit that I have to wonder how much of the 92%/8% ratio is due to underreporting, since culturally a 15yo boy isn’t “supposed” to object when a 22yo girl flashes him.

    Regardless, the idea that 3.5 billion people on this planet are so much more dangerous than the rest that you can’t even sit next to them is – well, words escape me. And even granting that an unaccompanied minor is seated next to a man who wants to “abuse” them, what exactly do the airlines expect will happen on board a packed plane with no empty seats and lots of flight attendant oversight?

    Anyway, what if all of the flight attendants are men? Do you hold the flight until you can do a crew swap, since they’d have far more opportunity to abuse (yet still infinitesimally small)?

  20. Laura April 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I really dislike these non-story opinion pieces by know-it-all mommy bloggers. Nothing happened, there was no danger, there was no actual risk of danger. I wish their holier-than-thou rants wouldn’t be shared like this. It just feeds their fire and gives them the publicity they don’t deserve.

  21. Patrick April 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    A huge part of this is the writer abdicating her responsibility to teach her children about the world. If she’s worried about a stranger molesting her children, teach them about appropriate and inappropriate contact. This would have prevented the incident on the Northwest Airlines flight. A 10 year old who knows how to react when someone is touches her in a way she doesn’t like isn’t going to get molested on a plane filled with passengers and crew members. Teach your kids how to navigate the world, both the good parts and the bad parts. Worst of all, child molesters often get away with their behavior for years because kids are scared or ashamed to talk about it. This can be helped by talking openly with your children, so they better understand how to respond.

  22. Nicole R. April 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    “We can not live in fear of 1/2 the population of the world.”

    – Thank you, Cindy, for a great quote!

    I never flew as an unaccompanied minor myself, but I imagine that if I had, I would much rather have been seated next to a kind gentleman than a grumpy lady. Anyone can make a pleasant or unpleasant seatmate, regardless of gender.

    We (as a society) keep saying that we’re raising today’s children not to be prejudiced, but I’m afraid we’re just changing the targets.

  23. Jen (P.) April 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Do these people not realize they’re teaching their sons that they will grow up to be people who can’t be trusted around children?

  24. Beth April 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Amen, Jen P. I always wonder if the anti-male crowd has sons (including the posters on the male babysitter post who would never have a male babysitter). Obviously the author of this piece does, so she must be comfortable assuming that her son will soon be considered a molester who can’t baby sit, work in a day care or volunteer in church nursery, or sit next to a child on a plane? Does she just ASSUME that her son will BE a molester?


  25. Papilio April 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Heh heh heh. This reminds me of the time my driving instructor – a man some four decades older than me – told me the parents of one of his other new female students had invited him over for coffee prior to daughter’s first lesson, just see with whom their cute 18-year-old would be spending a lot of time alone in a car. I think MY parents never even knew what he LOOKED like, despite my being such a poor student I spent hours and hours in the car with him 😀

  26. kate April 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    We were on a crowded oversees flight once, and had separate seats. I turned around to see my then 5 year old son fast asleep on an older gentleman’s shoulder. My only thought was that I hope the gentleman will get up if he should need to stretch or use the toilet. No problems on that flight. They seemed to enjoy one anothers company. It would not have occurred to me that this was a child molester.

  27. SOA April 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    It depends on how well behaved and mature the child is. Some kids might need help opening their pack of pretzels. Some kids might get bored and fidget and start kicking the seat in front of them and someone has to tell them to stop. Some kids will decide to be super chatty and blab at the nearby adults not picking up on the signals that they don’t want to talk to you. Some kids need reminding to keep their voice level down and not shout. Some kids will want to get up and down too much because they get bored or hyper. Some kids will get scared and need comfort.

    If you KNOW for a fact your kid will not do any of the above things, then you are good, but if you are uncertain, you better not make it someone else’s problem.

  28. J- April 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    I fly often enough for business. I remember on one flight I was sat next to a woman and her son (me widow, son middle, woman aisle). I don’t know how old her son was, I’m bad a guessing age, but maybe 7 or 8.

    The situation got odd, very quickly. The son started leaning up against me, sort of like snuggling. The mom very quickly apologized that her son was Autistic and had a problem with personal space and non-verbal communication.

    I explained that it was no problem, I was diagnosed as being ASD (autisms spectrum of disorders) when I was younger and had many of the same non-verbal communication problems myself. So I started to talk to the boy. He sat up and told me about airplanes. That he liked airplanes, and the more he talked the less he snuggles. I told him that I work with airplanes as an engineer and he listened. Once we got to cruising altitude I asked the mom if her son could use electronic toys, she said yes, and so I let him play Poggle on my iPad until we landed.

    I’m thankful the mother understood her son’s issues and didn’t freak out. I don’t know what would have happened to me if the boy was unaccompanied and did what he did. As a father I am offended that men are regarded as default sexual predators. I guess, for my own safety, until the perception of men change, I don’t want to sit next to an unaccompanied minor. I don’t want to go to jail because I lent the child next to me, my iPad.

  29. Jen (P.) April 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    Dolly – with the exception of not being able to open their pretzels, I’ve sat next to adults on planes who displayed all those behaviors. Clearly they should not have been permitted to travel alone.

  30. Warren April 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    STOP!!!! This isn’t about you and your idea of the whole world needs to kiss your ass. Why does every story have to become about you?
    Please drive or take the bus.

