Whilst some airlines are creating “kids-free” zones on their aircraft, this mother of two would like to make the air travel experience more tolerable for children. In order to do this, I need to find out what kids think of flying. What better way to start than to interview them?
I positioned myself comfortably on the couch next to two eight-year old children to ask them a series of questions about air travel. Mentally I attempted to prepare myself for what was to come out of their young mouths. My interviewees were Reilly, who said with flair that she has flown four times (including a recent trip to Ireland with her mother), and Jacob, my own son who had never had the privilege of flying. He, unfortunately, has the handicap of having a mother who is afraid of flying.
I began with a simple question: “How do you think an airplane flies?” I imagined a response similar to that of the Flintstones running to get their stone car to move. However, these two were quicker than I gave them credit. Jacob very matter-of-factly looked me in the eye and said, “Airplanes are powered by an engine that helps the propellers and plane to move.” With a smirk I knew that was his mother’s DNA talking. Miss Reilly’s response was very similar citing that the propellers and wheels push the airplane down the runway.
Security, why do we have it? Both children agreed that the reason we have security is to ensure that, “you aren’t bringing anything illegal or dangerous on the plane”. Apparently by illegal or dangerous they were referring to “pets”, “food”, “Tasers” and “guns”, specifically. We discussed TSA and its involvement in the security process. Jacob said the TSA stands for “Take off System Airplane”. Reilly, however, after some thought smiled and said, “It stands for Total Security of America.” Ponder that one for a minute.
For those of you considering if you should fly first-class or economy, well just know that in economy you will be required to serve snacks to those in first class – at least according to Reilly. You will also be required to let first-class passengers know when the weather is about to take a turn for the worse. Jacob chooses to believe that first class is simply a much more complicated aeroplane. And somehow, I agree with him.
I could have interviewed these two youngsters for hours. Not just about flying or the TSA, but life itself. We could all learn a little from our children if we listened more intently. For them, life is not always so literal and complicated. So sit back, relax. Don your noise-cancelling headphones if you need to. But let kids in your zone. And, in turn, they’ll let you into theirs.