  31. Uly April 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Wait, am I reading this right? She is freaking out over molestation on planes, despite the fact that she had to go back 13 years to find even one such case?

  32. anonymous mom April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    As a side note, I think we may overestimate the trauma caused in these situations when there is inappropriate behavior.

    I once took a Greyhound from Detroit to NYC. It was a long ride. At some point during the ride, some guy in the back of the bus started masturbating while seated next to a teen (she was probably 15 or 16). The bus driver kicked him off, and she then sat the girl next to me. I suppose I looked like a fine, upstanding young woman who would not begin masturbating (which, for the record, was the case ;)).

    Anyway, you would assume, given everything we now believe about teens and sex, that this girl would have been horrifically traumatized by the sexual abuse she endured, and that she’d need years of therapy, at least, to overcome it. Nope. She said something to me along the lines of, “Can you believe that guy?” and then proceeded to spend the next 10 hours or so happily chatting with friend after friend on her cell phone.

    Which, if the same thing had happened to me at that age, is the same way I would have responded. I would have been a bit grossed out, but mostly felt like I had a great story to tell about my Greyhound ride. I would not have been traumatized or felt that I was a victim of sexual asault. Is it cool to masturbate on a bus, especially while next to a minor? Of course not. But should it happen, I really don’t think it’s has serious and damaging as we suddenly believe.

  33. Donna April 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    SOA – And none of those are your job as passenger in seat B. You are absolutely not expected to parent a child who just happens to be sitting next to you. I can certainly see why some would be annoying to you and you might take it upon yourself to ask a child to stop doing X to make your life more pleasant for the time you are stuck together, but frankly, that can happen even if the parent is sitting right there.

  34. Warren April 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Personally I would rather talk to a child than most adults. I find their topics a lot more interesting than those people wanting to talk about the news, weather, sports, business or their family. A good conversation with a kid usually leaves a smile on both faces.

  35. Jen (P.) April 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    “As a father I am offended that men are regarded as default sexual predators.”

    As a mother, I am too. My husband coached our younger daughter’s basketball team this past season. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, but our daughter is not really interested in hoops and wants to do cheer instead, which is definitely NOT something my husband would want (or be qualified) to coach 😀 I suggested that he just coach again next year without her; as far as I know, the league has no rule against it. Be he said as much as he’d like to, he’s concerned about people thinking just the kind of crap that these people are.

  36. lollipoplover April 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    “But it remains a conundrum: How do we encourage a sense of adventure while ensuring their safety?”

    You could start by not perpetuating senseless bias toward 50% of the population. And paranoid thinking that every kid *alone* is going to abused by creepers.

    Gosh, can I make a request for my seatmate? No snorers, questionably bathed, those who bring fried chicken to eat on the flight(I’ve seen it), or heavy drinkers with small bladders. And sexual abuse on a plane? There’s not even room anymore for most carry-on bags. I’m more concerned with germs and vomiting. Get a grip.

  37. Andrea April 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    This particular non-issue smacks of privilege to me. There are mothers all over the world, this country included, who struggle to even feed and clothe their kids, and she’s complaining that she couldn’t control the situation when she sent her kids off on a trip that must have cost many hundreds of dollars. Life must not be as cruel as she thinks it is.

    I know this isn’t the issue at hand, but increasingly I’m finding a kind of elitism in such a paranoid fear. This lady is elevating her fantasy fears about her children’s seating assignment to a greater importance than an airline’s complex logistics, not to mention the needs of an entire planeful of paying passengers. Her energy would be better spent protesting the TSA, which has institutionalized the molestation of travelers (and yes, they still occasionally do it to kids).

  38. Salena April 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    I started flying unaccompanied when I was 5. And I felt so grown up and mature because of it. At NO point was it ever discussed that something “bad” might happen. Although I remember studying the safety brochures for most of the flight, just in case I had to know what to do. That woman is a twit.

  39. J.T. Wenting April 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    she should fly British Airways, they have an official policy banning men from being seated next to anyone under 18, even if the minor is their own child (not kidding!).

  40. BL April 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    @J. T. Wenting
    “British Airways, they have an official policy banning men from being seated next to anyone under 18”

    Now we know why they don’t have an empire any more.

  41. Matthew April 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Wow…..while some of the commenters were rational, quite a few supported this lunacy.

    If she blogs regularly, she needs to be flamed on every entry until she apologizes to men, if that can be done without increasing her hit total.

    And I agree the statistics are likely skewed, but quantification would be a challenge. I dated a woman that hed been raped by a female school teacher and her sister(as I understand it inspired by the previous teacher incident) using a broomstick. The parents blocked reporting on both because “Women don’t do that so the victim must be lying”.

    The stereotype only men do it not only isn’t fair to men, it’s unsafe since it encourages not getting the women that really do something off the streets.

    Besides, how many of that supposed 92% is guys whizzing in an alley simply because our plumbing is more conducive to it?

  42. Matthew April 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Sanity (and a lawsuit) fixed British Airways.


  43. anonymous mom April 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    @Matthew, when we talk about 92% of sex crimes against “strangers” (i.e., non family members) being perpetrated by men, it’s unlikely that many involve public urination, which is relatively rare to be convicted of.

    However, a huge percentage of that would be statutory offenses (most often involving guys in their 20s and willing post-pubescent teens less than a year below the age of consent–15 or 16 year olds, depending on the age of consent in the state). Another sizeable percentage would be men convicted of online sex offenses, either downloading child pornography or “online solicitation” (which usually involves an officer posing as an eager teen less than a year below the age of consent on a website where adults go to find adults for sex). Very few committed either a hands-on offense against a child 13 or under or a forcible or violent offense against a person of any age.

  44. Matthew April 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm #


    Hyperbolic license. 😉

  45. SOA April 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Anonymous mom: Good point. I had a less up close and personal encounter somewhat like that and I was more amused than traumatized. We were caravaning to a dance audition on the Atlanta interstate. This truck driver was totally pants less and was touching himself and when he saw two cars full of young cute girls it like made his day. He apparently kept pulling up next to us and trying to show off his goods which the car ahead of us just laughed and pointed and thought it was funny.

    Then we he came to our car apparently we were ignoring him (I never noticed him, I think I was daydreaming). So I did not see anything but if I had, I would have had the same reaction as the other car. Just laughed and been like “GROSS!”

    We did not see the need to dial 911 or drive away or anything like that. It just gave me a funny story to tell.

  46. Kaetlyn April 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Ugh. Another awful example of one (yes, awful, but still just one) anecdote shaping terrible policy. At least the comments under the article are heartening.

  47. Emily April 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    I agree with the majority opinion on this, and also with Warren’s point that sometimes, children can be more interesting to talk to than adults. Anyway, the thing that stood out the most to me was that airplanes are PUBLIC TRANSIT, and, as such, there’d be no way for anyone, regardless of gender, to attempt any kind of unsavoury contact with a child, without being caught immediately. Of course, this kind of common sense has no place in a bureaucracy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if, within the next few years, airlines started requiring recent police checks for any adult passengers wishing to fly on the same flight with unaccompanied minors. I get one approximately every six months so I can continue to volunteer/participate at the YMCA (on their rationale that “someone could be a good person at 12, but not a good person anymore at 29”), but for flying, it’d just be yet another bureaucratic hoop to jump through, especially for people who don’t get regular police checks as a matter of course.

  48. Ari April 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    This is basics statistical ignorance:

    If 9 out of 100,000 men are child molesters, and 1 out of 100,000 women, then a man is 9x more likely to molest a child, but that is the difference .009% and .001%. So if you sit next to a man, you have raised your risk by .008%.

    You almost certainly get much more power from the rule of thumb of “don’t sit next to someone who feels creepy”.

  49. Cynthia812 April 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    I don’t know anything about the case where the girl was molested, but it seems odd to me that it could happen to a 10yo where people are going back and forth all the time, and all she would need to do to draw attention to herself is to push the call button. Not blaming her, but that’s what I would tell my kid to do. Or get up and move. If he tries to stop you, cause a ruckus.

  50. anonymous this time April 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    I applaud Patrick. Right on, brother. Teach your children how to respond. Amen.

    And you, too, Andrea. Privilege is the mother of hysteria. Or something like that.

    And yes, female perpetrators are absolutely flying under the radar, folks. The myth that it is far more rare than male perps is hugely skewed by a number of factors. While I don’t want to whip anyone into a new frenzy of fearing WOMEN, I want there to be rational understanding that RARELY a child will be victimized by someone heretofore unknown to them, and as far as I can determine from the stats, this is still VERY RARE.

    Children are nearly always victims of those who are charged with their care, not fellow passengers on an airplane!

  51. Warren April 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    Pantless truck driver? And just how did you see up into his truck? Unless you were in a double decker bus, there is no physical way to see pretty much anything from the chest down, of anyone driving truck.

    Another urban legend made into a personal story. Way to go.

  52. Warren April 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    Just throwing this out there……….child does not want to fly alone, child does not want to visit the person they are being sent to, and makes up a story that they know will keep mom from ever putting them on a plane again. Not beyond possible.

  53. kimberly April 28, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    My sister and I often sat seperate from our parents, because they sat in the smoking section of the plane. In years of travel, with multiple conections we had 2 problems with the adults near us.

    1 was the woman sitting on the aisle who refused to allow my sister to get out of the row to go to the bathroom. The gentleman across from her offered to switch seats. She refused and kept saying that she wasn’t going to let us disturb her the “whole flight” getting up and down. Sis even told her, it is a four hour flight so I’m only allowed out 1 time, but I need to go now. (family rule). Finally one of the men near us got the attendant. The attendant ordered the woman to let sis out then made her switch with the man across the aisle. The man and the attendant made a point of telling our parents that we had not done anything wrong.

    The other problem adults were in our seats. They had been moved because they had been joking around and acting like they were going to open the emergency door. When the attendant realized that a 10 and 6 year old were supposed to be in the trouble makers’ new seats, she practically threw her hands up. We ended up in the emergency row. Again the men around us went out of their way to tell my parents we had behaved it was the other adults that were the problem.

  54. Red April 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    I’ve been flying a lot with my 7-year-old son over the past year and it’s becoming even harder and harder to get seats together on even assigned-seat airplanes (United, American) because of the way they seem to release tickets now. You go to get two assigned seats even months in advance, and there’s a handful available, scattered all over the plane. None together. The gate agents at the airport haven’t really been too helpful either at getting things rearranged.

    In fact, out of our five recent flights, we were only able to sit together on our single Southwest flight. Because the other passengers thought it was important that a mom and kid sit together.

  55. SteveS April 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Considering how unpleasant flying is, from the random TSA groping to the the tiny cramped seats, this doesn’t really surprise me. While it does seem irrational, I don’t have a problem with a private company instituting this kind of policy. If enough people make a stink, then maybe they will drop it.

  56. bobca April 28, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Wow…prejudice alive, well, and passionately demonstrated. Prejudice is abhorrent and unacceptable regardless of focus towards men, children, Asian pepile, African americans, women, whatever. Sadly, excuses & new categories continue to expand as demonstrated in the article and in some of the comments here.

    I have flown over 1 million miles in the US, and internationally. I have had less than desirable seat-mates often. Funny thing, none of the children that shared space with me could come close to the adults that were challenging.

  57. JP Merzetti April 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Well, as the “wrong” gender, I always have a field-day with this one. I actually find it refreshing when women just come out and say it – though I’ve heard the odd dad remark the same thing.
    First point: As if we haven’t already figured this one out. The world is in dire need of men who actually know how to respect and care about children. Disagree? Go talk to the men who haven’t got a clue how to do this. Shall we therefor continue to add to this pile by excommunicating the rest from children altogether? I can hear fools exclaim: “Go get your own”….but that won’t work so well for all the men out there who can’t afford to marry.
    But then there are the men who do have kids – and also travel. The ones with that natural male ability to relate to kids in a positive, human (even protective?) way.

    What message does this crap really send to kids? That men are evil? I beg to differ.

    When I was a kid, I had thousands of great conversations with perfect strangers – both genders. I wouldn’t have missed it. Gained a world of confidence from it. Learned a bunch of cool stuff. That was the idea.
    Human discourse was more flexible, then.

    Sometimes I wonder that the gender mafia wouldn’t love to reduce the human condition down to a Disney fantasy. But that isn’t the world we live in.
    What a sad thing for kids to see a man kicked to the curb, like an unwanted varmint. Respect goes both ways.
    My gender never hardwired me into a Tamerlane, or a Ghengis Khan. It just made me male. The rest……I defined myself.

  58. SOA April 28, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    Warren: have you never seen those trucks with the glass doors on the side?

  59. Gina April 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm #


    People like you are just as prejudice as someone who says “I don’t want a black person, a Jew, a woman, a homosexual, a person named Ravanna…sitting next to me.”

    Some children are disruptive and disrespectful, some are kind and respectful…some adults are drunks and rowdy, some are kind and decent…

    Stop generalizing. Judge each person (YES children are people) as an individual.

  60. Cassie April 28, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    If you read the article… please make sure you read the comments. They will make you feel a lot better.

    Also, take the poll. 90% of respondents disagree with the article.

  61. Warren April 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Yes Dolly I have. And to see what you claim to have seen, one would have to intentionally line up with it, and try to look in. Please do not try to challenge me on trucks of any nature……..working on them is how I make my living. I have worked on em all. I know them better than you could ever wish to know them.

    So take your urban legend claim to fame and try to fool someone else.

  62. Elizarose April 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    First of all I would like to say to the people who wrote Tracey Spicer is just another Mummy Blogger with nothing much to say is not true. She is a very competent reporter who is fairly knowledgeable and serious reporter in Australia. Saying that I have not always agreed with everything she reports and this is definitely one of these times. I believe by saying that children can’t trust males, is teaching young boys that one day they too are most likely to end up as uncontrollable sex crazed creatures who want to hurt children. It also teaches girls that they are going to grow up to become victims who need to watch out for these horrible men for the rest of their lives. I don’t have a son, but I have nephews, and I have teenage daughter, and I would rather them grow up thinking that they can become pretty good adults who respect others, as well as stand up for themselves if on the rare occasion they may find themselves in a difficult situation.

  63. Warren April 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    She may not be just another mommy blogger, but she is far from being a competent reporter. A fear mongering, biased, person spreading hate is what she is.

  64. J.T. Wenting April 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    “Pantless truck driver? And just how did you see up into his truck? Unless you were in a double decker bus, there is no physical way to see pretty much anything from the chest down, of anyone driving truck.

    Another urban legend made into a personal story. Way to go.”

    And what if, even? Nothing wrong with wearing a kilt…
    http://www.utilikilts.com/ looks comfortable and practical, less pressure on the legs, no seams pressing into your skin to obstruct blood flow, would likely be a good way to prevent trombosis when sitting in a driver’s seat for hours and hours on end.

  65. Buffy2 April 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    I love how she begins her article with “I know it’s sexist, but…” as if that excuses her.

    Is saying “I know it’s racist. But I don’t want my kids sitting next to a black person on a plane” acceptable to her, I wonder?

  66. Max April 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    Are they crazy? It’s an airplane, everyone is identified, and there is no way to escape during the flight. Everyone who offends a neighbor, especially a child, has a chance to never

  67. Warren April 29, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    I wonder if Dolly’s husband knows she cruise the roads looking for half naked truckers?

  68. Cassie April 29, 2014 at 12:45 am #

    The trucker conversation is interesting. We keep forgetting that negative experiences are actually good.

    Sit on a bus beside some dude who was booted off for wanking = overall a positive experience.
    Seeing a trucker wank to a group of girls = overall a positive experience.
    Being hit on by truckers (every night) as an 18yo working in a truckstop diner = overall a positive experience.

    All of these HARMLESS experiences serve to teach us to look out, and be aware of the world around us. We don’t need to protect children from catching a glimpse of a grown-man wanking… we need to protect them from real dangers.

    I would argue that being exposed to the less savoury parts of society gives a person a chance to learn and understand and in doing so become more aware of how they would respond.

    I was hit on every night. I put up with lewd comments and invitations to spend the night in the truck… It was a horrible job, but it did not harm me. I learned that sleazy men exquisted, I learn how to respond to sleazy man, I learned how to recongnise sleazy men. One of the big lessons that I learned was that I can enjoy a conversation with someone but that doesn’t mean that I have to take that to the next level . I even learned that I can flirt with a person and still say “no thanks” to heading back to the truck for sex.

    It is a skill that has stayed with me. The skill helps me in all manner of life – it is actually really helpful for dealing with salespeople!!

    I could have been shielded from it (I was barely 18) and I would lost a lot of skills because of it.

    I pity the people who are shielded from everything… how on earth do they cope when they see things for the first time? They would be fools, suckered in to all manner of things.

  69. Cassie April 29, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    sleazy men existed?
    sleazy men existed exquisitely? (ha ha) :/

  70. adrian small April 29, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    I think your absolutely right about your children not wanting them to sit with a man on a plane. In this day and age you can trust no one.

  71. Heila April 29, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    As I type this my 11-year old daughter is on a 2 hour flight to visit her grandparents. I don’t care what the gender is of the people she is sitting next to, I just hope they are not offended by her as she does love to talk!

  72. gap.runner April 29, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    A few thoughts…

    The author said that she doesn’t want her kids sitting next to a man because someone was molested on a plane 13 years ago. How many children sitting next to men on planes were not molested in the past 13 years? I bet the number of kids not molested is much higher than one.

    In the past 20 years I have been on many translatlantic and US flights, always in the coach section. I am quite petite and don’t have much room to move, especially when my tray table is down and the person in front of me has leaned his seat all the way back. How the heck is a full-grown man going to be able to move around enough to molest a kid in a cramped coach seat? Would someone even be stupid enough to attempt molesting a kid in front of so many potential witnesses?

    When my son was about 3 or 4, we were flying from California to the East Coast. I was seated by the window and my son was in the middle. We had swapped seats because the TV in the middle seat didn’t work. The person sitting on the other side of my son was a male stranger. About halfway through the flight, my son asked me what the man’s name was. I told him I didn’t know, but that he should ask. He was too shy to ask (that is still his nature at 15), so I asked. That man and my son had a nice conversation for a while. I must be a bad parent because I never once thought of that man as a potential child molester.

    One last thing…saying that you don’t want your kid to sit by a man is the same as saying you don’t want him sitting by a Black person, a Hispanic, an Asian, a Jew, a Muslim, or a gay person. Prejudice is prejudice, no matter how you try to disguise and justify it.

  73. Buffy2 April 29, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    @Red, try flying Delta. You can choose your actual seats online (and if the plane changes before your trip, you get an email so that you can re-choose your seats), your boarding pass has your seat number on it, and in my experience that those seat choices are set in cement.

  74. Warren April 29, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Trust noone? Then don’t sit them near anyone, right, man or woman?

  75. Crystal April 29, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Can you imagine the uproar she would cause (and the speed with which she would get fired) if she wrote that she didn’t want her child sitting next to a black person? Yet, somehow, it’s perfectly okay to write about a man — any man.

  76. Snow April 29, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    When my son was born I had a crazy person tell me that I should never leave him alone with a male, including my father and my husband, because adult men just cannot be trusted around a child. The crazy person didn’t even know my father or my husband she she spouted that crap!

  77. SOA April 29, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Warren; the dude was intentionally trying to get our attention. He was waving at the car in front of me with my friends and smiling at them and pointing at his wang. He was making sure they saw. Then he tried to get in line with us and show us, but apparently our car was daydreaming and none of us noticed. When we got out our friends was like “OMG how did you guys not notice him!?” and told us all about it. They were laughing their butts off about it.

    I guess my mom made it up when one time she was driving in one of the seedier parts of town and a man flashed her from his car too? She just gave him an “I am unimpressed” look and drove off.

    People can thrust their lap upwards to window level if they are trying to get someone’s attention.

    Why the hell would I lie about this? Or are you saying no man ever would do something like that? If so, you have way more trust in your gender. Because there are some sleazy men out there. Just like there are some sleazy women out there.

  78. Warren April 29, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Why Dolly? Because you love the attention.

  79. Gary April 29, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    My first plane ride was when I was around 13, my father and I flew to see my grandfather who was dying and this was my last chance to see him, dad never touched me…

    That same year I flew alone to FL to visit my grandparents after I graduated 8th grade, again, no one molested me en route or on way home.

    I flew a few times since then mainly for business, with the exception of trips to South Beach and ChIraq with my wife for mini getaways, again, no one molested me, not even her.

    So now I have a dilemma, is it me? Am I unmolestable? Did I not give off that “touch me baby” vibe? Or is it that the chances of it happening are really that remote.

    Dammit now I have a complex.

  80. E Simms April 29, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    I try not to generalize when I have a bad experience with other passengers on a plane but I’m not always successful at that. In decades of flying, on hundreds of flights, I can only remember four bad experiences, all pre-911. Despite what we hear in the news, I think people are generally more well behaved now. Maybe because the consequences of not behaving are so draconian. Three involved adults and one involved a child.

    For me, the problem with the child (the most obnoxious thirteen year old girl in the history of thirteen year old girls) was that I was reluctant to get the FA involved. When I finally did, the FA’s attitude was along the lines of “Why are you bothering me, couldn’t you take care of this yourself?” So I’m still reluctant to sit next to children even though I know it is probably unreasonable. I never experienced attitude problem with the FA when the bad behavior involved adults.

    I’ve seen this “deal with it” behavior from flight attendants on other occasions with children and other passengers. I know it’s anecdotal evidence, but yes Donna and Warren, FA’s do sometimes expect passengers to babysit unruly/needy children that happen to be seat mates. Not all children are expert flyers.

  81. Jenny Islander April 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    I wouldn’t want to have my unaccompanied child seated next to a man because he/she would most likely be flying coach, and there is no way for a man of average size to sit in a coach seat that does not put his shoulders and/or elbows into somebody else’s personal space. Adults are mature enough to put up with it, but my kids would probably be irritated to the point of getting loud.

  82. EricS April 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    EVERYONE she’s ever met was a stranger, EVERYONE she or her daughter will ever meet, will be a stranger. Her daughters future husband? Will be a MALE stranger. Her daughters future employee, will be a stranger…could be a MALE. The nurses, doctor, care givers, etc… will all be strangers.

    So her selective fearing, over shadows her common sense and logic. It also gives her daughter the wrong impression of strangers. A very confusing one. All because it’s about her own fears. Selfish. It’s really no different than the spread of racism from one generation to another. And we know how that all turned out, and still dealing with to this day. All these negative, and illogical mentality only makes things worse in the long run. And when it comes to our children, the LONG RUN is what is most important.

    The best way to protect children, is to teach them to protect themselves. Not sheletering them away from it. Maybe there should be a law that parents with this mentality (they would have to have psyche evaluation) should not have children. Only to spread ignorance to the rest of the world. Put it this way, why have kids if your going to be constantly paranoid. That is no way to live. Only for your children to learn and be paranoid just like you. They would have miserable lives.

  83. EricS April 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    @Adrian Small: Ok..let’s use your way of thinking. We don’t know you. You could be a pedophile lurking in these forums to get ideas in how to lure kids to your abode. Everyone don’t trust Adrian. He’s a sexual predator. He has to be. Everyone is according to him. Everyone has to lock themselves in their homes, never to come out. Never to talk to anyone. Even their families and friends, because “you can trust no one”.

    Does that sound about right to you Adrian…or whoever you really are?

  84. SOA April 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Warren: Then why are you giving me attention then? Do you have a crush on me or something? If you dislike me so as you say you do, then you would think you would not want to give me want I want-attention.

  85. QuicoT April 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    You should have a special Aussie section of Free Range Kids. Seems like a disproportionate number of both the craziest and the sanest stories here are from down-under, no?

  86. Reziac April 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    My aunt had a ‘trucker experience’ like that once, only it was a guy in an ordinary car. He stopped in front of her house and babbled something she didn’t catch. So she walked over to the curb, thinking he wanted directions or something, and once she’s next to the car she can see he’s sitting there with no pants.

    He points at his junk and says, “Ever see one of these before?”

    My aunt being the unflappable and perverse type, stuck her face up to the window, took a good long look, and said, “Not one THAT small!”

    And he drove off in a huff. 😀

    (This was about 50 years ago!)

  87. Donna April 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    E Simms –

    Considering I’ve been flying several times a year, every year, since I was 7 years old (now 44) and I’ve never once felt the need to call a flight attendant to complain about my seatmates’ behavior on a plane and you’ve apparently done so many times, you are either the most unlucky person on the planet to so often get seated next to such extremely obnoxious people or are a difficult person to fly next to.

    There is a difference between expecting you to deal with your own issues and expecting you to babysit. Babysitting requires some level of responsibility for the OVERALL behavior of the child, not just the behavior as it relates to you. Of course, flight attendants expect you to attempt to deal with your own issues with seatmates before calling them. I don’t care how old the seatmates are.

    You are still not responsible for an unaccompanied child’s general behavior unless you take the burden on yourself. Heck, while it would be nice, you don’t even have to open their pretzels.

  88. Dan April 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    As a parent of a two-year-old daughter, and soon-to-be-parent of a second child, I’d like to chime in:

    I know it’s common-sense-ist, but I don’t want my kids sitting next to Tracey Spicer on a plane—or a playground, or even standing near her in the supermarket checkout line. Sure, almost 90 percent of child abuse is committed by people the victim knows, but did you know that only 14 percent of people are able to make up statistics on the spot to support their unjustified fears?

    One child was molested by a stranger on one flight, which the airline settled in 2001. Also in 2001, four full flights were simultaneously taken over by terrorists, and three-fourths of those flights were crashed into major architectural landmarks in the eastern time zone.

    Now, I have flown on airplanes and made safe landings on the eastern seaboard both before and after 2001, but I’m just saying that it’s a problem that I might have flown next to Tracey Spicer on any of those trips. Who knows how much panicky parenting she may have been able to impart to others? Is it a coincidence that after 9/11 we failed to silence Tracey Spicer and that today we still have a problem with terrorism?

    Oh. Yes. That is a coincidence.

    Tracey Spicer’s darling children got to fly on a plane. They were “plied with treats” by uniformed strangers who Tracey didn’t know. Tracey didn’t even know whether all or any of the staff were female! She doesn’t know whether any of the staff dragged either her darling 7- or 9-year-old into a lavatory, told them to keep it “our secret” and then made sure to tell them to smile when they disembarked. Now, that’s not to say Tracey is reckless and a horrible parent.

    That’s to say that Tracey’s blog post is idiotic, disparaging, sexist, and harmful.

  89. Buffy2 April 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I just went back to the original article to take another look at the comments, and I noticed that it was shared on Facebook 8.1K times. I fervently hope it was shared due to its idiocy, and not because all those people agreed with her.

  90. E Simms April 29, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    By Donna Tue Apr 29th 2014 at 3:19 pm
    E Simms –
    Considering I’ve been flying several times a year, every year, since I was 7 years old (now 44) and I’ve never once felt the need to call a flight attendant to complain about my seatmates’ behavior on a plane and you’ve apparently done so many times, you are either the most unlucky person on the planet to so often get seated next to such extremely obnoxious people or are a difficult person to fly next to.

    Why in the world do you feel the need to get so personal when you disagree with a post? I get the feeling you are somewhat of a bully in your offline life. Or is it the fact that I occasionally defend your favorite target?

    For the record:

    1) Four times over a period of more than three decades does not equal “many times.” It’s about once every eight to nine years.

    2) One instance, during boarding, involved a women who had taken up the space under the seat in front of me, along with part of the floor, with her excess carry-ons (pre 911 leniency I guess). Instead of sitting with my feet on top of her luggage when she refused to move it, I called a FA who made her check one of her bags.

    3) Another instance involved a drunk on a redeye who was talking loudly, non-stop, to no one in particular. After half an hour of listening to this and other passengers screaming “shut up,” I got up and located the FA. The FA apparently felt no need to intervene in the back of the plane on her own.

    4) In college, I refused to put up with a very drunk male, college age seatmate who kept trying to kiss me. The FA seated him somewhere else.

    5) I’m not even going to get into the child from hell story. Let’s just say she had no business flying alone.

    If that makes me a “difficult person to fly next to,” then so be it.

    I’m feeling a little like a sucker right now for letting you bait me. So taunt me all you want from now on. I’m not going to respond.

  91. E Simms April 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    I seems like a lot of posters here have just accepted that the accused child molester on the Northwest flight was guilty. It turns out that he was acquitted.


  92. Donna April 29, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    E. Simms –

    I found your post fairly derogatory to me as well so I am not sure why you had to get personal either.

  93. Kenny Felder April 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    Very wise. What if he grabs them and jumps?

  94. Beth April 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    I was just reading about that douchebag Donald Sterling and how he’s banned from the NBA for life. If he had made the same comments about males, I guess it would have been OK.

  95. Red April 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    @Buffy2: The issue is that I am choosing seats online and well before the day of flight (generally between 30-60 days prior), but nowadays there are rarely any seats together for me to choose.

    So, either I choose two seats in advance which place me and my son apart from one another, or I take the risk that we don’t have assigned seats until we check in the day-of-flight and may be bumped off an oversold flight. To me, that’s the airline’s issue. I would much rather make sure that we’re on the flight sitting apart than bumped. If someone wants to complain to the flight attendant because they end up sitting next to my unattended 7-year-old, they are free to do that … perhaps their complaint will get more help from the flight attendants than I’ve been able to get recently.

  96. Donna April 29, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    Red – I’ve been successful wgen I’ve asked at the gate to change seats to be next to my child. I’ve never had them not find two seats together when asked.

  97. Gina April 29, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    RE: Adrian
    It never ceases to amaze me that people who spout the most ridiculous opinions are often people who cannot type an English sentence properly.
    Ignorance=ignorance? I think so.

  98. SOA April 29, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Reziac: that is a good story. For all we know its the same guy! haha

    I always figured the best response when guys do that is just either laugh at them or make a remark about how you are unimpressed or how small it is or something like that very nonchalant. They want you to be horrified or grossed out or scream etc. That obviously want attention. So if you just kinda don’t give it to them or act unphased I think that is actually the best response.

  99. Kay April 29, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    On the article they show a boy in a seat on the plane. Nice to know that in a few short years, that boy, and mine, have this to look forward to- fear and suspicion from mothers. I was glad to see that most of the comments ripped the article apart.

  100. Donna April 29, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Dolly – I had a client a few years ago who, for reasons known only to him, decided to drive around completely naked. He got in his car in Atlanta wearing nothing except socks and shoes and drove around for at least an hour and a half before being stopped for DUI in the rural Georgia town where I worked. Who know what he was doing along the way. The video of the police stop was hysterical. It is still one of my favorite cases … and a great lesson on why one should not overindulge.

  101. Melinda Tripp April 30, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I teach child awareness and personal safety, one way to gauge people! is to to talk to them, and watch their behaviors, an easy way to assure ourselves. 99% of folks are just like us! doing the best they can.
    I spend my speaker- life discussing the myth of stranger danger….who ever made that rhyme up, really gave me a platform to fight against.

    It’s all about behavior folks…..teach your kids to be aware, insightful, , what to do if there is any trouble, and let them go play.

  102. John April 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    This kind of crap just boils my blood!! This woman is no different than Mr. Sterling, soon to be FORMER owner of the Clippers.

  103. Really Bad Mum April 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Tracey spicer is a news reporter, she is nationally known from her television work, this article is for one thing and one thing only – RATINGS. They are hoping people will watch her on tv so the channel gets bigger ratings from both those who think she is right and those wanting to see if she is a nut job. I usually like her but this article is ridiculous.

  104. Diane S April 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    The ‘worst-first’ thinking drives me nuts. When flying to Boston one year, I was in a row with 2 children. We played wordgames in a booklet they had the whole trip from TX to MA. I’ve sat next to a woman holding a baby, and held the baby for her while she dug around in her purse. Although I’m not male…even talking to children now is frowned upon. I was at the grocery store, and a small child said Hi to me. I said hi back, and got a GLARE from the mom. Since when is being polite considered horrible behavior?

  105. Papilio April 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Re laughing at guys exposing themselves: I didn’t know all that when I was 9 and met a ~16-year-old boy walking around masturbating in the park…
    It was kinda funny: he kept doing what he was doing, I went to do what I came for (pick rabbit food) while keeping my distance and steering clear from both offensive and encouraging responds to what he said and asked. Then I went home untraumatized but feeling sorry for this boy because he seemed insecure and unhappy, and I told my mother, who, predictably even for me back then, was -eh- less concerned about his mental well-being and just got angry with him. That was that though. No trauma-drama.

  106. SOA April 30, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    I have also been friendly to cute little kids in public like just saying Hi to them or talking to them saying I like their dress or something and while 98% of people are sweet about it, every once in a blue moon I get a glare. Its odd. I am guessing they follow the whole I don’t want my kids talking to strangers or they are afraid I am going to kidnap them or something. Which is kinda nuts.

  107. Red April 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Donna: as I mentioned in my first post, this seems to have mainly emerged over the past six to nine months. Previous to that, I never really had an issue. Since then it’s been both a real issue to get seats together when booking, and the gate attendants have mainly said “Flight is full, not switching around seats.”

    Whatever. As I said, if others feel they are going to be inconvenienced sitting next to a 7-year-old boy, they are free to complain to the flight attendant or offer to switch with me. I also find it notable there’s been an increase in the reaction of “I booked this seat, and I’m not moving.”

  108. John April 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    As I think I’ve said here before, a few years back on a flight from Kuwait to Cairo, I sat next to a 9-year-old Egyptian boy and his mom. So I spent almost the entire flight thumb-wrestling this kid. He wouldn’t let go of my hand and by the time we arrived in Cairo, my thumb was ready to fall off!

    For some reason or another, Egyptian kids, particularly boys, are very intriqued with Americans and I was just making this kid’s day with our little thumb wrestling matches. Obviously his mother had no problem with her son’s infatuation with me as she just sat back and smiled while enjoying the flight. Now if it were an American kid and his mom, I probably would have been in big trouble!

  109. Warren April 30, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Hey Dolly,

    Just today I saw a half naked unicorn riding a trike on the highway. So I guess that makes your story just as probable.

  110. Sharla Stremski April 30, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    Well, at least 91% of those polled think “don’t seat unaccompanied children next to men” is a bad policy. I don’t think a man is any more likely than a woman to be someone a child is uncomfortable sitting next to – there are nasty people of both genders. A better policy would be for flight attendants to regularly check in with unaccompanied minors, and be ready to switch their seat arrangements if it seems like a really bad match.

  111. Jenny Islander May 1, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    Re creeps who flap their dingles at you in an attempt to get you to react: Some, not all, exposers get jaded with the response and decide to go for something more frightening and potentially more dangerous; robbery and rape, perhaps. Some, not all, of those people who decide to escalate go diving past the moral event horizon. The I-5 Killer, for one, started out as a weenie wagger, then started raping women, and finally became a serial killer.

    What I’m saying is, laugh at them, shame them–and then call the police and report them. Most of the time they’re just creeps. But.

    (Also, IIRC, the response from prisoners and cops alike to the knowledge that a person is in jail for flapping his fish tends to be uproarious contemptuous laughter, which may act as a styptic to the impulse for the vast majority of creeps ho are just creeps.)

  112. Aaron Bennett May 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    I spent last week in Austin, TX with my wife on a child-free vacation, and on the plane home from DFW to BOS — three hour flight — there was a family in the back, two kids asleep, on on the chair one on Daddy, Mommy holding the baby, fourth kid was a 2-3ish boy standing in the middle of the aisle. As I walked past to use the lav, missing my kids so badly, instead of pushing past the kid I tapped him on the shoulder and said “hi buddy, can I get past here?” He looked so relieved to have a grownup pay attention to him as an equal, I was going to bend down and chat but his mom pulled him away, gave me a death stare and said “DON’T STAND IN THE AISLE!”

    Too bad, her fear prevented her son from learning that grownups are super cool and prevented me from getting a nice hit of childjoy to get me through the remaining few hours until I was being tackled by my own two laughing little boys.